North Carolina Nonprofit Promotes Preventive Health Among Latina Women and Children With AHRQ Research

Prevention and Care Management
May 2008

Based on AHRQ-funded research, an organization in North Carolina has strengthened its outreach and public education program to promote the use of preventive health services among Latina women and children. The North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization, is dedicated to reducing infant death and illness and improving the health of women and young children.

When Melanie Wasserman, PhD, MPA, presented her AHRQ-funded research in 2007 at the American Public Health Association conference, she pointed out that Latina women and their young children use fewer preventive health services and have a higher incidence of preventable diseases than non-Hispanic whites. Her research studied various efforts to improve the success of health interventions and the incidence of preventive health measures.

Janice Freedman, Executive Director of the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation, approached Wasserman for recommendations on strengthening key messages to help promote the use of health services in North Carolina's growing Hispanic population. Although the N.C. Healthy Start Foundation's focus on Latino health began in 1994, Wasserman's research helped the group explore new methods for reaching the target population.

Freedman says, "Effective communication of health-promoting messages and the use of preventive health services depend on knowing the population you are trying to reach. Wasserman's research is a tremendous resource for us in a state where the Latino population is growing at an unprecedented rate. Not only does her research confirm what we had suspected, but it provides concrete recommendations for the future."

The N.C. Healthy Start Foundation has systematically addressed improving the health of Spanish-speaking communities in North Carolina with numerous outreach efforts, public education campaigns and professional education. Spanish-language materials, developed by Latinos for Latinos, are distributed in numerous community locations.

The Latino campaign continues to expand its topics. Recent Spanish materials include information on preventing premature birth, caring for babies during the first year, reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and promoting publicly funded child health insurance.

The N.C. Healthy Start Foundation was established in 1990. For more information, visit

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Research
Topics(s): Health Literacy, Women's Health, Pediatrics, Disparities
Geographic Location: North Carolina
Implementer: North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation
Date: 05/01/2008

Wasserman MR, Bender DE, Lee SYD. Utilization of preventive reproductive health services by latina women: A review of published intervention studies. Medical Care Research and Review 2007; 64(1). (HS13864)

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