Missouri Bootheel Healthy Start Replication Phase Project

Missouri Bootheel Healthy Start One of the 1997 Replication Phase Projects!

The Missouri Bootheel Healthy Start (MBHS) is located in Sikeston, Missouri, and is considered a “rural” project with a five-county service region. MBHS’s grantee is the Missouri Bootheel Regional Consortium, Inc. (MBRC), a non-profit entity.

Why MBRC Decided to Apply for Our First Grant

The community needs, social economic/factors with limited resources and widespread disparities in perinatal health outcomes in comparison to state and national levels led us to see how badly the region needed a program like Healthy Start.

Our target population is African Americans who live in a region of southeast Missouri known as the Bootheel in five counties: Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Dunklin and Scott. These counties are part of the Lower Mississippi Delta region, which represents one of the four major poverty regions in the United States. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) for 2013-2015 in the target population (African American, 17.96) is three times national IMR rate (5.87) and twice the State IMR rate (6.35).

Furthermore, maternal mortality rates in the Missouri Bootheel are almost five times higher for African American mothers than their white counterparts. Hospital closures, lack of transportation, poverty and racial barriers plague the service region. The Missouri Bootheel Healthy Start Project provides case management, health promotion and education, fatherhood programming, transportation and coordinates a Community Action Network (CAN). These services are utilized to improve women’s health, improve family wellness and promote systems change.

What We Do and How We Do It

MBRC coordinates a rural initiative to reduce disparities in birth outcomes. MBRC was created from the impact, partnerships, strength and support of the communities we serve. MBHS provides Case Management, Clinical Preventive Services, Community-Wide Outreach and Education, Chronic Disease Prevention, Behavioral Health Support Groups, Collective Impact, Trainings, Leadership Development and Male Involvement program services.

Healthy Start has served as a voice for change, support, compassion, hope and empowerment for communities in the Southeast Missouri Bootheel region. Being part of the Healthy Start family provides an opportunity to be part of an exciting labor-intensive community-based led movement with a unique diverse prospective for change, with emphasis on disparities in lives matter.

Some of MBHS’s Notable Things  

MBHS has received numerous awards, proclamations and an article published in the Journal of Medicine on Support Group successes. Many parents contributed to the program for healthy pregnancies and positive support and guidance that would not have existed without the program. MBHS has created a presence for maternal child and family health with diverse partnerships.

We’ve Changed Over the Years!

The program has evolved since its inception to include a broad scope of core program components with specific deliverables for the reduction of infant mortality and to include realistic community-driven support systems that must be linked to those core services for successful outcomes and data. The recent fatherhood mandate is an accomplishment that has been a priority for NHSA demonstrating the importance and inclusiveness that must be prioritized for maternal child and family health programs targeting women and children.

Speaking of NHSA…

“The first time I attended an NHSA conference,” said Cynthia Dean Project Director, “I was filled with  amazement, appreciation and being star struck among the level of high-profile leadership from local and national individuals, energy and talent among the conference attendees, diverse cultures, enthusiasm, compassion, mothers with their babies, community representatives and opportunities to visit with government officials.” Dean, who in addition to being MBHS’s Project Director is also the CEO of MBRC, continued, “The development of friendships over the years, sharing success and failures and being part of a movement that continues to help so many families across the country is so meaningful. The webinars and trainings have guided programs on how to navigate their strengths with various ongoing systems changes. We learn to evaluate weaknesses, expand services for sustainability and prioritize leadership.” She concluded, “The role of the current CEO, NHSA’s presidents over the years, staff and Board members’ leadership, and including Bea Haskins, who have served with endless dedication with limited resources to ensure that the voice of members is heard throughout the country is so appreciated by all of the Healthy Start Family.”

Join NHSA for our two monthly webinars: the Women’s Health Series or Grand Rounds on the first Thursday of each month and Fatherood on the third Thursday of the month.