Increasing Knowledge and Health Literacy about Preterm Births in Underserved Communities: An Approach to Decrease Health Disparities, a Pilot Study

  •  Allison A. Vanderbilt    
  •  Marcie S. Wright    
  •  Alisa E. Brewer    
  •  Lydia K. Murithi    
  •  PonJola Coney    


INTRODUCTION: Health disparities can negatively impact subsets of the population who have systematically experienced greater socioeconomic obstacles to health. For example, health disparities between ethnic and racial groups continue to grow due to the widening gap in large declines in infant and fetal mortality among Caucasians compared to Black non-Hispanic or African Americans. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, preterm birth remains a leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality. The purpose of our study is to determine if the computer-based educational modules related to preterm birth health literacy and health disparity with a pre-test and post-test can effectively increase health knowledge of our participants in targeted underserved communities within the Richmond-metro area.

METHODS: This was a pilot study in the Richmond-Metro area. Participants were required to be over the age of 18, and had to electronically give consent. Descriptive statistics, means and standard deviations, and Paired t-tests were conducted in SPSS 22.0.

RESULTS: There were 140 participants in the pilot study. P <.05 was set as significant and all four modules had a P <.000. The males were not significant with modules: Let’s Talk Patient & Provider Communication P <.132 and It Takes a Village P <.066. Preterm birth status yes all of the findings were statistically significant P<.000. Preterm birth status no Let’s Talk Patients & Provider Communication was not significant P <.106.

CONCLUSION: Overall, researchers found that with a strong research methodology and strong content relevant to the community, the participants demonstrated an increase in their knowledge in health literacy and preterm birth.

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