Low birth weight is one of the most common factors contributing to infant death in the United States. Georgia’s low birth weight rate is among the worst in the nation, reaching 10.8 percent in Atlanta, according to the March of Dimes.
United Way of Greater Atlanta is bringing together state and local health agencies, private medical providers, and nonprofit organizations in the Babies Born Healthy Network as part of its $3.7 million investment toward cutting the number of low birth weight babies by 10 percent. The Babies Born Healthy action plan includes three core elements: addressing prenatal health education through Centering Pregnancy; home visitation for screening, coaching, and in-home counseling; and the Doula Project.
The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) is working on an evaluation of United Way’s Babies Born Healthy initiatives over the past five years. The evaluation examines the main outcome — birth weight — from several grantees at multiple sites and includes quantitative data analysis and retrospective case-control studies from across the Babies Born Healthy project portfolio. Demographic data from the electronic birth certificate file (Georgia Department of Public Health’s Georgia Vital Record data) is used to construct comparison groups for each action strategy, as well as to measure the overall outcome of interest for all groups — birth weight. GHPC’s design of the evaluation methodology ensures both the accuracy of the evaluation as well as future replicability.