The Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) Program is a parent-to-parent intervention that targets economically disadvantaged and geographically and/or socially isolated families with children birth to age 3. The program is designed to improve health and child development among these families. MIHOW employs parents from the local community as outreach workers and role models, who educate families about nutrition, child health, and development, and positive parenting practices. The outreach workers also provide links to medical and social services.
The MIHOW Program is a partnership between Vanderbilt University Center for Community Health Solutions (CHS) and community-based organizations. Through monthly home visits and parenting groups, MIHOW promotes healthy pregnancies, healthy children and healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents. MIHOW workers make more than 12,500 home visits per year to 1100 families in Nashville and throughout the Southeast.
The target population is pregnant women and families with young children (birth to three) who are economically disadvantaged and geographically and/or socially isolated. MIHOW programs serve families in rural and inner city areas throughout the mid-South, including Appalachia and the deep South. The program serves Caucasians, African-Americans, and Hispanics. Most participants learn about the program from friends or neighbors. Outreach workers also seek out prospective participants by establishing relationships with community organizations that are serving families in need.
MIHOW recently published an article in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.