Aiming High: Monitoring Population Level Indicators of Child Wellbeing as a Goal of Community-Academic Partnerships

Renae D. Schmidt, F. Daniel Armstrong, Viviana E. Horigian, Graylyn Swilley-Woods, Betty Alonso, Douglene Jackson, Ruby Natale, Jason Jent, Michelle Schladant, Saliha Nelson, Jeffrey P. Brosco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Community-academic partnerships (CAPs) aim to improve neighborhood population health. Though measuring the impact of partnership activities at a population level can be difficult, evaluating indicators of wellbeing may increase understanding of how communities benefit from CAPs. This study examined child health indicators over time in two low-income, predominantly Black/African American and Hispanic communities where partnerships between an academic child development center and community coalitions were formed with the intention of improving child well-being. Methods: Trends in three child wellbeing indicators (graduation rates, kindergarten readiness, and proportion of youth in school and/or employed) were compared between two CAP communities and several neighboring comparison communities. Data between 2011 and 2017 were analyzed to calculate percent change from baseline and mapped using ArcGIS to visualize trends by zip code. Proportions of youth meeting benchmarks were also determined. Results: Kindergarten readiness and high-school graduation rates improved in CAP communities but not in geographically proximal and socioeconomically similar comparison communities. No improvements were found in the proportion of youth in school or employed. Discussion: This study revealed population-level indicators improved over time in CAP communities. Because community-level child health and wellbeing are influenced by many factors, this correlation is not proof of a causal relationship. Assessing population level indicators can nonetheless provide insight into the benefit of CAPs, and the commitment to monitoring such outcomes can itself advance how academic and community partners plan activities and set long-term goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-977
Number of pages8
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child wellbeing indicators
  • Community-academic partnership
  • Community-based organizations
  • Geographic information system
  • Health equity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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