A Systems Thinking Approach to the Prevention of Preterm Births

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2020

Authors

Mupambo, Tashinga

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Abstract

Background: Preterm birth is one of the leading causes of infant mortality in the United States every year. In 2017, 10.6% of Texas live births were preterm. The occurrence of preterm births is disproportionately higher in black women than other races. Looking at this issue from systems perspective will give us broader understanding how the behavioral, socio-economic and environmental risk factors interact and how organizations across different fields can work together to prevent or treat preterm births. Objective: The goal of this project was to identify organizations involved directly or indirectly in efforts to reduce preterm birth rates and to use the systems thinking approach to understand the role that each one plays and how they are connected using a concept map. Methods: The organizations were classified based on the stage of care they provide (preconception, prenatal or postpartum) and their level of reach (city-, county-, state-, or national-level). Information was collected from the organizations' websites and related web-based sources. Results: Selected organizations include Women with IMPACT, which provides preconception and inter-conception education and care; Live Tobacco Free, which offers smoking cessation programs and Great Expectation Doulas, which offers doula services. Conclusions: This perspective showed how women interact with these organizations and the potential for these organizations to form relationships which each other in order to make it easier for the women to be well-connected to necessary resources.

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