Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Project Milestone: Navigating Families to Health and Human Resources as a Gateway to Promoting Immunizations

Lillie Peter1, Oyeba Akyea2, Decrecia Robinson2, and Risha Jones2. (1) Family Support Services, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, 8000 North Stadium Dr., 5th Floor, Houston, TX, USA, (2) Immunization Program, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, 8000 N. Stadium Drive, 5th floor, Houston, TX, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to:
1. Design a program that offers intense follow up to families in order to increase the overall health and wellbeing of the family while increasing immunization rates.
2. Apply human service coordination techniques in order to increase family access to external agencies.

According to the 2004 National Immunization Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, Houston's lowest rated coverage rate for children 19-35 months were Women Infants and Children (WIC) program participants at 63.6% (4:3:1:3:3). The Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) implemented Project Milestone beginning in 2006 as a response. This program involves placing HDHHS navigators in various City of Houston WIC program sites.

WIC sites

WIC participants between 0-5 years of age and their families

Project Description:
Project Milestone utilizes navigators to serve as parent coaches. At the initial visit, the navigator provides information to the parent/guardian of the WIC client about Project Milestone and the importance of bringing their child's immunization record to each WIC visit. The parent/guardian is given a needs assessment, which addresses medical, emotional and social deficits prevalent in the child's household. Next, immunization data is entered into an immunization registry in order to reduce record fragmentation. In addition, participants are given incentives at immunization milestones such as gift certificates and personalized calendars to encourage continued participation.

Results/Lessons Learned:
The programs' immunization coverage rate during 2006 was 74% (4:3:1:3:3:1). In addition, 53.8% (n=738/1373) of all referrals made in 2007 as of October were for CHIP, Medicaid, or other community resources in order to encourage the establishment of a medical home.