Text4baby: The State Enrollment Contest.

Part of orientation for new employees at CHC is a bus tour of different sites we run around the state.  To some, it may seem repetitive.  How much difference is there, really between different waiting rooms or examination rooms?  Yet if you look a little more closely, you pick up little things here and there that you see at one site that you don’t see at another. 

When I was at our Clinton site during the bus tour, a poster on the wall of the waiting room caught my attention.  ‘Text4Baby’.  I snapped a picture with my cellphone as I ran back to the bus and wondered a little bit what this use of text messaging for expectant mothers was all about.  Later, I heard that CHC is a partner in the Text4Baby program and that our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. J. Nwando Olayiwola, is a national spokeswoman for the campaign, both as a doctor and as a mother that used the program.

Then, yesterday, I received an email highlighting the White House Blog post, The Gift of Good Health on Mother’s Day.  It spoke briefly about the Text4Baby program and I started asking around for more information.  Amy Gagliardi was kind enough to send me detailed information, which I’ve included below.  What particularly caught my attention is the State Enrollment Contest starting today.  While I hope that people from other states give us a good run for the money, I’m rooting for a CHC led Connecticut effort.

Text4baby:  The State Enrollment Contest.

Text4baby (www.text4baby.org), the nation’s first free text messaging health education initiative, is launching a State Enrollment Contest starting May 10 and running until October 20, 2011. This innovative program, targeting pregnant women and families with children under the age of one, was developed by the National Health Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) in response to high rates of infant mortality and preterm birth in the USA.  More than 500,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the U.S. and approximately 28,000 infants will die before their first birthday.

HMHB (www.hmhb.org) launched the text4baby campaign just over a year ago in partnership with founding sponsors Johnson and Johnson, Voxiva, CTIA-The Wireless Foundation, Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company), the nation’s wireless carriers, and the U.S. government. The free text health education messages, designed to be specific to each trimester of pregnancy and well child care visits, were developed with input from the government and from non-profit health experts.  The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics are but two of the organizations involved in the development of the health text messages. Wellness and prevention topics covered in these messages include:  nutrition, birth defects prevention, smoking, immunizations, post partum depression, breastfeeding and assistance in finding health care providers.

Text4baby now has over 500 local, state and national partners who have contributed to reaching more than 160,000 users in its first year.  (Happy Birthday text4baby!).  The success of this initiative is a result of an unprecedented public-partnership. Text4baby’s goal for 2012 is to reach 1 million mothers.  The text4baby State Enrollment Contest is one strategy to help realize that goal.

According to Judy Meehan, CEO of the National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition, “The text4baby State Enrollment Contest is a way for States to actively participate in making sure that the millions of pregnant women and new moms across the country get the most important information they need to ensure their child’s healthy development.”

This healthy competition among states is designed to mobilize partners to increase their outreach efforts with the end result of increased user enrollment. The State Enrollment Contest Sponsors include: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National WIC Association, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), National Healthy Start Association (NHSA), March of Dimes, National Association of County and State Health Officials (NACCHO) and CityMatch.  Sponsor organizations will be promoting the contest to their extensive membership through activities such as, webinars, mailings, website postings and announcements at conferences.

Although each state varies widely in size and population, states will be ranked according to the total number of users enrolled in text4baby during the contest period based on the percentage of eligible moms in their state. This estimation is calculated from the number of estimated pregnancies and live births for each state. The three states that enroll the most users between May 10 and October 20, 2011 will be declared the winners of the State Enrollment Contest. These winning states will be announced at the American Public Health Association’s national conference in Washington DC. The prize for each winning state will be a sponsored luncheon/press event for text4baby partners in their state.

Lily’s Kids Inc. a Non-profit Organization for Children is the Connecticut state lead agency for text4baby and are spearheading activities planned in CT for the State Enrollment Contest.  You can learn more from their webpage (www.lilskidsinc.org).

About Aldon Hynes

Social Media Manager
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