PRIMED for Action started over a cup of coffee with the question WHY?
Why is African American infant mortality so high? Why is it so difficult for babies to make it to their first birthday?
Most work on infant mortality in the U.S. has been with big data, looking at immediate causes.
We wanted to learn from parents what is going on and look at the more complex social processes of everyday life.
We designed a mixed methods, community based research program to find the answers. Focusing on understanding the perspectives of those most at risk for or affected by infant mortality, the research consists of in-home interviews, surveys, and collaborative digital stories, all of which has been IRB approved.
The original team, right to left:
Toni King, Cameron Hay, Jenny Bailer,
Ann Elizabeth Armstrong,
and Paul Flaspohler.
The Butler County Health Department and its agency partners have been at the forefront of designing programs to improve infant wellbeing through its PRIM initiative (Partnership to Reduce Infant Mortality). PRIMED for Action takes its name from the PRIM initiative, highlighting a research model that has been, since the beginning, collaborative with the people and agencies we seek to inform, driven by their questions, insights and concerns.
With pilot funding from the Miami University Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, we launched PRIMED for Action as a community based participatory research project to so that the most important voices would be heard, that is, the voices of those most affected by high infant mortality
The team expanded to consist of academics, area agencies, community health workers, and parents concerned about African American infant mortality. And then it expanded further to include Miami University global health students who offered invaluable technical and creative support while they learned about qualitative research methods and local barriers to healthy birth outcomes.
The final product of our first digital story is only 6 minutes long, but it took a large dedicated team to get the story right.