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Measurement Webinar - "Data Linkage" featuring Kimberlyn McGrail, PhD (Scientific Director, Population Data BC) and Anne Gadermann, PhD (Assistant Professor, Human Early Learning Partnership, School of Population and Public Health). August 1, 2019, 11am-noon PT. REGISTER HERE.

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Wisconsin’s Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families: Application of the Maternal and Child Health Life Course Perspective Through a Regional Funding Initiative

By Catherine A. Frey, Philip M. Farrell, Quinton D. Cotton, Lorraine S. Lathen and Katherine Marks

National experts are calling for more integrated approaches such as the life course perspective to reduce health disparities and achieve greater health equity. The translation and application of the life course perspective is therefore of great interest to public health planners, policy makers and funders to promote community-wide improvements in maternal and child health. However, few organizations have applied the life course perspective in designing strategic funding initiatives. For over three decades, Wisconsin has observed persistent racial disparities in birth outcomes. This complex public health issue led to the development of the Lifecourse Initiative for Health Families, a regional multi-million dollar funding initiative created and supported by the Wisconsin Partnership …

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Leveraging the science of health development: designing systems that help children thrive (2014 CIFAR Symposium presentation)

By Neal Halfon

In this talk, Dr. Halfon highlights how Clyde Hertzman’s work inspired a reconceptualization of health as a developmental process, and how new notions of health development are inspiring different ways of designing, organizing and implementing health services into health developing systems. This life course focused health development orientation is especially important for children’s health and wellbeing, and the kinds of health and social scaffolding that is necessary to optimize child outcomes that help children thrive.    

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Optimizing Health and Health Care Systems for Children with Special Health Care Needs Using the Life Course Perspective

By Christina D. Bethell, Paul W. Newacheck, Amy Fine, Bonnie B. Strickland, Richard C. Antonelli, Cambria L. Wilhelm, Lynda E. Honberg, and Nora Wells

To date, life course research in maternal and child health has largely focused on elucidating fetal and early life influences on adult health and less on promoting the health of children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Consideration of life course theory (LCT) for CSHCN is especially important given their increasing prevalence and comorbidity, their disproportionate vulnerability to weaknesses or instability in the health care system, and the growing evidence linking child and adult health and quality of life. In this commentary we seek to advance the consideration of LCT for CSHCN. We (1) briefly summarize key issues and the importance of a life course approach for CSHCN; (2) present …

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Life gets under your skin

By Mel Bartley, ed.

Great Britain has a unique collection of studies in which people have been followed from birth into early old age. There are at present four of these Birth Cohort Studies, made up of people born in 1946, 1958, 1970 and 2000. The members of the 1946 and 1958 cohorts have generously allowed researchers to take a lot of biological health measures, as well as answering questions about their families, education, work, relationships and mental health. To these studies may be added others which have not followed people from birth, but which have measured changes in life circumstances and biology over many years. This booklet summarises some of the work that …

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Long run impacts of childhood access to the safety net

By H Hoynes, D Whitmore Schanzenbach and D Almond

A growing economics literature establishes a causal link between in utero shocks and health and human capital in adulthood. Most studies rely on extreme negative shocks such as famine and pandemics. We are the first to examine the impact of a positive and policy-driven change in economic resources available in utero and during childhood. In particular, we focus on the introduction of a key element of the U.S. safety net, the Food Stamp Program, which was rolled out across counties in the U.S. between 1961 and 1975. We use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to assemble unique data linking family background and county of residence in early childhood to …

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Integrating the life course perspective into a local maternal and child health program

By C Pies, P Parthasarathy and SF Posner

For many decades, early access to prenatal care has been considered the gold standard for improving birth outcomes. In Contra Costa County, a diverse urban and suburban county of over one million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Family Maternal and Child Health Programs of Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) have seen high rates of early entry into prenatal care since 2000. Yet despite our best efforts to increase access to quality prenatal care, our rates of low birth weight and infant mortality, especially among African Americans, continue to be high. When we were introduced to the Life Course Perspective in 2003 as an organizational framework for our …

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Childhood antecedents to adult cardiovascular disease

By Neal Halfon, Philip A. Verhoef and Alice A. Kuo

Many of the most common and costly chronic adult health conditions have their origins in childhood and adolescence. This recognition is leading to both a profound shift in our understanding about the developmental origins of diseases such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and a greater focus on how different risk and protective factors influence the developmental pathways that determine optimal health across the life span. Scientific breakthroughs in the basic, clinical and epidemiological sciences reveal how different stressors and exposures during what are now termed “critical” or “sensitive” periods of development can affect growth, tissue differentiation and physiologic set points that influence an individual’s response to …

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Incorporating the life course model into MCH nutrition leadership education and training programs

By Betsy Haughton, Kristen Eppig, Shannon M. Looney, Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, Bonnie A. Spearman, Marsha Spence and Jamie S. Stang

Life course perspective, social determinants of health, and health equity have been combined into one comprehensive model, the life course model (LCM), for strategic planning by U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The purpose of this project was to describe a faculty development process; identify strategies for incorporation of the LCM into nutrition leadership education and training at the graduate and professional levels; and suggest broader implications for training, research and practice. Nineteen representatives from 6 MCHB-funded nutrition leadership education and training programs and 10 federal partners participated in a one-day session that began with an overview of the models and concluded with guided small …

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Healthy starts for all: policy prescriptions

By WD Miller, T Sadegh-Nobari and M Lillie-Blanton

Clear evidence supports the recommendation of the Commission to Build a Healthier America that policy-makers devote substantial resources to meet the early developmental needs of low-income children. Research conducted in numerous fields, including genetics and neurophysiology, over the past decade, suggests that adult disease can be traced to early life experience. In keeping with that body of evidence, the Commission to Build a Healthier America has made childhood health its top domestic priority. This article, a review of child health and development research from the past 20 years, offers a brief synopsis of current knowledge. The authors update information developed for the Commission and identify evidence-based policies and interventions. The …

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Closing the black-white gap in birth outcomes: a life course approach

By Michael C. Lu, Milton Kotelchuck, Vijaya Hogan, Loretta Jones, Kynna Wright and Neal Halfon

In the United States, Black infants have significantly worse birth outcomes than White infants. Over the past decades, public health efforts to address these disparities have focused primarily on increasing access to prenatal care, however, this has not led to closing the gap in birth outcomes. We propose a 12-point plan to reduce Black-White disparities in birth outcomes using a life course approach. The first four points (increase access to interconception care, preconception care, quality prenatal care and healthcare throughout the life course) address the needs of African American women for quality healthcare across the lifespan. The next four points (strengthen father involvement, systems integration, reproductive social capital and community …

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