Care Ring partners with Mecklenburg County Public Health for new maternal-child health program: A Guided Journey


Care Ring has launched a new initiative in partnership with Mecklenburg County Public Health. The program, known as "A Guided Journey," is a Maternal and Child Health Community Health Worker Initiative targeting the six Mecklenburg County priority health zip codes.  The program will focus on improving health outcomes before, during and after pregnancy and to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality and adverse perinatal outcomes. Symmetry Behavioral Health has also partnered with the County to offer this service.

"We are excited to partner with Care Ring and Symmetry to bring 'A Guided Journey' to the Mecklenburg community. Through this program we'll be able to help individuals access a trusted professional Community Health Worker to guide them through all the phases of having a child. This is especially valuable for low income, at-risk and first-time moms." - Mecklenburg County Health Director Raynard Washington.

The need for this program is demonstrated by these startling statistics:

  • 1 in 10 infants born in 2017 were premature/low-birth weight.
  • Black infants are 2X more likely to be born premature than White infants.
  • Preterm birth rate for Black women in NC is 46% higher than that of White women.
  • Black infants are 5X more likely to die in year 1.
  • 13% of Mecklenburg residents are uninsured.
  • From 2013-2018, 41% of births in Mecklenburg County were Medicaid-eligible.

A healthy pregnancy is one of the best ways to promote healthy families in Mecklenburg County. Early and regular prenatal and postpartum care is an important step in protecting the health of a mother and child. A Guided Journey connects pregnant women and those up to 90 days postpartum with a Community Health Worker (CHW) who can help identify individual needs by:

1) establishing a medical home;

2) connecting families to support services that address social determinants of health (e.g., food assistance, transportation, housing, etc.) and long-term case management; and

3) providing education and support to promote healthy lifestyles and infant health.

"Care Ring is excited to partner with Mecklenburg County in facilitating 'A Guided Journey,' as this program will support the expansion and growth of maternal child health programming across communities most in need.
This state-supported model will ensure services are provided in a culturally competent manner by enhancing the well-being and health of families." – Tchernavia Montgomery, Executive Director of Care Ring

More about CHWs and A Guided Journey:

What’s a Community Health Worker?

A frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the worker to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A community health worker also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.

A Guided Journey Team and Program Model:

  • 2 Teams of 4, each lead by a Team Lead who live in and are trusted members of the communities they are serving
  • provides a less intensive option for women that do not qualify for or need the long-term support of Nurse-Family Partnership
  • bilingual
  • culturally competent
  • active in priority health zip codes
  • varying intensity
  • universally accepted
  • includes a fatherhood initiative

No family should have to walk the journey of having a child alone. If you or someone you know is interested in receiving services from A Guided Journey, please contact Sherresa Falls at [email protected].

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