Beginnings Guides Newsletter       - Promoting health and health literacy in families Sept 21, 2010

Research Update

Maternal Depression

Sandra Smith, MPH, PhD


5 Million ED Visits a Year

    Depression and mood disorders landed over 5 million adults in a hospital Emergency Department in 2007; twice the number of alcohol related visits. In addition, over 3 million adults went to an ED with anxiety disorders.


Stigma still a barrier

 New research confirms readers' reports published here lasts month.  Stigma,  the reluctance by many to socialize or work with people with depression, remains an obstacle to treatment. Stigma leads to discrimination in housing, employment, social relationships, and medical care.  Ten years of concerted efforts to make Americans aware of depression as "a disease like any other" have increased knowledge of the genetic and medical explain- ations for depression. Support for treatment has increased.  However, researchers find no change in stigma.  They call for a new approach that focuses on the person and his or her capabilities, rather than  on the  disease.  


Fathers are at risk, too

   British researchers found that both fathers and mothers are at risk for developing depression, especially in their baby's first year of life.  They recommend regular screening for fathers pre- and postnatally. Studying depression in both parents provides a fuller picture of the wider effects of birth on a family.


New Advanced Training

  On Sept 10,  the nurse case managers of Enterprise Community Healthy Start in Augusta, GA became the first to obtain advanced training to use Beginnings Guides to promote functional health literacy. For training info call me at 800-444-8806 


2 new studies Underway

Functional Health Literacy & Depression

   I am  conducting a new study of links between parental depression and parental functional health literacy (FHL). Funding is from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine with University of Washington. The research team is analyzing data on over 2500 parent -child pairs to identify in-home conditions that affect parents' FHL, that is, their ability to use healthcare and self-manage personal and child health .  In a previous  NIH/ AHRQ study we demonstrated that parents' FHL improves  over time with home visitation, regardless of reading level. I'm eager to see how depression affects changes in FHL.  Stay tuned.


Role of Reflection in FHL

   Reflection and interaction are  essential literacy and health literacy skills, in addition to reading and numeracy. My  research suggests  that reflective skills may be as important as reading  for using the health care system and managing personal health at home. Some literacy scholars say reflection is so essential for making meaning from information and applying it in context that it should be classified as the 4th R: reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic, and reflection.

 Parents As Teachers -National  (PAT) will conduct a two- year demonstration project to introduce reflection into the PAT curriculum. I will  train PAT parent educators to use reflective practices to support parents in developing their functional health literacy skills . The educators will use the Life Skills  Progression Functional Health Literacy Scales to monitor parents' progress. This  project is funded by Health Literacy Missouri.  


New to Beginnings Guides

OR Dept of Health Independent Living Program

Child Inc, Warwick RI

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Sandra Smith, MPH PhD | 2821 2nd Ave | Seattle | WA | 98121