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Womens Health Issues. 2008 Nov-Dec;18(6 Suppl):S61-6. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2008.07.010.

Healthy start lessons learned on interconception care.

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  • 1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services, Rockville, Maryland 20857, USA.


The Federal Healthy Start program was started in 1991 to address the factors that contribute to the Nation's high infant mortality rate, particularly among populations with disproportionately high rates of adverse perinatal health outcomes. The goals of Healthy Start are to reduce disparities in access to and utilization of health services by using a lifespan approach, improving the local health care system, and increasing consumer and community input into health care decisions. In 2007, Healthy Start served 99 communities in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Most Healthy Start grantees are nonprofit organizations. Since 2005, all 97 Healthy Start grantees (and the 2 additional grantees funded in 2007) have been required to include an interconception care component. Three quarters of grantees enrolled the majority of their interconception clients during the prenatal period. Most grantees used care coordination and case management as the primary approach to improving interconception health care. In 2007, 93 interconception projects reported that 9 out of 10 women had an ongoing source of primary care. Grantees screened to detect health conditions and risks, as well as provided an opportunity to provide vital information to women about their risks for chronic conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. The Healthy Start interconception components demonstrate a critical need for and the potential impact of a strong interconception care program for high-risk populations such as women living in poverty, in medically underserved communities, and without health coverage.

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