by Marilyn Wideman | Chicago, United States
Goal: Access to care and improved delivery of health care and prevention services for vulnerable youth
The priority of this project is to provide risk reduction education and health services to young women of child-bearing age. This will be accomplished by establishing a Prenatal & Postpartum Health Center (PPHC) at Simpson Academy for Young Women on Chicago’s Westside. This school serves pregnant and/or parenting female students in grades six through twelve; it is the only school for pregnant and parenting students in Chicago, Illinois. Once admitted, the students can remain at Simpson until graduation from High School. The student body of 180 is comprised of 86% African American and 14% Hispanic populations from lower socioeconomic families that live in various neighborhoods throughout Chicago. Four percent of the pregnant teens are also currently parenting. The student body composition correlates with Illinois ranking the 3rd highest nationally for African American teen pregnancy rates and 10th highest nationally for Hispanic teen pregnancy rates. Other statistics show that a large number of African American teens have a high incidence of preterm labor, infants of low birth weight, and infant mortality. Research indicates that these outcomes are related to inadequate prenatal care, lack of prenatal education, and lack of needed supports. Other data shows that Hispanic pregnant teens seek prenatal care late or not at all as compared to non-Hispanic white teens. In addition, statistics show that a large number of African American teenage mothers have a subsequent unplanned pregnancy and give birth to a second child within 24 months of having the first baby and Hispanic teenage mothers often have a second child during adolescents.