Healthy Start: Evaluation & Planning

The Healthy Start program is an initiative mandated to reduce the rate of infant mortality and improve perinatal outcomes through grants to project areas with high annual rates of infant mortality. The program addresses the significant disparities in the health of mothers and babies experienced by racial and ethnic minorities in communities that face many challenges, including inadequate access to care and limited funding.

Healthy Start projects provide the following core services: direct outreach and client recruitment, health education, case management, depression screening and referral, and interconceptional care services to for all participants. Kentucky has two Healthy Start programs, one in Louisville Metro and one in Whitley County.

REACH Evaluation is the contracted evaluator for both of Kentucky’s Healthy Start programs. In that role, REACH Evaluation developed a customized, web-based case management system that incorporates electronic, real time reports for management and Federal reporting purposes. For the Louisville Metro project, REACH staffed the planning process for the Local Health System Action Plan, provided staff support to the Policy Committee; analyzes and integrates data from the Healthy Start database and the Vital Records databases; and produces evaluation reports of program accomplishments and results.

The evaluation assistance provided by REACH Evaluation has contributed to the efforts of administrators and coalition members to engage in data-driven planning. Having access to readily available data in easy-to-understand formats has strengthened the ability of administrators to lead program efforts and document effective service delivery.