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Integrating Community Health Workers and Nurse Midwives on the Health-Care Team to Improve Birth and Breastfeeding Outcomes.

A plethora of international research has consistently demonstrated the efficacy of both the nurse-midwifery model and the community health worker (CHW) model in improving birth and breastfeeding outcomes, particularly among low-income women. However, these two professional groups rarely work as a team in the U.S. health-care system. Typically, certified nurse midwives are on staff at clinics and hospitals; conversely, CHWs tend to work at non-profit community organizations. Although the Community Preventive Services Task Force concluded that integrating CHWs on clinical care teams is effective, these paraprofessionals remain nearly excluded from the healthcare organization because they are not licensed healthcare professionals, hence, non reimbursable. We integrated these two health professional groups within a small, community-based, nonprofit, and charitable women's clinic in Jackson, Mississippi, serving a predominantly Medicaid population to determine if their combined health services would significantly improve birth and breastfeeding outcomes among an intervention group compared with a control group that received usual standard care from an obstetrician.

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