April 14, 2006

Woodbine’s MIHOW program receives accreditation

Featured Image

Christopher Greeley, M.D.

Woodbine’s MIHOW program receives accreditation

The Woodbine Community Organization recently received accreditation for its Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) Program by the Vanderbilt Center for Health Services.

The accreditation means the Woodbine MIHOW has met a comprehensive list of requirements including compliance with standards addressing child and maternal outcomes, worker qualifications and training, and the sponsoring organization's track record in operating a quality health program.

Out of 20 MIHOW programs in six states, Woodbine is only the second to receive accreditation. New River Health Association's program in West Virginia was the first.

“This accreditation means the families that Woodbine serves will know that all aspects of care have been thoroughly examined and the standard of service they will receive is very high,” said Barbara Clinton, M.S.W., director of VU's Center for Health Services, the coordinating body for MIHOW.

MIHOW was started in 1982 when research in low-income Appalachian communities resulted in an innovative peer counseling program for pregnant women and mothers with children up to 3 years old.

One key to the program's success is using local women — typically mothers trusted within their own communities — as the primary staff.

They make home visits to promote healthy living and self-sufficiency, and to provide referrals. They also serve as positive role models to the people participating in MIHOW, who are often affected by poverty and isolation.

The Woodbine MIHOW program was started in 2000. It executes the program and handles all funding.

Staff consists of one supervisor, two home visitors and up to five volunteers who serve a variety of families from different backgrounds. The Woodbine program currently has at caseload of 55 with a small waiting list. Staff has helped with everything from finding furniture for a family without any to assisting a first-time mother with no support system by staying at the hospital with her during the labor and delivery process.

“The Woodbine staff has worked very hard in closely examining and re-examining their services to provide the highest quality service,” said Minda Lazarov, director of MIHOW.

“They are an exemplary model of service for all in-home education programs, not just here in Nashville but nationally as well.”

MIHOW is a partnership between the Center for Health Services and community-based organizations in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. The program has served 12,000 families since its inception.

Artist Alan LeQuire created an original sculpture for the accreditation process. A replica of the sculpture was presented at a ceremony on April 11.