Home Visitation Program
The first focus of research at the PRC is the examination of the long-term impact of a program of prenatal and infancy home visiting by nurses on the health and development of low-income, first-time mothers and their families. With funding from the NIH, other federal agencies, and private philanthropies, longitudinal follow-ups of randomized trials of this program are being conducted in Elmira, New York; Memphis, Tennessee; and Denver, Colorado. The longitudinal follow-ups look at program effects on maternal economic self-sufficiency, substance abuse, and children's adaptive functioning, including mental health, criminal behavior, and productive life-course as the children reach adolescence and young adulthood. A recently funded follow-up of the Elmira trial is examining the long-term impact of the program on the adult life-course of children whose mothers were enrolled in the study during pregnancy and is examining the moderating impact that genetic polymorphisms may play in moderating the effect of the program on antisocial behavior and depression.
In recent years, the PRC has begun a process of careful replication of the nurse home visitation program tested in these studies (now called the Nurse-Family Partnership program) in an effort to make the services available to a large portion of low-income pregnant women in the U.S. The national replication of the program is managed by a nonprofit organization known as the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) National Service Office. The NFP National Service Office helps communities develop their capacity to implement the program and provides training and technical assistance to nurses who deliver the services.
The second major focus of the PRC is on conducting research aimed at improving the NFP program model with the use of randomized, controlled trials of augmented versions of the NFP model. Randomized trials of these program augmentations, conducted in the system of program sites around the country, include studies of interventions designed to help nurses deal more effectively with maternal depression and to more fully engage participants in the program.
The third and growing focus of the PRC involves international work. In 2004, the PRC began responding to inquiries from researchers and/or government health agencies abroad that were interested in possibly developing the Nurse-Family Partnership program in their country. Over the past four years, the PRC has entered into five contractual agreements to consult on the research and development of NFP programs abroad.