Maternal and Child Health (PRAMS)
The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) unit is directed by Marie Fama-McDermott and Erica Bodak. They are assisted by four full-time staff and over two dozen student employees. They are responsible for supervising all aspects of the projects. The Project Coordinators and Assistants are responsible for training and supervising project staff, overseeing data collection efforts, monitoring and calculating response rates, assuring full compliance with human subjects and privacy protocols, ensuring data quality, and interacting with clients. The MCH unit is currently contracted by several state health departments to manage Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data and is conducting an evaluation of a newborn home visiting program for at-risk mothers.
The BCSR collects survey data as part of the PRAMS project, developed in 1987 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The PRAMS initiative is an ongoing, state-specific, population-based surveillance system designed to identify and monitor selected maternal behaviors and experiences before, during, and after pregnancy. This survey supplements vital records data by providing specific information on maternal behaviors and experiences. Information collected through PRAMS is used for planning and assessing perinatal health programs. The data are also available through the CDC and state departments of health for analysis by researchers.
The Maternal and Child Health unit of the BCSR, in operation since 2001, implements all phases of PRAMS data collection, including mailings, web-based applications, telephone interviewing, and data entry and reporting, IRB certification, and interviewer training. Since 2012, the BCSR has served as a pilot tester of new data collection technologies developed by the CDC, including the testing of the PIDS and the online version of the PRAMS survey.
The Maternal and Child Health Unit has three bilingual staff members who have been instrumental in translating and reviewing documents for PIDS, the CDC, and state health departments. This unit currently provides PRAMS-related data collection services for state and city health departments in Arkansas, Connecticut, Washington DC, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York City, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia, and Virginia. The PRAMS team has an established track record of meeting or exceeding the 50% response rate target for sample batches. They also ensure that the highest quality of data is collected by monitoring interviews and conducting 100% data verification, exceeding the CDC’s standard 10%.
The MCH unit provides the following services: developing and designing project protocols and evaluations, survey questionnaires, and recruitment materials; translating materials from English to Spanish and Mandarin; programming questionnaires into Qualtrics and creating databases for data collection efforts; and analyzing data and writing reports.
The District of Columbia Department of Health (DC DOH) contracted with the BCSR in 2017 to collect their PRAMS data. The BCSR was instrumental in laying the foundation of this new PRAMS state, assisting survey design, PIDS configuration, and protocol development. The BCSR currently conducts all phases of data collection for DC PRAMS.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) contracted with the BCSR in 2016 to collect their PRAMS telephone data. The BCSR provided support in handling a backlog of Michigan PRAMS telephone cases while ensuring that current batches were kept up to date. The BCSR also accommodated for a batch size of 692 cases with over 550 cases going into the phone phase.
The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) has contracted with the BCSR since 2002 to collect their PRAMS data. The BCSR currently conducts all phases of data collection, and has continuously met and exceeded the CDC’s response rate threshold. The BCSR has continuously provided support to meet the needs of the department of health during various public outbreaks, including the spread of H1N1 and Zika Virus, by adding additional survey questions and tracking respondents’ answers. The BCSR has also aided in the transition of PRAMS phases, assisting in any protocol revisions and Spanish translations.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) has contracted with the BCSR since 2013 to collect their PRAMS data. The BCSR currently conducts all phases of data collection, and has continuously met and exceeded the CDC’s response rate threshold. The BCSR re-designed covers for NYC English, Spanish, and Chinese surveys, incorporated perforated documents into the survey design, and replaced subway incentives with cash incentives. Between 2013 and 2014, New York City PRAMS experienced a significant increase in response rates (5% in mail and 4% in phone). The BCSR has also aided in the transition of PRAMS phases, assisting in any protocol revisions and Spanish translations.
The North Dakota Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (MD DOH) contracted with the BCSR in 2017 to collect their PRAMS telephone data. The BCSR staffs a team of fully trained interviewers to conduct telephone interviews in Spanish and English.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) has contracted with the BCSR since 2007 to collect their PRAMS data. The BCSR currently conducts all phases of data collection, and has continuously met and exceeded the CDC’s response rate threshold. The project started with a gift card incentive and was later changed to a cash incentive to help a declining mail response rate in 2012. The BCSR also re-designed the PRAMS booklet and incorporated perforated sheets containing the consent form, FAQ, resource list, and calendar.
The Virginia Department of Health (VADOH) contracted with the BCSR in 2016 to collect their PRAMS data. Initially, the VADOH contracted the BCSR to perform their phone operations only. After a few months of phone data collection, the VADOH decided to also contract the BCSR to perform their mail operations as well. Because of the success of cash handling with the BCSR, the VADOH has decided to changed their gift card incentives and rewards to cash during the transition of the mail operations. The BCSR is also providing support to meet the needs of the department of health during the public outbreak of the Zika Virus.