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Keywords:

  • home visit program;
  • infant health;
  • African Americans;
  • Mexican Americans

Abstract  This article describes the outcomes at 1 year for a randomized clinical trial of Resources, Education and Care in the Home—Futures: a program to reduce infant mortality through home visits by a team of trained community residents led by a nurse. Low-income, inner-city pregnant women who self-identified as African American or Mexican American were recruited in two university prenatal clinics in Chicago. Because African Americans and Mexican Americans differed greatly at intake, we compared their outcomes at 12 months and then examined the effects of the intervention separately for these two groups. Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention or control group and were interviewed during the last trimester of pregnancy and at 2, 6, and 12 months after birth. The effects of the program varied by race/ethnicity. For African Americans, the program was associated with better maternal documentation of infant immunizations, more developmentally appropriate parenting expectations, and higher 12-month infant mental development scores. For Mexican Americans, the program had positive effects on maternal daily living skills and on the play materials subscale of the Home Observation for the Measurement of the Environment assessment. This study, along with previous research, suggests that home visits by a nurse-health advocate team can improve maternal and infant outcomes even for inner-city, low-income, minority families. Effective programs must be culturally sensitive, intensive, and adequately staffed and financed.