Healthy Families is a project funded by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to better understand and address inequities in prenatal care access and birth outcomes in Smith and Hidalgo counties. UT System Population Health (through UT Health Northeast) received $2 million to identify the health determinants impacting entry and engagement of mothers into prenatal care as well as maternal and infant health outcomes.

The primary objective of the Healthy Families project is to identify community-specific needs and opportunities for programs to enhance early entry into prenatal care for women in Hidalgo and Smith counties.  Ongoing feedback from the community will help inform the development of programs and services implemented in the two project sites. The impact of the selected programs on pregnancy-related outcomes will be evaluated and this information will be used to further refine the services.  

In Hidalgo County, which is located in the Rio Grande Valley, the team also implemented a comprehensive Zika education and prevention program. Zika is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that are well established in South Texas along both sides of the border with Mexico. The team worked with local community partners to develop, implement and assess a broad range of Zika prevention activities, including door-to-door visits to high-risk populations and distribution of educational materials, mass media campaigns including public service announcements on radio and television, social media campaigns, clean-up of mosquito breeding grounds, training of providers, and town hall meetings focused on Zika prevention..

Information incorporated culturally and linguistically appropriate messages targeting women who are or may become pregnant, as well as their partners.