CCHN funding recently ended. At present several manuscripts are under preparations that examine the nature of maternal and paternal stress and their effect on allostatic load, and the various resiliency factors that can potentially mitigate the negative effects of high allostatic load on biological processes, including reproductive health.
The CCHN began in 2003 to help understand how communities and families create a context that influences pregnancy and early child health and development outcomes.
CCHN was the only community-based participatory research effort in the field of perinatal medicine, this community-linked research effort aimed to examine how community, family and individual level stressors could influence and interact with biological factors to affect health. Further, the study examined how these factors might result in health disparities in pregnancy outcomes and in infant/early childhood mortality and morbidity.
The CCHN included five collaborating sites and one Data Coordinating Center, each one a partnership between an academic institution and community institutions; staff from NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch (PPB) as well as staff from the National Institute of Nursing Research were active in this effort. The Network relied on cooperative agreements to support its activities.
Among the goals of the CCHN was to improve family heath in the interconceptional period as a means of improving the outcomes of future pregnancies, and to gain new insights into the reasons for disparities in maternal health and child development.
The Network’s study used the community-academic institution partnership to conduct a multicenter observational study with the following specific aims:
- Determined the factors associated with maternal allostatic load (the body’s response to chronic or repeated episodes of high stress); and
- Explored the relationship between maternal allostatic load during the interconceptional period and birth/child health outcomes in a subsequent pregnancy.
The Network completed recruitment of 2,405 women, during their postpartum period, and 1,383 of their spouses. Most participants were predominantly from lower socio-economic strata representing African American, Latina, and Caucasian communities —living in five regions of the United States. Network researchers are currently finishing follow-up activities. The research blended social, behavioral, and biomedical approaches into a coherent community-linked study.
Past CCHN Sites
The CCHN was active in five areas of the country (institutions and community organizations listed below sites in italics):
- Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore City Healthy Start, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and University of Toronto
- Lake County, Illinois
Evanston Northwestern Healthcare/Northwestern University and Lake County Health Department Community Health Center
- Los Angeles, California
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); its affiliates: Cedars-Sinai, Good Samaritan, Harbor-UCLA, and King-Drew Medical Centers; and community partners in South and Central Los Angeles organized by Healthy African American Families
- North Carolina
East Carolina University, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina Division of Public Health, Healthy Start Baby Love Plus Network
- Washington D.C.
Georgetown University, University of Alabama, Birmingham
In addition, the CCHN Data Coordination and Analysis Center (DCAC) was located at Penn State University Hershey Medical Center.