Infant mortality is an issue that reflects many health disparities in our state. To improve the lives of moms and babies across Texas, we must do more to protect reproductive health. We also must decrease risk factors to healthy pregnancies.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is helping to meet those goals by working with students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Texas.

In partnership with the Office of Minority Health’s Preconception Peer Educator (PPE) initiative, DSHS organizes a variety of trainings. These feature experts from DSHS, March of Dimes, Department of Family and Protective Services, the Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas, HHSC’s Center for the Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities and others.

Students learn how to lead training and outreach activities on campus and in communities around their schools. Topics include preconception health, the importance of fathers, health disparities in Texas and reproductive life planning.

Learn more about this program on the Healthy Texas Babies website. If your campus wants to form a PPE Student Organization, send an email to TitleV@dshs.state.tx.us with the subject “PPE Campus Interest”.

Resources

Office of Minority Health’s A Healthy Baby Begins with You Campaign – This national campaign led to the PPE Program in 2008. It focuses on raising awareness of preconception health among minority men and women to improve birth outcomes.

This site also explains the history of the campaign. It features the video “Crisis in the Crib” which depicts how PPEs work to reduce infant mortality.

Office of Minority Health’s Preconception Peer Educator Program – This site shares some of the research about the PPE program as well as its goals.

Center for the Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities (CEDD) – This is the Office of Minority Health in Texas. CEDD staffers can be found across the state leading educational sessions in their communities.

Resources for PPEs

PPE Training Manual – This manual was developed by the PPE Planning Committee through Healthy Texas Babies. It is based on the national PPE Training Manual from the Office of Minority Health.

The manual gives PPEs the tools they need to lead outreach on their campuses and in communities near their schools.

PPE Social Media Tool Kit – This guide was developed just for Texas PPEs. They can learn more about how to use social media with outreach activities.

University of Kansas Community Tool Box – This site has tools for outreach, assessment, evaluation and social change.