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Funded Projects

Grant Status: Active

Grant Title: Healthy Eyes Healthy Futures Massachusetts

Web Site: National Society to Prevent Blindness Project Exit Disclaimer

Project Director(s):

Kira Baldonado
National Society to Prevent Blindness
Chicago, IL
Phone: (312) 363-6038
Email: kbaldonado@preventblindness.org

Problem:

Young children with visual impairment have delayed developmental milestones. Improved assessment tools and educational programs to support identification of problems and referral to eye care in this target population will result in improved potential for better vision.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Utilize improved developmental assessment tools to support more accurate evaluation of children's vision. Objective 1: Establish and manage a committee (Question Work Group) comprised of pediatricians, eye care providers, and developmental, early education, and early intervention specialists. Complete by end year 1. Objective 2: Carry out a thorough review of previous work, both within and outside the United States, on the relationship between assessment of visual development and the presence of and detection of significant vision disorders in young children. Complete by end year 2. Objective 3: Identify questions and procedures appropriate for use in standard developmental assessment tools and evaluate guidelines for interpretation of responses on current questions that may relate to visual development. Track use of questions, evaluate outcomes, refine as needed. Complete by end year 5. Goal 2: Enhance medical home initiatives that promote school readiness Objective 1: Children's Vision Massachusetts will establish a partnership with Reach Out and Read to develop messaging related to acquisition of visual skills, and the importance of assessing vision and correcting vision conditions to prepare young children for reading/school readiness. Years 1 through 5. Objective 2: Pilot message and resources in target locations with evaluation plan in place. Revise messages as needed, make available in multiple languages and address cultural needs. Years 2 through 4. Objective 3: Disseminate to target communities in MA and other Reach Out and Read providers. Complete in year 5. Goal 3: Provide eye health education and links to vision resources to high risk children and hard to reach families. Objective 1: Develop educational messaging and identify resources that can be used by home visiting program staff, parent education programming staff, and parent-child playgroup discussion leaders. Complete in years 1 and 2. Objective 2: Integrate healthy eye development as a part of school based interventions including parent education programs and communications regarding individual students who are in need of vision services. Complete in year 3. Objective 3: Test integration of vision information with existing programs and materials with evaluation plan in place. Developmental assessment vision questions will be introduced to early educators to be referenced during home visits and parent programs. Complete in years 4 and 5.

Methodology:

Prevent Blindness and the Children's Vision Massachusetts Coalition will work in collaboration with key project partners and topical experts to complete the following activities: Convene a committee to review current developmental assessment tools and identify questions, procedures, and guidance for the integration of new vision questions; Develop messaging to be integrated into Reach Out and Read programs to help parents of all cultures better understand vision development, and the importance of assessing vision and correcting vision conditions to prepare young children for reading/school readiness; Work with MA Departments of Public Health and Early Education and Care to develop educational messaging and identify resources that can be used by school health providers, home visiting program staff, parent education program staff, and parent-child playgroup discussion leaders, to create a network of early education and school health professionals be better prepared to support healthy eye development and care in high-risk young children.

Coordination:

Prevent Blindness and its Northeast Regional office have secured partnerships with stakeholders from the Massachusetts Chapter of AAP (assisting in all 3 goal areas), Departments of Public Health and Early Education and Care (as a part of goal #3), Boston Public Schools (as apart of goal #3), Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc. (part of goal #3), and Reach Out and Read Massachusetts (assisting in goal #2.)

Evaluation:

Prevent Blindness will use a mixed qualitative/quantitative model to assess its progress toward achieving the goal. Feedback loops and formal evaluation components will be implemented and planned collaboratively with the key project partners to ensure ease of implementation. Careful steps will be taken to ensure a solid plan for the activity is formed, that it is tested in the focus communities and evaluated for needed revisions before a wider dissemination is implemented.

Experience to Date:

1. Utilize improved developmental assessment tools to support more accurate evaluation of children's vision. a. Process in place for use of the developmental assessment tool b. Active study with 200 children from Early Education and Care Centers in four MA sites c. Financial support for the ‘Birth to 3 Pilot Study' was received from the 2015 Joanne Angle Investigator Award . Initial outcomes of the study presented at 2016 National Head Start Association Annual Conference 2. Enhance medical home initiatives that promote school readiness, provide eye health education, and links to vision resources to high risk children and hard to reach families. a. Two presentations planned for the Children's Vision MA Summit in Eastern Massachusetts (10/20/2016) and Western Massachusetts (10/24/2016)b . Provided professional education to 90 healthcare professionals, community providers and health professional undergraduate program students . Partner screening events held in Western MA serving 2662 kids d. Reach Out and Read program staff include ‘vision talking points' at 283 pediatric practices; vision related books included on book distribution list; vision posters delivered. This partnership served 197,779 children and families. Distributed the MA Children's Vision Care Resource Guide to 200 families f. A geo-map was created with purpose of (1) identifying optometrists and ophthalmologists in MA who provide care for children with Medicaid and (2) analyze workforce distribution.

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