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Advisors: Jillian Baker and Rosemary Frasso, Jefferson College of Population Health, Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines preconception health (PCH) as, “the health of women and men during their reproductive years” (CDC, 2014). PCH programs are designed to encourage men and women to think about how health “now”, can protect the health of a baby they may or may not be planning to have (CDC, 2014). PCH focuses on health across the life course and it considers that no one expects an unplanned pregnancy and yet, nearly half of pregnancies nationwide are unplanned (CDC, 2014) Poor birth outcomes, including, preterm birth, low birth weight, very low birth weight and infant mortality are inversely related to exposure to PCH education (CDC, 2017). Poor birth outcomes disproportionately affect Black and minority women (CDC, 2017). Literature suggests Black women are less likely to utilize prenatal care and they tend to forego prenatal care or receive care too late (PDOH, 2016)(PDOH, 2017). Thus, racial disparities of poor birth outcomes need to be addressed through programs and initiatives that focus on improving equity of PCH education for men and women. Philadelphia’s school system educates a high number of students at risk for unplanned pregnancy and ultimately, poor birth outcomes throughout the life course. This makes the school system in Philadelphia an ideal stage to address preconception health upstream. The purpose of this Capstone is to propose the incorporation of a PCH education program modeled after North Carolina’s Healthy Before Pregnancy Preconception Care (PCC) curriculum. The PCC curriculum is comprised of 5 week’s worth of lesson plans which highlight the importance of health across the life course. This curriculum, after some modification, can then be integrated into Philadelphia’s health curriculum to encourage teens to be healthier and thereby create a healthier society.

Presentation: 4:59