CEA Affiliate Week: When Multidisciplinary Collaboration Leads to Identifying an Access Protective Factor by Christina Iyengar

Hello! I am Dr. Christina Iyengar, from Rush University Medical Center. I am part of an evaluation team that supports a new initiative aimed to reduce health disparity on Chicago’s West Side. The program, Building Early Connections (BEC), seeks to improve systems of care within Rush University Medical Center for the most common social-emotional, behavioral and developmental concerns in young children, from 0- 8 years old. BEC has developed a coordinated screening, referrals, and brief intervention system for young children presenting in primary care clinical settings. Evidence-based social-emotional and developmental screeners are administered at well-child visits and children with emerging concerns are immediately linked to the BEC behavioral health intervention team for brief, individualized family interventions.  

As the lead evaluator, I more closely examined protective factors (PF), factors that could decrease risk and vulnerabilities in the population. Our initial data collection identified six protective factors for BEC’s behavioral interventions:  Guidance & Discipline, Home Environment, Parent Support, Parental Styles, Social-Emotional Development, and School Readiness. Further, 

BEC leaders wanted to determine whether screening and referral was an additional protective factor and its role in providing access to evidence-based interventions for families with young children. Our evaluation team conducted focus groups to better understand the role of the screening and referral as a system integrated protective factor within the Department of Pediatrics that lends access to resources. 

Lessons Learned:

  • Coordinated screening and referral can be an initial protective factor for access to other interventions
  • This access can impact additional protective factors as described in the figure below: 
process diagram
  • The access protective factor of screening and referral will be further studied in a future cost study and future health equity study of BEC. 

What are your thoughts about this study and our resulting model? Are there other ways that screening and referral can influence intervention programs for young children and families?  

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Chicagoland Evaluation Association (CEA) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from CEA members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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