March 02, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- An innovative program that proves a "dose" of hands-on health care training can transform parents' abilities to care for common childhood ailments at home -- saving Medicaid millions of dollars annually -- has been awarded a $1.1 million "Innovation and Improvement" grant by the U.S. Office of Head Start (OHS) to train thousands more families nationwide.  

Head Start awarded the grant to the Central Missouri Community Action Head Start (CMCA), which will partner with the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Institute and UCLA Anderson's Price Center to further expand nationally the Health Care Institute's successful model of providing low-literacy healthcare training for Head Start parents.  Since 2001, the Health Care Institute has reached nearly 27,000 Head start families nationwide, cooperating with nearly 120 Head Start agencies."

The announcement was made by Professor Al Osborne, Senior Associate Dean and faculty director of the Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, which created the program with Johnson & Johnson as an outgrowth of the partners' successful Head Start Fellows Program that has provided MBA training to more than 1100 Head Start Directors.

"UCLA Anderson's commitment to social entrepreneurship has allowed our partnership with Johnson & Johnson and OHS to produce important benefits for underserved communities through our association with Head Start directors, many of whom have been trained by the Fellows Program," said Osborne. "The Health Care Institute is the national model for how best to provide low-literacy health education to Head Start parents."

Called I Can Help My Child Stay Healthy: Innovations in Head Start Literacy Training, this program will extend the Health Care Institute training to an additional 8,000 families over three years.

"Our mission is to enable child/family-focused organizations to effectively increase the health literacy of parents through a comprehensive training and support program that gives them the knowledge, confidence and resources to care for common childhood illnesses at home," said Ariella Herman, Ph.D., research director of the Health Care Institute in the Price Center.

Health Care Training Yields Big Impact -- On Families and Costs  
In a groundbreaking pilot study published in 2004, HCI researchers demonstrated the impact of educating and empowering Head Start parents to treat everyday childhood ailments such as fevers, colds and earaches at home.  Visits to the ER or to doctors/clinics were reduced by 58 and 41 percent, respectively, while missed school and workdays dropped by 29 and 42 percent -- results that held steady as the pilot program expanded.

The researchers estimated that potential savings to Medicaid could reach $554 per family in direct costs -- about $5.1 billion annually -- if health literacy training were provided for the nearly one million families served by Head Start, many of whom depend on government assistance.

Pat Brown, acting director of the Office of Head Start, called the CMCA and Health Care Institute at UCLA partnership a "dynamic and successful new model that helps Head Start families gain fundamental health care training in a hands-on setting that also fosters confidence building and empowerment among parents."

"Improving the health literacy of Head Start families and, therefore, the health of children we serve, is of vital importance to the Office of Head Start," said Brown. "This type of partnership is essential to Head Start's ability to pursue its mission to give young children a jumpstart in learning."

A Three-Year Plan
The national rollout will span 10 Head Start regions, beginning with the CMCA training approximately 1,500 families in Missouri in 2009. Another 2,500 families in the east coast regions will follow in 2010, and the final 2,500 families in the west will be trained in 2011. Head Start regions covering migrant and seasonal/Native American families can apply to participate in either of the second or third years of the grant. 
According to Darin Pries, executive director of CMCA, when families are healthy, parents are more likely to be able to focus on long-term goals and make decisions that lead them out of poverty.  "I Can Help My Child Stay Healthy fits perfectly into our strategic plan to address health care issues and help families take control of their own success and achieve self-reliance," he added. 

States Adopting Training Model
The success of the Health Care Institute program has attracted the attention of state governments interested in supporting families with low literacy health training and containing ER/clinic costs.  The State of New Mexico adopted the Health Care Institute's training program, with support from Pfizer, Inc., to train 5,000 Head Start families. The Institute is also currently working with the State of Washington -- with the support of the State Legislature -- on a state-wide training program that will conclude in 2010. 
"We hope the I Can collaboration will inspire other states and organizations to support similar programs, expanding the benefits of health care literacy training to countless families across the country," said Dr. Herman.

About the UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Institute
The UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Institute was inspired by Head Start Directors who were graduates of the Head Start-Johnson & Johnson Management Fellows Program, an annual training program held at UCLA Anderson School of Management.  Founded in 1991, it is the only executive management program of its kind.  In 2000, a survey of Head Start-Johnson & Johnson Fellows from around the U.S. revealed a shared concern: parents simply lacked the time and basic health care knowledge to become better informed about their children's health.  From a pilot program in 2001, the Health Care Institute has reached nearly 27,000 Head Start families nationwide, cooperating with nearly 120 Head Start agencies.

About the Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
The Harold and Pauline Price Center oversees teaching, research, extracurricular, and community activities related to entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson School of Management. The Price Center provides a set of academic and extracurricular experiences designed to prepare MBA students for the challenge of business management in entrepreneurial environments. Course offerings are aimed at developing skills and methodologies useful to managers responsible for marshaling resources for new wealth creation, rather than simply the administration of existing wealth. I Can Help My Child Stay Healthy is rooted in the Price Center's decades-long commitment to Head Start agencies and the children and families they serve.

About Head Start
Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families.  Under the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Head Start resides under the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), which is a federal agency funding state, territory, local, and tribal organizations to provide family assistance (welfare), child support, child care, Head Start, child welfare, and other programs relating to children and families.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the leading business schools in the world. UCLA Anderson faculty members are renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,700 students enrolled in MBA, Executive MBA, Fully-Employed MBA and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs. Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a world-wide network of 36,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops and prepares global leaders.

Media Relations