Bridging gaps in healthcare services for new families due to COVID-19

Project: Research project

Project Details


The transition to new parenthood is marked by dramatic changes in social roles and responsibilities. To support new parents, obstetric and pediatric healthcare surrounding this transition is designed with a supportive focus to facilitate new parents’ navigation of the attendant life changes. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered healthcare delivery in ways that have limited these supportive obstetrics and pediatric services provided at the beginning of new parenthood. Consequently, aspects of preventative healthcare, such as monitoring for symptoms of postpartum depression, discussing optimal birth control options, educating parents on recommended adult and pediatric vaccinations, and providing anticipatory guidance on infant wellness, are less robust. In addition, without professional guidance and support, outcomes of foundational importance to new parents, such as perceived stress, depressive and anxiety symptoms, or parenting and breast-feeding self-efficacy, are worse. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the impact of the social determinants of health on new family wellness, with racial/ethnic minority and low-income families being differentially impacted by COVID-19 pandemic driven healthcare delivery changes. Recognizing the potential for longitudinal changes in healthcare delivery engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a scalable, patient-centered, equity-focused intervention designed to bridge gaps in healthcare services around the transition to new parenthood is needed. This project, “Bridging gaps in healthcare delivery due to COVID-19 for parents and infants from birth through the first year of life” aims to evaluate Nursery2Home (N2H), a patient-informed digital healthcare intervention that is specifically responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on new families, with a focus on health equity for racial/ethnic minority and low income families. N2H builds upon previous digital health successes of our team while incorporating the evidence-based collaborative care model for mental health support. N2H is designed to mitigate the adverse effects of healthcare delivery changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve health for mothers, fathers, and infants over the first year of life. Developed from feedback given by new parents who delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic, N2H provides 1) parental education about their own physical and mental health, 2) infant wellness resources and tracking of recommended healthcare services, 3) parental mental health screening and support, and 4) systematic case review to optimize the health of new families. We will test the efficacy of N2H via a randomized controlled trial. In total, 640 diverse families will be randomly assigned to either usual care or N2H intervention arm to evaluate whether, compared to usual care, N2H improves health services utilization and patient reported outcomes of foundational importance to new families. In addition, we will evaluate the impact of N2H on racial/ethnic and income-based disparities observed in both health services utilization and patient reported outcomes.
Effective start/end date9/13/216/8/22


  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1R01HD105499-01)


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