The overarching goals of the Healthy Birth Initiative were to reduce disproportionately high rates of infant mortality and low-weight births in north and northeast neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon, and to decrease behavioral risk factors during pregnancy, such as tobacco use, drug/alcohol use and late entry into prenatal care. Through one-on-one case management and outreach, this federally funded initiative had already served about 100 women.
Metropolitan Group was hired to extend the reach of the program through a public education campaign. Metropolitan Group researched the special needs and challenges of at-risk pregnant women, and conducted focus groups and interviews with African American, Hispanic, Caucasian and Somali women. When our research showed that lack of support from male partners and friends was a major deterrent to pregnant women making healthy choices, we designed and implemented a public education campaign that delivered messages about how to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
MG created several materials that included a poster with “tear-off” tips for women and men, and an appointment book for pregnant women. All materials were printed in English and Spanish, and featured pregnant women (and their partners), most of whom were current or former members of the Healthy Birth Initiative. Campaign advertising included a partnership with a local television station, partnerships with multiple local radio stations and transit advertising. MG also created an alliance of community partners, from health clinics to restaurants and nail salons in North and Northeast Portland, to distribute the campaign posters and appointment books to the community.
MG placed more than five million impressions through TV, radio, transit and grocery bag advertising. This multifaceted campaign was designed to ensure that we reached the target audience multiple times through different media. MG also leveraged an investment of $130,000 by the Healthy Birth Initiative into a campaign valued at almost $175,000, generating an added value of about 23 percent. Rates of infant mortality and low-weight births both declined following the public education campaign.