Disseminating Perinatal Depression Screening as a Public Health Initiative: A Train-the-Trainer Approach

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Peer Reviewed


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NLM Title Abbreviation

Matern Child Health J

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Maternal and child health journal

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DOI of Published Version


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This case report describes the development and implementation of the Train-the-Trainer: Maternal Depression Screening Program (TTT), a novel approach to disseminating perinatal depression screening. We trained screeners according to a standard pyramid scheme of train-the-trainer programs: three experts trained representatives from health care agencies (the TTT trainers), who in turn trained their staff and implemented depression screening at their home agencies. The TTT trainers had little or no prior mental health experience so "enhanced" components were added to ensure thorough instruction. Although TTT was implemented primarily as a services project, we evaluated both the statewide dissemination and the screening rates achieved by TTT programs. Thirty-two social service or health agencies implemented maternal depression screening in 20 counties throughout Iowa; this reached 58.2% of the Iowa population. For the 16 agencies that provided screening data, the average screening rate (number of women screened/number eligible to be screened) for the first 3 months of screening was 73.2%, 80.5% and 79.0%. We compared screening rates of our TTT programs with those of Healthy Start, a program in which screening was established via an intensive consultation model. We found the screening rates in 62.5% of TTT agencies were comparable to those in Healthy Start. Our "enhanced" train-the-trainer method is a promising approach for broadly implementing depression-screening programs in agencies serving pregnant and postpartum women.

Published Article/Book Citation

Maternal and child health journal, 15:6 (2011) pp.814-821. DOI:10.1007/s10995-010-0644-1.

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