Home Visiting Provides Personalized Care to New Parents & Strengthens Families

Home Visiting Provides Personalized Care to New Parents & Strengthens Families

Guest

On this episode of The Early Link Podcast, our host Rafael Otto speaks with Jennifer Gould who currently works as a Nurse Home Visitor for the Nurse Family Partnership program with the Multnomah County Health Department. Gould has been in this role for more than 15 years, is a Registered Nurse, and is also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. 

The Nurse Family Partnership is a community based, public health program with 45 years of research showing evidence of significant improvements in the health and lives of first-time moms and their children affected by social and economic inequality. 

Summary

Gould kicks off the episode with the history and meaning behind the Nurse Family Partnership program, what brought her into the work, and how she became a home visitor.  

She also explains how families are connected to the program, shares about what it looks like to work with families and discusses how services have changed because of the pandemic. Gould shares some of the experiences she’s had while supporting new parents, with the hope that more people will be aware of how impactful and important these programs are to so many young children and families.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: Hello everyone. This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. Thanks for tuning in. As always, appreciate your ears on our segments. You can catch us on 99.1 FM in the Portland Metro on Sundays at 4:30 PM or tune in at your convenience wherever you find your podcasts. That includes Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, and as always, you can listen on our website at childinst.org.

I’m talking today with Jennifer Gould, who currently works as a nurse home visitor for the Nurse Family Partnership Program with the Multnomah County Health Department here in Oregon. She has been in this role for more than 15 years and is trained as a registered nurse and also an international board certified lactation consultant.

That program, the Nurse Family Partnership is community based public health program with more than 45 years of research. Showing evidence of significant improvements in the health and lives of first time moms and their children affected by social and economic inequality.

Jennifer, it’s great to have you on the podcast today. Thanks for joining me.

[00:01:11] Jennifer Gould: Great. Thank you, Rafael. It’s nice to be here.

[00:01:13] Rafael Otto: I wanted to just start, if you could tell me a little bit about the program Nurse Family Partnership, and then what drew you to the work? How did you become a home visitor?

[00:01:26] Jennifer Gould: Yeah, thank you. You know, the program was originally called The Olds Model. Based on the, the. NAN researcher that actually developed the program, who was Dr. David Olds, who is still involved. And the story I always kind of have heard from him and that I tell is when he finished his first kind of round of studies, I believe he’s a, you know, sociologist, psychologist, that kind of realm of world, was working in a daycare center kind of similar to like a head start. And he said, you know what I realized is that at age three or four, some of these families were doing great. These families all had to qualify by income to come in. Some of them were doing great and their kids are thriving, and other families by age three or four really needed some support for a couple of years before their kids showed up at our center.

And so he really started to look at what programs already existed that potentially supporting families before they hit school age. And how he could really not just replicate, but also really… I mean, what to me was fascinating about him is that he was one of the first people to really kind of started to say, how can we…? We need to actually do some kind of studies and do some research to really see is it just the information or is it the program?

And so he and his teams and teams of people at this point have done a few really long term trials, and they can really quantify a little bit the positive outcomes that we see by this kind of a relationship, this based program. The basic idea is that a especially trained home visiting nurse is matched with a family during pregnancy. We do prioritize first time parents and we prioritize families before the last trimester of pregnancy. He really found that it was a true window of opportunity where people were really open for support and really thinking about change.

Please download the full transcript below.

Honoring Children with Dr. Dolores Subia BigFoot

Honoring Children with Dr. Dolores Subia BigFoot

The Early Link is back with an all new episode!

Guest

On this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Dr. Dolores Subia BigFoot. Dr. BigFoot is a presidential professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and directs the Indian Country Child Trauma Center where she is recognized for her efforts to bring traditional American Indian practices and beliefs into the formal teaching and instruction of professionals working with Native populations. She is an enrolled member of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and affiliated with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, where her children are enrolled.

Summary

The episode begins with Dr. BigFoot sharing a story about her mother, who had made a comment about all her years going to school only to teach what humans themselves live every day. However, there is a much larger picture, and Dr. BigFoot further elaborates on how her work is informed by the history of colonization, historical trauma, loss and grief. And ultimately how they show up in her work with children and families.

Indigenous culture is primarily honor-based, but Dr. BigFoot has recently observed that shame has replaced honor. She details what this finding means for indigenous culture overall, and how and why evidence-based treatment can help heal that shame and trauma, particularly in children in Indian country. She further states what it has been like to adapt these treatment models and how it was accomplished to begin with.

Closing us out, Dr. BigFoot touches on doing some work here in Oregon on parent-child interaction, and potentially working with tribal communities in Oregon.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: Hello everyone, this is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. It’s been a few months since we’ve recorded a new segment, so it’s great to be back behind the mic and hitting record in the studio today. We really appreciate you tuning in.

You can catch us on 99.1FM in the Portland Metro on Sundays at 4:30 PM or tune in at your convenience wherever you find your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music, and as always, on our website at childinst.org.

Today my guest is Dr. Dolores Subia BigFoot. She’s an enrolled member of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma with affiliation with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe where her children are enrolled. She’s a Presidential Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and directs the Indian Country Child Trauma Center, where she is recognized for her efforts to bring traditional American Indian practices and beliefs into the formal teaching and instruction of professionals working with Native populations.

Dolores, welcome to the podcast. It’s great to have you here.

[00:01:04] Dolores BigFoot: Thank you.

[00:01:05] Rafael Otto: I wanted to start, you’ve described yourself as a storyteller, and I wanted to ask you to share a story about your mother. She made a comment about all of your years going to school and training to be a psychologist, and then to teach what you live every day. Can you elaborate on that?

[00:01:22] Dolores BigFoot: When I first came on as faculty, some 30 plus years ago. I had finished my PhD and was hired at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center to create a culturally based intervention for behavioral health programs to better serve American Indian, Alaskan Native children. So one of the things that we would do is to help behavioral health clinicians who are working in Indian country to understand the history. So the historical aspects of how our communities have got where they were at currently. Understand the disparities as well as understand particularly the strength. And so in order to share about what the strengths are for various communities, we provided opportunity to engage in some of the cultural experiences that I certainly grew up with.

And that included prayer, feeding people, ceremony, have an opportunity with storytelling to telling stories. And so because it was culturally based, certainly with my family, then my mother and others in my family would be present for these kind of activities. Some ceremonial, some cultural, some social, some all three.

As we were sitting there one evening. My mother who was, you know, very supportive of my efforts, was asking me, why did I go through a PhD program? She saw the, the hardship of that PhD program. I was a single mom with three kids going through a PhD program. And she said, “Why did you go through all that hard time, hard struggle to teach not even teach but just engage and participate and share the way that we have always lived?” For me that was one of the greatest compliments my mother could give to me. So being able to help others experience or participate in things that have meaning in terms of cultural knowledge, in terms of cultural based understanding, cultural based application.

And I think that was what we want to do with the Honor… Honoring Children series is to allow individuals an understanding and how they can still apply the Indigenous knowledge that we have had for a long time to those things that have been harmful or have created dysfunction in our family and in our relationships.

Please download the full transcript below.

Summer Camps Foster Kids’ Social Development and Peer Connection

Summer Camps Foster Kids’ Social Development and Peer Connection

On our latest episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Dr. Christian Molstrom about the opportunities that summer camps provide for kids, and some of the challenges they may encounter before they attend.

Guest:

Dr. Molstrom is an emergency medicine trained physician and currently the medical director for Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care, which operates 15 clinics in the Portland and Vancouver area. He was born and raised in Oregon and graduated from the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in 2009.

Summary:

Dr. Molstrom kicks off the podcast by talking about the health benefits for children to be outdoors and active, including a reduction in anxiety, an opportunity to build their social networks, and more. He also discusses the connection between screen time, social isolation, and anxiety/depression, and how the structured outdoor space, environment, and opportunities to engage with a peer group at a summer camp can offset those effects.

Otto and Dr. Molstrom also talk about the experiences of their own children during the pandemic, regarding learning, social isolation, and how not all of the five senses are being utilized in the learning environment. And to make up for lost time, Otto asks Dr. Molstrom what outdoor activities he engages in with his own children. Dr. Molstrom then gives his own medical advice on what parents and families need to know about sending their kids to an outdoor camp at this time of year, as COVID-19 cases persist.

Transcript

 

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: Hello everyone. This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. Thanks for listening. As always, you can catch us on 99.1 FM in the Portland Metro on Sundays at 4:30 PM or tune in at your convenience, wherever you find your podcasts. That includes Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and Amazon Music. And as always, you can find them on our website at childinst.org.

My guest today is Dr. Christian Molstrom. He is an emergency medicine trained physician and currently the medical director for Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care and they operate about 15 clinics in the Portland and Vancouver region. He’s an Oregon native and today we’re gonna be talking about summer.

It is July, summer is in full swing, although we’ve had a little bit of rain recently. But summer is here and people are sending their kids to summer camps, and this is a great time to do that. So we’re gonna talk a little bit about what that means and what some of those opportunities are. And maybe what some of the challenges kids face before they go into summer camps.

Dr. Molstrom, Christian, it’s great to have you here. Thanks for being on the podcast.

[00:01:04] Christian Molstrom: Thank you, Rafael. Appreciate the invitation and I’m really excited to talk about getting kids back outside and being healthy this summer.

[00:01:13] Rafael Otto: Well, such an important thing for kids to be outdoors and active. Just talk about some of the benefits of that. The importance of being physically active outdoors and what that means for kids.

[00:01:25] Christian Molstrom: Kids normally want to be outside and play and I think that any opportunity that you can get outside with your kids together, either with other families or with your family is vitally important. Especially now that we’re… seemed to be coming out of the pandemic. We had a couple summers where people didn’t get to travel very much. They may have decided to stay at home. We had some lockdowns and whatnot. And also a lot of camps were canceled. So for the last couple years, kids may not have gone to any kind of camp at all.

Please download the full transcript below.

“We can’t wait,” A Conversation on Oregon’s Literacy Crisis with Angela Uherbelau

“We can’t wait,” A Conversation on Oregon’s Literacy Crisis with Angela Uherbelau

On this segment of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto talks with Angela Uherbelau, founder of Oregon Kids Read, a grassroots literacy and equity group dedicated to ending our state’s literacy crisis.

Guest:

Angela Uherbelau started Oregon Kids Read because literacy is a civil right. She is a writer, racial equity advocate and past PTA president. Angela grew up in Southern Oregon and her public school teachers there had a huge, positive impact on her life’s trajectory. She’s worked on various local, state and national political campaigns and also served as a legislative director in the Oregon State Legislature. During the early days of COVID, she helped establish the Irvington Westminster Community Learning Hub which offered free full-time child care to families in need and also helped launch a Portland Public Schools one-on-one virtual tutoring program for struggling readers.

Summary:

In this episode, Uherbelau gives us an overview of literacy in Oregon right now and what’s behind the current crisis in early learning. She also covers the science of reading approach and what that means in the lives of young children. Listeners will also learn about Oregon Kids Read, its goals, and why she founded it. This episode also touches on what we can be doing as a state, as parents, and as advocates to see a real shift in classrooms surrounding literacy, and provides advice to parents & guardians who are concerned about their children in the classroom and in the school system.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: Hello everyone. This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. Thanks for listening. You can catch us on 99.1 FM every Sunday in the Portland Metro at 4:30 PM, or tune in at your convenience, wherever you find your podcasts. That includes Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and Amazon Music and others. And as always, you can find segments on our website at childinst.org.

My guest today is Angela Uherbelau. She is the founder of Oregon Kids Read, a grassroots literacy and equity group dedicated to ending our state’s literacy crisis where more than 50% of third graders aren’t reading at grade level. She’s also a freelance and opinion writer whose work has appeared in many regional and national publications.

Angela, welcome to the podcast.

[00:00:47] Angela Uherbelau: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

[00:00:49] Rafael Otto: So good to have you here today. I wanted to start with talking about the literacy crisis and what that means. I know, you know, I mentioned that in your bio and intro more than 50% of third graders aren’t reading at grade level. That data is, I think based on 2019 data, I know there’s some impacts of the pandemic and those kinds of things, but give us an overview of where we’re at with literacy in Oregon right now.

[00:01:16] Angela Uherbelau: Sure, yeah. So we are in the midst of what I would say was a literacy crisis, and since the pandemic has become a literacy emergency. So as you mentioned in 2019, which is the latest data that we have in Oregon, over 50% of our third graders were not reading at grade level. First of all, that is a pretty shocking statistic when you think most families, we drop off our babies in kindergarten, and we just expect that we’re handing them over to an educational system that will provide them at the very least with the building blocks of learning, the foundations of learning. And of course reading is the primary building block of learning.

So the fact that we have so many of our kids who are struggling with that foundational skill is really quite alarming. It’s also important for us to break down that number and look at specific groups of kids who have historically really been underserved and continue to be underserved in the state.

So when we’re talking about literacy, we’re talking about 70 plus percent of our Black, Indigenous, and other third graders of color, not reading at benchmark before the pandemic. We’re talking about with our students who have living… they’re living with disabilities, over 78% of them not reading at grade level.

Because there was a pause in statewide testing during COVID, we’re still waiting to find out exactly where our students are currently. But we know that even before, they were not being served in the way that they need to and deserved to in terms of literacy.

And I do wanna point out too that Oregon is not an outlier in this. This is a national problem, an national literacy crisis. But the good news is, there are solutions to it. There are things that we can do to improve, starting with just the basic understanding that research shows that almost any child can learn to read given the right instruction.

So I want to raise awareness about the crisis, the emergency around literacy. And we also wanna leave people with a sense of hope that this is not something that cannot be solved. We can solve this problem and give our kids the tools they need to become readers.

[00:03:35] Rafael Otto: I’d like to talk about some of those solutions. But before we do, what do you think is behind the crisis? And I know you described it as an emergency now. And I think we are hearing some things at least anecdotally about how difficult it was for young children to continue learning and continue to learn to read through the pandemic. And I know we’ll have more data about that, hopefully soon.

But even leading up to that, the numbers around third grade literacy and reading weren’t great. What do you think is behind that crisis and behind the situation that we’re in today?

[00:04:09] Angela Uherbelau: It’s a great question. I think that what is behind the literacy crisis is systemic failure. So this idea that reading is natural and it comes naturally is actually a myth. Language comes to us naturally. We’re wired for language, for oral language, but we are not wired to read. And so the vast majority of us require really systematic, and what we say is explicit, so very very clear instruction in learning how to build the building blocks of reading.

Unfortunately, it’s the current state of teacher prep programs nationally, and also here in Oregon, where our teachers are not trained in what is known as the science of reading.

The majority of teachers don’t get that training in their teacher prep programs. And so they come into the classroom full of enthusiasm, but they haven’t been given the tools, the really concrete tools they need, to help potential readers become readers. So I think that that is really at the heart of why we have such a crisis, in this country and in this state, is that the kids, the majority of kids who enter the classroom and need a specific kind of explicit instruction are not getting it. And they didn’t get it before COVID and many of them… too many of them are not getting it currently.

Please download the full transcript below.

Portland’s Islamic Preschool Program Offers High-Quality Early Learning, Connects Students to Culture & Community

Portland’s Islamic Preschool Program Offers High-Quality Early Learning, Connects Students to Culture & Community

On this segment of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto talks with Jawad Khan, chief programming officer at Muslim Educational Trust and a member of the Trust’s board of directors. 

Guest:

Jawad Khan has spent 22 years with Muslim Educational Trust as a teacher, college counselor, and administrator, and previously worked in the tech industry. Khan is based in Beaverton, Oregon and is an advocate for expanding preschool in Washington County.

Summary:

Khan shares about the Muslim Educational Trust, including how many students served, the importance of preschool in their focus, and Khan’s own personal experiences with the children he has worked with. He also talks about how the Trust acts as a cultural navigator, why a culturally-specific approach is effective in education, and addresses some of the challenges for students who are not in a culturally-specific setting. Tying into this, Khan brings up how the school addresses anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim sentiments with students. Khan also discusses his work to expand preschool in Washington County, detailing progress and what he hopes to accomplish. 

Transcript

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: Hello everyone. This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. You can catch us on 99.1 FM in the Portland Metro on Sundays at 4:30pm or tune in at your convenience, wherever you find your podcasts. That includes iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Amazon Music and as always on our website at childinst.org, where you can subscribe to our podcasts and our newsletter and learn more about our work in Oregon.

My guest today is Jawad Khan the chief programming officer at the Muslim Educational Trust and a member of the Trust’s board of directors. He has spent 22 years with the Trust as a teacher, college counselor, and administrator, and previously worked in the high-tech industry. He’s based in Beaverton, Oregon, and is an advocate for expanding preschool in Washington county,

Jawad, it’s great to have you here today.

[00:00:50] Jawad Khan: Thank you so much, Rafael. It’s a real pleasure to be here and looking forward to the conversation.

[00:00:55] Rafael Otto: I am too. And I would love to just start with more about your background. I know that you worked in the high-tech industry. You worked in the startup environment for a while, founded a company, and now you’ve been in the education world for more than two decades. Tell us about that background and how you came to the trust.

[00:01:12] Jawad Khan: Well, you know, I think it’s a little bit of a serendipitous journey. I think I look at it that way at least. I didn’t intend to work in the nonprofit and educational world when I started out. My parents immigrated here from India in the early seventies. I lived across the United States in multiple cities. Texas, California, Ohio, Colorado, Washington, South Carolina. I think a couple others I’m missing right now.

[00:01:37] Rafael Otto: All over!

[00:01:38] Jawad Khan: All over, all over. So I got to see a lot of great places. And I came to Oregon in the early nineties and finished high school here and went to college. I was going to, and I did actually, go out and work in the high-tech industry for a bit and then I started my own startup, as you mentioned, and with my friends from college, and we wind up selling that. And I was going to go to business school maybe after that. But I received an email from the Muslim Educational Trust, asking if I would like to teach. And really something like this organization and it’s very unique and the way that it addresses holistically, a lot of the challenges that the immigrant refugee population faces in a new world. I would have loved to be part of such an organization or be part of such a school when I was growing up. So I decided to defer business school and go and teach and I’ve been here ever since. And it’s been a real pleasure and a real joy to be part of this, and has also given me that experience about how much difference education can make.

[00:02:43] Rafael Otto: Tell me more about the trust. You have preschool classrooms all the way through grade 12. How many students do you serve? Tell me more about what your school looks like.

Please download the full transcript below.

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