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Life Course Perspective: Reducing Health Disparities and Poor Birth Outcomes Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Maternal Child and Family Health 1101 Market Street, 9th floor Philadelphia, PA 19107 Tel: 215. 685. 5225 Fax: 215. 685. 5257

Additional Life Course Resources 1. City Match Life Course Toolbox 2. Health Resources Services Administration- Maternal Child Health Presents a Life Course WEBINAR. It can be found at: 3. Halfon N. 2009. “Life Course Health Development: A New Approach for Addressing Upstream Determinants of Health and Spending.” Expert Voices, NIHCM Foundation, Washington, DC. 4. Fine A, Kotelchuck M, Adess N, Pies C. 2009. Policy Brief. A New Agenda for MCH Policy and Programs: integrating a Life Course Perspective.; Martinez, CA. Contra Costa Health Services. 5. Lu, M., “Where is the F in MCH? Father Involvement in African American Families.” Ethnicity & Disease (2010): 49-61.

Overview and Summary of Resources Prepared by: Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Maternal Child and Family Health

An approach to improving healthcare services for at-risk populations by addressing the risk factors that occur over the course of a life span and its role in shaping an individual’s health trajectory.

What is the Life Course Perspective?

The Life Course Perspective offers a new way of looking at health, not as disconnected stages unrelated to each other, but as an integrated continuum. This perspective suggests that a complex interplay of biological, behavioral, psychological, social, and environmental factors contribute to health outcomes across the course of a person's life. It builds on recent social science and public health literature that posits that each life stage influences the next and that social, economic, and physical environments interacting across the life course have a profound impact on individual and community health.


Figure 1: Lu MC, Halfon N. Racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes: a life-course perspective. Maternal Child Health J 2003;7:13-30.

12 Point Plan to Close the Black- White Gap in Birth Outcomes Improving Healthcare Services for African American Women 1. Provide interconception care to women with prior adverse pregnancy outcomes 2. ncrease access to preconception care for women 3. Improve the quality of prenatal care 4. Expand health care access over the life course 5. Strengthen father involvement in families Strengthening African American Families and Communities 6. Enhance service coordination and systems integration 7. Create reproductive social capital in communities 8. Invest in community building and urban renewal 9. Close the education gap Addressing Social and Economic Inequities 10. Reduce poverty 11. Support working mothers and families 12. Undo racism (Lu MC, Kotelchuck M, Hogan V, Jones L, Wright K, Halfon N. Closing the black-white gap in birth outcomes: A life-course approach. Ethn Dis. 2010;20(1 Suppl 2):S62-76.)

Figure 2: Landscape of influences on health disparities and arenas for policy action “Beyond Equal Care: How Health Systems Can Impact Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities�, Permante Journal 2008. V12, 1.

Life Course Brochure  
Life Course Brochure  

LCP Brochure (TESTING)