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Implementing Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW)®

Model Overview

Last Updated

April 2018


The information in this profile reflects feedback, if provided, from this model’s developer as of the above date. The description of the implementation of the model here, including any adaptations, may differ from how it was implemented in the studies reviewed to determine this model’s evidence of effectiveness. Inclusion in the implementation report does not mean the practices described meet the HHS criteria for evidence of effectiveness.


Implementation Support

The Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) Program is a partnership between Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) and community-based organizations. VUSN and MIHOW Regional Consultants provide implementation support.

MIHOW uses home visitors (called outreach workers) from the local community, allowing the model to link the parenting experience of community members with university and community partners. The outreach workers listen to parents’ concerns; educate parents about nutrition, health, and children’s development; model positive parenting practices; and provide links to medical and social services.


Theoretical Model

MIHOW is flexible and tailored to the needs of the sponsoring agency and community. It is community-based, has a community-development focus, and is strengths-based. The model emphasizes that outreach workers and program participants are equal members of the community and have mutual investment in one another.

MIHOW is based on systems theory, which views human behavior as the collective impact of multiple interrelated systems. To understand and assist individual program participants, MIHOW considers how participants are affected by families, organizations, societies, and other systems in which the participants are involved. Outreach workers assess all the systems at work in individuals’ lives and then strive to strengthen those systems to help participants meet their goals. The outreach worker helps to bolster the individual system, advocates for participants within larger systems, and supports participants’ efforts to positively affect the systems in which they are involved. By training mothers within a community to serve as outreach workers, MIHOW aims to generate broader system change in the community.


Target Population

MIHOW targets underserved communities, but does not have eligibility requirements for participants. The intervention primarily serves low-income, stressed, and isolated families with children from birth to age 3—families with the highest risk for poor birth outcomes.


Targeted Outcomes

MIHOW works to improve child and maternal health outcomes, increase utilization of linkages and referrals, and build positive parenting skills.


Model Components

The core components of MIHOW are (1) home visits, (2) case management and advocacy, (3) parent education, (4) role modeling for positive parent-child interaction, (5) health and developmental screening, (6) information and referral, and (7) peer support groups.


Model Intensity and Length

MIHOW includes monthly home visits and opportunities for group interaction. Participants enroll in the program during pregnancy and receive visits until the child’s third birthday.



MIHOW sites serve families in rural and urban settings in four states: Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia.


Adaptations and Enhancements

No information is available.



The information contained on this page was last updated in April 2018. Recommended Further Reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by the MIHOW Program at the Center for Community Health Solutions, Vanderbilt University on March 6, 2018. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.