As the seasons are changing, some impactful changes are also being made to the CCCN resources! In my previous blog posts, I discussed the virtual birth and wellness directory that I have been working on with CCCN for my senior project. Well, the time has come; the directory is now accessible! Creating the directory has been such a rewarding experience and I know the community will find it helpful based on preliminary feedback.
A brief background of the directory project
Although this project officially started development plans in 2020, its roots go back several years to when Susannah Brown M.S. was working in the community and researching birth statistics and trends. Fast-forward to 2020, and while she was a Director at the CCCN, she experienced more people than ever reaching out for resources, providers, and support. The CCCN had many virtual interns at the time, and the idea to make this virtual project started to take shape. There was a lot of trial and error with SaaS, understanding privacy and our website capabilities, and the amount of work it would take to come to fruition.
In late 2021, I was discussing internship opportunities with Susannah, and we decided to try to complete the first version of this project together. Our realization was that this project was needed and urgently. We submitted a presentation for the project and internship in general to my academic team at Cal Poly Public Health, and it was confirmed that I would be able to intern with CCCN and that this would become my senior project in the Fall. Before I could work on this project, I wanted to develop a relationship with the community and understand firsthand who we were serving, why, and how. I interned in the Spring with CCCN and was able to engage with local families and develop perspectives on how the community could access resources and providers. Forming relationships with families and wanting to support them in any way I could, I was more than willing to take on the responsibility of developing the directory.
What we established along the way
While there are many providers, professionals, and resources available locally, their information and offerings are often in printed formats which quickly become outdated. Individuals and families might spend hours navigating countless websites and reading handouts to find the support and care they need, only to run across barriers that prevent them from receiving that care. This process may be overwhelming and intimidating, which may affect the timeliness, and overall care received. CCCN is made up of families who have first-hand experience with these challenges and understand the obstacles that can come with finding the right care for them and their families. We reviewed many statistics on the importance of first-trimester care, quality care, and the impact of having equitable and accessible resources available.
At the beginning of my internship, we conducted a survey to capture the community’s needs, and their diverse voices to better understand the local experiences with healthcare professionals and providers. After assessing the findings, we found that 69% of the respondents felt that it is challenging to find healthcare professionals or providers where they live. Information like this from the survey supported our belief that a virtual directory would help address the current obstacles.
To make the process of finding providers and resources simpler, we created a virtual directory by implementing an interactive database via the CCCN website. This database acts as a tool for the community to find exactly what birth and wellness options they are searching for and to discover more that they may not have considered. In the directory, there are options to filter and sort the database to find specific resources to meet their needs such as geography, time of care, type of provider, and business. The directory consists of birth and wellness providers and resources from Paso Robles to Santa Ynez Valley. Because of the diverse nature of practices and availability, some options may be listed under several geographies, times of care, and specialties.
The future of this directory project
From the beginning, we envisioned and planned this project to be sustainable, able to be optimized
and grow for the long term. To do this, it will take a partnership between CCCN and the community. The community can contribute by submitting information to the directory database through the CCCN website. CCCN will verify provider and resource information submitted on an ongoing basis. There are many other ways for the community to get engaged with this project and CCCN. The community can share with friends and families, share with those who can contribute their resources, and follow us along to learn more about CCCN and all the resources we have available.
In the next couple of weeks, the virtual directory and resource page will be expanding. On the virtual directory page of the CCCN website, there will be two videos above the directory. One video will provide more about the background and basis for why we developed this virtual directory, what it will provide, and who we hope to support. The other video will be a walkthrough tour of the directory and how users can use it to meet their needs. The resource page will have resources that I have helped create, along with other tools and infographics developed by the CCCN. One of the ones I would like to highlight is the Birth Settings Guide, which I contributed to with a refreshed cover design. The Birth Settings Guide is an extremely helpful tool that explains different birth settings, the different costs, what to expect, and much more. We are so excited for the community to have access to all the wonderful resources created by CCCN.