Welcome to Family Spirit, a unique, evidence-based home-visiting model with a reputation for success: reliability with flexibility.
Family Spirit addresses intergenerational behavioral health problems, optimizes local cultural assets, and overcomes deficits in the professional health care workforce in low resource communities. It is the only evidence-based home-visiting program ever designed for, by, and with American Indian families, with key significance in communities experiencing stressed resources and behavioral health disparities.
While there has been a growth in the number of maternal, infant, and early childhood home-visiting programs in the US, the Family Spirit model goes above and beyond in several areas:
- Leverages cultural assets and an indigenous understanding of health;
- Supports and encourages the use of paraprofessionals to deliver the program; and
- Addresses behavioral health disparities, emerging globally as an urgent priority.
Family Spirit’s culturally tailored intervention is delivered by community health paraprofessionals as the core strategy to support young parents from pregnancy to 3 years post-partum. It is a behaviorally-focused intervention, responsive to parents’ and children’s needs.
We would like to express our appreciation to the many people who have contributed to the development of the Family Spirit Program. We are deeply grateful to our partnering Native communities including the Navajo Nation and White Mountain and San Carlos Apache Tribes. Their input, guidance, wisdom, and spirit were invaluable to the evolution of the program. We acknowledge our colleagues at Johns Hopkins University and partnering institutions who provided rigorous content and assessment of the program. Finally, and most importantly, we extend heartfelt thanks to the parents, children, and families who have participated in the Family Spirit Program and honor their commitment to strengthening their families and communities.
We encourage you to explore more about Family Spirit on this website and reach out to us with any questions you have. We are heartened by the positive impact Family Spirit has had on thousands of families and dozens of communities across the nation and are excited for the even greater reach it will have in the future.
Allison Barlow, MPH, PhD
Director, Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health