Precision Family Spirit: A Pilot Randomized Implementation Trial of a Precision Home Visiting Approach with Families in Michigan—Trial Rationale and Study Protocol




Allison Ingalls, Allison Barlow, Elizabeth Kushman, Amanda Leonard, Lisa Martin, Allison L. West, Nicole Neault, and Emily E. Haroz

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Family Spirit


Background: Home visiting is a well-supported strategy for addressing maternal and child health disparities. However, evidence-based models generally share implementation challenges at scale, including engagement and retention of families. Precision home visiting may address this issue. This paper describes the first known pilot randomized implementation trial of a precision home visiting approach vs. standard implementation. Primary aims are to: 1) explore the acceptability and feasibility of a precision approach to home visiting and 2) examine the difference between Standard Family Spirit and Precision Family Spirit on participants’ program satisfaction, client home visitor relationship, goal alliance, and the impact of these factors on participant engagement and retention. Secondary aims are to explore potential differences on maternal behavioral and mental health outcomes and child development outcomes to inform sample size estimations for a fully powered study. Methods: This is a pilot Hybrid Type 3 implementation trial. Four Michigan communities primarily serving the Native American families and already using Family Spirit were randomized by site to receive Standard Family Spirit or Precision Family Spirit. Participants include N = 60 mothers at least 14 years of age (pregnant or with a newborn < 2 months of age) currently enrolled in Family Spirit. Precision Family Spirit participants receive core lessons plus additional lessons based on needs identified at baseline and that emerge during the trial. Control mothers receive the standard sequence of Family Spirit lessons. Data is collected at baseline (< 2 months postpartum), and 2, 6, and 12 months postpartum. All Precision Family Spirit participants are invited to complete qualitative interviews at study midpoint and endpoint. All home visitors are invited to participate in focus groups between study midpoint and endpoint. Exploratory data analysis will assess feasibility, acceptability, client-home visitor relationship, retention, adherence, and potential differences in intervention outcomes. Discussion: This trial will provide new information about the acceptability and feasibility of precision home visiting and pilot data on program satisfaction, client-home visitor relationship, goal alliance, retention, and targeted maternal-child intervention outcomes. Findings will inform the design of a fully powered randomized implementation trial of precision vs. standard home visiting. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Interviews
  • Surveys or questionnaires



For More Information

Ingalls, A., Barlow, A., Kushman, E., Leonard, A., Martin, L., West, A. L., Neault, N., & Haroz, E. E. (2021). Precision Family Spirit: a pilot randomized implementation trial of a precision home visiting approach with families in Michigan—trial rationale and study protocol. Pilot and Feasibility Studies7(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-020-00753-4
Author Contact Information:
Allison Ingalls


  • Program Enhancements, Innovations, and Promising Approaches
  • Participant Recruitment, Retention, Engagement, and Dosage