The Efficacy of Using Peer Mentors to Improve Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Hispanic Families: Findings From a Randomized Clinical Trial




Melanie Lutenbacher, Tonya Elkins, Mary S. Dietrich, and Anais Riggs

Brief Type

Journal publication


  • Other Models


Introduction: The Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) program is a home visiting program, utilizing peer mentors to improve maternal/child health outcomes in underserved communities. Findings are presented from a randomized clinical trial (RCT) testing the efficacy of the MIHOW model in a sample of Hispanic women in Tennessee. We hypothesized maternal and infant outcomes would be better in women assigned to MIHOW than women assigned to the minimal education intervention (MEI) group (receipt of educational materials). Methods: Women entered the study during pregnancy (< 26 weeks gestation) and were followed through 6 months postpartum. A total of 188 women were enrolled and randomly assigned (MEI = 94; MIHOW = 94), with 178 women completing the study (MEI = 87; MIHOW = 91). Results: Positive and statistically significant (p < 0.01) effects of MIHOW were observed on breastfeeding self-efficacy and exclusivity, levels of depressive symptoms and parenting stress, safe sleep practices, and infant stimulation in the home. No statistically significant differences were noted in number of prenatal visits. Discussion: Results expand limited empiric evidence and provide strong support of the effectiveness of MIHOW on improving health outcomes in this sample of Hispanic mothers and their infants. MIHOW is a viable option for providing culturally sensitive services to immigrant and underserved families. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Standardized assessment tools



For More Information

Lutenbacher, M., Elkins, T., Dietrich, M. S., & Riggs, A. (2018). The efficacy of using peer mentors to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in Hispanic families: Findings from a randomized clinical trial. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 22(1), 92-104.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-018-2532-z
Author Contact Information:
Melanie Lutenbacher


  • Participant Characteristics
  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes