Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown, PhD

Second Advisor

Bruce Perry, M.D., MPH


Children’s health outcomes are affected by multiple variables, including biological, environmental, psychological and social factors. Many determinants are decided after birth depending on the surrounding physical, psychological and social environment that the child enters. Elements such as socioeconomic status, marital status, race, education level and access to healthcare greatly affect a mother’s health literacy, and, thus, her ability to adequately care for her child(ren).

This project examines the impact of maternal health literacy training on the knowledge of mothers, who have been homeless. Ninety-one women completed a six-hour maternal health literacy training. A pre-posttest design was used to measure maternal knowledge change as the result of the training. The same measure was used at both time points, and the measure was designed in a multiple-choice format. Outcomes indicate that the maternal health literacy training positively impacted reported maternal child health knowledge. Additionally, a follow-up survey was given to 11% of the total sample, to examine the sustainability of the knowledge gains 2-4 months post-training. Findings indicate that the women who took the follow-up survey retained a considerable amount of health literacy knowledge. This is a first step into research examining how maternal health literacy training improves short and long term knowledge in a high risk sample of mothers. The positive outcomes suggest that this program could be beneficial to agencies across the country serving maternal needs in similar circumstances. Recommendations for further research are discussed.