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HCA430 Assessment of Community-Level Barriers


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Assessment of Community-Level Barriers
RaShea Lane
HCA 430 Special Populations
Prof. Betsey Morthland
August 26, 2013

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Assessment of Community-Level Barriers
The population chosen for analysis is vulnerable mothers and children. According to
Christine Ferguson (2007), “vulnerable populations include groups of people whose health care
needs exceed the average or who are ‘a greater risk [than the average person] for poor health
status and health care access” (p. 1359). Young mothers become vulnerable because they lack
education primarily to support themselves and their children, which then leads to other personal
barriers that make their situation worse. Due to the deficiency of schooling, single and
vulnerable mothers are not adequately equipped to take care of their children in a way that would
give them a good lifestyle. Research conducted by Flores, Bauchner, Feinstein and Nguyen
(1999) showed the key indicators of health, infant mortality rates and low-birth weight rates were
elevated when infants were born to mothers who were less educated. Clearly, this is the biggest
barrier affecting the health and well being of this group of vulnerable populations.
Vulnerable mothers are not as motivated and skilled to take on the challenges of life, and
as a result of this important barrier another arises on the micro-level; i.e. financial barriers.
McLoyd (1990) found that “poverty and economic loss diminish the capacity for supportive,
consistent, and involved parenting and render parents more vulnerable to the debilitating effects
of negative life events” (p. 311). As we think about this, the major reason for this cause and
effect is the mental stress that lack of finances carries with it. This socioeconomic hardship
adversely affects the parents’ (mothers in our case) behavior towards the children, hence giving
way to their vulnerable position.
The third barrier is on the macro-level that is also intertwined with the micro level
barrier. Low socioeconomics can influence health outcomes through having access to and
availability of health care. It becomes an obstacle, as most of the welfare policy makers do not

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keep in mind that most vulnerable populations might not even afford the health and welfare
policies they make. Ultimately, the absence of these society and state provided welfares put the
wellbeing of vulnerable mothers and children at risk.
When we look more deeply into the origins and issues that revolve around the above-
mentioned barriers to the health and overall safety of vulnerable mothers and children, we see
that there are many things affecting all this. Let’s start from the educational barrier. Girls who
become pregnant in high school are often forced to give up their pursuit of education. A study
conducted by Corrine M. Corson (2001) narrows the reasons for the drop out to these two
basically. A regulatory requirement of schools forces the administration to expel the pregnant
girl because in their view, she cannot fulfill the requirements of school works whatsoever,
leaving the parent with no other option than to quit. From the mother’s view, it could be taken as
an ethical issue since it’s an ethical duty to help a person in need. If we know that the pregnant
mother needs education to raise her child in a better way, the school’s ethical response should be
to encourage her to keep going on with her education. As a result of these contradicting issues,
this barrier ends up affecting the health of the vulnerable mothers and their children to come (p.
The next barrier to be analyzed concerns finances. It is not wrong to say that vulnerable
mothers and children end up in living in low-income neighborhoods. Research by Zenk, Odoms-
Young, Holland, & Hoskins-Wroten (2011) revealed that there is a lack of availability of proper
food sources in these neighborhoods because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not
really care about what kind of fresh produce is being sold in grocery stores. Hence the presence
of poorer quality food will no doubt affect the health of mothers and children. Zenk et al. also
point out that with the unattainability of proper food, a lack of education means that a person can

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This is great! Exactly what I wanted.