Hank T. Puls, MD
Director, Pediatric Hospital Medicine Research; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of MedicineFull Biography
Hank Puls, MD, Director of Pediatric Hospital Medicine Research, received a two-year, $50,000 award from The National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect (EndCAN) for his project, “Protective Factors Against Child Maltreatment and Engagement in Home Visiting.”
To better understand the efficacy of home visiting (HV) in child maltreatment prevention, this study will assess the effects protective factors like economic self-sufficiency and positive parenting practices have on HV engagement and better characterize gaps in the provision of HV.
The project has two specific aims:
- To compare the frequency of protective factors between mother-infant dyads with and without individual risk factors for abuse, by levels of cumulative risk, and by race/ethnicity
- To determine which protective and risk factors and which combination of factors are most associated with voluntary engagement in the HV at three points in time.
The study team plans to enroll 500 postpartum mothers during their birth hospitalization and capture data on common risk factors for child maltreatment, including substance use, intimate partner violence, and depression. Enrolled mothers will complete a self-administered version of the Protective Factors Survey (2nd Edition), which measures four domains of protective factors against child maltreatment. These include family functioning/resilience, nurturing/attachment, social supports, and concrete supports. The team will study whether protective factors vary across sub-populations, which risk factors may be associated with HV engagement, and how protective factors may moderate those associations.
“This research will help provide clarity on whether home visiting engages families at the greatest risk for abuse as well as the capacity of these families to benefit from the programming,” Dr. Puls said. “Our results can then inform recruitment strategies and possibly improve the efficacy of home visiting.”
James Anderst, MD, Division Director of Child Adversity & Resilience, is Dr. Puls’ mentor for the project. Co-investigators include Beth Rhyne, MD, Medical Director of Well Baby Services; Matthew Hall, PhD; Jessica Sprague-Jones, PhD; and Elizabeth Simpson, MD (retired).