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Program of Resources, Information and Support for Mothers

PRISM is a health promotion program designed for evaluation purposes as a cluster randomised trial. It involved an integrated program of community-based and primary care strategies to improve the emotional and physical health of women after childbirth.

Sixteen municipalities in Victoria have taken part in PRISM since June 1998, with half of these randomised to participate in establishment and integration of a new program which was developed and implemented in a two year period from November 1998.

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Key strategies  

The key strategies in the PRISM program in each intervention community included:

  • the formation of a local steering committee supported by a community development officer to adapt and implement the intervention locally;
  • educational programs for primary care professionals (GPs and maternal and child health nurses);
  • the development and distribution of mothers' information kits to all women giving birth; and
  • the development of a range of local befriending initiatives to reduce the isolation women so often experience at home with young children and provide opportunities for the development of supportive friendships.

Evaluation in PRISM has involved process and impact evaluation to document and assess the different program elements and to enhance the reproducibility of the program if successful; and assessment of the major health outcomes for mothers.

PRISM logo thumbnailWho conducted PRISM?

PRISM was conducted by a research team at the Centre for the Study of Mothers' and Children's Health (now MCHR) at La Trobe University in Melbourne in conjunction with participating communities.

Members of the PRISM research team:

  • Professor Judith Lumley
  • Dr Rhonda Small
  • Dr Stephanie Brown
  • Ms Lyndsey Watson
  • Ms Creina Mitchell
  • Ms Wendy Dawson (till Oct 1999)

Contact us at: mchr@latrobe.edu.au

PRISM was conducted in collaboration with two other research teams, GAPP (Guidelines for the Assessment of Postnatal Problems, the general practitioner education program) and EcoPRISM (the economic ecological evaluation of PRISM). EcoPRISM conducted a range of independent studies [PDF 75KB].


GAPP research team:

  • Associate Professor Jane Gunn (Dep. of General Practice, University of Melbourne)
  • Ms Donna Southern (Dep. of General Practice, University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Kathryn Robertson (Dep. of General Practice, University of Melbourne)
  • Ms Nancy Carabella (Dep. of General Practice, University of Melbourne)
  • Ms Patty Chondros (Dep. of General Practice, University of Melbourne)

EcoPRISM research team:

  • Professor Alan Shiell (University of Calgary, Canada)
  • Professor Penny Hawe (University of Calgary, Canada)
  • Dr Therese Riley (Centre for the Study of Mothers' and Children's Health)
  • Ms Lisa Gold (Centre for the Study of Mothers' and Children's Health)

The local community development staff in PRISM were: Wendy Arney, Deborah Brown, Kay Dufty, Serena Everill, Annie Lanyon, Melanie Sanders, Leanne Skipsey, Jennifer Stone, Scilla Taylor.

Debby McGorlick-Appelman, Anna Crozier and Mimi Murrell also worked as community development officers for a short period in two PRISM areas, at the end of 2000.

PRISM logo thumbnailParticipating municipalities in PRISM

Comparison communities:

  • Shire of Campaspe
  • Cardinia Shire Council
  • City of Moonee Valley
  • Greater Sheppparton City Council
  • City of Stonnington
  • Swan Hill Rural City Council
  • Warrnambool City Council
  • Wyndham City Council

Intervention communities:

  • Bayside City Council
  • City of Greater Bendigo
  • Glenelg Shire Council
  • Latrobe City Council
  • Maroondah City Council
  • Melton Shire Council
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire
  • Wellington Shire Council

There are many others [PDF 158KB] who have supported or participated in PRISM in a range of ways.

PRISM logo thumbnailWho funded PRISM?

PRISM has been funded from a range of sources. We acknowledge the following grant support: La Trobe University and the Victorian Department of Human Services Collaborative Industry grant 1997, National Health and Medical Research Council project grants 1997-99 and 1999-2001, 2002-2004, Victorian Department of Human Services program implementation and evaluation grants 1998-2000, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation grants for program resources and implementation 1998-2000, Felton Bequest grant 1998, Sidney Myer Fund grant 1999, beyondblue grant 2002 and financial and in-kind contributions from participating municipalities throughout the life of PRISM.