& Talk Story Focus Groups


The Pacific Islander Health Board (PIHB) was formed to cultivate resilience within the Pacific Islander community to achieve health equity through culturally safe and community-driven solutions, traditions, advocacy, and policy.


To help achieve this mission, the PIHB partnered with Open Arms Perinatal Services to launch two programs that will wrap together midwifery services, childbirth educators, doulas, lactation experts, and other perinatal professionals. The programs will share a goal of improving perinatal health outcomes for the African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, and rural residents of King County. The research objectives for this project are:

1) To understand the cultural beliefs and practices regarding prenatal care among Pacific Islander individuals residing in King County;

2) Identify Pacific Islander populations that experience barriers in accessing prenatal care; and

3) establish avenues to provide direct prenatal care through the Prenatal Collaborative Care Program in partnership with Open Arms Perinatal Services.

Since successful pregnancies and births are markers of overall community health, King County made it a global public health goal to improve the health of mothers, infants, and children. Together with American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic, NHPI mothers were 40% less likely than white non-Hispanic mothers to receive early and adequate prenatal care. Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander mothers were also found to have high smoking rates while pregnant, are between 4 and 8 times more likely to be obese while experiencing pregancy, and are 2.3 to 3.3 times more likely to have any hypertension during pregnancy. Regarding health insurance, about one in seven NHPIs do not have insurance, a rate higher than whites. Among specific NHPI ethnic groups, Tongan, Marshallese, Fijian, and Chamorro’s are less likely to be insured than the average. 


It is known that receiving prenatal care early in pregnancy and continuing with regular visits improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy and birth outcome. Unfortunately, little to no data exists that supports why NHPIs are not receiving adequate prenatal care early and on a consistent basis. We hope to understand the existing barriers and provide solutions that will allow more NHPIs experiencing pregnancy to receive the care they deserve early on and mitigate the health concerns contributing to the top three causes of death found in NHPIs. We hope to align our research strategies and objectives with those of King County in improving overall community health by exploring these markers.

If you experienced a pregnancy/birth in King County, we need your voice -- in order to help us understand what barriers exist in our communities in regards to prenatal care, by sharing your experiences with the PIHB in a safe, non-judgemental environment with our research team. You can be assured that we will not share any identifying markers. Our goal is to improve the quality of prenatal health and education services in our communities.

We are holding 6 focus groups in different regions of King County to gather comprehensive data on prenatal care in our community: Shoreline/Kirkland, Burien/White Center/ South Seattle, East King County/Snoqualmie, Kent/Auburn, and Federal Way.  Participants will receive a stipend and a meal for their time.

Upcoming Focus Groups:
February 29, 2020 - Green River College, Auburn, 5 PM
March 14, 2020 - Federal Way City Hall, 5 PM
April 18, 2020 - Seatac, Private Home, 5 PM
May 16, 2020 - Zoom Focus Group, 3 PM
June 13, 2020 - Zoom Focus Group, 3 PM
*July 18th, 2020 - Zoom Focus Group, 3 PM
*Sept 19th, 2020 - Zoom Focus Group, 5 PM
Update: All remaining focus groups will be held via Zoom due to COVID-19.
Focus Group Sign Up

To register, please fill out the form and pick the location closest to you.

Image by Kelly Sikkema

The PI Health Board is going into the community to educate folks on the amazing options available, such as local Midwifery services, Doulas, Lactation Specialists, Supportive pregnancy classes, etc. We are also sharing the findings from King County Public Health and March of Dimes.

Please contact our outreach team, Toka and Mia, if you are interested in a presentation for your community, church group, etc.  They are eager to share the amazing resources and to help educate members of our community on the vital need of early and caring prenatal care early on in your pregnancy journey.

To schedule a presentation or for more information on the pregnancy experience Focus Groups, Email Toka or Mia.