Empire State Public Health Training Center

Understanding Preconception Health: A Course for Community Health Workers



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Preconception Health Cafe is a web-based course that provides an overview of the importance of preconception health. Specifically it focuses on the first six of ten "Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Healthcare" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These recommendations to improve health outcomes are:

  1. Individual Responsibility Across the Lifespan
  2. Consumer Awareness
  3. Preventive Visits
  4. Interventions for Identified Risks
  5. Interconception Care
  6. Pre-pregnancy Checkup

This course has six lessons with updated health information for each CDC recommendation. Each lesson provides interactive tools and/or strategies for skills development to strengthen outreach and improve preconception health within the community. This course also includes sections on Men's Health and cultural perspectives as well as resource directories (i.e. Links Espresso and Sugar & Cream).


After completing this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Define preconception health.
  • Summarize Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Health Care" (Recommendations #1 - 6), which focuses on reproductive health for women and men.
  • Communicate the importance of preconception health and health care and their role in reducing pregnancy related outcomes.
  • Identify resources and various approaches to increase clients' awareness about preconception health and ways to improve health and birth outcomes.
  • Identify specific preconception health practices and information community health workers can incorporate into their daily work with families.
  • Explain why women and men should develop and discuss a reproductive life plan with their health care provider and take individual responsibility for their health management, especially with chronic illnesses (i.e. diabetes).


This course is intended for community health workers but will also be useful for clinicians, health educators, and paraprofessionals in community-based programs serving women, men and adolescents of reproductive age.


Originally launched April 2010.

Estimated Time to Complete

It is estimated that the course takes 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.


Free and open to the public.

Technical Requirements

The course is built to XHTML 1.1 specifications. A modern web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox is required to view the pages.


This course was developed by the University at Albany's Center for Public Health Continuing Education and Professional Development Program (PDP) with the Division of Family Health at the New York State Department of Health.

This Date in
Public Health

On this date in 2000, a jury in San Francisco ordered Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds to pay $20 million to smoker Leslie Whiteley who started her smoking habit at age 13.

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