Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Degree Program

Public Health Sciences with a specialization in Health Promotion, PhD

Committee Chair

Wilson, Richard

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Jones, Veronnie

Committee Member

Jones, Veronnie

Committee Member

Davis, Deborah Winders

Committee Member

Williams, Patricia Gail

Author's Keywords

medical support personnel; educational intervention; developmental screening


Early treatment of developmental delays leads to improved outcomes for children (Yeung et al., 2014). In order to benefit from early intervention, children with developmental delays must be identified and referred at a young age. Although the use of validated developmental screening tools is supported by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines, these instruments are used variably by general physicians in pediatric practice (King et al., 2010). Because of the expanding work roles of medical support personnel, it is worthwhile to determine if this group can administer and score a developmental screening tool after completing an educational intervention to assist general pediatric practices in using these tools in accordance with the AAP mandate. Currently, no peer-reviewed published research exists regarding training medical support personnel to administer and score a standardized developmental screening tool. Guided by Kirkpatrick’s four-level evaluation model, the current mixed methods study sought to: 1) assess the effect of an educational intervention on the knowledge of medical support personnel in pediatric primary care settings to administer and score a standardized developmental screening tool; 2) determine if the medical support personnel were able to score the selected tool in practice as accurately as the “gold standard”; and 3) report the experience of medical support personnel learning and applying a newly acquired skill in clinical practice. Study participants from three urban pediatric clinics completed a pre- and post-survey and an educational intervention. One participant from each clinic also completed an in-depth interview to describe their experience with the educational intervention and the application of the learned information in practice. Quantitative data analysis indicated that after the educational intervention, the medical support personnel demonstrated a significant increase (p < .020) on knowledge post-test scores (mean 16.69, SD 2.898) from pre-test scores (mean 14.46, SD 2.961). The medical support personnel were also mostly successful in administering and scoring the developmental screener in practice (80%). Qualitatively, study participants indicated that the educational intervention was acceptable, and positively impacted their practice. This project demonstrates that an educational intervention increased the knowledge of medical support personnel regarding developmental screening.

Included in

Public Health Commons