Presenter and Co-Authors

Cara Tonn, Old Dominion UniversityFollow


College of Health Sciences


Community & Environmental Health

Graduate Level


Graduate Program/Concentration

Health Behavior and Health Promotion

Publication Date





Children who have ongoing healthcare coverage benefit from improved health, education, and economic outcomes due to increased preventive services use and regular school attendance. These factors play a crucial part in determining a child’s level of education and future economic status. However, children eligible for publicly funded health insurance remain uninsured or experience “churning” throughout childhood and adolescence. Barriers to healthcare retention include lack of program awareness and understanding of the application process and belief that healthcare coverage only provides marginal benefits. Additionally, denial due to incorrect paperwork also contributes to low retention rates. Children who live in non-English speaking households, belong to an ethnic minority group or are foreign-born are at an increased risk of being uninsured or retaining health insurance. However, Hispanic children have the highest rates among ethnic minority groups of those at an increased risk for remaining uninsured. Based on information from current research, technical reports, and informal interviews at the local level, the researcher identified the underlying causes for low enrollment and retention among children living in Chesapeake, Virginia. Through the Socio-Ecological Model lens, the researcher recommends interventions at the individual, interpersonal, and community levels for program development to increase enrollment and retention of Hispanic children in publicly funded health insurance programs in Chesapeake. Additionally, the program utilizes an interdisciplinary team and key community stakeholders to implement this multifaceted outreach program with interventions to increase awareness, provide information, facilitate, and aid in the application process. Finally, the researcher discusses lessons learned and considerations for future implementation.


Children, Adolescent, Healthcare, Medicaid, Insurance, Outreach, Drop-out


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion


Honorable Mention.



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Designing a Program to Increase Enrollment and Retention of Hispanic Children in Public Health Insurance Programs in Virginia: Lessons Learned