June/July 2021 Newsletter
Second Annual National Maternal Health Innovation Symposium, August 30-31
The Maternal Health Learning and Innovation Center (MHLIC) is proud to host the annual National Maternal Health Innovation Symposium on August 30-31, 2021.

This will be a free, hybrid-virtual event.

By attending, you will:
  • Deepen understanding of current issues in maternal health;
  • Learn about innovative initiatives to improve maternal health, particularly for Black and Indigenous birthing people, and people living in rural areas; and
  • Obtain skills and information you need to create change in your communities.

Our goal is that the Symposium will continue to grow into a trusted, evidence-driven, and community-centered space for maternal health professionals and others invested in the well-being of families to connect, recharge, and to advance maternal health equity in the communities in which they serve and support.

Who Attends?
The Symposium targets everyone interested in improving maternal health outcomes, including public health professionals, health care providers and administrators, community groups, advocates, policy makers, researchers, and many others. 

What to Expect in 2021
We have re-imagined the Symposium experience and are now offering two ways to attend to meet each attendee's comfort level: join us in-person in Baltimore or attend virtually via live-stream.

Applications are open for individuals and organizations interested in exhibiting.
Help us spread the word about the Symposium and opportunities to present and exhibit this August!
Latest Work
New Webinar Available for Replay

Reviewing Policies for Equity Impact: A Tool to Support Equitable Maternal Health Outcomes

In May, Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Director of the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at The University of Texas at Austin, discussed newly developed policy review criteria to analyze the impact of policies on equity. Watch the video recording and share with your networks.
Sparking Change

COVID Moms Helpline: US-Based Maternal Health Hotline Inspired from Lessons Learned in Kenya by Allison George, MHLIC

From the blog, "Pregnancy and motherhood are universal experiences that connect women across the globe. The needs of pregnant people in Kenya do not vastly differ from those in the United States. Consequently, it makes sense that we can learn from programs helping moms across the globe.

Jacaranda Health has experience providing for women in Kenya. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most of the world, Jacaranda Health used its lessons learned in Eastern Africa and applied them to maternal care needs in North Carolina with the COVID Moms Helpline." Read the blog.
Spark Sessions are a curated collection of brief presentations detailing innovative maternal health programs, policies, or strategies from around the nation. You can view many of these innovative programs in our resource center or read about them in our blog.

If you want to explore more Spark Sessions, click here for the complete list. Several of our webinars were recorded and are also publicly available in our resource center and YouTube channel.
MHLIC Resource Feedback Form

Our national repository of maternal health resources has new content added weekly. Please explore and share feedback about our resource center and MHLIC work. This takes less than a minute and will help us improve our services and offerings.
Maternal Health News
Racial Disparities in Healthcare Have Led to High Maternal Mortality Rates
An American mother in 1990 was more likely to survive childbirth than her daughter will be today. Recently, more organizations have started stepping up to the plate to help combat maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity.

A global initiative, Merck for Mothers, is the organization behind a moving short film called "Reverse." It sheds an emotional light on what Black women and their families face during the birthing process. They use a holistic approach to help promote birth equity and reduce disparities in maternal health.

Now that more is known about the racial disparities that exist in healthcare, the organization is working to do more to help close the health equity gap and make pregnancy the experience it once was. Click here to learn more.
Study Shows Pandemic Affects Birthing Process
COVID-19 is Associated with Traumatic Childbirth and Subsequent Mother-Infant Bonding Problems
COVID-19 has interfered with postpartum adjustment. People who have given birth during the pandemic have shown to have heightened risk for traumatic childbirth experience compared to women who gave birth before the virus entered their communities.

A study shows that the stress of birthing during the pandemic may result in post-traumatic stress symptoms in the mother, thus affecting bonding and creating difficulties in breastfeeding. Read the article.
State MHI and RMOMS Highlight
MOMS: Montana Obstetrics & Maternal Support
The Montana Obstetrics & Maternal Support (MOMS) program was created to connect rural providers to obstetrical/gynecological, perinatal, mental health and addiction medicine specialists to build competency and consistency across perinatal providers. MOMS is a collaboration between the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Billings Clinic, and the University of Montana. MOMS seeks to elevate maternal health as a priority in Montana.

  • Montana has the 6th highest rate of maternal mortality at 40.7 deaths per 100,000 births.
  • With 194 of every 10,000 deliveries resulting in significant complications, Montana’s rate of severe maternal morbidity is 35% higher than the national average.
  • Racial and rural health disparities plague Montana’s health system with 52 of Montana’s 56 counties having at least one Medically-Underserved Area (MEA) designation.
  • More than half of Montana’s counties do not have an obstetric physician or mid-level professional, such as a nurse practitioner, providing maternal healthcare. In these counties, women may travel hundreds of miles for annual visits and prenatal care, as well as delivery.

Read more about their program and learn more about what Montana is doing to improve their maternal health outcomes.
Your Opinion Matters
Take the HRSA 1-Question Survey
Congress provided funds to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to contract with a qualified entity to establish and maintain a Maternal Mental Health Hotline to be staffed 24 hours a day by qualified counselors. This funding may also support outreach to raise awareness about maternal mental health issues and the hotline.

As they plan for the new hotline, HRSA is doing a quick "pulse check" with the key audience who will use the hotline: pregnant women, new moms, their loved-ones/support people, and related stakeholders, such as Maternal and Women’s Health providers.

Can you please share this one-minute poll with the diverse women and families you serve? Your voice will help make sure this critical new resource reaches its intended audience.
Resources & Trainings
How Not to Use Data Like a Racist: A Seven-Step Framework for Ethics and Equity in Data
Decision-making based on research requires not only an understanding of the data, but also knowledge of one's own prejudices.

Stanford Social Innovation Review recently aired a webinar discussing the importance of not applying implicit bias to data and instead following a seven-step process to incorporate equity into data products.

How Structural Racism Works — Racist Policies as a Root Cause of U.S. Racial Health Inequities
Structural, systemic, and institutional racism are not simply the result of individual prejudices, but are produced and reproduced by laws, rules, and practices in various levels of governments and institutions.

Structural racism, a legacy of African enslavement, affects both population and individual health in three interrelated domains: redlining and racialized residential segregation, mass incarceration and police violence, and unequal medical care. This article shines a light on the historical wrongs in health that have led to the present health equity crisis.
Seeking Feedback on Postpartum Toolkit for Healthcare Teams
The 4th Trimester Project team, part of North Carolina’s MHI work, has created a postpartum toolkit for health care teams. These health materials (one-pagers, screening tool, postpartum plan, postpartum visit tool) were designed to complement the Postpartum Care Bundle developed by ACOG - with input from moms and community providers. The resources are for clinics and health care systems and can be accessed here: NewMomHealth.com/healthcare. Materials support patient education and postpartum planning as well as hospital discharge, the transition home, and the postpartum visit. These materials are in the testing stage. The team welcomes feedback and suggestions about how they work in practice. Questions? Contact SuzanneW@med.unc.edu.
The 4th Trimester Project team also gathers health professionals in monthly Maternal Health Innovation Community of Practice webinars. Join the upcoming webinar, June 18th at 12pm ET to hear from Nurse Nikki discuss Intimacy and Sex in the Postpartum Period. Email SuzanneW@med.unc.edu for the Zoom link to join. Nurse contact credit/hours will be provided for this webinar discussion.
Course Available
Giving Birth During the COVID-19 Pandemic
We are happy share a free online educational resource produced by the National Perinatal Association. “Giving Birth During the COVID-19 Pandemic” is a 1-hour course that covers how to support the mental health of pregnant and birthing women through the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of trauma-informed care. Trauma-informed care is an approach that focuses on relationship building with patients and clients to support their resilience, and it is especially important during this prolonged period of heightened stress which we are all going through.

The course is available online as a webinar or narrative. Those who are eligible (nurses, doctors, social workers) will receive continuing education credits; all others will receive a certificate of completion.
We highly recommend that everyone take this course.
AMCHP MCH Lead Toolkit Available

AMCHP released a new resource. MCH Lead toolkit contains resources for prenatal and breastfeeding women. With two main focus areas, clinical and housing, the toolkit compiles educational, advocacy, and planning resources for public health agencies working to prevent and mitigate maternal and child lead poisoning. Take a look!
Upcoming Events
MHLIC Summer Leadership Series
Join MHLIC for the Summer Leadership Series: virtual conversations featuring practical tips and inspiration from maternal health leaders about the leadership skills they have built and leveraged to move their efforts forward.

This series will be held on Zoom. Email Alice Pollard for details.
Call for Papers: Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Issue
The Division of MCH Workforce Development within the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, in partnership with the National MCH Workforce Development Center, is pleased to announce a call for papers for a forthcoming thematic issue of the Maternal and Child Health Journal (MCHJ) on Developing the Current and Future MCH Public Health Workforce.

The upcoming thematic issue will highlight new scientific findings, innovations, policy and program evaluations that can advance efforts to develop the current and future governmental MCH workforce to lead systems change and impact the health of MCH populations. Learn more.
Reckoning with Resilience Summit
Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) invites you to their 10th Annual Breastfeeding and Equity Virtual Summit: Reckoning with Resilience July 20-22, 2021.
ROSE breastfeeding and equity summits are dynamic educational and enriching events. Presenters offer attendees insight on research, clinical practice, and community initiatives that lifts equitable access to breastfeeding and perinatal resources for Black Indigenous Communities of Color.

The ROSE Team invites you to join them for this year's Virtual Summit. The event will take place over three days from 12pm to 5pm ET for each day. Continuing Education Credits are being applied for Nursing and Lactation Specific Education. Click here to RSVP.
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This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U7CMC33636-01 for the National Maternal Health Learning and Innovation Center Cooperative Agreement. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.
From the MHLIC Team to Yours: We are Here to Support You!