March/April 2021 Newsletter
Springing Forward to Change Care
As we pass the anniversary of the life-changing COVID-19 era, our team is reflecting on how our work and realities have changed in one year. COVID-19 forced technological changes and disrupted how we work, connect with others, and care for communities. It brought challenges, but it also brought opportunities, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the American Rescue Plan Act.

When the CARES Act was enacted, one of the projects it birthed was the Maternal Telehealth Access Project (MTAP). MTAP is a one year project that was funded to increase access to quality maternity care and services via telehealth during (and beyond) the COVID-19 pandemic. The project focuses specifically on serving birthing people at greatest risk of maternal mortality and morbidity, including people of color and people who live in rural and frontier communities. It provides support to providers, as well as families, to access telehealth and distant care services.
COVID-19 has pushed telehealth to the forefront and it is here to stay. MTAP and partners are offering several virtual training opportunities this spring to support maternity care providers and organizations to navigate the challenges of providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially via telehealth.

Visit the website or click the links below to RSVP and contact Alice Pollard with questions.

COVID-19 and the Fourth Trimester of Pregnancy
Wednesday, March 31 at 12:00 PM EST/9:00 AM PST - Register here.

Mitigating Secondary Traumatic Stress in Health Care Providers: Signs, Symptoms and Next Step
Tuesday, April 6: 9 - 10:30 AM EST - Register here.
Maternal Health Remote Monitoring: Lessons from the Field
Wednesday, April 7: 12:00 - 1:30 PM EST/9 - 10:30 AM PST - Register here.
Two Part Series: Telehealth, COVID-19, and Intimate Partner Violence: Increasing Safety for People Surviving Abuse
Tuesday, April 13: 1:30 - 4:30 PM EST/10:30 AM - 1:30 PM PST
Friday, April 16: 1:30 - 4:30 PM EST/10:30 AM - 1:30 AM PST

MTAP Presents: Maternal Telehealth Forum
Tuesday, April 20: 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PST - Register here.
Latest Work
Our Words Matter

The Time is Now by Leslie deRosset, MHLIC

This year, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation celebrated their 5th National Day of Truth, Racial Health and Transformation live program. The platform provided a space to have guided conversations about undoing historical wrongs. Congruently, the MHLIC Resource Center is also a place to get started with the hard conversations.

"One of the resources featured is a MHLIC-hosted webinar by Dr. Ken Clifton, Jr. called 'Coming Face to Face with My Biased Self.' This webinar is a way to get started with a new strategy toward healing systemic racism. Truth-telling not only with others, but also taking a closer look at ourselves." Read more.
Sparking Change

Nurse Family Partnership Sparks Innovation During COVID-19 by Alice Pollard, MHLIC

"COVID-19 has prompted changes in almost everything we do, including how we connect to health care and other services. Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) shared the changes local programs and families have made to make sure families can stay connected to services and stay safe during COVID-19. NFP covers this in detail in their 13-minute Spark Session recording from our annual Maternal Health Innovation Symposium."

The key takeaway: NFP saw a sharp incline in the percentage of visits conducted over telehealth, from an average of 5.4% to 94%. It’s inspiring how quickly NFP clients, nurses, and other providers have pivoted to new models of care. Read about their innovating work here.
Nurse Home-Visitation and COVID-19 Pandemic: Adjusting to meet the needs of families in complex times

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is an evidence-based community health program that addresses disparities in the health and well-being of first-time families living in poverty. By pairing expectant mothers with specially-trained, registered nurses for the first 1,000 days – prenatally through their child’s second birthday – Nurse-Family Partnership has been proven to impact maternal health and birth outcomes for women at highest risk. This presentation details their efforts to continue reaching expectant mothers via telehealth in response to COVID-19. Click here or on the image to watch.
Spark Sessions are a curated collection of brief presentations detailing innovative maternal health programs, policies, or strategies from around the nation. Over the next several months, we will highlight some of the Spark Sessions on 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 on our website and YouTube channel.
MHLIC Resource Feedback Form:

Please 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
Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021
Recently, many senators and representatives in collaboration with members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus unveiled the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. This is historic. The legislation will save moms’ lives, end racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes, and achieve maternal health justice for all women and birthing people of color. Learn more about the Act and review the Bill Summary.
Race, Medicaid Coverage, and Equity in Maternal Morbidity
Research has been conducted to discover if race and insurance coverage are directly related to severe maternal morbidity (SMM).

SMM affects tens of thousands of deliveries in the United States annually and Medicaid-covered deliveries have higher rates than privately-covered deliveries. Racial inequities exist in SMM for non-Hispanic Black women and Hispanic women. They have higher rates than White women. Read the article to learn more about the concerns birthing people face in relation to insurance coverage practices.
American Rescue Plan Act and Maternal Care

This month, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, which included a policy to make it easier for states to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum.

Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Web Briefing: Understanding the Health Coverage and Affordability Provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act aired March 25 to explain these changes and their expected impact on consumers, insurance marketplaces, and states. Click to view the replay.
April is National Minority Health Month
Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) is focusing on the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native communities and underscore the need for these vulnerable communities to get vaccinated as more vaccines become available.

This year’s theme for National Minority Health Month is #VaccineReady. The focus will be to empower communities to get the facts about COVID-19 vaccines, share accurate vaccine information, get vaccinated when the time comes, and practice COVID-19 safety measures. Click here to learn more.
Black Maternal Health Week is April 11-17
The 4th annual national Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) is April 11-17, 2021. All events will be held virtually and are designed to deepen conversations about Black maternal health in the US, amplify community-driven policy, research, and care solutions, center the voices of Black Mamas and stakeholders, and enhance community organizing on Black maternal health.

Share your involvement using #BMHW21 and stay up-to-date by keeping an eye on the Black Mamas Alliance website.
Resources & Trainings
ACOG Addresses the Leading Cause of Pregnancy-Related Death

In observation of American Heart Month, ACOG hosted a 90-minute webinar called “Maternal Cardiac Conditions: Addressing a Leading Cause of Pregnancy-Related Death.”

Speakers addressed cardiac contributors to maternal mortality, differentiating normal cardiac changes in the pregnant or postpartum patient from signs of cardiac disease, assessing maternal cardiac status, and treating cardiac conditions and complications.

Click here or on the image to view the webinar.
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.
Upcoming Events
Sarah Verbiest and Kimberly D. Harper will be speaking at the 2021 Perinatal Symposium. The two-day event begins March 31st at 8:30 am and concludes at 12:00 pm April 1st.

This event will provide evidence-based information about clinical and social issues impacting maternal morbidity and mortality. The information covered will provide an overview of current data and trends defining the current crisis and the impact of racial inequity and implicit bias on maternal outcomes. Topics will also include the the impact of Perinatal Mood Disorders on maternal outcomes and most current findings related to 4th Trimester Care. Closing remarks will focus on the critical importance of self-care as a tool to improve health outcomes for both professionals and the women in their care.
Please join the UIC Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health, Students for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Collaboratory for Health Justice, and Radical Public Health for the Spring 2021 Reproductive Justice Symposium. Click here or on the image to register for any of the events listed below.

Tuesday, March 30th, 5-6pm CST
Trauma-Informed Care and Reproductive Justice with Candice Norcott, PhD

Wednesday, March 31st, 12-1pm CST
Intersex Advocacy in Reproductive Justice with Pidgeon Pagonis, MA

Thursday, April 1st, 5-6:30pm CST
Chicago Birth Justice: Community Care in an Inequitable Health System with Anya Tanyavutti MEd, Jeanine Valrie Logan, CNM, MSN, MPH, CLC, and Stephanie Tillman, APN, CNM, MSN
The 4th Annual Black Maternal Health Conference is being held virtually April 9th from 12:00 - 4:00 pm by The MOTHER Lab (Maternal Outcomes for Translational Health Equity Research).

The 2021 conference theme is Centering the Role of Doulas in Addressing Maternal Health Disparities.
The focus will be to create a multi-disciplinary and community partnered conference that seeks to spotlight doulas as change agents, providers of essential care services, and key members of community support for Black mothers. The conference will feature experts on topics such as the role of doulas in addressing maternal health disparities and current legislation on doula policy. Click here to register.
The 9th Annual National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence will be held virtually April 27-29.

NCHDV focuses on the intersections of health and domestic, sexual, and intimate violence. This conference highlights the latest research and promising community, clinical, advocacy and public health practices to advance the health care system’s response to domestic and sexual violence, bringing together the field’s leading medical, public health, and domestic violence experts from across the United States and the world. Click here for more information.
Alison Stuebe is a featured in speaker in the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) learning collaborative, "Doing Better Together to Equitably & Innovatively Advance Reproductive Health and Healthcare," which runs through April 28. The goal is to strengthen the quality of care for people in the pregnant, postpartum and inter-conception periods and increase awareness and engage inter-professional collaboration in the provision of maternal health/well-woman care. Click here to RSVP.
From the MHLIC Team to Yours: We are Here to Support You!
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.