Maternal Depression Initiative Kicks Off to Reduce Racial Disparities

On July 27, the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PA PQC) began work on the Moving on Maternal Depression (MOMD) initiative plan, which will drive efforts to improve maternal depression screening and follow-up while reducing racial disparities in Pennsylvania. The PA PQC, managed by WHAMglobal and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, is a statewide network of over 60 birth sites and NICUs and over 10 health plans working to improve the quality of care for mothers and babies across prenatal, labor/birth, newborn, and postpartum services. The PA PQC's MOMD Initiative is funded by a $120,000 grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation through December 2020 that will be complimented by other funding.

Task force co-chairs Chaunda Cunningham, LSW, Clinical Practice and Home Visiting Manager of Healthy Start, Inc. and Saleemah McNeil, CLC, MS, MFT, Reproductive Psychotherapist & Founder/CEO of Oshun Family Center led task force members' discussion. Cunningham emphasized inclusivity in screenings, stating, "We are the voices here, and we are collaboratively creating this [policy]." McNeil emphasized how we miss Black voices, and the importance of shaping the policies with underrepresented populations in mind.

PA PQC Members met to discuss the MOMD Initiative

The task force will complete its work in September, when PA PQC hospitals can adopt the new protocols. The PA PQC will convene listening and planning sessions with one to two communities experiencing low rates of maternal depression screening in addition to high rates of racial/ethnic disparities.

The task force includes a diverse group of 70 committed stakeholders from PA PQC hospitals, Physical and Behavioral HealthChoices MCOs, the Pritzker Prenatal-to-Age-Three (PN3) Implementation Project, and the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC). Representatives also include community-based organizations, doulas, women's health experts, commercial health plans, state agencies, and stakeholders from communities of color. 

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