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 Maternal Wellness Update 


August 2021

Commitment Statement on Equity

We are committed to using written and oral language that is inclusive and straightforward. In communicating, we also seek to elevate the voices of the communities we serve by using terms and language that are rooted in communities’ strengths. 
Specific to the maternal & child health populations, we commit to acknowledge that the state of being pregnant, the act of giving birth or otherwise ending a pregnancy, and the act of parenting and caregiving are inclusive of all genders. Furthermore, we acknowledge that intersections of oppression matter, in that a person with multiple dimensions of oppression (racism, classism, gender identity, ableism, national origins, etc.) likely face additional, more complex barriers to receiving high-quality, timely care and services. To the extent that is possible, we use the term “pregnant and postpartum individuals, persons, or people” or “new and expectant parents'' in the communication products for which we have direct responsibility.  
If you would like to contribute to the developing statement, please share your thoughts through this 1-question survey. We acknowledge that in this newsletter we often share items developed by other organizations that may reflect more gendered language.

This month we say goodbye to two of our amazing team members on the Maternal and Infant Wellness team - Shivani Bhatia, Maternal Health Manager and Brie Thumm, Maternal Health Clinical Consultant. Shivani will be working for a consulting agency that provides an opportunity for her to return to her home in New York City and Brie has taken a faculty position at the University of Colorado - School of Midwifery. Both have provided stellar vision and support for the Maternal Mortality Prevention Program over the past couple of years as we expanded its depth and breadth thanks to both the establishment of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee in statute and the receipt of a 5-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support prevention activities. This included the development of the first-ever comprehensive report on maternal mortality in July 2020. We are grateful for their leadership and unshakeable commitment to equity and empathy, valuing each human life and death to their full extent. Watch for future information on the posting of their positions.

2021 Pregnancy-Related Depression Public Awareness Campaign Refresh is Here!

We’re proud to share that the creative update of the PRD public awareness campaign is complete! While the enduring concepts and campaign goals around knowledge, awareness, and help seeking and support will continue, additional messages and images are now available that reflect our current landscape and the needs of our community.

Check out the updated English campaign landing page ( and share with partners and families. Statewide media advertising is active and will be in place through October (paid search through December 2021). 


What’s new? 
  • Campaign images and messages that reflect the racial/ethnic diversity of Colorado’s families and communities. 
  • Addition of a link to the Parents Thrive Colorado website and Colorado’s 2-1-1 resources for new and expectant families. 
  • Coming soon! New print materials and media-ready assets for download, printing and local outreach through Print materials are available to state and local partners free of charge for a limited time! Please contact for more information. 

Join Colorado's Maternal Mortality Review Committee - Applications due August 15

Colorado's Maternal Mortality Review Committee is currently accepting applications for membership. Applications will close on August 15, 2021. Please note that while the MMRC is currently looking to fill a few specific roles, we are always willing to partner with interested stakeholders. All interested parties are encouraged to apply and disseminate widely. Please submit any questions to

Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments Started in July

Through a recent expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, more Colorado families are eligible. Starting last month, families can receive up to $300 a month for every child ages 0-5 and $250 a month for every child ages 6-17 living in their household. Families who did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020, or who haven't given the IRS their information to receive a stimulus payment, need to sign up with the IRS through the Non-filer Sign-Up Tool to receive this cash-back refund. Families do not need earnings to qualify.  Households making less than $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples will receive the full credit while those making above those thresholds will receive reduced amounts. Learn more about the expanded CTC and EITC, including the new IRS portal for non-filers. Also available in Spanish.
This toolkit was created for anyone to use to spread the word that expanded tax credits can help lift up to 40% of Colorado families out of poverty. The toolkit contains English and Spanish language messages, a flyer for distribution in physical settings, and sample newsletter and text message content. Please share with your networks and families who could benefit from these new cash-back resources!

Colorado’s Breastfeeding Month Festivities

5th Annual Colorado Breastival, August 7 - 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Pavilion at Central Park
Bring the whole family for a day of free fun and activities! The Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition hosts this event to celebrate breastfeeding and connect families to local goods and services. This year's event features more than 30 vendors, food trucks, free henna art, face painting, balloon animals, family photo sessions, activities (music, yoga and workout classes, etc.), and more. Please share the flyers and information with your networks, friends, family, and neighbors. Prizes are available to those who register prior to the event.
National Breastfeeding Month
The United States Breastfeeding Committee celebrates National Breastfeeding Month each August.  
   Week 1: World Breastfeeding Week
Theme: Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility
   Week 2: Indigenous Milk Medicine Week
Theme: Nourishing Our Futures
   Week 3: Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Week
Theme: Reclaiming Our Tradition
   Week 4: Black Breastfeeding Week
Theme: The Big Pause: Collective Rest for Collective Power
Find and share Colorado-specific materials and resources here.

Planning for a Standalone State Department of Early Childhood & Universal Preschool 

Stakeholder engagement is underway to plan for Colorado’s new Department of Early Childhood and the implementation of universal preschool. Watch the recorded kick-off webinar hosted by the Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC), Governor’s Office, Colorado Department of Education, and Colorado Department of Human Services. Sign up to get updates and news about the new, unified department that will be established by July 1, 2022 and learn more.

National Public Awareness Campaign - Hear Her

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released new, multilingual resources (posters and palm cards) and public service announcements to promote awareness on urgent warning signs and tips for talking about concerns with pregnant and postpartum people, their families and friends, and with healthcare providers. Learn more on CDC’s Hear Her website.


Due to evolving guidelines and preferences related to COVID-19, please contact the organizing entities to confirm whether a training or event takes place virtually. 

Maternal Health Webinar Series: Focus on Racial Equity
August 12, 1pm
Community Meeting - Birth Equity Implementation
August 17, 2021; 5:30 - 7:30pm
Zero to Three Annual Conference
August 17-19, 2021
Colorado Summer Health Cabinet Summit
August 19, 2021

2021 Public Health in the Rockies
August 25-27, 2021

ECHO Series - Perinatal Mental Health: An Interdisciplinary Approach
September 14 - November 2, 2021; Tuesdays 12-1pm 
National Academy for State Health Policy Annual Conference
September 21-22, 2021

CPCQC Annual Maternal & Infant Care Quality Conference 
September 24, 2021

2020 Mom Virtual Advocacy Days
September 27-28, 2021

Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) Summit
October 9, 2021
Annual Harvey Cohen Maternal Morbidity & Mortality Summit
November 5, 2021

Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals


Birth Equity Colorado Implementation

Now that the 2021 Birth Equity Bills have been signed into law, a coalition of partners are being convened to make sure the ambitious provisions in the bill package - involving more than half a dozen agencies - are implemented as intended. Join Elephant Circle, the community-based organization that led on these bills, to support implementation beginning with a community meeting on August 17, 2021. Sign up for the event and Elephant Circle's email list, as well as fill out this form to indicate which part of implementation you'd like to be involved in.

TRIUMPH for New Moms Act

A recently introduced federal bill, the Taskforce Recommending Improvements for Unaddressed Mental Perinatal and Postpartum Health (TRIUMPH) for New Mothers Act, calls for the formation of a federal interdepartmental maternal mental health task force and strategic plan to identify opportunities, coordinate resources, and build upon programs to improve the well-being of mothers. The task force would work across federal agencies to: 1) review and identify existing programs and best practices; 2) close gaps, eliminate federal duplication, and coordinate federal resources; and 3) create a national strategy and issue recommendations to governors. Learn more.

Rental Assistance Finder

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a Rental Assistance Finder to connect renters and landlords to state and local organizations distributing federal rental assistance. This tool can help renters and landlords to avoid eviction and navigate financial hardships related to the pandemic. CFPB has promotional materials and sample social media messages/graphics you can use.

Colorado Child Fatality Prevention Annual Report

The Colorado Child Fatality Prevention System (CFPS) recently released its 2021 Annual Report on deaths among infants, children, and youth under age 18 in Colorado. The report is an overview of trends and patterns, prevention recommendations and progress on previous recommendations. Additional information is available on the CFPS data dashboard. For more information, contact

Women's Bean Project - Peer Pathways to Wellness Initiative

The Women’s Bean Project is a nonprofit social enterprise and economic empowerment project operated out of Denver’s heart of the Five Points neighborhood. Individuals are trained to make nourishing food products and handcrafted gifts that are sold across the country. The Project recently became one of three locations in Denver to participate in the Peer Pathways to Wellness initiative that offers drop-in peer support, intervention, prevention, and navigation services for individuals experiencing homelessness and/or trauma/mental health/substance use conditions.

New Virtual Support Groups for Single Parents, BIPOC Parents and More!

Check out and share the newest virtual support groups by the Postpartum Wellness Center/Boulder: Moms with Babies Group, Single Moms Group, BIPOC Moms Group, Parents of Children with Major Medical Diagnoses Group. 

Putting Colorado on the National Map

The Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance recently updated its resources on state policies, including this factsheet on Colorado that highlights Colorado PSI, the state public awareness campaign, and legislative policy wins for pregnant and postpartum Coloradans.

Expanding Access to Doula Care: Best Practices for State Legislation

As a result of COVID-19, hospitals around the country banned doulas from supporting clients during birth. BIPOC birthing people have been disproportionately impacted by the ban and other changes in previous healthcare policies and practices due to the pandemic. To address this gap, the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health at the Harvard Chan School has outlined best practices and lessons learned to help states navigate the complexities of new doula-related legislation.

Building an Effective and Innovative Maternal Behavioral Health Workforce

The webinar recording is available. The materials, including the slide deck and speaker bios, can also be accessed. 

Shades of Blue Project

The Shades of Blue Project is dedicated to breaking cultural barriers in maternal mental health by raising awareness and ensuring action is being taken to break the stigma surrounding seeking treatment in the minority community when experiencing complications after childbirth.

Pediatric Mental Health Minute Series: Supporting the Grieving Child and Family

In this 15-minute video titled Supporting the Grieving Child and Family, David J Schonfeld, MD, FAAP will discuss basic skills for pediatric healthcare providers in how to talk with and support grieving children and families and outline some of the unique challenges posed by grief during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Pediatric Mental Health Minute Series provides real-time education to support pediatricians caring for children and youth with mental health disorders.

Giving Birth While COVID Positive

Sara Edmond, who is a clinical psychologist specializing in patient-provider communication, describes her attempts earlier in pregnancy to understand the protocols around giving birth for those who test positive for COVID-19, and the dismissive tone with which she was met by health care providers. When she did test positive, Edmond faced consistent judgement and questioning of her behavior by hospital staff. Read the article. Listen to Sara’s podcast.

America’s Health Rankings Report - Disparities Widened among Black Birthing Individuals 

Persistent and growing disparities in maternal mortality, including ongoing disparities among Black mothers who face a maternal mortality rate that is 3.4 times higher than Hispanic mothers. Rates of maternal mortality increased 55% for white mothers, 23% for Hispanic mothers, and 22% for Black mothers between 2005-2009 and 2015-2019. Click here to read the recently released report and the Colorado state profile on page 6.

There's Only 1 Drug for Postpartum Depression. Why Does Kaiser Permanente Make It So Hard to Get?

(KQED, June 28 2021)

Colorado’s new laws look to reduce maternal deaths, improve racial disparities

Copyright © 2021 Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment / Prevention Services Division, All rights reserved.
A monthly communication for maternal wellness and early childhood partners.

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4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246

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