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 Maternal Wellness Update 


September 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.

Coming Soon! Funding Opportunity for Community Solutions to Prevent Mortality among Pregnant & Postpartum Coloradans

The Maternal Mortality Prevention Program (MMPP) will be releasing a Request for Applications (RFA) in September! The RFA launches a three-year funding opportunity to reduce and prevent mortality among pregnant and postpartum Coloradans, as well as reduce racial disparities. Community-based groups, organizations or individuals who are not affiliated with or currently and significantly funded by institutional entities (federal/state/local government, foundations or higher education) are encouraged to submit proposals that address the issue through one of the following strategies or mechanisms:
  1. Increasing the ability of pregnant and postpartum Coloradans to feel connected, supported and a sense of belonging (a.k.a. social connectedness).
  2. Improving economic/financial security among pregnant and postpartum Coloradans.
  3. Increasing the collective capacity of the community (people, resources, or infrastructure) to care for and support pregnant and postpartum individuals, formally and informally. 
Up to $50,000 (as 1 or 2 awards) is available on an annual basis, with the first state contract to start in February 2022. 

To make sure you don’t miss out on an upcoming, informational webinar about this RFA and funding opportunity, subscribe to this Maternal Wellness Update

Tobacco Review Committee Vacancy

The Tobacco Grant Program, on behalf of the Colorado Board of Health, is currently seeking professionals to serve on the statutorily mandated Review Committee in the following position:
  • Representative of an association representing family physicians
All applicants must submit:
  • An application form.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Statement of interest.
  • A brief biography.
  • Letter of support 
Applications are due at 5 p.m., Friday, October 1, 2021. Applicants who reside outside of the Denver metro area and particularly in rural areas of the state are strongly encouraged to apply. Please see the vacancy announcement and application form for more details. Please share broadly with anyone who would be interested in submitting an application

Help Reduce Childhood Poverty in Colorado through the Child Tax Credit

If you know a family who still isn’t receiving the monthly child benefit that started in July, Code for America's's simplified filing portal is now live! This tool is mobile friendly, available in Spanish, and can be used as an alternative to the IRS Non-filer Sign-up tool. Submitting information via this portal (English/Spanish) will directly file a 2020 simplified tax return with the IRS so clients can claim all eligible advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) and stimulus payments. Families must submit online by October 15 to benefit from the advance monthly payments this year or wait until January 2022 to claim the full credit on a 2021 tax return. To see how the portal works, see this short recorded demo. There are additional navigator training resources at including:
Code for America will be hosting a live CTC Navigator Training on Wednesday, September 8, from 1-2:30 pm MST. This training will include information on how to determine your client’s next step, use GetCTC, and assist someone whose return has been rejected. The training will also be recorded and posted to the navigator page.

Maternal Suicide Awareness Week is September 6-10, 2021

Join local and national partners to raise awareness about suicide during the pregnant and postpartum periods. 

Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for Professionals of Color (PMHA-POC)

PMHA-POC was created to fill a gap in support services for professionals and communities of color around perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. PMHA-POC will be convened as a part of the Colorado chapter of Postpartum Support International (PSI) in alignment with PSI’s vision that all families will have access to the information, support, and care that they need around these complications and PSI’s commitment to bringing anti-oppression to the center of their work. The Colorado chapter will be focused on creating a statewide group of perinatal mental health professionals of color to network/build community, continue to build inclusive and equitable systems, create a referral directory that expands upon the work already initiated by PSI, and other tasks related to furthering equity and access to women and birthing persons of color. There will be an initial meet and greet for the PMHA-POC organized by Dr. Patrece Hairston Peetz on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 3pm. Join the Zoom meeting or contact Patrece for more information.

New Director - PSI Colorado Chapter

The Colorado Chapter of Postpartum Support International is excited to welcome Kristin Aaker in the role of Director of the organization. Kristin brings a background in nonprofit leadership and a passion for maternal mental health to this new role for the chapter. She looks forward to partnering with CDPHE and other key stakeholders throughout the state to promote awareness, education, prevention, and treatment of perinatal mental health issues affecting mothers, their families, and support systems in all areas of Colorado. Kristin can be reached at

Colorado Organizations Winning PSI Community Engagement Grants

Congratulations to Fort Morgan Community Hospital Association at Colorado Plains Medical Center and Thriving Families in receiving one-time grants to address the growing mental health needs of pregnant and postpartum families in underserved communities affected by COVID-19. More than 200 programs applied for the funding with just 32 final grantees.

Alternative Payment Models- Need Maternity Provider Input

HCPF is piloting an alternative payment model that would redesign how providers are reimbursed for maternity services, as well as exploring outcome- and acuity-based financial incentives. Input from providers of maternity care services is critical in shaping this initiative. This pilot will likely become the standard reimbursement model in the future — now is the time to give input on outcome metrics and to ensure this benefit works for your practice. 
A maternity sub workgroup sponsored by the Lieutenant Governor's Office will meet on 10/6 from 1:30-3:00PM. The Maternity Care Sub-Group will meet approximately every month. Please check the site regularly for meeting updates. 
Please consider participating and sharing with your networks to ensure strong representation from maternity providers. Feel free to reach out to Trevor Abeya,, if you have any questions.

Tough as a Mother's "Recovering Out Loud" Initiative

Please join Tough as a Mother in celebrating National Recovery Month. They are elevating and honoring the stories of tough moms across Colorado who are recovering loudly, so that other moms don't have to struggle in silence. These stories remind us that people can, and do, recover every day. The following social media posts can be shared widely to help raise awareness and honor those who are recovering, wherever they are in their recovery journey. You can also visit their website to see more powerful stories from Tough Mothers across Colorado. Please encourage mothers in your community to tell their stories. Instructions for the easy-to-use platform can be found here

Learn more about the campaign. Additional campaign materials and resources are available.

Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) Model subgrantee application now open

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing invites RAEs, OB/GYN and/or SUD providers, clinics, and any other interested parties to apply to be a MOM model subgrantee. They are looking for regionally-specific, community-oriented, and innovative projects that will harness existing Medicaid services to integrate substance use disorder services and obstetric care in order to improve outcomes for pregnant and parenting people with Opioid Use Disorders. The application consists of two parts: a narrative document and a budget worksheet. Please submit a completed application (both the narrative document and the budget worksheet) to Anoushka Millear, the MOM Project Coordinator, by September 14, 2021, 11:59 PM MDT. Questions about the application should be addressed to the Department's Grants Specialist, Amanda Jacquecin. Read more about the MOM Model.

Building Public Awareness to Support Family Health & Wellbeing
(formerly “Campaign Corner”)


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

Have you checked out the new and improved PRD public awareness campaign yet? This time around, we intentionally sought out focus group participants from diverse backgrounds who bring a variety of pregnancy and birthing experiences. Insight gained from this latest round of market research includes:

  • Pregnant and postpartum individuals prefer messages that elevate self-empowerment and self care, rather than those that can be construed as judgmental or commanding. 

  • There is a fine line between encouraging individuals to seek help and adding just another burdensome task into their busy lives. 

  • Images or photos of “real” people, as well as their families, continue to resonate most strongly with this audience, compared to illustrations.

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). 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.



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. 

Complimentary Maternal Mental Health 101 Webinar
September 9, 2021
An Interdisciplinary Approach to Perinatal Care Series 
September 14 - November 2, 2021
Health First Colorado (Colorado Medicaid) Maternity Report Unveiling 
September 15, 2021

State Data Approaches to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
September 16, 2021

Climb Out of the Darkness Fundraiser
September 18, 2021 

2021 Maternal & Infant Care Quality Conference
September 24, 2021
Fertility and Counseling Webinar Series
September 2021 to June 2022

AAP 2021 Conference & Exhibition
October 8-12, 2021 

Marcé of North America 2021 Conference
October 21-24, 2021

Parent Possible Home Visiting 2022 Conference
April 6, 2022 - April 7, 2022
International Marcé Society 2022 Conference (London)
September 19-21, 2022


CMS Extends Deadlines for Medicaid Redeterminations

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a letter extending the timeframe from 6 months to 12 months for states to complete pending verifications, redeterminations, and renewals for Medicaid after the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends. Under the updated policy, states cannot terminate coverage of any pregnant person determined eligible for Medicaid during the PHE – and who continues to receive coverage postpartum – until the redeterminations are completed.

Black Maternal Health Caucus Priorities Included in Appropriations Bill

Congresswomen Alma Adams (NC-12) and Lauren Underwood (IL-14), the co-founders and co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus celebrated the inclusion of language from the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act in the Congressional Appropriations Bill that passed the House in late July. Some priorities for appropriations include funding for Maternal Mortality Review Committees, Perinatal Quality Collaboratives, national maternal mental health research, MCH Title V block grants, as well as increased funding for Alliance for Maternal Health Safety Bundles, State Maternal Health Innovation Grants, Maternal Mental Health Hotline, Screening and Treatment for Maternal Depression and Related Disorders, and midwifery education. Click here to learn more.

Minnesota's Community Alternatives for Incarcerated Pregnant Persons

The Healthy Start Act (MN SF 1315), signed into law by Minnesota’s Governor in May 2021, allows the Commissioner of Corrections to place new parents into halfway houses, addiction rehabilitation facilities or other community alternatives with their newborns for up to one year to facilitate early child-parent bonding during what is recognized as a crucial period when nurturing is particularly important for the development of children. Click here to read a news story.

Challenging Providers To Look Within Themselves to Reduce Bias In Maternity Care

California’s Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act of 2019 requires hospitals, alternative birthing centers, and certain primary care clinics to offer an evidence-based implicit bias program for perinatal care providers. Funded by the California Health Care Foundation and developed by Diversity Science, the new e-learning course covers ten specific topics, including identifying unconscious biases and misinformation, power dynamics, impact of historical oppression of minority communities, and local perspectives on provider–community relations. The training also offers practical tools for immediate change in the delivery room and in the health care system as well as composite character stories that connect complex concepts like bias, stereotyping, and systemic racism. Read an article about the training. 

Decoding Maternal Morbidity Data Challenge - Submissions due October 15, 2021

The National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) announced an initiative to advance research on maternal health and promote healthy pregnancies. A total of $400,000 is available to groups seeking to develop new ways to analyze large datasets from the Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study and Monitoring Mothers-to-be (nuMoM2b), in order to identify factors that impact maternal morbidity and severe maternal morbidity. The deadline to submit proposals is October 15, 2021. Click here to learn more and apply.

Maternal-Infant Health and Opioid Use New Policy Statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics

The new AAP Policy Statement focuses on just how important relationships and positive childhood experiences are in preventing and healing toxic stress. This policy moves away from a problem-based model that focuses on a child’s past adverse experiences and instead presents a positive, strengths-based approach that fosters solutions at the family, community and societal levels. Read the policy statement Preventing Childhood Toxic Stress: Partnering with Families and Communities to Promote Relational Health. Also check out new resources and publications from the Center for Addiction and Pregnancy.

Antibiotic Stewardship for Neonatal Early Onset Sepsis Toolkit for Hospitals

The Colorado Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative and Colorado Perinatal Care Quality Collaborative developed a toolkit of resources to be used by hospitals that would like to implement their own Neonatal Early Onset Sepsis quality improvement initiatives. The toolkit is designed to support teams through a self-directed quality improvement project. 

Webinar on the Role of Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs in Managing Bipolar

Using data from the Perinatal Psychiatry Access Program model (MCPAP for Moms), this webinar outlined How Access Programs Can Improve Clinician Capacity to Manage Bipolar Disorder, as a solution to bridge healthcare gaps. 

What is Chestfeeding? 

The National Institute for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) recently shared an article on
chestfeeding as the process of feeding a child human milk from a person's chest. The term is used by transgender and nonbinary people for whom the words breastfeeding or nursing are not an ideal fit. Read more on NICHQ's transition to using more inclusive language from Heidi Brooks, NICHQ COO.

Marijuana Use during Pregnancy and Lactation and Long-Term Outcomes

The American Academy for Pediatrics recently released a review article that synthesizes the current information on the epidemiology and effects of marijuana use during pregnancy, as well as  evaluate the evidence for the immediate and long-term effects on affected neonates.The review provides the rationale for additional biological and population-based investigations to determine the various fetal outcomes of in-utero marijuana exposure that may assist in the establishment of prevention measures and applicable public health policies in the future.

2021 Colorado KIDS COUNT

The Colorado Children’s Campaign just released the 2021 Colorado KIDS Count, showing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Colorado children and families, from increased housing instability and hunger to difficulty accessing health care, child care, preschool and K-12 education. Nearly half of all Colorado households with children reported a loss of employment income since the pandemic began, and as many as one in five reported little or no confidence they would be able to make their next housing payment on time. The state also saw steep declines in the number of young children enrolled in services such as preschool or Early Intervention.

New CDC Data: COVID-19 Vaccination Safe for Pregnant People

CDC has released new data on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people and is recommending all people 12 years of age and older get vaccinated against COVID-19. “CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.” A new CDC analysis of current data from the v-safe pregnancy registry assessed vaccination early in pregnancy and did not find an increased risk of miscarriage among nearly 2,500 pregnant women who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage typically occurs in about 11-16% of pregnancies, and this study found miscarriage rates after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were around 13%, similar to the expected rate of miscarriage in the general population. Previously, data from three safety monitoring systems did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or for their babies. Combined, these data and the known severe risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy demonstrate that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant people outweigh any known or potential risks. Clinicians have seen the number of pregnant people infected with COVID-19 rise in the past several weeks.  The increased circulation of the highly contagious Delta variant, the low vaccine uptake among pregnant people, and the increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19 infection among pregnant people make vaccination for this population more urgent than ever.
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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