This report describes a multifaceted, trauma-informed initiative developed to address racial/ethnic maternal and infant health inequities in Washington, D.C.
Structural racism and systemic oppression of marginalized communities have played a critical role in maternal and infant health inequities in the United States. Black birthing individuals are exponentially more likely to experience adverse birth outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight and maternal mortality. In response to these statistics, the Safe Babies Safe Moms (SBSM) initiative was developed to support patients of marginalized identities and improve health outcomes. SBSM Women’s and Infants’ Services Specialty Care (WIS-SC) is one component of this initiative focused on perinatal services.
SBSM WIS-SC includes trauma-informed clinical services, nurse navigation, lactation, diabetes and nutrition education, social work services, medical-legal services, and behavioral health support. Services are delivered by a multidisciplinary team trained on the following domains: (1) building connection within diverse care teams; (2) recognizing systemic barriers to trauma-informed approaches; (3) learning the brain science of implicit bias, trauma, and resilience; (4) Integrating self-care practices; and (5) acknowledging progress. Since the inception of the program, SBSM WIS-SC has served over 1500 patients.
The SBSM WIS-SC intervention reflects a patient-centered approach to care, offering the multidisciplinary services required for perinatal patients with complex medical, psychosocial, and legal needs. Trauma informed training and team building is foundational to successful service delivery to address these multifaceted health needs of historically marginalized perinatal populations nationwide.