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Whittier Street Health Center Awarded $1 Million to Implement Moms Do Care Program for Pregnant and Parenting Women with Substance Use Disorder

  • December 7, 2018

Whittier Street Health Center Awarded $1 Million to Implement Moms Do Care Program for Pregnant and Parenting Women with Substance Use Disorder

December 01, 2018 (Boston, MA) Whittier Street Health Center (WSHC) has been selected by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to implement Moms Do Care, a free program providing services for pregnant and parenting women (PPW) with opioid use disorder (OUD).  WSHC has been awarded $1 million, over two years, for this initiative. Funding for Moms Do Care is provided by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services.

 

Historically, Roxbury has among the highest rates of infants born with low birth weights and infant mortality (compared to other Boston neighborhoods.)  The goal of Moms Do Care at Whittier Street is to increase the number of healthy births by assisting women who are pregnant and parenting young children while living with an OUD.

 

Currently WSHC treats a large population of patients diagnosed with substance use disorders and recognizes the need for specialized programming specifically designed to serve pregnant and/or parenting women. “Many of our patients are women, often mothers who are court or Department of Children and Family involved, and needing assistance with recovery from substance use disorders.  Many of these women feel isolated and stigmatized. PPW with OUDs often have difficulty navigating the complicated health care system and accessing the resources needed to enter and/or sustain their recovery. We are building the necessary supports for them,” said Christine Pajarillo, Director of Behavioral Health Services at Whittier Street Health Center.

 

Moms Do Care will provide an integrated system of medical and behavioral health care that includes recovery, postpartum and early parenting support.  Moms Do Care participants will partner with recovery coaches (individuals with lived experience,) care navigators and medical/behavioral health providers trained in working with PPW with OUDs. Providers working with this population recognize that this type of integrated and comprehensive approach to mental health and/or substance abuse treatment, coupled with peer support, can help overcome numerous barriers and help patients remain engaged in treatment and recovery.

 

Through Moms Do Care, Whittier will provide prenatal and pediatric care, one-on-one and group therapy, and education and support for caring for substance exposed newborns. Peer-to-peer and recovery coach support will be offered to each participant. This integrated, multi-disciplinary team will work in concert to address the multiple medical and social needs of the program participants, identify and overcome barriers to treatment, and assist with referrals to services such as housing, mental health, insurance, transportation, resources for food and clothing , and other necessities.

 

Referrals to the program will come from Whittier’s OB/GYN, Women’s Health, Pediatrics and Behavioral Health departments, as well as partner community agencies that Whittier has worked with over the years serving the post-prison and recovery populations.  Additionally, Whittier will use its recently purchased Mobile Health Van to further its outreach efforts.

 

About Whittier Street Health Center

About Whittier Street Health Center (www.wshc.org) Whittier Street Health Center is a Joint Commission accredited, private, non-profit, independently licensed community health center dedicated to providing high quality, reliable and accessible primary healthcare and support services for diverse populations to promote wellness and eliminate health and social disparities. Serving close to 30,000 clients with approximately 145,000 clinic visits and 30,000 community outreach visits annually, Whittier has a patient base which is ethnically and racially diverse and includes significant numbers of individuals from Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, the South End and Greater Boston. Whittier provides a comprehensive array of 40 healthcare programs and services designed to meet the primary health care, behavioral health, and social needs of the community. Whittier is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a level 3 (highest level) patient-centered medical home. Learn more at www.wshc.org.

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