Healing Hearts in Western Wisconsin

Health Disparities in Pregnant & Parenting Women

Healing Hearts, Healthy Starts

It’s no secret that opioid use has increased significantly over the last several years. Even with the nation’s focus on the epidemic, there continue to be barriers to treatment. Those barriers are often even greater for pregnant and postpartum people. The opioid crisis has emphasized the systemic bias and discrimination that pregnant people, particularly people of color, who are struggling with opioid use disorder can face in healthcare systems and communities as a whole. This group may fear stigma from healthcare facilities and unintended consequences, including child welfare involvement, leading them to avoid seeking treatment for opioid use disorder.

Studies show that those living in rural areas face even more of an uphill battle in obtaining care. Access to medication and treatment providers is often limited. With fewer options and financial resources to pay for treatment and transportation, the already significant barriers become even more problematic for those in rural areas.

The barriers to treatment may be substantial, but they’re not impossible to overcome. As local professionals, we can band together to support those in our communities who need our help now more than ever. Together, we can help pregnant people with opioid use disorder prepare for a safe and healthy pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum period.

Workgroup 1

Reducing Stigma

Workgroup 1 focuses on identifying strategies to reduce the stigma associated with substance use disorders (SUDs), with the ultimate goal of reaching pregnant and parenting women with SUDs and ensuring they feel safe, willing, and hopeful when reaching out for help.

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Workgroup 2

Opportunities for Screening and Identification

Workgroup 2's goal is to increase efforts to screen and identify pregnant and parenting women for SUD in a non-judgmental and fair manner to facilitate connections to critical care services.

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Workgroup 3

Continuum of Care and Services

Workgroup 3 focuses on strategies to address existing services, gaps in services, and opportunities in our region to support a robust continuum of care for pregnant and parenting women.

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Workgroup 4

Legal and Policy Impacts

The purpose of workgroup 4 is to focus on strategies to increase knowledge of the federal, state, and local legal landscapes that impact the our region. The ultimate goal is to reduce both legal and punitive barriers for pregnant and parenting women with SUDs seeking services and promoting a more pro-social approach to wellness.

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Workgroup 5

Treatment Approaches

Workgroup 5 focuses on what makes services (e.g., medical and SUD) effective for women and families and how the gap between research and practice can be bridged to promote holistic, safe, and appropriately applicable services for women and families in our communities.

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Workgroup 6

Harm Reduction

The purpose of workgroup 6 is to focus on strategies to increase and promote awareness and implementation of harm reduction approaches to be used with pregnant and parenting women.

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