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Dana Iglesias, MD, MPH, Medical Director of the Chatham Hospital Maternity Care Center, has been awarded a grant from The Duke Endowment to help improve the quality and the continuity of care provided to Black and Hispanic women by implementing a perinatal interdisciplinary inter-agency care coordination program in Chatham County. The project will build upon the work of Equity for Moms and Babies Realized Across Chatham (EMBRACe), which seeks to ensure successful and equitable birth outcomes for women and babies in Chatham County, NC, through system and service alignment across the following partners: Chatham County Public Health Department, Chatham Hospital, UNC Family Medicine, Piedmont Health Services, Chatham County Department of Social Services and the Chatham Health Alliance.

The project will utilize a Perinatal Care Coordination Team (PNCC Team) and gap analysis to identify the team and create a streamlined clinical care process. The work of the PNCC Team will be threefold:

  1. Providing high-touch clinical support for patients at Piedmont Health Siler City and Moncure Community Health Centers, augmented by the Chatham County Public Health Department community-based services, working together to ensure that all resources within and outside of the primary care sites are connected.
  2. Examining the workflow and communication across agencies and adapting to facilitate real-time contact and warm hand-offs to Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) services, Women, Infants, and Children nutrition services (WIC), behavioral health, dentistry, home health, social support networks, and more. The team will utilize existing structures and systems from the Equity for Moms and Babies Realized Across Chatham (EMBRACe) program.
  3. EMBRACe will work to establish systems alignment and cross-sector collaboration by structuring workflows among partner agencies and will partner with the Perinatal Program Coordinator on the professional development of staff, faculty, and trainees in the areas of interprofessional teamwork and communication, implicit bias, and disparities in perinatal care, with the aim of enduring improvements in cultural awareness through the implementation of equitable practices in the workplace and in patient-facing encounters.

Iglesias states, “A foundational principle of health equity is to mitigate health care disparities by focusing on the needs, gaps, and inequities of the most vulnerable, this systematic and systematic approach to comprehensive health care, serves the entire community clients, patients, and families. I have highlighted this to emphasize that ALL perinatal patients are serviced within this awarded grant opportunity.”