Why We Focus on Community and Patient Engagement

A report published in July 2020 by the Colorado Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) indicated that nearly 80% of maternal deaths were preventable and identified that some causes were associated with limited access to health care facilities and personnel that offer “good quality, culturally appropriate, and respectful care to pregnant and postpartum people.” 

This data suggests that we are failing our pregnant and postpartum people, infants, and families. In order to achieve optimal pregnancy outcomes, we must increase our community and patient engagement efforts. We need to hear from birthing people themselves to understand their challenges and incorporate their perspectives into solutions to address maternal health.

There continues to be inadequate infrastructure to regularly collect robust data about the experiences of pregnant people during their pregnancies, the birth hospitalization, and the postpartum period. Without this critical data and, importantly, without continued community engagement surrounding the development and implementation of interventions to address these perinatal care deficits, the health of Colorado pregnant and postpartum individuals and their infants will continue to suffer, particularly in communities of color and families in poverty.

What We Do

We are working to improve data collection and community engagement by strategically integrating pregnant and postpartum people and families with lived experience into every level of maternal and infant care in healthcare facilities and communities across the state. We continue to partner with community organizations and work closely with trusted community groups to authentically engage and elevate the voices of people with lived experience related to maternal and child health issues both locally and nationally.

premature newborn in incubator with mother's hand inside comforting baby

As a statewide, collective impact initiative, the Colorado Maternal Mental Health Collaborative aims to integrate community and patient engagement into the Framework, with targeted goals and strategies to improve maternal mental health. Many members of the Leadership Team bring their own lived experience with maternal health issues to our work, and we continuously seek input from all members of the Collaborative.

DEFINE works with families whose newborns are hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to improve the family experience of having a hospitalized infant, support the mental wellbeing of parents with babies in the NICU, prepare families to care for baby at home, and improve health outcomes for both infants and parents.

FIRST is a cohort of lived-experience experts representing diverse communities across race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, insurance status, primary language, immigration status, or residential location who are first trained as patient advocates and then integrated into CPCQC leadership committees and workgroups to provide guidance on our programs.

Parents Thrive is an online tool and project of the Colorado Maternal Mental Health Collaborative—overseen by a Content Advisory Board that includes community members and perinatal health professionals—designed to help new and expecting parents find resources and relatable stories to support their emotional wellbeing.

CPCQC’s Policy Committee influences state-level policy through development and implementation efforts. Our priorities are informed by the experiences and perspectives of our community and patient-family partners. 

The Colorado Maternal Mental Health Collaborative’s Maternal Behavioral Health Policy and Financing Workgroup ensures that patient and community member perspectives are represented in policy initiatives to advance maternal behavioral health and wellness, improve infant mental health, and address social determinants of health. 

Community and Patient Engagement Resources

Events

Get Involved

Help us improve maternal and infant health outcomes for all Colorado families. There are multiple ways to get involved: participate in a program, become a community advocate, attend an event, or share your story. Whether you are an individual, healthcare facility, community-based organization, or industry leader, there’s space for you in our work.