Why We Address Systems Change

The level and quality of health care that patients receive in the United States is influenced by the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, in addition to the many societal, economic, and political factors that shape our daily lives. Over time, barriers to accessing and receiving quality care—racism, biases, stigma, lack of care coordination, miscommunication, redundant processes, and increasingly high cost of care—have been stacked against pregnant and postpartum people. 

Racism and unconscious biases reduce quality of care, as when some providers simply do not believe Black moms when they say they are in pain. A brick in the wall. Stigma and fear reduce access to care, as when a mom with substance use disorder does not seek care out of fear of losing custody of her baby. Another brick in the wall. Excessive costs associated with care reduce both access and quality of care, as when a postpartum person does not have insurance and cannot afford to seek care or pay for the best course of treatment or to fill a prescription. And socioeconomic barriers may mean someone must rely on unreliable public transportation to make their health appointments, or may put their health needs on the back burner as they struggle to pay rent or put food on the table. Brick by brick, each of these barriers builds a wall against equitable and quality care for pregnant and postpartum people and contributes to higher rates of maternal mortality and morbidity.

What We Do

We know that systems change is needed in healthcare facilities as they are not meeting the needs of pregnant and postpartum people, especially in communities of color, low-income families, and those with substance use and mental health disorders. That is why we are leading our state in reimagining systems, addressing bias and striving for equity, and bringing voices of lived experience into our work to ensure pregnant and postpartum people receive culturally relevant, safe, equitable, high quality care no matter who they are or where they live. 

woman holding baby while talking to her therapist

The Colorado Maternal Mental Health Collaborative brings together lived-experience experts and professionals from across the state to address the mental health and wellness needs of pregnant and parenting people in Colorado. The Collaborative’s Framework incorporates five cross-cutting strategies to improve care: policy and financing, workforce development, programs and services, communication, and measurement and assessment.    

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, then integrated into leadership committees and workgroups within CPCQC to provide guidance on our programs.

IMPACT BH helps Colorado communities strengthen systems of care for perinatal behavioral health by bringing together hospitals, primary healthcare services, and community-based organizations to identify systems-level gaps and opportunities for more integrated care at the local level.

CPCQC’s Policy Committee influences state-level policy reform as a catalyst for systems change through development and implementation efforts. We accelerate the development of innovative and evidence-based policy initiatives and leverage our role as implementer of perinatal health policies and legislation through a cross-cutting approach that connects healthcare facilities, clinical practitioners, public health agencies, and state departments with community health practitioners and community-based organizations, patient advocates, and lived experience experts. 

The Colorado Maternal Mental Health Collaborative’s Maternal Behavioral Health Policy and Financing Workgroup’s systems change approach includes legislative, regulatory, and administrative advocacy efforts to advance maternal behavioral health and wellness, improve infant mental health, and address social determinants of health.  

Systems Change Resources


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.