Maternal and Child Health (MCH)
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) includes the study of comprehensive health care services designed to meet the needs of pregnant women before, during, and after delivery, as well as infants and preschool children from birth to five years. This work is undertaken through the use of innovative quantitative and qualitative methods to conduct applied research that can support policymakers in their real-time efforts to improve maternal and child health outcomes. The research involves translating complex linked datasets for health services research through the lens of clinical interventions, access, equity, and community engagement.
Examples can be found below that detail the efforts of the Institute for Families and Society (IFS) in the MCH area including large initiatives like the South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative (SCBOI) and other innovative research projects.
SC Birth Outcomes Initiative (SCBOI)
South Carolina is currently one of many states putting an increased focus on issues that negatively affect maternal and child health. In South Carolina, these efforts are being spearheaded through the SCBOI. The SCBOI is a collaboration of the SC Department of Health and Human Services (SC DHHS), SC Hospital Association, March of Dimes, Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC and more than 100 stakeholders who together share the goal of improving health outcomes for newborns not only in the Medicaid program but throughout the state’s population.
Some of their goals include:
- eliminating elective inductions for non-medically indicated deliveries prior to 39 weeks;
- reducing the number of neonatal intensive care unit admissions (NICU);
- preventing pre-term births by making 17P available to all at-risk pregnant women;
- implementing a universal screening and referral tool (SBIRT) to screen pregnant women during pregnancy and after delivery; and
- promoting Baby-Friendly certified hospitals and breastfeeding.
Additional areas of focus have included supporting the CenteringPregnancy® Model, inpatient insertion of long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), innovative program development for the management of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in the Level I nursery, and most recently, the reduction of cesarean sections for first-time, low-risk mothers.
To read more about the South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative, visit SC DHHS.
South Carolina AIM
The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) was founded to "equip, empower and embolden maternal care providers in the U.S. to significantly reduce maternal morbidity and maternal mortality." Click here to learn more about SC AIM.
Since SCBOI’s inception, the Institute for Families in Society (IFS) has led the SCBOI Data Working Group, whose analyses of Medicaid-related quantitative data have been used to shape priorities and next steps in addressing the needs of communities of opportunity. But who are the people represented by the numbers, percentages, and trends documented over time? Who are the Medicaid clients/consumers/beneficiaries? What are their experiences and insights? And how can those experiences and insights be used to inform Medicaid policies and practices moving forward? The Voices/Voces initiative aimed to answer those questions and bring women’s voices directly into the discussion of Medicaid priorities, strategies, and decision making.
By conducting in-depth interviews with women (consumers), the Voices/Voces team documented the experiences, perspectives, and proposals for action expressed by women throughout South Carolina who depend on Medicaid/emergency Medicaid for their pregnancy, birthing, and postnatal care. The team also interviewed key stakeholders throughout the state. Their combined stories and insights bring deeper understanding of the data and trends mapped by IFS over time, especially in relation to the racial and ethnic-based disparities and inequities in maternal health and birth outcomes that exist and persist. Importantly, the interviews also yield concrete ideas and recommendations for actions that can be taken to address disparities and inequities, making South Carolina a healthier place for all.
Read more about the Voices/Voces initiative and how COVID-19 impacted the project. Get the Voices/Voces Technical Report.