December 2021
RHNTC | eNews from the Reproductive Health National Training Center
How to create safe and affirming environments for clients and program participants

RHNTC Updates

NCTCFP Updates

White House Maternal Health Day of Action

On December 7, 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration held the first-ever White House Maternal Health Day of Action, announcing new commitments to support safe pregnancies and childbirth, and to reduce complications and mortality in the year following birth. The nationwide Call to Action calls on public and private sectors to help improve maternal health outcomes in the United States, which has the highest maternal mortality rate of any wealthy nation in the world. 

Systemic inequities create significant disparities in our health care system, and the maternal mortality rate is especially high for Black and Native American women, and women in rural communities. 

As part of the Call to Action, the Department of Health and Human Services released a new report estimating that 720,000 more people would gain Medicaid postpartum coverage if states act; the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed establishment of a “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation and issued guidance to states on how to provide Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum. Read the Fact Sheet.
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*NEW* Support LGBTQ+ Clients with Affirming Language Job Aid  
[instant download]

This new job aid offers language that Title X providers can use to deliver client-centered, equitable, and culturally-affirming care to all clients regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. This job aid is in a Word format for easy modification of this sample language to reflect a Title X agency’s unique needs and practices. Download the job aid. 

*NEW* Creating Safe, Collaborative, and Empowering Environments Team Meeting Package 
[1 hour]

We added a new team meeting package to the Trauma-Informed Approaches in Adolescent Health series to support facilitation of team conversations related to trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and to explore ways in which programs and staff can incorporate trauma-informed approaches into their work. This meeting package (the third in the series) includes a suggested agenda and resources to help program leaders facilitate team conversations related to creating trauma-informed environments—in other words, environments that are safe, collaborative, and empowering for all.

Meeting packages include videos or case studies, a discussion guide, and worksheets that team members should complete as a group, either virtually or in-person. Explore the series:

  1. Understanding Trauma and the Six Core Principles of a Trauma-Informed Approach
  2. Journey from Trauma-Aware to Trauma-Informed
  3. Creating Safe, Collaborative, and Empowering Environments
*NEW* Accurate Measurement of Blood Pressure in a Reproductive Health Setting Video
[3 minutes]

Accurate measurement of blood pressure is important because small inaccuracies caused by using incorrect measurement techniques can lead to underdiagnosing and inadequate treatment of hypertension, or overdiagnosing and exposing clients to unnecessary stress, medications, and expenses. This 3-minute video and the accompanying knowledge check and observation checklist can be used to ensure clinical staff who measure blood pressure have the knowledge and skills to accurately measure a client’s blood pressure. Watch the video. 

*NEW* Quality Improvement for Family Planning Programs eLearning
[1.5 hours]

Released in September 2021, this new eLearning course builds the capacity of family planning providers to implement a system for conducting quality improvement in accordance with the Quality Family Planning Recommendations (QFP). Register for the course.

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Mental Models for Creating Systems Change Webinar
Tuesday, January 18, 3–4pm ET

Join us on January 18, 2022 at 3pm ET to explore mental models and how to incorporate them into a systems thinking approach. Mental models—deeply held internal images of how the world works, images that limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting—are the foundation of how we see and experience the world, and need to be addressed in order to make meaningful, lasting change. Using a systems thinking approach can help Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program staff increase awareness of how their beliefs and attitudes influence their perspectives and actions when addressing complex challenges associated with helping adolescents make healthy decisions.

During this webinar, we will identify some of the mental models that TPP program staff experience in their work and identify leverage points in the system to move from superficial understanding to deeper understanding and action. Participants will learn about mental models, their impact on systems, and tools to reflect on one’s personal beliefs and better understand others’ beliefs. Register for the webinar.

Communication Planning 101: How to Reach TPP Audiences Webinar
Thursday, January 27, 3–4pm ET

Join us on January 27, 2022 at 3pm ET to learn how to build and maintain an effective communication strategy for your TPP program to reach youth, caregivers, education professionals, or other community partners. During this webinar, participants will learn how to build a simple communication plan using the POST (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) method to define the who, what, why, and how of reaching TPP program participants and other audiences. Participants will learn how to develop a framework for their communication plan, including a strategy for maintaining the plan and measuring effectiveness. Register for the webinar.


Integrating Family Planning and Chronic Disease Management for Performance Improvement in Georgia

“We’re uniquely positioned to help bridge the gap between health care access and high-quality care in the South, where we see the largest disparities. Our goal is to ensure all Georgia families have access to family planning services, services that increase healthy outcomes of pregnancy, and affordable primary care.”—Sara Shay Sullivan, Georgia Family Planning System Title X Program Director (pictured below)

Sara Shay Sullivan, GFPS Title X Program Director

The Georgia Family Planning System (GFPS) has been the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Title X grantee since 2014, providing fully-integrated family planning and primary health care services across a FQHC network of 28 subrecipients and 153 service sites. 

The GFPS credits the successful integration of family planning into primary care to internal staff training, technical assistance, and continuous quality improvement. For starters, Title X project leaders drew staff and providers’ attention to the inherent connection between family planning and primary care. As Nurse Manager Pamela Brooks says, “We had to frame it for these providers...Chronic disease management for things like hypertension is a vital component of assisting with pregnancy planning and improving maternal health outcomes." 

Ms. Shay Sullivan notes, “Preconception health is primary care. I’d say, ‘You're already doing well-woman checks, you’re already providing tobacco, HIV, and STD screening. So, if you ask about reproductive health goals, that can start a client-centered conversation about family planning.’”

Title X project leaders also made it clear to staff and providers that they aren’t “doing something extra” by providing Title X services—rather, they’re addressing existing quality measures. In fact, the GFPS’s focus on family planning services has contributed to improvements in HEDIS measures, including chlamydia and HIV screening, among subrecipients and service sites. These improvements have had a positive impact on client outcomes and resulted in extra funding. 

Title X grantees of all types can take steps to integrate family planning and chronic disease prevention and control services. The RHNTC offers several resources to support these efforts, including the Hypertension Prevention and Control Toolkit, Integrating Hypertension Prevention and Control into Family Planning Services eLearning, and Preconception Health Toolkit

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Upcoming Webinar: Taking an Inclusive Sexual Health History
Friday, December 17, 1–2pm ET

Join the NCTCFP on December 17 from 1–2pm ET for a webinar featuring Dr. Margot Savoy, Sr. Vice President for Education at the American Academy of Family Physicians, who will present on the topic of taking an inclusive sexual health history in family planning settings. Continuing education has been applied for and amounts available are pending. Register for the webinar.

Upcoming Drop-In Active Learning Session: Emergency Contraception
Tuesday, January 18, 4:30–5:30pm ET

Join the NCTCFP on January 18 at 4:30pm ET for the second in a series of six drop-in active learning sessions. During this session, David Turok, MD, MPH, will facilitate a discussion on available emergency contraception agents and evidence-based strategies for critiquing existing protocols through case studies and participant feedback. Register for the session.

Archived Webinar: Developing and Updating Clinical Protocols
[1 hour]

The NCTCFP recently hosted the first in a series of six drop-in active learning sessions with guest Dr. Michael Policar. During the webinar, Dr. Policar covered the essentials to developing and updating clinical protocols and critiqued a sample protocol. A supplemental job aid from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) is available for download. Watch the recording. 

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