On April 18, 2023, multi-sector professionals who work with perinatal individuals impacted by substance use convened for a Colorado Hospital Substance Exposed Newborns (CHoSEN) Forum that included an in-person attendance or virtual option.

Mandy Bakulski, Maternal & Infant Wellness Section Manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, provided opening remarks for the momentous occasion, sharing data on maternal mortality data and unintentional overdose and what Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is currently doing to address the concern.

Mandy shared the focus on “safe” discharge from hospitals being about safe dyadic care for the birthing parent and newborn feels important. Removal puts both parts of the dyad at risk.

Attendees at the CHoSEN Forum had the opportunity to learn from the insight and experiences of Diane Smith, SuPPoRT Colorado Family Advisory Board Chair and DPALS Peer Navigator Specialist, who shared about her own lived experience and her experience supporting others impacted by substance use during pregnancy. 

Kallen Thornton, Manager of Gender Responsive Services within Colorado’s Behavioral Health Administration and the senior staff-authority on gender-responsive behavioral health treatment and on substance abuse treatment for pregnant and parenting women,  provided an introduction to the Indications for Toxicology Testing in Colorado Birthing Facilities Best practice guidelines that was developed by a multidisciplinary group and intended to serve as best practice guidance for Colorado birthing facilities on clinical best practice principles related to toxicology testing. The template should be used to inform development of a clear and transparent toxicology testing policy at a birthing facility or health system, and can be adopted and/or adapted to meet an individual facility’s needs.

Dr. Laurie Seidel Halmo, medical toxicologist and an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Section of Hospital Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado, was a consultant and involved in the content development  of the guide. 

Dr. Halmo provided a keynote presentation on the indications for toxicology testing and the learning objectives included:

  • Identify the limitations, potential for harm and potential for benefit that accompanies toxicology testing in the perinatal period
  • ​Recognize the benefits of obtaining informed consent
  • Describe evidence-based indications for toxicology testing in the perinatal period

Deborah Monaghan, Medical Director at the Colorado Department of Children, Youth and Families; Lauren Bruns is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with CU School of Medicine & newborn hospitalist at Denver Health, and Shannon Bryan, Substance Use Disorder and Substance Exposed Newborn Specialist for Colorado’s Office of Children Youth and Families Division of Child Welfare, provided a keynote presentation on Best Practice Recommendations for Collaboration and Integration of Plans of Safe Care Implementation in Colorado. The presentation included an overview of best practices for healthcare based providers and child welfare response and involvement.

    Dr. Bird Gilmartin provided a presentation on the history and development of the Kids in Care Settings  (KICS) Clinic and outlined the special care components the KICS clinic will offer. The KICS Clinic Pilot launched April 17, 2023.

    Dr. Kathleen Hannan, provided a presentation on the Intersection Between Medically Complex and Substance Exposed Newborns (SEN). Dr. Hannan defined who are the children with medical complexity (CMC), and what we do and don’t know about the overlapping landscape of CMC and SENs. Dr. Hannan provided case examples and shared opportunities for improved care for these infants.

    Attendees heard updates from the organizations that support the CHoSEN Collaborative, learning about the data related to CHoSEN’s key drivers from Dr. Susan Hwang, hearing about current perinatal behavioral health related funding and projects from CPCQC’s, Sara Brandspidel, and receiving information on the systems changes in progress from Illuminate Colorado’s Jade Woodard. Dr. Hwang shared next steps and ways to be involved with CHoSEN and related efforts.

    Dr. Don Stader and Dr. Kaylin Klie with The Colorado MOMs Initiative provided a naloxone distribution update and naloxone training for all participants. Prescilla Wells, Coach and Harm Reduction Specialist, began a powerful presentation connecting to the purpose through story sharing and lived experience.

    We were so pleased to have so many multi-sector individuals engage in this hybrid event, and we look forward to the next one in Fall 2023!

    Missed the event or looking to refresh your memory of the day? Find the materials below.

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