On October 20, 2022, 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 option for the first time in over two years. 

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser provided
​opening remarks
 for the momentous occasion,
reflecting on the fact that, with the opioid crisis, “the amount of trauma and impact […] is one that I don’t think we’ve fully processed or acknowledged” and that – given increased levels of public awareness, the financial settlements with pharmaceutical companies, and the ever-growing amount of need, “we are at a moment of opportunity- with funding, urgency, and creative ​problem solving all on the table- to address what truly is a public health crisis.” 

Attorney General Weiser asserted that, in order to seize these opportunities to their fullest, we must build “interdisciplinary relationships, outside of our silos, to give us the breadth of vision, including from people with lived experience”.

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

The day’s keynote presentations included the perspectives of a physician who is engaged in similar work in Massachusetts and a Colorado-based expert on Early Intervention.

Dr. Davida Schiff presented on special considerations for utilizing toxicology testing with birthing people, including considerations related to consent and racial disproportionality in testing and child welfare referrals, asking attendees, “How do we create systems of support rather than surveillance?” and offering that “Multidisciplinary teams coming together, discussing challenging cases and listening to diverse perspectives, is required for true systems change.”

Lenita Hartman presented on Early Intervention (EI), a program that provides support and services to children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families until the child’s third birthday and is an appropriate support service forsome children impacted by prenatal substance exposure. Lenita, who is the Associate Director of Early Intervention Colorado Part C, shared updates on the current state of EI in Colorado and ongoing and forthcoming changes related to the intake and referral process, evaluations, and program eligibility.

A​ttendees also heard from the three organizations that support the CHoSEN Collaborative, receiving updates about data on CHoSEN’s key drivers through the 3rd quarter of 2022 from Dr. Susan Hwang, hearing about current perinatal behavioral health related funding and projects from CPCQC’s Katie Breen, and learning about the systems changes in progress from Illuminate Colorado’s Jade Woodard.

​Information and updates on projects happening within the CHoSEN Collaborative related to the current state and next steps for the care of substance-exposed newborns at University of Colorado Hospital, the CHoSEN Perinatal Navigator Program, and efforts to engage pregnant women impacted by substance use through “passive” recruitment efforts were presented by Lyle Holmes, Dr. Kathi Wells, and Dr. Laurie Halmo. To round out the hybrid portion of the day, Dr. Hwang shared next steps and ways to be involved with CHoSEN and related efforts.

With the return of an in-person option came a return to offering attendees a chance to connect in smaller groups and dive deeper into a particular topic by engaging in facilitated breakout discussions on the topics of family engagement, hospital-based naloxone distribution, breastfeeding, and plans of safe care.

We were so excited to have so many multi-sector individuals engage in this hybrid event, and we look forward to the next one on April 18, 2023!

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, recordings, and opportunities to engage below.

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