The purpose of the article is to describe an educational intervention for health professionals
based on an interprofessional-shared decision making (IP-SDM) model in the women’s
prenatal and early postpartum care and to observe whether after the intervention there was an improvement
of certain outcomes such as: acquisition of substance use disorder knowledge, stigma
reduction, and referrals to an evidenced-based program.
Background: Providers might be unaware of this population’s unique issues, such as how women
make decisions about recovery, their accessibility to substance use treatment, state child welfare
laws regarding prenatal substance use, and information about neonates exposed to substances.
Objectives: A training was developed to address perinatal providers’ knowledge gaps and reduce
stigma. Specific training elements included promoting universal verbal screening, information about
treatment during pregnancy, and how to make recovery-related decisions utilizing an IP-SDM model.
Methods: This mixed-methods study was conducted with 45 perinatal providers from community
health centers across Southern New England. Providers attended a one-hour training and completed
pre and posttraining online surveys.
Results: The majority of participants who completed the online surveys have worked in obstetrical
medicine for more than a decade. The findings demonstrated that providers who participated in this
training increased their knowledge of child welfare laws pertaining to prenatal substance use as well
as what community resources might be available to this population of women. The increased
knowledge was verified through increased referrals to an evidence-based program, Healthy Families
America. Moreover, stigma was reduced from pre to posttraining regarding women with substance
Conclusion: Our results suggest the importance of specified training to address the unique needs of
this patient population.