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Partner Spotlight

Integrated Care for High Risk Pregnancies (ICHRP)

The Integrated Care for High Risk Pregnancies (ICHRP): low birth weight focus initiative addresses African American pregnancy disparities, and several groups are working to share knowledge and services with families, the African American community, paraprofessionals, and primary care providers. If you are a U.S.-born African American eligible for Medicaid in the Twin Cities, learn more about services to promote healthy African American pregnancies.

Spotlight Interview

May 2022

Interviewed: Ciana Cullens, M.A., Strategic Leadership, Nubian Moms Project Director at Open Cities Health Center
Interviewed by MNPQC Interns: Anna Maristela & Abi Rajasekaran

When and how was the ICHRP Initiative founded?

The ICHRP Initiative was piloted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services in 2015, tasked by the Minnesota legislature to improve birth outcomes. After research, they discovered that low birth weights were especially high in Hennepin County and Ramsey County, which was attributed to the population density in these counties of Native American and African American women born in the U.S. They then wanted to partner with the community to find solutions to this issue.

What changes did the ICHRP Initiative have to implement to adapt to COVID-19?

ICHRP had to implement virtual meetings for the grantees and board. While the respective grantee sites have their own protocol, we would convene twice a month virtually for the combined grantee meetings and board meetings.

How can we as healthcare professionals help carry out the ICHRP Initiative’s mission?

Professionals can help us move forward by participating in implicit bias and anti-racism training regularly. They can also share spaces with the Black community by joining organization meetings, and sitting in to get connected to the experiences of the African American community. We need to humanize people that aren’t like us. For more ways to help, is a great website with numerous resources and readings about different ways to carry out this mission.

What services does the ICHRP Initiative provide to combat low birth weight?

We mostly provide psychosocial support, which is proven to reduce low birth weight numbers. Some of these support systems are through culturally reflective care navigation, support groups, doulas that are also culturally reflective, and access points to different resources. All of this work aims to promote healthy birth outcomes for all pregnant people.

I read that housing and child protection are some services offered. How does this process work and how do you ensure children are brought to a safe home?

We do not have direct contact with child protection. However, we do encourage practitioners to make referrals so that we can reach out to mothers that need the resources we offer. In terms of housing and child protection, we facilitate case management and connect mothers and their children to housing resources so that they may be able to find the help they need.

I saw that there are many training videos and conferences offered to advance your mission. Who are these videos directed toward and how can the general public be more aware of these opportunities?

These training videos are aimed directly at the community, which includes the healthcare and human services sector, as well as individual helping professionals. The social determinants of a healthy pregnancy involve many different sectors, so we try to include as many groups of people that are willing to learn. We want the community to be aware of these disparities, so these training sessions are a way for them to enhance their understanding. If others would like to learn more about these pieces of training and conferences, they can go to to read more. We want individuals to reach out to us to be part of our monthly board meetings as well. Anyone can participate as a guest to be better informed about what we are doing.

Project Facilitator GrayHall LLC

Nora Hall | 651-222-8333