Perinatal and Infant Community Health Collaboratives (PICHC) Initiative

The goal of the Perinatal and Infant Community Health Collaboratives (PICHC) initiative is to support community-based efforts to improve overall health and well-being of birthing people and their families and improve health outcomes. The PICHC program works together with communities to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in health outcomes and address the factors that affect racial and ethnic disparities. PICHC programs use a reproductive justice framework, which means ensuring that every person understands their right to make decisions about their own bodies, including whether they want to have children or not, and have access to and the ability for parenting children in safe and healthy communities.

Through the PICHC initiative, New York State is working to improve perinatal and infant health outcomes for high-need, low income, Medicaid eligible individuals and their families. Key priority outcomes include reducing:

  • Preterm Births; births occurring before 37 weeks gestation (of pregnancy);
  • Low Birth Weight; an infant weighing less than 2,500 grams at birth;
  • Infant Mortality; an infant death from the time of birth until the day of the infant’s first birthday; and
  • Maternal Mortality; the death of a birthing individual while pregnant or within one year of the end of pregnancy.

PICHC programs use strategies to improve the health and well-being of individuals of reproductive age and their families with a focus on individuals in the prenatal, postpartum, and interconception periods. PICHC programs use individual-level approaches to improve perinatal health behaviors, and community-level approaches to address the social factors that impact health outcomes (Social Determinants of Health | CDC). The core individual-level strategy is the use of Community Health Workers (CHWs) to outreach and provide supports to eligible individuals at risk for, or with a history of, poor birth outcomes. Community-level strategies involve collaboration with diverse community partners, including community residents, to mobilize community action, and to address the social determinants impacting perinatal health outcomes. Community mobilization and engagement involves active participation by community members on community boards or coalitions, and participation in advocacy training to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health care.

There are 26 PICHC projects across the state collaborating with community partners to implement strategies to:

  • Engage pregnant, postpartum, and interconception individuals and their families in healthcare and other supportive services (e.g., group activities like childbirth/parenting classes, breastfeeding cafes’) through outreach, screening, care coordination, referral, and follow-up;
  • Ensure pregnant, postpartum, and interconception individuals are aware of community services, and have knowledge and skills to seek out and receive needed care;
  • Strengthen community capacity to address social determinants of health through community mobilization, collaboration, and engaging those most impacted by disparities.

PICHC programs will work with community residents and stakeholders in priority communities to participate in planning, developing, and implementing community-level strategies that address the social determinants which impact perinatal and infant health, and disparities in those outcomes. The goal of these efforts are changes at the systems-level which include: improved access and use of community services; improved quality of health and social services, systems, and supports; and improved coordination of services.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) and other staff may access a variety of trainings through the online training resource, The Institute for the Advancement of Family Support Professionals: