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Our Initiatives

Substance Exposed Pregnancies

As part of the BHB Initiative, the Baltimore City Health Department has pulled together a coalition of providers and policymakers working to prevent substance-exposed pregnancies in the city. The coalition is one of six teams nationally receiving technical assistance from CityMATCH’s Prevention of Substance-Exposed Pregnancies (PSEP) Collaborative.

Vision: Healthy, substance-free pregnancies and equitable birth outcomes for all of Baltimore’s families.

Mission: To reduce fetal and infant death and pre-term and low-weight births in Baltimore City by minimizing the prevalence of substance exposure in utero and postpartum.

Guiding Principle: Our coalition will utilize a racial justice and health equity framework when creating, implementing, or promoting programs, policies, and partnerships.


  • Increase demand for and access to high-quality reproductive healthcare and family planning for individuals with behavioral health conditions.
  • Increase behavioral health care (including smoking cessation) utilization and promote supportive environments before conception, during pregnancy, and postpartum.
  • Increase quality of care for people who use drugs or have mental illness by improving knowledge and sensitivity among healthcare and social service professionals.
  • Improve systems-based and programmatic capacity for comprehensive, accessible, and high-quality behavioral health and attendant care to women of reproductive age, esp. before conception, during pregnancy, and postpartum.

*Mental illness and acute or chronic psychological stress more often accompanies substance use than not. Thus, PSEP will be striving to better address mental health in our efforts to prevent substance-exposed pregnancies. The model that bridges substance use and mental health is known as behavioral health.

 PSEP "Fast Facts"

  • The PSEP coalition is the arm of BHB that addresses behavioral health, pregnancy, and parenting.
  • PSEP is co-led between BCHD and Behavioral Health System Baltimore (BHSB)
  • Our work takes place at the intersection of the following aims, both with a focus on women of reproductive age:
    • Increase access, quality, and demand of behavioral health care in Baltimore City
    • Increase access, quality, and demand of family planning services in Baltimore City
  • Some of our main initiatives:
    • Integrating reproductive health screening, education, and services into the care offered at substance use disorder treatment programs
    • Integrating screening and referrals related to behavioral health into care at family planning programs
    • Mass health communication campaigns on the effects of smoke exposure on the fetus and young children
    • Promoting behavioral health screening, testing, and referrals of pregnant women and newborns at labor and delivery in a way that is equitable and does not further stigmatize women who use drugs


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Sponsored by the Office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake,
Baltimore City Health Department,
The Family League of Baltimore, and
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield