Grant Targets Perinatal Smoking in Northern Michigan


March of Dimes awards regional network $33,735 for evidence-based program

Helping northern Michigan women understand the impact of smoking on fetal development is the goal of new program launching this summer with the help of a March of Dimes $33,735 grant.

The grant will allow the Northern Michigan Perinatal Collaborative Network to begin training perinatal providers on an evidence-based approach to lowering the level of perinatal smoking in northern lower Michigan.

“We believe this program we’re adapting from the Society for Public Health Education has the ability to positively impact 1,500 of the 5,000 births in the region,” said Mary Schubert, executive director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Munson Healthcare. “Northern Michigan has consistently demonstrated poor outcomes related to low birth weight and infant mortality.”

Statistics from births across 25 counties in northern and parts of western Michigan show 29 percent of births in 2014 involved mothers who smoked during their pregnancy. Research shows children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy are at greater risk for asthma, heart defects, and sudden infant death syndrome.

Grant funds will be used to train perinatal providers using the SCRIPT® (Smoking Cessation and Reduction in Pregnancy Treatment) program to discuss smoking cessation with their patients. The program includes comprehensive counseling, a Pregnant Women’s Guide to Quit Smoking, Commit to Quit DVD, and follow-up counseling to help women establish a non-smoking home.

The Perinatal Smoking Workgroup, a subcommittee of the Northern Michigan Perinatal Collaborative Network, will oversee the program. Grant funds also will be used to hire a SCRIPT coordinator who will be responsible for day-to-day management.

Plans call for educating at least 75 percent of providers who care for perinatal patients in the region by December.

Schubert said the SCRIPT program breaks new ground because it offers a uniform method and wide collaboration across the region to create a consistent message and support for both in-home visits and in-office visits by health care providers.

“Multiple consistent messages from all health providers one would see really helps provide new thoughts and behavior processes for women trying to quit smoking when maybe their home environment isn’t as supportive,” she said. “We want to create a wrap-around effect to help them achieve a good outcome for their babies and themselves.”

Plans call for patient education to begin in 2018.

The Northern Michigan Perinatal Collaborative Network includes more than 30 representatives from regional and state agencies, hospitals, insurers, providers, and others who are committed to advancing health care outcomes for women and children in the state.