First Year Families logo, green shape of the state of Washington with First Year Families written below

First Year Families: Perinatal Mood Disorder Learning Collaborative

Tatiana Sarkhosh, MPH
WCAAP Program Manager

For the past year, seven clinics in Pierce and Yakima counties participated in our learning collaborative called “First Year Families,” which is part of WCAAP’s Washington Child Health Improvement Project (WA-CHIP). Our team leaders include Mary Ann Woodruff, MD, FAAP (Pediatrics Northwest), Doug Russell, MD (Seattle Children’s), and DeAnna Dudley, BSN, RN-CPN (Pediatrics Northwest). The project aimed to implement an entirely new workflow into the participating clinics, specifically to screen caregivers for perinatal mood disorders and connect families in need to services.

First Year Families logo, green shape of the state of Washington with First Year Families written below

First Year Families kicked off in October 2020 with a foundation in quality improvement, attachment and early relational health, perinatal mood disorders, and leading practice change. Each month, the practice leads would refine their intervention, submit data, meet with their quality improvement coaches, and convene as a cohort to review data and collaborate. Many of the practice leaders were new to their practice and championed the intervention while simultaneously becoming acclimated to a new clinic and staff.

By the end of the initiative in October 2021, 1,717 caregivers were screened for perinatal mood disorders, 65 screens were positive, and 58 of the caregivers who screened positive successfully received a follow-up call within two weeks of the screening. Our team is grateful for the dedication and perseverance demonstrated by the practice leads who, despite the challenges experienced in primary care in the past year, understood the importance of supporting caregiver mental health and family well-being as a method of promoting early relational health. 

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