Session: Using Research and Research Findings to Impact Policy Change Related to Maternal Mental Health (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

212 Using Research and Research Findings to Impact Policy Change Related to Maternal Mental Health

Friday, January 22, 2021: 1:15 PM-2:15 PM
Cluster: Social Work Practice
Sarah Kye Price, PhD, , Sarah Bledsoe, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mcclain Sampson, PhD, University of Houston and Rena Bina, PhD, Bar Ilan University
Policy practice is an essential role social workers undertake to propose and change policies in order to promote social justice. Research is an important contributor to policy practice, yet no theory, model or guideline refers specifically to the role of research in influencing policy change. The purpose of this roundtable is to facilitate a discussion on various ways in which social work research and research findings can impact policy. Roundtable presenters will discuss this issue from different viewpoints and perspectives in the context of maternal mental health. Participants will be invited to share their ideas and experiences on this topic in the maternal mental health context as well as in other contexts. Maternal mental health is essential for women’s, infants and the entire family’s wellbeing and development. Yet, mothers’ physical wellbeing takes precedence in research, policy and practice. This can be seen, for example, in policies resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the shortening of postpartum hospital stay and the related physical consequences, with no reference to the impact of such policies on maternal mental health. Addressing maternal mental health policy is even more crucial among ethnic and economic minority populations which rely, more than the general population, on public systems and policies. The presenters in this roundtable are all social work researchers with experience in using their research and research findings to influence policy change related to maternal mental health. They will discuss their successes and difficulties in their attempts to influence policy change. Our first presenter will share her experience of using data to inform state-level policy recommendations for reducing maternal mortality and supporting positive maternal mental health. She will also provide a research informed conceptual framework that calls for early and ongoing assessment and intervention for maternal mental health during the prenatal and postpartum period. Our second presenter will describe a group initiative, consisting of perinatal mental health activists, researchers, healthcare providers and women with lived experience, to inform and impact maternal mental health policy change in Israel and the role of research in this initiative. She will also share her personal experience in sharing research findings with key figures and service providers to impact policy change. Our third presenter will discuss shaping research in the context of State MCH Policy priorities, and partnering with state and local health departments as key stakeholders in design, delivery and dissemination in order to affect policy change and translate research immediately into statewide practice and policy. Our fourth presenter will discuss a community based participatory research project focused on maternal health and wellbeing in a rural, majority-minority community and how this project used PhotoVoice to influence local agency and government policies related to maternal health and wellbeing. Our goal is to use this roundtable forum to generate an overall understanding of different methods and best practices in using social work research and research findings to impact policy, especially for marginalized populations.
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