UK HealthCare

Funding Will Help Expand Access to Perinatal Opioid Program

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2017) – For her work in addressing the opioid epidemic and its impact on maternal-fetal health, Kristin Ashford, associate professor and associate dean of Undergraduate Faculty Affairs in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, has been awarded the Hillman Innovations in Care Program grant from the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation.

The $600,000 award will enable Ashford to continue to expand the Perinatal Assistance and Treatment Home (PATHways) and Beyond Birth programs. The PATHways program integrates evidence-based knowledge through a comprehensive approach to perinatal opioid use disorder (OUD), offering buprenorphine maintenance treatment for OUD, neonatal abstinence syndrome, peer support and education, legal support, prenatal and postnatal health services for mother and baby, and health system navigation during delivery.

The program was expanded to include the Beyond Birth program which provides wrap around services and access to resources to aid in maintaining recovery in the two years following delivery. "After women give birth, they experience the highest amount of stress in their lifetime and this is when they need the most support in their recovery," said Ashford.

The Hillman Innovations in Care Program grant will be used by the team to expand access to the program in communities who may not have the resources available to provide this type of multidisciplinary care to mothers with perinatal opioid use disorder. The grant will be used to provide training to clinicians in high need low resource communities including Hazard and Morehead.

"The most important part of this program is helping mothers be the parents that they want to be," Ashford said. "The Hillman Innovations in Care Program grant will enable the team to reach and help more women."