Skip Navigation Links
May/June 2019Expand May/June 2019
March/April 2019Expand March/April 2019
January/February 2019Expand January/February 2019
November/December 2018Expand November/December 2018
September/October 2018Expand September/October 2018
July/August 2018Expand July/August 2018
May/June 2018Expand May/June 2018
March/April 2018Expand March/April 2018
January/February 2018Expand January/February 2018
July/August 2017Expand July/August 2017
May/June 2017Expand May/June 2017
March/April 2017Expand March/April 2017
January/February 2017Expand January/February 2017
November/December 2016Expand November/December 2016
July/August 2016Expand July/August 2016
May/June 2016Expand May/June 2016
March/April 2016Expand March/April 2016
January/February 2016Expand January/February 2016
November/December 2015Expand November/December 2015
July/August 2015Expand July/August 2015
May/June 2015Expand May/June 2015
March/April 2015Expand March/April 2015
January/February 2015Expand January/February 2015
ArchiveExpand Archive
November/December 2017Expand November/December 2017
PulseTemplate
September/October 2015Expand September/October 2015
September/October 2016Expand September/October 2016
September/October 2017Expand September/October 2017
Special Edition - EPRExpand Special Edition - EPR
Special Edition: Title V Technical Assistance MeetingExpand Special Edition: Title V Technical Assistance Meeting
Title V Technical Assistance Meeting

 Innovation Station Spotlight: Commonsense Childbirth

Commonsense Childbirth is a nonprofit organization, founded by midwife Jennie Joseph in 1998, whose mission is that no one is turned away regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Its work targets pregnant, postpartum, and interconceptional women who are at risk for a poor birth outcome or and subsequent perinatal mood disorders due to socio-economic and environmental stressors and the social determinants of health. The organization focuses on reducing racial disparities in maternal child health and have applied the evidence-based best practice model, The JJ Way, to reduce prematurity, low-birth weight, and infant mortality, while improving access to maternity care, support, and education. The JJ Way is a specific maternal child health (MCH) model that has been developed and codified by Joseph and implemented by her trained-team with consistent positive improvements for mothers and babies.

As an obstetric safety-net provider, the agency has maintained its programs by providing fee-for-service perinatal care when patients have carried Medicaid or commercial insurance and by offering low-cost or in-kind services when they are uninsured. Commonsense Childbirth is working to restore equity in health care access by implementing its "no one turned away policy,' which allows medical and financial triage, supporting and navigating applications for Medicaid and health insurance. Adding bilingual educators addresses another community need for non-English speaking patients and increases sustainability.

This increased access to early and consistent prenatal care has reduced poor birth outcomes including prematurity and low birth weight among high-social and obstetrical risk women in the West Orange County and South Lake County areas in New Jersey. However, many women struggle during the postpartum period due to postpartum depression and lack of support or resources to deal with their stress. To meet this need, the organization began offering a postpartum depression screen, as well as access to a weekly postpartum support group, in February 2017.

Future expansion of the model utilizes the National Perinatal Task Force. The task force is designed to provide awareness, support, and training for birth professionals and community members alike who care about the persistent racial disparities that continue to plague communities. It is a virtual community of people who have a heart for women and children. It is a grassroots movement to start and grow thriving Perinatal Safe Spots in every "Materno-Toxic Area". The taskforce consists of motivated people who have heard about the outrageous statistics and the stark racial disparities and want to see real change, really soon. People who understand that the system is broken and want to make a practical difference in health outcomes for our most at-risk mothers and babies. It is a place to share ideas and to find support. [this needs a closing statement – maybe something like "Commonsense Childbirth will be there, leading the way towards restoring equity for mothers and babies."]