ST. LOUIS, September 26, 2022 – On October 6th, 2022, the RHC with partners Behavioral Health Network of Greater St. Louis (BHN), Generate Health, St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN) and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) hosted a Town Hall and Educational Roundtable event, centered around Medicaid and Reproductive Health.

If you were unable to attend the event in-person, a recording of the town hall portion is available on our Youtube channel. A written summary of the Town Hall and each of the Roundtable breakouts is available here, or click the button below.

For access to additional materials from the roundtables (presentation slides, handouts, etc) please see the button below.

Our topics of interest and framing for this event have been informed by our policy and advocacy efforts in the last legislative session and our ongoing/current strategic priorities.

The World Health Organization defines Reproductive Health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.” By this definition, the importance of reproductive health is true for all persons, regardless of sex or gender identity. The RHC advocacy priorities of expanding coverage for the uninsured and underinsured, achieving health equity, developing the health care workforce, and addressing the social determinants of health are all influenced by access to and quality of reproductive healthcare.

The event will take place at the UMSL Millennium Student Center from 9am to 12pm.

Three (3) contact hours will also be available for purchase for those who attend.

Panelists for the event include:

  • LaKisha Reddit (Maternal Health and Doula Services)
  • State Senator Jill Schupp (District 24- Part of St. Louis County)
  • Dr. Melissa Tepe (Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Affinia Healthcare)
  • Dr. Jennifer Wessels (Chief Medical Director of Home State Health Plan Inc.)

Moderators for the event include:

  • Lora Gulley, MSW (Director of Community Mobilization / Advocacy at Generate Health)
  • Dr. Jade James-Halbert (Obstetrics and Gynecology, SSM Health)

During the first portion of the event, panelists will participate in a Town-Hall-style discussion about Medicaid and Reproductive care. As we approach 2023, we want to know…

  1. What has changed?
  2. What has not yet changed?
  3. What is still unknown/undetermined?
  4. How do we navigate through all of this to strengthen reproductive health?

Following the Town Hall, our partners Behavioral Health Network, Generate Health, Integrated Health Network and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri will each host a “breakout” session in the form of an educational roundtable. The roundtables will be an opportunity for the participants to deeply connect and investigate specific issues and questions related to Medicaid and reproductive health care with a variety of voices and perspectives seated around the table.

The roundtables will cover the following topics:

  • BHN: “Medicaid and Mental Health Concerns”
    • Behavioral Health Network will lead engaging conversations to discuss issues and access to care among women with Medicaid benefits who are also living with mental health concerns. Access to quality care, as well as appropriate delivery of services are needed for all women. During this session, you will share thoughts about the correlation of Medicaid and mental health, provide examples and create strategies to better support all women.
  • Generate Health: “Racial Equity and Maternal Health Policy”
    • Generate Health is centering the voices of those most impacted to design change, policies, and calls to action with regard to Momnibus policy priorities. This session will discuss how Generate Health and partners are building collective strength to advocate for policies and practices that advance racial equity in maternal health. Calls to action center around improving access to affordable and equitable health care, before, between and after pregnancies, including 12- month postpartum extension and growing and diversifying perinatal workforce.
  • IHN: “Holistic Care and Reproductive Justice”
    • IHN and partners will center the importance of holistically supporting birthing people from prenatal care through post-partum care with special emphasis on infant food access & security. Calls to action will include creating more donor milk depots and a donor milk dispensary in St. Louis as well as WIC/Medicaid coverage of donor milk. This session will center discussion on the importance of reproductive justice, which includes the ability to parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.
  • Legal Services of Eastern Missouri: “Health Advocacy and Improving Access to Care”
    • Elizabeth Larsen, Program Director of the Advocates for Family Health program and Earlene Bolton, Senior Outreach Coordinator of the Connecting Kids to Coverage program, will discuss both the systemic legal advocacy efforts and day-to-day Medicaid and public benefits advocacy done in the Health & Welfare Unit at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. This session will discuss legal advocacy with regard to accessing public benefits, as well as how patients can qualify for and keep Medicaid.

The RHC recognizes that without reproductive health, there cannot be reproductive justice. SisterSong defines reproductive justice as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” We hope that through meaningful conversation, education, and listening efforts, our event will provide context into the quality and care of our health systems and improve our communities.

Masks are recommended!

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

A special thanks to our event partners:

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