Awards & Accomplishments

St. Louis Integrated Health Network-led Enhanced CenteringPregnancy Collaborative Receives First Place


Contact: Kelly McKay-Gist
St. Louis Integrated Health Network
Phone: 314-657-1506

St. Louis Integrated Health Network-led Enhanced CenteringPregnancy Collaborative Receives First Place in Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care National Improvement Challenge on Reduction of Peripartum Racial and Ethnic Disparities

The Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care has awarded the Enhanced CenteringPregnancy Collaborative first place in their 2019 National Improvement Challenge. The Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care represents over twenty health care and patient advocacy organizations united to provide safe health care for every woman. The 2019 National Improvement Challenge required entrants to show successful implementation of one of the Council’s patient safety bundles in combination with a patient safety framework designed to increase equitable pregnancy outcomes.

“We are grateful for the support of the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care,” said Kelly McKay-Gist, Program Coordinator at the St. Louis Integrated Health Network for the Enhanced CenteringPregnancy Collaborative. “Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities and accelerating racial equity is our core mission and we are thrilled to be able to improve health outcomes and change care delivery.”

The Enhanced CenteringPregnancy Collaborative seeks to: 1) Reduce patients inequitable adverse pregnancy outcomes and buffer against trauma and stress. 2) Provide intensive trainings for health care teams to support patients who are experiencing trauma, depression and psychosocial stress as result of racism, and 3) Increase shared accountability to promote direct practice changes while catalyzing system level changes to ensure community members and health care teams are working together to eliminate racial disparities through development of innovative solutions, policies and new approaches to care delivery. The effort brings together a trans-disciplinary collaborative representing key St. Louis health care institutions, community collaborators and community-based organizations. The entire effort is planned and executed in partnership with community collaborators, who bring the voice of women seeking and accessing care throughout the area.

“This necessary work centers the women and babies shouldering the greatest burden of health disparities in our region –Black moms and babies,” said Dr. Melissa Tepe, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Affinia Healthcare and Chair, Enhanced CenteringPregnancy Collaborative. “It is powerful because the work is led by the community, implemented by a collaborative, region-wide, diverse health care team, and increases the vitality of moms and babies in our communities.”

Outcomes from the Collaborative’s innovative pilot group prenatal care model indicate a promising trend in lower rates of preterm birth, lower rates of depression and higher birth weights.

Partners and group prenatal care sites include:

  • Community Collaborators: Jessica Belton, Joie Cruesoe, Jenelle Norman, Teneisha Parks, Cheron Phillips and Richelle Smith
  • Affinia Healthcare
  • BJC Healthcare Barnes-Jewish Hospital
  • CareSTL Health
  • Family Care Health Centers
  • Flourish STL
  • Good Shephard Children and Family Services
  • Jamaa Birth Village
  • Mercy Hospital -St. Louis
  • Saint Louis Integrated Health Network
  • Saint Louis University School of Medicine
  • SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine

Other award-winning programs the Council selected for the 2019 National Improvement Challenge: Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (2nd place), University of Maryland-St. Joseph Medical School (3rd place), and Penn Medicine-Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (4th place).


The Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care seeks to continually improve patient safety in women’s health care through multidisciplinary collaboration that drives culture change. The National Improvement Challenge, offered annually, seeks to improve women’s health care through the development of patient safety and quality improvement projects and to foster a culture of collaboration, teamwork, patient safety, and communication between clinicians and patients while concurrently increasing widespread implementation of the safety tools and resources put forth by the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care.

The St. Louis Integrated Health Network, through collaboration and partnership, strives for quality, accessible, and affordable healthcare services for all residents of Metropolitan St. Louis, with an emphasis on the medically underserved. IHN members include five community health center organizations totaling 18 sites, two medical schools, two public health departments, and three major hospital systems coordinating care. If you would like more information about this topic, please call Kelly McKay-Gist at (314-657-1506) or email