Tori Drew

Written by Tori Drew @toridrew

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Committed to improving maternal health outcomes in Rhode Island, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island (Neighborhood) has partnered with the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) to bring LunaYou – a first-of-its-kind maternal wellbeing program – to its pregnant members.

Developed by BIF to address the maternal health crisis in Rhode Island, LunaYou is a women-centric, empowerment-focused program that supports prenatal and postnatal care. LunaYou is open to all pregnant women, but it is designed to help Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) women – who historically have far poorer maternal health outcomes.

“Since our founding, Neighborhood has focused on giving at-risk Rhode Islanders a voice in their health care, and has worked to address health disparities to improve health outcomes,” said Peter Marino, president and CEO of Neighborhood. “Connecting LunaYou to our offerings is one more way we can advocate for our members.”

“Maternal health in Rhode Island, just like across the nation, is a social, racial and economic issue that must be addressed,” said Saul Kaplan, founder and chief catalyst of BIF. “A growing body of research suggests that by enabling self empowerment social support, and personalized wellbeing we can reduce the risk of poor maternal health outcomes. This is a preventable problem and we are pleased to be partnering with Neighborhood on LunaYou to move the needle on this issue. Working together, we believe we will contribute to improving maternal health outcomes in Rhode Island.”

Dr. Yvonne Heredia, senior manager of care management and the health plan’s project lead for the LunaYou initiative, said, “We are thrilled to offer this innovative program to our pregnant members. The critical aspect of LunaYou is its focus on pregnancy empowerment as minority women historically have not been listened to by their providers during their pregnancies when expressing their concerns or symptoms. As a black woman and someone who was homeless and pregnant in my teens, I speak from experience and see tremendous potential in LunaYou.”

Early feedback from some of Neighborhood’s initial members enrolled in LunaYou is positive, indicating the program may be providing the resources needed to improve maternal health outcomes.

  • “This is my first pregnancy and I’m doing this pregnancy alone as a parent. It feels really good to have the additional support.”
  • “Tracking my blood pressure is really important to me and LunaYou gives me a peace of mind while pregnant.”
  • “I really want to give birth naturally and to stay active while pregnant. LunaYou will help me stay accountable.”