Mother kissing baby son
April 6, 2023 | Online

2023 Maternal and Child Health Conference

Maternal and Child Health Conference

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The 2023 MCH Conference will connect providers, researchers and community stakeholders who work across disciplines to address cross-cutting issues and innovations that improve the health of maternal-child populations and help families thrive.

All times are Mountain Standard Time and may need to be adjusted according to your own time zone. The schedule is subject to change.

Get to know MCH panelists and presenters:

2023 Maternal and Child Health Conference schedule

Time Session Speakers
8:30-8:45 a.m. Welcome message and land acknowledgement

Corrie Whisner
Associate professor and Maternal and Child Health Translational Research Team co-director
College of Health Solutions

Cady Berkel
Associate professor and Maternal and Child Health Translational Research Team co-director
College of Health Solutions


Liza Hita
Clinical associate professor
College of Health Solutions


8:45-9:30 a.m.

Arizona MCH Title V Block Grant


Join this session to learn about the Arizona MCH Title V Block Grant. You will learn about Title V and how it is utilized in the state of Arizona. Current MCH-focused initiatives occurring in Arizona and resources related to these initiatives will also be shared. 

Laura Luna Bellucci
Chief, Bureau of Women's and Children's Health
Arizona MCH and Children with Special Health Care Needs director
Arizona Department of Health Services
9:30-10:30 a.m.

Early Childhood Mental Health: The Importance of Relationships


This workshop will offer an introduction to the mental health needs of infants and young children, the importance of the relationships young children develop with their caregivers, and mental health services that specialize in supporting young children and their caregivers through relationship-based services. The workshop will consider potential impacts of adverse experiences for young children and paths for recovery and healing.

Molly Strothkamp
Child therapist and training coordinator
Southwest Human Development, Good Fit Counseling Center and Harris Institute
10:30-10:40 a.m. Break  
10:40-11:10 a.m.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression


Postpartum depression occurs in about one in seven women and can begin anytime within the first year after giving birth. This session will address postpartum depression in the connection to breastfeeding. 

Jennie Bever
Executive director and founder
4th Trimester
11:10-11:40 a.m.

Better Together: Recovery is Possible, and We All Deserve Do-Overs


Substance use disorder has been increasing across the country over the last decade. Arizona is one of a few states with the greatest increase in the percentage of maternal opiate-related diagnoses since 2010. In this session, non-stigmatizing, trauma-informed dyad-centered care practices, policies, and recovery focused supports for newborns and their parents will be explored and discussed. 

Kate Dobler
State Pilot Grant Program for Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women project director
Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
11:40 a.m.-12:10 p.m.

Supporting Opioid Dependent Pregnancies Through Collective Impact


Hushabye Nursery practices the model of Collective Impact, a community model that organically grows a system of care for the families of Arizona using existing community providers and agencies. Audience members will learn how Hushabye Nursery was developed, trends in opioids around Arizona, and how community agencies are pulling together to serve Arizona families.

Shauna Anderson
Education services supervisor

Hushabye Nursery


Michael White
Director of community programs
Hushabye Nursery

12:10-12:55 p.m.

Words Matter: The Language of Health


The words that we choose for health communications can be empowering, inclusive, respectful, and can strengthen the community’s trust in us as public health professionals, or they can be divisive, biased and exclusionary. There are many things to consider when crafting health messages for our priority audiences, including health equity principles, health literacy, asset-based language, and trauma-informed care, to name a few. This presentation will give a brief overview of why words matter, introduce the Language of Health Style Guide and other guiding principles that can help shape our health communications, show examples of how Arizona Department of Health Services’ Power Me A2Z folic acid program updated its messaging to be more inclusive and equitable, and allow participants to practice improving health messages. 

Susie Leo
Parental and child health dietitian  
Arizona Department of Health Services
12:55-1:10 p.m. Break  
1:10-2:20 p.m.

Emerging Practice and Research


Presentation of various topics related to maternal and child health, followed by discussion and live Q&A with the presenter.

2:20-3:20 p.m.

Prescribing Ethics for Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders


This ethics session will address strategies to integrate ethics for co-occurring mental health disorders and substance use disorder to better support individuals pre- and post-birth. 

Liz Harrell
Clinical associate professor
College of Health Solutions
3:20-4 p.m.

Emerging Research Lightning Talks


Presentation of various topics related to maternal and child health will be available as an online gallery. Each presenter will be available live in individual Zoom rooms for discussion and Q&A. Attendees will be able to hop in and out of Zoom rooms to interact with different presenters.