AMCHP and ASTHO Release Maternal and Child Health Journal Special Issue: Public Health Approaches to Perinatal Substance Use
December 05, 2023

Washington, DC – Almost one in four pregnancy-related deaths is attributed to mental health conditions, including substance use disorder, making them the leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths. Now is a critical time to invest in the health and wellness of perinatal people with substance use disorder (SUD) and their families. The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) are pleased to announce the release of a special issue of the Maternal and Child Health Journal on public health approaches to perinatal substance use.

Read it today: December 2023 Special Issue: Public Health Approaches to Perinatal Substance Use.

This special Maternal and Child Health Journal issue builds on the evidence base by featuring 21 open-access articles highlighting the latest research, programs, and policy initiatives in perinatal SUD. Notably, the articles highlight tangible program and policy approaches to preventing and mitigating the harms of perinatal substance use and improving maternal and child health. The authors identify five strategic directions to generate new lines of inquiry and scale up evidence-based programs and policies:

  • Assess the State of Perinatal Behavioral Health
  • Build a Diverse and Culturally Competent Perinatal Behavioral Health Workforce
  • Integrate Perinatal and Behavioral Health Care Services
  • Advance Non-Punitive and Harm Reduction Approaches
  • Facilitate Change by Strengthening Systems of Care for Perinatal People with Substance Use Disorder

Improving outcomes for perinatal people with SUD requires collective action. This special issue is a call to the public health community and maternal and child advocates to address perinatal SUD through a compassionate, holistic wellness lens for birthing people and families.

Please join AMCHP and ASTHO on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at 12:30 pm ET / 9:30 am PT for a virtual forum to unveil the special issue. The event will feature remarks by leaders from AMCHP, ASTHO, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau within the Health Resources and Services Administration. A select group of authors from the special issue will present their work and engage in enriching discussion.

Please visit AMCHP’s social media toolkit to access sample posts, graphics, and more to share across your networks and social media channels. For inquiries, please email Amani Echols at

The Maternal and Child Health Journal special issue is funded through a cooperative agreement from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau within the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The special issue is a capstone of the PRISM (Promoting Innovation in State and Territorial MCH Policymaking) project led by AMCHP and ASTHO.  


The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) is a national resource, partner, and advocate for state public health leaders and others working to improve the health of women, children, youth, families, and communities. AMCHP builds successful programs to serve its members by disseminating best practices; advocating on their behalf in Washington, DC; providing technical assistance; convening leaders to share experiences and ideas; and advising states about involving partners to reach our common goal of healthy children, healthy families, and healthy communities. For more information, visit and follow AMCHP on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Instagram.

Please contact Eden Desta ( for questions or media requests.

Download the News Release