New hope for pregnant, postpartum women battling substance abuse

UND-led ‘Don’t Quit the Quit’ program wins Recovery Champion Award for innovative approach to addiction

UND Clinical Professor of Nursing Maridee Shogren, who is the principal investigator for the “Don’t Quit the Quit” program, along with partners at North Dakota Women, Infant & Children Programs (WIC), received the Phoenix Recovery Champion Award at the Governor and First Lady’s annual Recovery Reinvented conference in Bismarck on Oct. 25. The organizations were recognized for their work to reduce stigma; shame; and discrimination, and to support health and wellness among pregnant and post-partum women who are on the road to recovery from substance-use disorders. UND photo.

Maridee Shogren, a clinical professor in the University College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines, and team were honored in late October by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum with a major award at the Recovery Reinvented conference held in Bismarck and online.

Shogren, who is the principal investigator for the “Don’t Quit the Quit” program, along with partners at North Dakota Women, Infant & Children Programs (WIC), received the Recovery Champion Award at the Governor and First Lady’s annual recovery conference. The organizations were recognized for their work to reduce stigma; shame; and discrimination, and to support health and wellness among pregnant and post-partum women who are on the road to recovery from substance-use disorders.

The award was presented before about 600 attendees in Bismarck and more than a 1,000 who attended online.

“The Governor, First Lady, and our Recovery Reinvented team is very excited to share the story of this partnership with the rest of the state, and frankly the country, as we have people joining the livestream online from all over, so that more communities will be inspired to take action,” said Jenny Olson, managing director for the Office of Recovery Reinvented, about UND and WIC’s efforts.

In 2020, the nonprofit Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts, or FORE, announced $10.1 million in grants to 19 organizations (selected from more than 400 organizations) on the frontlines of America’s opioid crisis. UND’s “Don’t Quit the Quit program was the only one selected from the upper Midwest. There currently are four major grants at UND, including “Don’t Quit the Quit,” that address substance use disorders directly.

According to Shogren, the Don’t Quit the Quit program is available in 12 North Dakota counties, with seven clinic systems  — with waivered providers who can treat mothers with opioid use disorder — currently participating in the program.

“Don’t Quit the Quit is also training postpartum doulas to provide added support to mothers and families in these rural communities, and the team offers free monthly educational webinars that are open to the public,” Shogren said.

Maridee Shogren, center with microphone, and members of the UND Don’t Quit the Quit and North Dakota WIC teams accept the Phoenix Recovery Champion Award from Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum on Oct. 25 in Bismarck. Photo courtesy of Maridee Shogren.

Community support

Don’t Quit the Quit’s collaboration with WIC is a critical resource for many women and children in the state to receive health screenings and secure access to healthy foods. WIC staff have the ability and the networks to stay connected with families in rural and other under-served areas for the entire perinatal period . WIC also is an integral part of the public health model of care. In turn, Don’t Quit the Quit has been able to enhance WIC staffers’ knowledge about opioid use disorder, during the perinatal period, to help grow and foster more community support as well as decrease stigma.

North Dakota WIC’s role is to screen mothers for substance use and educate them and their families about the impact of substance use during the perinatal period.

“If a mother is ready to seek treatment, they are able to refer her to local providers who treat substance use disorders,” Shogren said. “WIC staff often develop great rapport with the mothers they serve ,and in turn, mothers feel supported to seek recovery. I wish more people knew how important WIC is to our rural families.”

Check out Don’t Quit the Quit’s official website for more information.