Community Partner Spotlight: Saint Louis Integrated Health Network – EleVATE

by | Jan 20, 2023 | Funding

Elevating Voices, Addressing Depression, Toxic Stress and Equity (EleVATE) is a community-led initiative, coordinated by the St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN) including Affinia Healthcare, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, CareSTL Health, Community Collaborators, Family Care Health Centers, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital, Truman Medical Centers, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, and Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. The program aims to improve pregnant people’s health outcomes in St. Louis by addressing behavioral health, reproductive justice, and racial equity. Kelly McKay-Gist, program manager of EleVATE, spoke to how the initiative operates at different levels to advance equitable outcomes in family health.  The patient level is centered around reducing adverse pregnancy outcomes and increasing vitality for Black and brown women, birthing people, and babies.  EleVATE received a grant from FLOURISH in 2020 to implement the group prenatal care model to provide patients with the knowledge, group support, and behavioral health tools needed to manage trauma and stress. The program also works to advance healthcare teams by training providers on trauma informed care, behavioral health integration, and anti-racism. EleVATE focuses on system change, bringing together community members, patients, and leaders as they redesign approaches to care, delivery of care, and policy. 

EleVATE is currently advocating for Medicaid enhanced reimbursements for group prenatal care. Kelly shared the importance of this group prenatal care model and believes it should be a part of care delivery at every institution.  She remarked, “We know from the research that African American women in group prenatal care have a 45% reduction in preterm birth. That’s one of the number one indicators of infant mortality. And so, if we’re seeing a significant difference in reducing these inequities, we want to make sure that we are providing all the support to our healthcare teams and the healthcare systems to be able to implement this model.” This grassroot effort is not only for learning about pregnancy related topics, but also for spending time with their providers, partners, kids, and other pregnant people at a similar gestational age. The group prenatal care model is something they strive to be available to everyone.  

Kelly shared that coordination of care and lack of communication between systems are two of the critical gaps affecting maternal and child health outcomes.  Both IHN and EleVATE believe in the importance of partnership to provide accessible healthcare services for all St. Louis residents. Kelly explained, “We are lucky enough at EleVATE to be able to have a collaborative system of healthcare team members across many community health centers and outpatient hospital facilities. We really want to increase that collaboration across all these healthcare institutions because we’re all sharing patients within the safety net and making sure that we are handing them off in ways that feel respectful to their time and needs.” It takes a collective effort to address issues like infant and maternal mortality and EleVATE is grateful to their many partners and the community collaborators that support the implementation of the group prenatal care program.  

For more information about EleVATE, visit

Learn more about Integrated Health Network’s EleVATE FLOURISH grant funded project in Group Prenatal Care.


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