How can systems of care be advocates for women, instead of women having to advocate for themselves?



Project EMBRACE (Equitable care for Mothers and Babies through Readiness, Access, and Community Expansion) is a data-driven quality improvement project that works with birthing facilities throughout the state of Virginia to address specific topics across six phases, from the early prenatal period up to 364 days after birth. VNPC supports birthing facilities participating in Project EMBRACE to develop and implement programming based on the needs of their facilities and populations. VNPC recognizes that Virginia has distinct and unique regions with varying qualities and we encourage participating facilities to “tune in” to what is needed most in their area.

Topic Options

  • Maternal Health

  • Perinatal Mental Health

  • Prevention Care and Counseling

  • Human Milk Feeding

  • Reproductive Health

Eliminating Bias in Dyad Care


Eliminating Bias in the Dyad Care (EBDC) is an implementation science initiative that will focus on improving outcomes for our pregnant and parenting families and infants impacted by substance use disorder. This project will focus on the dyad, both mom and baby, recognizing the unique needs for both mom, baby and the dyad. The EBDC project will provide strategies and activities that incorporate (1) education, (2) care coordination, (3) communication, (4) data and (5) screening. The VNPC has selected six hospitals to pilot this QI project, to learn and ensure that the best version of the project is developed and implemented for our communities across the Commonwealth. Once the pilot phase is complete, the EBDC project will be open to any hospital that would like to join.  All of this work will be rooted in a respectful care and eliminating bias framework, to ensure when working with our pregnant and parenting families experiencing substance use disorder they receive optimal care to improve outcomes among this population.

EBDC Objectives

  • Improve the care for birthing persons experiencing substance use

  • Improve the care of newborns exposed to substances prior to birth

  • Eliminate bias & stigma associated with perinatal substance use & exposure

Pilot Hospitals

  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
  • Centra Lynchburg General Hospital
  • Winchester Medical Center
  • UVA Health Medical Center
  • Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital
  • *VCU Health Medical Center (*pending)

CDC Levels of Care Assessment Tool (LOCATe)

The Virginia Neonatal and Perinatal Collaborative (VNPC) and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Foundation (VHHAF), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are conducting a survey of birthing hospitals to better understand the healthcare services available to birthing people and infants in Virginia. This “Levels of Care Assessment Tool” (LOCATe) was developed by the CDC using the most recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).

LOCATe is a tool that facilities can use to identify gaps in risk appropriate care systems, assess personnel and equipment, and develop and implement quality improvement initiatives relative to the needs of local communities. The information gleaned from LOCATe will also inform us about Virginia’s capacity to provide perinatal care, particularly among high-risk populations. Once completed, assessments will be shared with the CDC, who will give objective and standardized determinations on facility capacity to provide high risk perinatal care back to VNPC for use in improving the quality of care. Each hospital will receive an individual report. There will be no public reporting of identified information by VNPC, VHHAF, the CDC, or any other entity. Any reporting by the CDC will be in aggregate and will not identify any individual facilities.

Why is This Information Useful?

Though the results of the LOCATe tool are not official designations, facilities can use these results to identify gaps in risk appropriate care systems, assess personnel and equipment, and develop and implement quality improvement initiatives relative to the needs of local communities.

Questions? Contact Mary Brandenburg at

What Information is Collected?

  • Hospital equipment and staffing

  • Sub-specialists and their availability
  • Self-assessment of level
  • Volume of procedures
  • Drills and protocols for maternal emergencies
  • Transports and facility-level statistics

The first wave of surveys launched in late 2022, and 16 facilities participated. The second wave of surveys closed on May 15, 2023 and we had an additional 18 hospitals participate. We are now working to reach a 100% assessment rate for all birthing hospitals in Virginia.

  • Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital

  • Carilion New River Valley Hospital

  • Winchester
  • Mary Washington
  • INOVA-Fair Oaks
  • INOVA-Fairfax
  • INOVA-Alexandria
  • INOVA-Loudoun
  • University of Virginia

  • Augusta Health
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Community Memorial

  • Bon Secours-St. Francis
  • Bon Secours-Memorial Regional
  • Bon Secours-South Side
  • Bon Secours-Mary Immaculate
  • Bon Secours-St. Mary’s
  • Riverside Regional Medical Center
  • Sentara Obici Hopsital
  • Sentara CarePlex Hospital
  • Sentara Princess Anne Hospital
  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
  • Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
  • Sentara Martha Jefferson
  • Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
  • Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital (RMH)
  • Sentara Leigh Hospital
  • The Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters
  • VCU Medical Center
  • Virginia Baptist Hospital
  • Virginia Hospital Center Health
  • UVA Health Culpeper Medical Center
  • Henrico Doctors’ Hospital
  • Wythe County Community Hospital
  • Stafford Hospital
  • Centra Southside Community Hospital-Farmville
  • Chesapeake Regional Medical Center-Chesapeake
  • UVA Community Health-Prince William Medical Center-Manassas
  • Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital-Onancock

VNPC Community Fund


The VNPC Community Fund is intended to support local work that will help to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in Virginia communities. This request is for a one-time amount of up to $2,500 to be expended within 6 months of receipt. The funds must be used to improve maternal and/or infant health in the specified community. Priority is given to programs or projects that will be sustainable after these funds are spent.  

Required: Impact statement due at the end of the program period or 6 months following disbursal of funds. 

Encouraged: Program story or update at 12 months or 6 months following the end of the program period. 

We will provide a template to be completed for the impact statement and program story. 

2024 Timelines

Application Open  April 10 
Application Due  April 30 
Award Notification  May 15 
Funds Disbursed  May 30 
Program Period  May 30 – Sept 16 
Impact Report Template Sent         Sept 10 
Impact Report/Spending Due  Oct 1 
Program Story Prompt Sent  May 15, 2025 
Program Story/Update Due  June 16, 2025