For over 35 years, Gibson Center has provided treatment services to people from all over Southeast Missouri, helping adults develop the skills they need to create freedom from addiction. In recent years, we have begun to shift our culture to view ourselves as a healthcare provider with a broad behavioral health specialty (as opposed to a standalone substance abuse treatment provider), and integrate ourselves fully within the continuum of healthcare. It is in the spirit of this culture shift that Gibson Center found itself working within Missouri Foundation for Health’s Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative.
When the Foundation sent out that first RFP, we immediately recognized the importance of this work to be done in our community and committed ourselves to increasing our understanding of our role in the Initiative. Born out of this discovery process was our Professional Referral and Infant Mortality Education (PRIME) project, which included a survey campaign of OB-GYN, pediatricians, and women who were pregnant. The key takeaways from this project centered around insufficient screening of pregnant women for smoking and substance use and affirmed for us our role in this work.
From PRIME grew our newest project, START NOW-Substance use Treatment And Referral Team for Neonatal, Obstetrics, and Women’s Care, modeled from the highly successful Early Start program with Kaiser Permanente. The foundation of this project is integration between prenatal care and substance use treatment. We have established a solid partnership with St. Francis Medical Center in which they have allowed Gibson Center staff to co-locate within their women’s care facility and have agreed to employ a universal substance use screening process among all new OB patients. This is a significant step in the right direction.
For our work at Gibson Recovery Center to be truly successful, we all need to bring hope and compassion to the way we think about addiction. We also need to recognize that addiction is a complex, chronic, and treatable disease. We need to break down the stigma that keeps so many people from receiving the treatment and support they need to get well. We know treatment works. We look forward to continued opportunity to partner in this valuable work.