Advancing Preconception Health Care in U.S. Communities

By: Sarah Verbiest, DrPH, MSW, MPH, Director, The National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative (PCHHC) and Suzanne Woodward, Communication Director, PCHHC

The Office of Minority Health and Preconception Peer Educators Network hosted a webinar that covered the Show Your Love campaign, the Ambassador Program, PCHHC initiatives, and best practices for engaging consumers in their health and creating online communities. View the full webinar HERE

Despite ranking first in the world for health care spending, the U.S. is the only industrialized country where maternal mortality and severe morbidity are on the rise, especially among minority women.  The U.S. is definitely not the healthiest place in the world to be born. Improving the economic prosperity, relationships and health and well-being of men and women before they start families is critical for progress to be made.

The National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative (PCHHC), comprised of five workgroups focused on consumers, clinicians, public health, policy and finance, and surveillance and data, is tackling these issues through a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary, multi-sector approach. While the clinical workgroup works to enable health providers to better understand the benefits of measuring  and offering preconception wellness with their flagship resource,, the consumer workgroup is gearing up to launch the first and only national consumer-focused preconception health educational and community-building platform in the U.S., Show Your Love.

Show Your Love seeks to help young women and men understand the significance their choices and health have on their current opportunities as well as for their future wellness and families. This campaign aims to spark action for young adults to “Show Your Love” – to themselves, their significant others, family/future family – by taking care of themselves today. The resource features one-click, easily-sharable facts, multimedia, and resources that encourage positive daily choices now as well as before pregnancy.


PCHHC is actively engaging with PPEs, young adults and social media to share messages and interact on key pulse points and issues that are trending. It is critical that young women and men not only have knowledge about key preconception messages, but access to resources to act on the messages to take control of their health. The resource was developed with activation in mind – every fact, tool and resource on the site is snackable and can be personalized. also includes features to virtually link communities and spark conversations. Launching June 16th, 2016 – stay tuned for the first-of-its-kind national preconception consumer platform.

PPE’s, we want to hear from YOU:

What are real barriers you experience as you strive to educate and activate consumers? What challenges do you face in sharing preconception health messages? Help us challenge stereotypes and Share the Love on social media. By joining forces, we can do a lot to improve the status quo community by community. Follow us on social, email us and join our team.

Learn more about how to engage your friends in improving preconception health behaviors in their communities HERE

As part of the Show Your Love social media campaign, PCHHC is recruiting Show Your Love Ambassadors: young adults ages 18-29 who will help model and promote healthy behaviors and life choices online and in their communities. We can’t make this real without you. Our strategy only works when you help make it your own.

SYL Brand Ambassador SM Graphic

Please join us! What you can expect as a Show Your Love Brand Ambassador:

  • Ambassadors will receive Show Your Love branded items (shirts, hats, bags, etc.) and asked to take a photo or video with their branded swag.
  • Ambassadors will be asked to share their health journey on their personal social channels.
  • Posts, videos, quotes, etc., will be promoted on our national Show Your Love social media channels, website, newsletter, partner platforms.
  • No set time commitment or required social media following.
  • PPE’s: Want to increase your personal impact? Free consultation with the SYL communications director!

Volunteer or make a nomination at or by emailing:

Sarah V

Sarah Verbiest, DrPH, MSW, MPH, is the executive director at UNC Center for Maternal & Infant Health, which provides direct clinical services to high risk mothers and infants, conducts health services research, coordinates statewide programs, and provides patient and health care professional education. She serves as the senior advisor to The National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative (PCHHC). Sarah is also a clinical associate professor at the UNC School of Social Work.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @S_Verbiest | Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn

Suzanne Woodward

Suzanne Woodward is the Communications Director at UNC Center for Maternal & Infant Health and Directs Communications for The National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative (PCHHC)

Follow Suzanne on Twitter: @SuzyKaye | Connect with Suzanne on LinkedIn


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