Project Nurture

An Oregon project that engages women with substance use disorders in prenatal care and medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD)

Project Nurture, developed and managed by Health Share in Oregon, serves pregnant women with substance use disorders,using an innovative model that integrates maternity care, substance use treatment, and social service coordination for Medicaid beneficiaries. Mothers are engaged in:

  • medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD)
  • education in parenting skills
  • postpartum case management

Over 300 women have participated in the program at three sites in the Portland metro area since its inception in 2014. Significant savings have accrued (nearly $220,000) by means of reducing pre-term deliveries, C-sections, and high need care. Besides MOUD, major elements of the program include:

  • drug and alcohol counseling
  • meetings with peer recovery mentors
  • case management upon discharge
  • assistance in accessing housing, residential treatment and other community-based services

More details on the program and contact information can be found in these presentations here and here and here and here

93% of Project Nurture participants have long-term custody of their infant at program exit.

Continuum of Care
Type of Evidence
Response Approach
Early Intervention
Family Support
Housing, Education, and Employment
Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
Peer-reviewed Article

Evidence of Program Effectiveness

An evaluation report found a "70% reduction in the odds of preterm birth compared to women with SUD not in Project Nurture (p=0.01)" and that participants "are significantly more likely to have 7+ prenatal care visits (p=0.03)" than non-participants.

Results are promising as a recent study in Health Affairs found: "Among the “treatment” population of opioid-dependent women enrolled in Medicaid, Project Nurture was associated with reductions in child maltreatment, placement of children in foster care, and increases in both prenatal visits and maternal lengths-of-stay in the hospital, compared to opioid-dependent women enrolled in Medicaid in Oregon counties not served by the project. These results suggest that models based in a clinical setting that engage the human services sector may improve overall outcomes..." (McConnell et al., 2020)