Back to Bedside Grant Awarded to UConn Health Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow

Dr. Kristen Lee Moriarty awarded Back to Bedside Grant from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

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The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has awarded Dr. Kristen Lee Moriarty, maternal-fetal medicine fellow at UConn Health, with its Back to the Bedside Initiative grant. Moriarty was awarded the funding for her project entitled “Bringing Residents, Fellows and Nurses Back to the Bedside to Support a Mother’s Road to Recovery: Interdisciplinary Trauma-Informed Care Curriculum for Perinatal Care.”

Back to Bedside is designed to empower residents and fellows to develop transformative projects that foster meaning and joy in work and allow them to engage on a deeper level with what is at the heart of medicine: their patients. Supported by the ACGME, Back to Bedside provides a competitive funding opportunity for resident- and/or fellow-led teams to innovate. The initiative is also intended to create a learning collaborative of resident-/fellow-led research teams.

According to Moriarty, one third of women experience some form of trauma during their pregnancy and rates are increasing despite literature elucidating its detrimental impact on patient outcomes. Pregnant women with a history of trauma and adverse childhood experiences can have higher levels of pregnancy related trauma which can exacerbate anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms.

“The keys to recognizing impending pregnancy related trauma are difficult to navigate within the high-risk field of obstetrics and gynecology where birthing mothers are faced with one of the most inner personal experiences of their life. Even the smallest disruption to a normal pregnancy, such as an unexpected diagnosis of gestational hypertension or being told you must deliver earlier than expected, can dramatically impact a patients experience and result in pregnancy-related trauma. Trainees in OB/GYN and Labor and Delivery, including residents, fellows, and nurses, not only struggle with recognition of pregnancy-related trauma, but after the COVID-19 pandemic, have experienced a higher level of burnout impacting the physician-patient relationship,” says Moriarty.

The goal of the project is to improve recognition and management of pregnancy-related trauma while embodying a culture of mindfulness amongst OB/GYN residents, fellows, and nurse trainees by developing a screening tool for our patients and then conducting a one-day trauma-informed curriculum for residents, fellows, and nurse trainees that will improve bedside recognition of pregnancy related trauma. The training program will incorporate the principles of trauma-informed care in perinatal care. Participants will engage in educational sessions, simulation and mindfulness-based activities all centered around improving recognition and management of pregnancy related trauma.

Back to Bedside is a unique initiative designed to directly support resident- and fellow-led projects that impact patient engagement and the learning environment in powerful, meaningful ways. Moriarty will receive $15,000 from the grant for her research.

Learn more in the ACGME announcement.