Regional Maternal & Child Health Program at UTMB Health


The Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition (TWHC) is very excited to announce that the Regional Maternal and Child Health Program (RMCHP) at UTMB Health has joined our Coalition! Their expertise and dedication to women’s health will undoubtedly strengthen our collective efforts to improve healthcare access and outcomes for women nationwide.

We were so thrilled to have them join our coalition, that we had to visit their facilities in early May. Kristen Lenau, Policy Director, Desireé Ingram, Women’s Health Policy Advisor, and Mariana Sierra, Advocacy Communications Manager packed their bags and traveled to Houston to meet this wonderful team.

During our visit, we were impressed by the sheer scale of the RMCHP’s operations. Dr. Maria Lourdes R. Patawaran, the Administrative Director, provided insight into the program’s reach and impact. With over 40,000 women served annually and approximately 800 new pregnant patients each month, the RMCHP plays a vital role in ensuring the health and well-being of women and their families.

We also had the pleasure of meeting one of their exceptional patient navigators, Esther Chandler. Esther’s journey into patient navigation began years ago when she witnessed as a single mom-to-be firsthand the confusion that often accompanies a healthcare system. Determined to make a difference, she embraced her role with passion and purpose, knowing that every person she encountered had a unique story and a journey that deserved to be navigated with care.

With her extensive knowledge of the healthcare system, Esther serves as a beacon of guidance, educating patients about their conditions and treatment options in a language they can understand. She patiently answers their questions, alleviating their fears and empowering them to take an active role in their healthcare decisions.

 But Esther’s role goes far beyond providing information; she is a master of coordination, orchestrating appointments, tests, and referrals with precision and efficiency. She works tirelessly behind the scenes, ensuring that each patient’s journey through the healthcare system is as smooth and seamless as possible.

In addition to their excellent patient-navigation services, one of the most striking aspects of the RMCHP is its extensive network of clinics spanning East Texas. From Pearland to Beaumont, these clinics serve as lifelines for women in need of essential healthcare services. Moreover, the close collaboration between the RMCHP and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program further enhances access to crucial resources for mothers and their children.

The comprehensive prenatal care offered by the RMCHP is unparalleled. From physical exams to access to Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialists, every aspect of a woman’s pregnancy journey is carefully managed. The inclusion of various healthcare providers, including Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), Physician Assistants (PAs), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), and Maternal Fetal Medicine Physicians (MFM – MDs), ensures that women receive personalized and holistic care.

For high-risk patients, the RMCHP’s referral system to the Galveston hospital provides peace of mind. With on-site MFM Physicians, NICU services, OB anesthesia services, and comprehensive support services, mothers and their babies receive the specialized care they need during this critical time.

The collaboration between the TWHC and the RMCHP at UTMB Health signifies a shared commitment to improving women’s healthcare across Texas. As we embark on this journey together, the coalition looks forward to leveraging the expertise and resources of the RMCHP at UTMB Health to enact positive change in the lives of women and their families.

For more information about the RMCHP and their services, visit their website and discover the incredible work they do to support women’s health across East Texas.

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