Date of Graduation

Fall 12-11-2020

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Behavioral Health (MSBH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly L'Engle



Perinatal substance use continues to be a major public health issue in women’s health. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of substance use screenings in care and assess how well the existing services in Marin County are serving the needs of pregnant and parenting women and identifying the gaps and/or weaknesses in current practice.


Data for this study was collected via semi-structured interviews with five professionals that worked at the local community clinic, hospital and a non-profit agency. Some questions were slightly modified to be configured toward the participant’s specific profession.


Results from the interviews reveal common screening practices though some were less formal and more conversational and there is no technical universal screening tool used. Participants also noted several common themes in gaps of care, in terms of patient’s views toward health care, needed improvements, common substances seen, the difference between the hospital and clinic protocol, adolescents, and African Americans.


Findings suggest more training and a cohesive approach to screening should be implemented for both hospital and clinic settings. More understanding is needed for other care physicians as well as a need to address the gaps in care for the younger adolescent population, African Americans, and changing the negative perception of healthcare maternal patients have toward them. Examining other social determinants of health are also future implications to consider in perinatal and postnatal care.