ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new program through Project Echo is aiming to reduce the number of complications and deaths during pregnancy and childbirth. The program brings together perinatal providers in New Mexico, the Four Corners, and across the Southwest.

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Organizers say they will learn from each other about ways to improve practices. The director of the program says the national average is 17 deaths per 100,000 births but in New Mexico, it is up to 23 deaths per 100,000 births. “We take a moment in that true Echo model to hear about the cases people are having. To work together as a community and to give advice on how to meet some of these challenges,” said Dr. Trevor Quiner, Project Echo.

Right now, they are focusing on substance use disorder and pregnancy. “Substance abuse disorder in some form or another is related to about 80 percent of all the deaths that occur in pregnancy in the post-partum period in our state, so we’re working to build resources, provide training and teaching around that,” said Dr. Quiner.

They are seeing success in the program as it has grown to more than 80 participants. Johnson & Johnson is funding it through the end of the year. To register for the program, visit