Beyond Canadian Borders: The She-Way and Fir Square Model Influences and Inspires Care Models Around the World!

Dr. Ron Abraham’s work on trauma-informed care for childbearing women struggling with substance use,  and the innovative program models of Sheway and Fir Square, is being used as a model for improving care well beyond the borders of Canada.

As a young general practitioner, Abrahams routinely saw women recovering from drug addiction have their babies removed from their care immediately after birth – a practice he found totally unacceptable. In 2003, to address the needs of these women, Abrahams established BC Women’s Fir Square Combined Unit, the first program of its kind in Canada dedicated to keeping moms with their babies as they stabilize and withdraw from substance use.

Since then, Dr. Abrahams has been a key member of an international quality improvement effort, serving as a visionary member of the Steering Committee for the Vermont Oxford Network’s internet-based Quality Improvement Collaborative.  Over 200 teams from the US, Canada, and Ireland have enrolled to systematically spread quality and improve outcomes.

Nurture the Mother: Nurture the Child a video produced by the Vermont Oxford Network in collaboration with Dr. Abrahams and Dr. Amy Salmon transported the teams to the Vancouver Sheway and Fir Square Program. Here they learned firsthand about the success of this comprehensive program, and were inspired by the rooming-in model of care.

Teams in this collaborative have universally developed policies and reshaped practices to improve the quality, safety and value of care for this vulnerable population.

Dr. Abrahams will continue the spread and scale of this powerful work and the collaboration with the Vermont Oxford Network’s quality improvement collaborative in 2015.