LIFE CHANGING GIFT TO FOUNDATION PROMOTES HEALTHY MOMS AND INFANTS THROUGH PREGNANCY

Foundation Receives 28,000 Bottles of Prenatal Vitamins to Benefit Women and Infants

Students for Healthy Moms and Babies Foundation has received an extraordinarily generous gift of 28,000 bottles of quality prenatal vitamins from Best Nest Wellness Company.

Amanda Hoelzel, Senior at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, is interning with the foundation. With a passion for the foundation mission, and impressive determination, Amanda contacted several national manufacturers of prenatal vitamins to identify a potential partner that

shared our mission of reducing infant and maternal mortality by improving access to healthcare in underserved communities. 

Amanda recalls how grateful she was when she contacted Dr. Mahdavi Gupta, founder of Best Nest Wellness. “Dr. Gupta was responsive to our mission, and encouraging of the work of the students.” Her interest and enthusiasm is demonstrated by the generous gift of 28,000 bottles of prenatal vitamins to help women and infants.”

“When I was contacted by Amanda, I immediately knew that the foundation mission, and our business model, were aligned in our mutual interest to serve humanity. The work of the foundation is made additionally compelling knowing that college students are a driving force in fulfilling the mission to serve women and infants.”

Students at the University of Notre Dame are at the epicenter of establishing support on college campuses for the foundation’s mission. Alexa Hicks, a Senior at Notre Dame, is the student-leader who established the Notre Dame Games for Change Club on campus. The Club, officially sanctioned by the university, generates awareness and fundraising dollars to support the mission of serving women and infants. Students who are part of the Games for Change Club are engaging

local health and community organizations to identify which centers will benefit from having a supply of prenatal vitamins for the women they serve.

Alex explains, “My passion for the foundation’s work begins with the fact that my family has experienced the loss of two babies. Losing a baby or a mother can have a devastating impact on families. This loss occurs in families from every economic, social and cultural background. It is most prevalent among families in underserved communities. This is why we are committed to improving access to healthcare for families in these communities.”

The foundation strategy of delivering prenatal vitamins to local health and community centers, 

the organizations working in the trenches with women and families is proving effective.

Theresa Patterson, is Executive Director of the Genessaret Health Center on the near east side of Indianapolis. Genessaret received one of the first deliveries of Best Nest prenatal vitamins. Theresa shares, “We see great need among the families where we provide healthcare and other services. Many families don’t have basic needs. 

This gift of prenatal vitamins is literally one of life and hope. We are grateful to Students for Healthy Moms and Babies Foundation, and Best Nest Wellness for this valuable and high-impact gift.”

To make a gift to support the foundation’s prenatal vitamins initiative, please go to the donate button on our website to make your gift. Thank you for your generosity.

BE THE TREE

Accept the Challenge this Holiday Season and give the gift of health and hope to moms and infants living in poverty.

When you accept The Be The Tree challenge, you, family and friends will enjoy additional holiday cheer and support the Students for Healthy Moms and Babies Foundation mission.

This is How to Accept the Challenge:

Choose teams of approximately five people. Each team dresses up one team member as its 

Be The Tree entry, using ornaments, wrapping paper decorations, lights etc.

Optional: Select prize categories, declare winners, award prizes or just play for the fun of it).

Take photos of your Be The Tree entries and post them on the Students for Healthy Moms and Babies Foundation website.

*Make a $25 donation, or more, to the foundation website at, s4hmb.org for each 

Be The Tree entry you decorate. (This averages $5 per person for each Be The Tree team member).

We are an approved IRS 501c3 not for profit organization. Our mission focus is to impact the health and well-being of moms and infants who live in poverty by improving their access to quality healthcare.

Thank You for supporting the moms and infants we serve by joining in the fun of 

Be The Tree.

‘Beloved’ doctor’s childbirth death reminder of a tragic trend for Black moms

Article sourced from the Indianapolis Recorder – “‘Beloved’ doctor’s childbirth death reminder of a tragic trend for Black moms”

Image sourced from the Indianapolis Recorder.

As a pediatric chief resident at Indiana University’s medical school, Dr. Chaniece Wallace had a list of blessings. This fall, the 30-year-old was interviewing for jobs around the country — and preparing for the birth of her first child.

On Oct. 20, baby Charlotte was born a month premature. Days later, the new mom died.

Her death shook the maternal health care community and has left a “heaviness in our hearts,” said pediatric chief resident Dr. Amalia Lehmann. She’s reminded of her friend and coworker when she passes a now-empty chair in her office.

“Chaniece has this strong calm,” Lehmann says, “but she also had a fierce passion for her family, friends and patients and would advocate strongly for them when needed. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her, and truly the loss is great even for those whose lives she was sure to impact in a future that was cut tragically and suddenly short.”

Wallace’s death highlights a stark racial disparity in maternal mortality rates. Nationwide, Black women are at least twice as likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth or within a year of pregnancy as white women.

Wallace’s husband, Anthony, took to GoFundMe to share how his daughter was born prematurely via C-section. He said his wife developed pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication of high blood pressure that disproportionately affects Black moms-to-be.

“Chaniece fought with every piece of strength, courage, and faith she had available,” he wrote.

The young doctor’s death has resonated far from Indianapolis. Dr. Shawnté James, a newborn pediatrician in Maryland, mourned for a woman she never knew, lost to a disparity all too common in her patients of color.

“Childbirth isn’t safe for Black Women in America,” James wrote on Twitter. 

She tells the Recorder and Side Effects Media that her first thought was, “not again.”

“Every Black mother that has a pregnancy-related complication that leads to mortality is a heartbreak,” she said. “I look at her and she’s me. She’s a pediatrician, she’s a Black woman, she’s just beginning her career. It hurts even more because I always identify with these moms but I saw myself in her.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports maternal mortality has historically been used as a key indicator of the health of a population. 

Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine said socio-economic factors are barriers to maternal health, and they predate the coronavirus pandemic. For example, low-income pregnant women may lack access to good food or face evictions.

In Indiana, Caine said, Black moms die at nearly three times the rate of their white counterparts. 

“It’s those critical early months that we need to have our Black mothers get into care,” Caine said. “Poverty contributes to it.”

James says maternal mortality is bigger than one doctor or hospital, and is due to the systemic racism that more institutions are calling out as a public health crisis.

“Black women are not being well served by the health care delivery system as it exists now,” she said. “There’s no way, as a Black woman in America, to overcome the systematic institutionalized racism in medicine that is causing this disparity. I can’t advocate for myself. Dr. Wallace could not advocate enough for herself to overcome something that’s just built into health care.”

Meanwhile, Indiana is addressing a related problem: the number of babies who die before their first birthday. 

The Marion County Public Health Department reports the overall infant mortality rate improved in 2019 from the previous year, and the rate for Black babies was the lowest ever. The Black infant mortality rate in Marion County was 10.9 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019, a significant drop from 14 a year earlier.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s goal is for Indiana to have the lowest infant mortality rate in the Midwest by 2024. 

Officials said the statewide infant mortality rate has fallen to the lowest level in recorded history. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box notes among many successes, Indiana has seen a nearly 30% drop in Indiana’s Black infant mortality rate in just two years.

Still, the mortality rate for Black babies is significantly higher than for white babies.

Last month, the Indiana Hospital Association and Box began a program to honor birthing hospitals that do a good job addressing key drivers of infant and maternal health. 

IU Health, Wallace’s former workplace — but not where she gave birth — is one of the program awardees. The IU Health Methodist labor and delivery and mother-baby teams were recognized for implementing best practices in key areas, including safe sleep, breastfeeding and tobacco prevention and cessation.

Prenatal care is another important factor. Caine says only about 55% of Black moms in Marion County seek prenatal care, compared to 75% of white moms, which can lead to complications for both mom and baby.

“If you’re starting [prenatal care] late in your pregnancy,” she says, “you may have a simple bladder or a urinary tract infection that can cause the baby to be born prematurely.”

Dr. Lauren Dungy-Poythress, a Black woman who specializes in maternal-fetal medicine at Riley Children’s Health, didn’t personally know or treat Wallace. But she said women with underlying medical conditions — like high blood pressure, diabetes or lupus — are at increased risk for pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia.

Singer and cultural icon Beyoncé’s pregnancy highlighted the disparity of Black moms having complicated pregnancies even when money is not an issue. In a 2018 interview with Vogue, she opened up about a difficult pregnancy with twins Rumi and Sir, revealing she was “swollen from toxemia,” also known as pre-eclampsia.

Dungy-Poythress said all doctors can be more aware of how implicit bias associated with race and identity can impact patients.

“I don’t know anything about Dr. Wallace except that she was a lovely woman that was loved by her family,” Dungy-Poythress said. “I know she was educated and I know she was a physician and that implies to me that she did not lack access to care. So that’s not the only factor that puts you at risk.”

This story was reported as part of a partnership between WFYI, Side Effects Public Media and the Indianapolis Recorder. Contact Hilary Powell at hpowell@wfyi.org. Follow her on Twitter @mshilary.

A woman who had been pregnant with twins, and had lost one of them after she experienced pain but was unable to get an appointment to see a doctor.

Article from the NY Times – “2020 The Year in Pictures”

Flo Ngala always tries to make the subjects of her photographs feel at ease. But she felt a special emotional connection with a Black woman who had been pregnant with twins, and had lost one of them after she experienced pain but was unable to get an appointment to see a doctor.

Brooklyn, N.Y., Aug. 5
Chrissy Sample with her son Cassius, whose twin died in the womb. Black mothers and infants are more likely to die during childbirth than their white counterparts, a problem worsened by the pandemic. Flo Ngala for The New York Times

Statistics show that women of color are more likely to face undesirable outcomes in their pregnancies for reasons that public health experts are trying to understand.

“It was very personally and culturally relevant,” she said. “Me being a Black woman, photographing a Black woman, it’s almost like we jumped into it like we knew each other. I showed up to what would normally be a 20-minute portrait, but I ended up hanging out for about an hour. This is not just about a newspaper, this is your life and your unborn child.

“Her best friend was there and we all just started talking and it was crazy to see how emotional I got,” she said.

“I cried when I was photographing. The stories were just heartbreaking.”

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