A Helping Hand: Meet Tatyana Louis

Hello to all of readers, writers, and fellow public health advocates!

I am Tatyana Louis, a current student at Elon University in North Carolina and the summer Tatyana Louis2016 intern for the National Healthy Start Association. Studying Public Health and Human Services, I have a great interest in improving community improvement initiatives that result in an increased quality of life and health for residents. My interest not only led me to enter in Public Health Studies but also created a direct path to the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA). Through community-based programs, NHSA aids mothers, fathers, and families in taking control of their health. Through advocacy, teaching, training, and lots of TLC, NHSA provides families with the tools needed be a voice for themselves and a voice for their communities.

Prior to my time here at NHSA, I have worked and served as a volunteer for The Children’s Museum of Alamance County and Kidz2Leaders Inc., the Camp Hope program. These organizations help children build a better future through education and mentoring on life skill topics such as a resume building, communication skills, and leadership development. Within my volunteer role, I lead a group of girls around the camp grounds, lead bible study sessions, and helped the girl’s participate in a leadership course.  Additionally, I have lead the Public Health Society, ALANAMA Women’s Institute, Affinity Bible Study and Service Organizations on my campus in event coordination, meeting planning and hosting, and peer to peer mentoring.

I have a passion for serving others, and in the future I hope to educate young women on topics relating to fitness, nutrition, sexual health and reproduction, and healthy relationships both in the US and internationally! Follow me on my public health journey @TaytanaMLouis

17th Annual Spring Conference to open with Dr. Camara Jones

NHSA is excited to announce Dr. Camara Jones will open  our 2016 Annual Spring Conference on Monday, February 29, 2016! Jones_Camara

Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, is research director on social determinants of health and equity in the Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Dr. Jones received her B.A. degree (Molecular Biology) from Wellesley College, her M.D. from the Stanford University School of Medicine, and both her MPH and PhD (Epidemiology) degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She also completed residency training in general preventive medicine (Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland) and in family practice (Residency Program in Social Medicine, Bronx, New York).

Dr. Jones is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on the impact of racism on the health and well-being of the nation. She seeks to broaden the national health debate to include not only universal access to high quality health care but also attention to the social determinants of health (including poverty) and the social determinants of equity (including racism). As a methodologist, she has developed new ways for comparing full distributions of data (rather than means or proportions) in order to investigate population-level risk factors and propose population-level interventions. As a social epidemiologist, her work on race-associated differences in health outcomes goes beyond documenting those differences to vigorously investigating the structural causes of the differences. As a teacher, her allegories on race and racism illuminate topics that are otherwise difficult for many Americans to understand or discuss.

Dr. Jones was an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health from 1994 to 2000, and is currently an adjunct associate professor at both the Morehouse School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health. She is a member of the World Health Organization’s Scientific Resource Group on Equity and Health and the National Board of Public Health Examiners, and recently completed service on the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association, the board of directors of the American College of Epidemiology, and the board of directors of the National Black Women’s Health Project.

To see more of the speaker line-up and register for the Spring Conference, visit the National Healthy Start Association website.

Spring Conference Opening with Dr. Gail Christopher!

NHSA is excited to announce Dr. Gail Christopher will be kicking off our 2015 Annual Spring Conference on Sunday, March 1, 2015!

Dr. Gail Christopher, DN, is vice president for policy and senior advisorPHOTO_Gail_Christopher at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.

In this role, she serves on the president’s cabinet that provides overall direction and leadership for the foundation. Since joining the foundation in 2007, Gail has served as vice president for program strategy with responsibility for multiple areas of programming, including Racial Equity; Food, Health & Well-Being; Community Engagement and Leadership; as well as place-based programming in New Orleans and New Mexico.

Gail is a nationally recognized leader in health policy, with particular expertise and experience in the issues related to social determinants of health, health inequities and public policy issues of concern to our nation’s future. Gail has more than 20 years of experience in designing and managing national initiatives and nonprofit organizations. She brings extensive knowledge and experience in creating a comprehensive approach to well-being and is nationally recognized for her pioneering work to infuse holistic health and diversity concepts into public sector programs and policy discourse. Her distinguished career and contributions to public service were honored in 1996 when she was elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2007 she received the Leadership Award from the Health Brain Trust of the Congressional Black Caucus for her work in reducing racial and ethnic health disparities; in 2009 she was named a Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) Honorary Fellow – the highest recognition given to a non-SOPHE member, who has made significant contributions to health education and to public health; in 2011 she was awarded the “Change Agent Award” by the Schott Foundation for Public Education; in 2012 she was the recipient of the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) John C. MacQueen Lecture Award for her innovation and leadership in the field of maternal and child health.

A prolific writer and presenter, Gail is the author or co-author of three books, a monthly column in the Federal Times, and more than 250 articles, presentations and publications. Her national print and broadcast media credits are numerous, and include The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Dallas, Times, National Journal, Essence, “Good Morning America,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” National Public Radio and documentaries on PBS and CBS.

Prior to joining the foundation, Gail was vice president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Office of Health, Women and Families in Washington, D.C. There, she led the Joint Center Health Policy Institute, a multi-year initiative created to engage underserved, racial and ethnic minorities in health policy discussions. Previously, she was guest scholar in the governance studies department at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and executive director of the Institute for Government Innovation at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has additional experience at the National Academy of Public Administration, Howard University School of Divinity, Americans All National Education Program and Family Resource Coalition of America. She has also launched, led and managed three public commissions. Under her sponsorship, the landmark Dellums Commission research into conditions faced by young men of color produced policy recommendations to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.
Gail holds a doctor of naprapathy degree from the Chicago National College of Naprapathy in Illinois and completed advanced study in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in holistic health and clinical nutrition at the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities at Union Graduate School of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is president of the Board of Directors of the Trust for America’s Health.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

To see more of the speaker line-up and register for the Spring Conference, visit the National Healthy Start Association website.

Prenatal Genetic Testing

Hi all! My name is Katherine Brown and I am the summer intern here NHSA. I have an interest in the genetic field, specifically with the prenatal aspect and advocating for prenatal screening/testing, which all relate to what we promote and advocate here at NHSA.Katherine headshot2

Most of the projects being implemented at NHSA revolve around building educational skills to be healthy before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and in between pregnancies. These interventions are vital considering the U.S. statistics on infant mortality rates are nothing to brag about. In fact, according to Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers report, every year twice the numbers of babies die on their first day alive than all 27 European Union nation combined. And get this: 1 million more babies are born there compared to the U.S! This is why NHSA supports the Federal Healthy Start Initiative and developed Celebrate day 366…Every Baby Deserves a Chance, and why prenatal screenings/testing need to be promoted to increase the chance of celebrating Day 366!

Genomic medicine has grown tremendously within the last couples of years. Prenatal testing can detect your baby’s health and growth before it is even born. Prenatal testing also tests how the mother is during throughout pregnancy. It is a win-win situation for both! We now have tests, mentioned in the March of Dimes article posted below, that can tell early within your pregnancy (within the first trimester) if your child may have any genetic conditions like Down syndrome, heart defects, birth defects, or cystic fibrosis. It is extremely important to continue prenatal testing throughout the pregnancy to understand how you and the baby are growing. For example sometimes mothers will acquire gestational diabetes during second trimester and prenatal screening can detect that. During your third trimester most screenings will test for group B strep that a mother can acquire and then pass down to her baby. It is also important to know your own family history of disease or what your specific ethnicity may be more prone to, i.e. cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, before planning to have a child. Make a list of all cancers, genetic disorders, mental illnesses, etc. shown to have affected your family tree and take it to a genetic counselor that will take time to talk with you and discuss options for conceiving the healthiest child possible.

The importance of having all of these factors detected before giving birth is that prevention or treatment can start immediately which means a longer and better quality of life for your child.

If you would like more information on genetic counseling or prenatal testing, please check out the links below.

  1. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/prenatal-tests.aspx

 

  1. http://www.genome.gov/Pages/Health/PatientsPublicInfo/GeneticTestingWhatItMeansForYourHealth.pdf

 

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/prenataltesting.html

 

 

 

 

Breastfeeding support: Fathers needed

The role of the expectant father and the significance of paternal impact on maternal and child health are often overlooked.  We know that men play a vital role in pregnancy and child birth, and research has shown that a father’s involvement has a positive impact on a child’s emotional and psychological state, educational development, and school readiness, as well as increased ability to socialize and build good relationships. In contrast, research suggests that the lack of father involvement can have long- term negative effects on children.

Fathers play a significant role to mothers and infants during breastfeeding, most especially in the first few weeks, when lack of sleep and hormonal changes can sometimes make new mothers waver in their determination to breastfeed. The father can head-off discouragement, deflect negative comments from friends and relatives, help calm a fussy baby, and bring the new mother food and drinks while she is breastfeeding. Most importantly the baby’s father can remind the new mother that breastfeeding is one of the most important things she can do to get their baby off to a good start in life. Babies need a lot of physical contact, and when not breastfeeding, a father’s loving arms are a wonderful place for his baby to be.

What can dad do to support nursing mothers?  Some recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) for fathers:

  1. Helping around the house reduces stress for your partner and make sure she gets enough rest.
  2. “Burp” the baby after feeding – Dad’s chest is great for this!
  3. Care for the baby in ways other than feeding (baths, diaper changes, walks).

For more information about Where Dads Matter or to get involved with a workgroup contact the NHSA Office at info@nationalhealthystart.org and more information about World Breastfeeding Week by WHO at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/meetings/2013/world_breastfeeding_week/en/.

Alice Wang is the NHSA Summer Intern with us from Hong Kong, China.

Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7 and this year’s theme is Breastfeeding support: close to mothers. It is time to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding to not only families but also the whole community.

For those who are not familiar with it, breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from female human breasts (i.e., via lactation) rather than using infant formula from a baby bottle or other container. Breastfeeding is so much than a meal. Breast milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein needed for a baby’s growth and development.

There are many reasons why breast-feeding is best for you and your baby. According to one article from BabyCentre, breastfeeding benefits babies and moms.

For Baby:

  • Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs for the first six months.WorldBreastfeedingWeek
  • It’s easy to digest.
  • It protects from infections.
  • Your baby is never allergic to your breast milk.
  • It gives comfort and security to your baby.
  • It helps the brain to grow.

For Mom:

  • It lets you feel close to your baby.
  • It helps you lose weight.
  • It helps your uterus return to normal with less bleeding.
  • You don’t have to wash bottles.
  • You don’t have to buy formula.
  • Fewer doctor visits.
  • It lowers risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

It is our duty and responsibility to provide babies with a good start in life by ensuring breastfeeding.

For more information about World Breastfeeding Week 2013, please visit worldbreastfeedingweek.org.

In addition, you can learn more information and programs about breastfeeding in the United States at breastfeedingusa.org.

 

 Alice Wang is the NHSA Summer Intern with us from Hong Kong, China.

International Summer Intern

Hello, I’m Alice. I am a summer intern here at National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) from Jun 10th to Aug 10th. I come from China, and this is my first time to abroad. I soon realized it’s not so easy to be so far away from home and when you don’t have friends to enjoy life with, it’s simply horrible! Fortunately, the colleagues in NHSA are very nice and friendly, and I feel just like having another family🙂 –It really helps with being less homesick!

The work of my internship is not difficult. Although it seems to be simple, it still requires being patient and thoughtful to recognize handwriting and review news. I try my best to do my work well and I hope I can learn more from this internship.

Before coming to Washington D.C., I thought it was a bustling city just like Hong Kong. However, I changed my mind after living there for one week. I think it is a livable and comfortable city as you can see a lot of people drink coffee, chat, and enjoy sunshine after work. Work is just work, after working time, it’s time to enjoy life and have fun. However, the situation in Hong Kong is very different. Hong Kong is a crowded city, and the majority of people look in a hurry and seem to have a lot of work to do all the time. I prefer the life style of Washington D.C. and I hope I can enjoy a cup of coffee and chat with friends one day here.

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