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Posts tagged ‘maternal child health’

Centering Health Care: A Group Model

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We’re used to one-on-one visits with a health care provideer–even if only for a very brief time as with the 7-minute visit expected of some primary care proviers. In the mid-1990s, certified nurse midwife, Sharon Rising, CNM, MSN, tested a group approach to prenatal care for pregnant women. The model has been so successful that it has been declared one of the top 100 non-profit social innovations by the Social Impact Exchange, and Rising, the founder, CEO and President of the Centering Healthcare Institute, is spreading the to various health conditions and issues, such as diabetes and parenting. Today on Healthstyles on WBAI (www.WBAI.org) from 11:00 to 11:30 PM, co-producer and moderator Diana Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, interviews Rising about the model, its outcomes, and future directions. To listen to the program after it airs, click here: RISING

Healthstyles is produced by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York.

Liz Seegert on Health Matters

CHMP Senior Fellow and journalist Liz Seegert’s latest article for women.com‘U.N. Releases New Data on Premature Births – Many Preterm Births are Preventable;  U.S. Lags Many Other Developed Countries”. See her other blog posts on the digital divide and older adults. You can follow Liz on Twitter (@lseegert).

Hip Hop Saves Lives “New Dawn for Ruth Lubic” raps about Nurse Midwife Ruth Lubic & DC Birthing Center

Ruth Lubic CNM, EdD,is a nurse midwife and applied anthropologist, MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant recipient, and founder of the  DC Birth Center at the DC Developing Families Center.  FHBC/DFC’  is located in the lower-income northeast quadrant of the District of Columbia and consists of a birth center, a case management and social support organization and an early childhood development center. This low-income area in the District of Columbia has high rates of infant and maternal mortality. FHBC/DFC’s core principle is treating women and their families—regardless of race, class or background—as fellow human beings.

They now have a hip hop song produced to shout -out to the world that this health care model works. Recently released, New Dawn for Ruth Lubic is directed by Chad Harper, shot and edited by Johwell St-Cilien for Negusworld film. Chad Harper is the founder and CEO of Hip Hop Saves Lives, a New York nonprofit that writes and sells songs to raise money for clean drinking water in Africa and Haiti.

 

Targeted Food Choices

This is Senior Fellow Dr. Lyndon Haviland’s first blog post for CHMP. Dr. Haviland has more than 25 years experience in domestic and international public health. She brings broad expertise in management consulting, health policy, advocacy, social marketing, corporate social responsibility, and branding, as well as applied research design and evaluation.

I am obsessed with food – it’s one of the defining factors of my life.  I like to eat, I like to cook, I like to feed people, I like to talk about food, I like to read about food, and I just love to shop for food.  I think farm stands, and good grocery stores are little bits of heaven on earth.  And this year, I have become fascinated by my first kitchen garden.  With childish wonder, I have watched food grow and picked fruits and vegetables just in time to cook them.

Its summer in Connecticut, and so I am swimming in tomatoes and herbs – I am experimenting with new sauces, tarts, and soups.  The more I eat from my garden the healthier I feel.  It’s amazing to me, I am learning what we all should know, and that the closer we are to our food, the easier it is to make healthy food choices.  In fact, the fresher the food, the less I crave salt, fat and sugar.  And that’s good given my family history of heart disease and obesity and my personal struggles to attain and maintain a healthy weight.

You don’t need a degree in public health to believe that there is an epidemic of childhood obesity sweeping across America. Walk a city sidewalk, stroll in the mall and just take a quick look around at the number and size of our youngest citizens.  One in three children in America today are overweight, and that has profound implications for their future wellbeing.  Being obese is bad for a child’s physical health, but the stigma associated with being overweight or obese is damaging to children’s mental health as well.  Teachers as well students have a well documented negative perception of obese children. “Research now shows that future peer victimization can be predicted by a child’s weight.”

Many of the responses to this preventable and dangerous epidemic include bringing children closer to their food and providing healthy food choices. There are no easy answers, but there is a lot of excitement from Michelle Obama’s leadership in “Let’s Move” to New York’s  Wellness in the Schools program led by chef Bill Telepan   or the burgeoning movement for schoolyard gardens.

That’s why on the  morning of August 17 NPR’s business news rocked my world.  Target, the nation’s second largest discount retailer beat their earnings expectations (during the current financial down turn) because of their decision to become a “grocery shopping destination.”

NPR reported that Target’s overall sales were up, but most of the expanded earnings came from their increased food offerings.  I shop at Target, and I love their attitude, it’s fun and I think they do a great job with paper products, inexpensive home wares, and seasonal party supplies, but when I think food shopping, Target is not my destination.

According to their website, SuperTarget wants to make grocery shopping “fun, easy and affordable.” The website stresses all they ways that Target is a good food purveyor – their designation as a USDA certified organic produce retailer (since 2006), their commitment to meals on a budget, their “better for you options,” and their reformulation of all Archer Farms (their home brand) with zero grams transfat.   So this morning, I went grocery shopping at Target.

First the good news, the aisles were wide, the store was well lit, and sale items were easily identifiable.  It was easy to see the appeal.  Target obviously understands its core clientele, every aisle included single serving portions energy drinks, juice boxes, cheese sticks, 100 calorie packs of crackers or cookies, individual tuna salads, presliced apples, prewashed small bags of carrots and grapes,  and no refrigeration necessary pudding packs. I was overwhelmed at the sheer volume of food that can be individually wrapped and sold. Not all of it was appealing and certainly much of it fails to be a “better for you” food option.  And since I love to cook, I don’t understand how some of the product reformulation could actually work – what is in a strawberry cupcake from Hostess that allows it to be 100 calories and 0 grams transfat?

In the fresh food section, the offerings were more limited, but again convenience and cleanliness was the order of the day.  You could easily shop for school lunches here and please your children well, and Target’s frozen foods included a wide range of prepared foods with an emphasis on simple reheating. A huge sign across one of the freezers summed up their philosophy “eat well, pay less.”

In these economic times, eating well and paying less is great, but the reality at Target was the sheer volume of the processed food far outweighed the “better for you options.”   If Target wants to help us eat well, they should eliminate or limit the unhealthy food products or prioritize their healthy food options.  This week of 22 sale items highlighted on their website, only 4 were for healthy foods.  Why not discount the healthy and fresh food, since the not so healthy and frozen options have a longer shelf life?

SuperTarget should offer discounts on superfoods and not discounts on foods that will supersize their customers.  The economics are clear – healthy customers live to shop longer.  Making it easier for all of us to stay healthy makes good business sense.

Rwanda Leading the Way on Gender Equality

Source: UNICEF

First Lady of Rwanda  Jeannette Kagame addressed over 2,000 nurses from all over the world attending the International Council of Nurses conference in Malta today. She noted that Rwanda is the first country to have a constitution that includes a legal framework for gender equality in governance, requiring at least 30% of women in decision-making bodies. This legal framework and President Paul Kagame’s vision for rebuilding the human capacity of Rwanda have resulted in women exceeding this percentage–they are now at 56% and have the highest representation of women in any parliament in the world. Education of women is a priority and they lead the nation in scholastic achievement. Women are starting their own businesses and achieving economic stability for their families.

What difference does this make? Embracing gender equality has led Rwanda to focus on promoting the health of women, as much as that of men. The government has focused on increasing access to health care, including perinatal care; as a result, maternal deaths have dropped from 8 deaths a day to 1 every 36 hours. She acknowledged that more needs to be done if Rwanda is to reach the Millennium Development Goals regarding maternal mortality, but her country brilliantly set up a “Maternal Death Audit“, putting a face on each maternal death, analyzing why the death occurred, and identifying what can be changed to prevent another. Each community elects three community health workers to promote the health of the village. One of these workers is a “maternal assistant, whose role is to look after pregnant women and infants and advise on a range of maternal and child health issues.”

This focus on the health of women will help Rwanda to continue to rebuild a stable society with intact families. The country has decreased the prevalence of HIV from 13% tp 3%, largely by focusing on maternal-to-child transmission. They teach girls about preventing HIV, family planning, and gender equality.

First Lady Kagame commended the International Council of Nurses and its foundation, the Florence Nightingale International Foundation, for its Girl Child Fund, an initiative to provide financial support for the education of orphaned girls in Africa whose parents were nurses. While Rwanda no longer needs this kind of support, Kagame’s presentation highlighted how to transform a nation through a focus on the education of women and gender equality: “We have understood that a nation can flourish only if women participate on an equal footing.”

Diana J. Mason and Barbara Glickstein from Malta

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