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Developing Strategies for Healthy Women, Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Birth Outcomes

Thursday & Friday October 23rd & 24th, 2008
Hawai`i County, Hilton Waikoloa Village

Cost: $85.00 (includes reception, continental breakfast, lunch, and Summit materials)

10/23 noon – 5:15

10/24 8:30 – 4:30

Focus Areas: The availability and quality of health care/prevention services for women within preconception and perinatal periods to reduce disparities in birth outcomes.

Who Should Attend: Community workers and advocates; health insurance providers; legislators; state agency heads; business leaders; private foundation leaders; private and public sector perinatal services organizations; health and human services providers; faith community leaders; OB-GYNs; family practitioners; Community Health Centers; pediatricians; nurse midwives; other women’s; perinatal and infant care providers.

A copy of the preliminary agenda and online sign up is available HERE http://uhhconferencecenter.com/perinatal

There are three break out sessions on day 1:

  • Accessing Data for Hawaii: What, Where, How? (Donald Hayes MD, MPH and Mark Eshima, MA)
  • Culture Care Meanings of Child Bearing and Child Rearing Health Care Practices of Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Micronesian Families Residing on the Island of Hawaii (Genevieve Kinney, PhD, CTN, Katharyn F. Daub, EdD, CTN, CNE, Angelina Ancheta Rushton, BSN, CHPN)
  • Community-based Perinatal Depression Screening for multi-ethnic women in Hawaii (D.D. Affonso, PhD, RN, FAAN)

It’s going to be really hard to choose which one to attend!

I’ve mentioned a few times since I started this blog two months ago how this year PPD Support HI has been receiving more moms mentioning agency referrals than calls from moms initially searching for “Hellllp!”. Um, yes, after writing about this a 2nd or 3rd time it finally clicked.

Last October’s Mental Health America of Hawaii’s Marya Grambs hosted a brown bag event all about postpartum mood disorders. At least 80 people attended, from numerous agencies. That’s where the referrals were generated.

So this thanks comes from me and from the moms who end up calling PPD Support HI or at their support group, relieved to find others who understand and with whom they can talk about the not-always-happy side of new parenthood. THANK YOU, MARYA!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

I see a link to A m y P h i l o ‘s blog about her interpretation of the MOTHERS Act was automatically generated and placed at the bottom of one of my posts here.

She is, among other titles, co-founder of Children and Adults Against Drugging America. Google her for the site. She had an unfortunate time with an antidepressant. She was prescribed something when she and her infant were whisked in to the ER for choking on baby formula.

Apparently, like many other moms all around the country, she was given no information about the kinds of things she may experience by taking her medication (an antidepressant). She goes on to say after she was on the medication (no time frame mentioned) she saw images of herself (a ghost), her baby and the top of the stairs.

When she went to the hospital for help with these thoughts–a different medication–she was put in the psych ward for what sounds like a 72-hour hold. She had no choice as to whether she stayed or not.

Increasing her medication apparently made her worse. And worse.

She began feeling better when she stopped taking her medication.

Okay. I can understand not wanting anyone else to experience the same thing. I also understand there are many, many mothers out there who have recovered because they took an antidepressant.

I can understand personal choice. But trying to block the MOTHERS Act?

The MOTHERS Act will ensure that new moms and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms, and provided with essential services. In addition, it will increase research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression.

The Act is intended to educate mothers and families about what postpartum depression is, like the OB offices do with pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. And a part of the Act includes continued research, which would be passed along to doctors and medical professionals. I don’t see anywhere in the language that says the government will come to your house. But Ms. P. appears to.

If we were to fast-forward 10 years and then Ms. P. were to go to the doctor for choking on formula, I imagine the outcome would be quite different than what she went through previously. Even sooner than that, if she were to have a collaborative physician prescribing and following her medication treatment she would ….well, it just could have been different.

Finding professionals who have specific training for treating PPD is, at least in 2008, important. It is often still a difficult task to accomplish, but it is improving.

This is from past president of PSI, Susan Dowd Stone, MSW, LCSW:

Republicans Bail on Advancing American Priorities Act,

but there is still encouraging news!

Despite yesterday’s [Monday’s] senate vote not to consider The Advancing American Priorities Act at this time – which included The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act , the bill will come up again sometime soon. The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act is not “dead” nor was it “defeated”. While Republicans except for Senators Warner, Coleman and Smith continued their obstructionist ways and chose not to move forward on yesterday’s package of bills, The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act actually has garnered broad bipartisan support. Yet its lead Republican sponsor – Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine – yesterday voted against this package of non controversial bills. I have begun the process of requesting statements from all senators whom voted NAY and I will share them with you.

Meanwhile, click on this link to see how your state senators voted. http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=2&vote=00189 Then call them with your thanks, or let them know their vote was unacceptable! (Thank you Hawaii Senators Akaka & Inouye!)

But there is good news! The inclusion of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act in this package generated unprecedented coverage by major press agencies resulting in even more attention and awareness of the need for its critical initiatives for mothers, infants and families. We have been deluged with requests for information about the bill, e mail ed and faxed hundreds of copies taking full advantage of this current national platform to solidify ever wider, bipartisan support for this “no brainer” bill.

We are thankful to Senator Robert Menendez and Senator Harry Reid for including this bill in The Advancing American’s Priorities Act and their determination to end the public health crisis of untreated maternal depression. We applaud their efforts and that of every senator who voted to end needless suffering. The vote was very close. The current national spotlight also refocuses attention on legislative obstructionists responsible not only for suspension of the bill’s progress, but for the lowest Congressional rating in history. The failure of our elected officials to recognize and adopt an initiative as basic and indisputable as supporting the mental health of America ‘s new mothers and their infants suggests a legislator/constituent divide that might only be healed through an election cycle bringing new blood and energy to an impotent Congress.

While disappointed in yesterday’s [Monday’s] outcome, we remain encouragingly galvanized by our widening circle of support, this week’s national attention on our issue and an election which promises to shake the status quo to its core.

Meanwhile, THANK YOU to the 20,000 plus individuals who have written letters, signed the petition and verbalized their support. Thank you to the community of bloggers, who have helped spread the urgent message to mothers and families nationwide. Thank you to the national media outlets who now offer their support for the bill’s adoption and join us in expressing outrage at its further delay. We continue to prepare for the next presentation of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act with a growing force of American families who have waited too long and long enough.

edit: to make as a quote 8/4/08