Photo from Prenatal & Infant Care Network Advisory Board Member Women's Care Center
- August 2020 Newsletter -

Implicit Bias Training Opportunities
to Prevent Infant and Pregnancy-Related Mortality

This fall, the St. Joe Foundation will offer specialized training through the Prenatal & Infant Care Network to help local professionals and caregivers identify "implicit bias" patterns that, research indicates, are a significant cause in the death of many Black and Hispanic infants and mothers.

Why is this important? In 2018, Black infants in northeast Indiana were 2.2 times more likely than white babies to die before their first birthday, according to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). Furthermore, ISDH also reported that Black mothers had the highest rate of pregnancy-related mortality at 37.0 deaths per 100,000 live births in Indiana for 2012-2016, compared to the national rate of 16.9.
Aaron and Janell Lane, Courageous Living
The training events include local professionals, and Courageous Living co-founders, Janell and Aaron Lane, facilitating a workshop on "Race and Cultural Learning for Care Providers". The Lanes will explore cultural patterns that create challenges, and how to best address critical conversations and difficult experiences regarding implicit bias on race. The same workshop will be offered in two formats. On September 2, an in-person workshop will be held at the Allen County Public Library. Masks will be required and social distancing observed. On September 15, the workshop will also be offered virtually through Zoom. Participation will be limited, by reservation only.
Scholarships to participate in the March of Dimes's Breaking Through Bias in Maternity Care,“ self-paced, online training will also be provided by the St. Joe Foundation. This training includes statistics and studies, history and stereotypes, strategies, and toolkits to address biases in organizations. Online learning includes learning checks and exercises to educate and inform learners of the two known Maternal and Infant Health stats: deaths are preventable, and everyone has implicit biases. Participants will be able to schedule at their own convenience during the month of September.
A preview of these training opportunities will be offered through a webinar on Thursday, August 13 at 11:30 AM. Arianne Graham, Senior Director, Business Production and Development, for March of Dimes, and Janell Lane, co-Founder of Courageous Living, will each provide an overview of their training events to assist individuals in identifying appropriate training.
Arianne Graham,
March of Dimes
Video PSA for Pregnant Women During COVID-19
CDC Reports 15,754 Pregnant U.S. Women Infected with COVID-19
As of August 4, the CDC reported that 15,754 pregnant women in the U.S. tested positive for COVID-19. More troubling, a disproportionate share of the pregnant women, 59% , were women of color. According to Meg Distler, "We are concerned that more pregnant women need to hear the facts from people whom they can trust who are also professional women of color." So the St. Joe Foundation and Prenatal & Infant Care Network Advisor Dr. Lora Overton, DO and OB-GYN, teamed up with Healthier Moms & Babies Programs Manager Jackie Martinez to create an 8-minute PSA for pregnant women of color to learn the critical facts. Please share on any social media to help reach more women of color.
Local Milk Depot Opportunities
Breast Milk Donations Valued by Milk Bank for Fragile Infants
There are many benefits of breastfeeding for both the baby and the mom, yet the rate of breastfeeding in the United States is as low as 30% in identified groups of women. There are many reasons for the low breastfeeding rates, but now there are options for those who cannot breastfeed, but want their baby to receive the significant health benefits of human milk. Infants can receive pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) by prescription or physician order to hospitals and outpatients throughout the United States, with priority given to premature and ill infants in hospitals. Located in Indianapolis, The Milk Bank receives human milk from carefully screened donors, pasteurizes, freezes, and distributes it throughout the United States.
Locally, Lutheran Hospital is a Milk Depot (or drop off center) for the Milk Bank in Indianapolis. Preapproved women can drop off their breastmilk at Lutheran; it is put on dry ice and shipped to Indy for pasteurization. The milk can then be purchased by hospitals, clinics, and families that need it for fragile infants. Michelle Dearmond, RN, BS, IBCLC, Lutheran Hospital, believes these women are heroes. Why? "This is an altruistic act that is usually in response to themselves or someone that they've heard of receiving donor milk for their baby. Some moms donate in honor of their babies that have passed. Moms have told us that this is a healing process similar to organ donation, a lasting legacy of their baby". According to The Milk Bank Bereavement resource page, some mothers find the process of donating breast milk to be a step in healing, while others prefer not to give.

For those that choose to donate, the Fetal Infant Mortality Review Board (FIMR), a volunteer group that seeks to reduce fetal and infant mortality and improve the health of women and infants in Northeast Indiana, is here to support the courageous givers and acknowledge their selfless act.

A Letter from the Allen County Fetal Infant Mortality Review Committee

Breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for babies. It is especially important for babies who are born prematurely or have medical conditions that make them fragile. Unfortunately, there are situations in which a mother is unable to provide the milk herself. In these cases, human donor milk can be used as an alternative.

Donating milk is a selfless and generous act. Pumping breastmilk is time-consuming and physically demanding. Your time is a precious resource – every minute you spend pumping, washing equipment, and delivering milk is a minute you’re giving up in pursuit of your own interests and needs. 

Women choose to donate milk for a variety of reasons. Some have more milk than their babies need. Others have experienced the loss of an infant and donate milk as a celebration of their baby’s life, however brief. All donations are an act of kindness. A way to provide hope, strength, and nourishment to a baby and family in need.

On behalf of the Allen County Fetal Infant Mortality Review (AC-FIMR), I would like to thank you for your generous breastmilk donation. We are a local team of multi-disciplinary professionals that examine individual cases of infant and fetal death. The team’s goals are to improve health systems, inform community partners, and decrease infant mortality. Our team strives to find ways to save lives. When given to fragile infants, human donor milk does this. We appreciate your significant contribution to the cause.

Thank you for your donation. And thank you for joining us as we fight against infant mortality and to ensure all babies in our community have the healthiest start possible. 
PIC Network Member Announcement
New Opportunity: Virtual Perinatal Mental Health Support Groups
Local non-profits, Mood Changes and Moms and Mission: Motherhood, teamed up to provide virtual support groups that are open for all local mothers who may be unable to access in-person perinatal mental health support during these socially distant times. 
This group provides expectant and new moms a chance to talk with others who share similar experiences. Moms receive encouragement, support, coping strategies, and educational information to help deal with mood changes. These weekly sessions are hosted by specially trained nurses who address sleep issues, emotional wellness, mother's guilt, extreme stress, and more. Babies and children are welcome; the setting is casual.
They meet virtually every Wednesday from 10am-11:30am via the Zoom link below. To maintain privacy, please use the access code, if prompted, as well.
You can also join Mission: Motherhood's private Facebook group for round-the-clock support from local mothers.

Send Your News to Us!
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Steering Committee
 A ministry sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.