United Health Foundation Donates $750,000 to Support Maternal Health Needs of Georgia Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia to expand services and support for at-risk mothers.

ATLANTA (Aug. 13, 2020) – The United Health Foundation has donated $750,000 to Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia to improve access to health care and health outcomes for Georgia’s mothers and babies. The funding will support increased access to services, including virtual perinatal case management, regional maternal mental health
support groups and distribution of postpartum supply kits. This effort is part of UnitedHealth Group’s (NYSE: UNH) more than $100 million commitment to fight COVID-19, support impacted communities and address emerging health care issues related to the pandemic. Grant partnerships to address maternal health are being announced today with Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies in Georgia as well as East Carolina University in North Carolina. Both states are experiencing increasing rates of COVID-19 infections and have historically high rates of maternal and infant mortality.

“Georgia already has some of the poorest maternal and infant health outcomes in the country, and COVID-19 is exacerbating these serious challenges,” said Junior Harewood, chief executive officer, UnitedHealthcare of Georgia and Alabama. “During these historic times, our partnership with the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition will help ensure that pregnant and postpartum women and their families have greater access to information, support and care they need.”

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of all developed countries and is the only industrialized nation with a rising rate. Georgia ranked 49th in the rate of maternal mortality compared to all U.S. states, with the rate of maternal mortality 1.6 times higher for Black women than white women in the state, according to America’s Health Rankings 2019 Health of Women and Children Report. Georgia also ranked 45th in infant mortality in the same report.

“The governor, the girls and I are very grateful to the United Health Foundation for their generous donation to the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and their support of Georgia families,” said Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp. “During these unprecedented times, it is important to limit potential exposure to COVID-19, but it is also critical to receive needed health care. Through this effort, expectant and postpartum mothers now have better access to much needed medical care.”

The $750,000 donation to Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia will enable increased virtual perinatal case management for pregnant and postpartum women in rural and underserved areas of Georgia, including biweekly check-ins, educational sessions and online gamification of services for clients via their web-based platform, Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia® (www.picklesandicecreamga.org).

A portion of the funds will be used for workforce development to increase the number of perinatal support professionals in underserved areas of the state. Regional maternal mental health support groups will also provide additional training, outreach and screenings for mothers and fathers in the perinatal period. And supplies will be provided directly to families experiencing high need due to COVID-19 and related instabilities, including diapers, other baby items, gift cards and postpartum care kits across the organization’s programs.

“We are seeing women avoid needed care due to fear of exposure to COVID-19, as well as increased rates of anxiety, isolation and mental health concerns for pregnant and postpartum families,” said Elise Blasingame, executive director, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia. “We are grateful to the United Health Foundation for prioritizing funding for this important need and partnering with us to support expectant and new mothers throughout Georgia.”

UnitedHealth Group is committed to improving the health of mothers and newborns, raising awareness for improved maternal health, and reducing the occurrence of avoidable maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. UnitedHealthcare’s Healthy Pregnancy and Maternity Support programs provide resources and services to help expectant mothers get the most out of their benefits, make informed decisions, and promote dialogue with care providers. The company is also actively addressing disparities in maternal health outcomes education in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morehouse School of Medicine and the March of Dimes.

To date, UnitedHealth Group has donated more than $100 million to support impacted communities including health care workers, hard-hit states and localities, seniors and those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. Previously announced grants to increase capacity in Georgia to fight COVID-19 include $100,000 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and $100,000 to Families First in Atlanta to provide mental health services.

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health care company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping to make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.

About Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia

Since 1974, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia has been the strongest statewide voice for improved maternal & infant health outcomes in Georgia. Our mission is to improve maternal and infant health in Georgia through advocacy, education, and access to vital resources. Learn more at www.hmhbga.org and find us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Media Contact:
Angela Richmond, UnitedHealthcare
(952) 202-2777
angela_richmond@uhc.com

Pickles & Ice Cream Social Media Challenge Promotes Healthier Births in Georgia

ATLANTA, GA – Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) is celebrating the launch of Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia®—its new perinatal education program—with the Pickles & Ice Cream social media challenge during the month of August. The social media challenge starts August 4 and an accompanying challenge contest will run from August 1 to August 31. 

Local businesses throughout the State are teaming up with HMHBGA in an effort to bring awareness of the new program to Georgia families. Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia® provides free access to prenatal and postpartum education and support services Statewide through its virtual platform at www.picklesandicecreamga.org. Each week, a local partner will be featured as part of the challenge contest: Butter and Cream (Decatur), Phickles Pickles (Athens), Leopoldo (Savannah), and Jake’s Ice Cream (Atlanta).
 
How to join in the challenge:

  1. Participants are asked to post a video or photo of themselves eating pickles and ice cream on social media using the hashtag #PIChallenge, tagging Pickles and Ice Cream Georgia on Instagram (@pickles_ga), Twitter (@pickles_ga) or Facebook (gummy pickles are OK!)

-AND-

  1. Tag others to challenge friends, families and co-workers to participate to do the same!

To enter to win prizes, participants should also share a photo or video of themselves enjoying each featured business’s product (by visiting a retail location or ordering and using their products). To keep up with our featured partners, join the Pickles & Ice Cream event on HMHBGA’s Facebook profile.

Our partners can be tagged at:

While not necessary to participate, donations to support HMHBGA’s mission are always appreciated.

  • Donations between $25 and $100 will go toward providing phone support for a family in need, provide baby supplies for prenatal education participants, or provide books for one person to become a doula or childbirth educator.
  • Donations over $100 will help HMHBGA cover the cost of an online prenatal education course for 10 people, webinars for maternal and child health professionals, or case management services for one pregnant to postpartum family for three months.  

In addition to the social media challenge, HMHBGA is launching a collection of T-shirts, face masks, tote bags and more through Bonfire at bonfire.com/store/hmhbga. All proceeds will go toward HMHBGA’s mission to improve maternal and infant health in Georgia through advocacy, education and access to vital resources.
 
To support HMHBGA’s efforts in Georgia – please participate in the Pickles and Ice Cream Georgia® social media challenge and visit/share HMHBGA’s fundraising store at bonfire.com/store/hmhbga.

HMHBGA Receives $30,000 Investment from Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) is proud to announce that in July of 2020, the organization received an investment from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in support of our evidence-based perinatal education program, Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia®.

In 2019, HMHBGA released a report on the evaluation of current prenatal education and availability in the State of Georgia. HMHBGA found that barriers like cost, transportation, health literacy, and scheduling made it difficult for all women to receive prenatal education. In fact,  only 10 – 18% of Georgia women receive in-person prenatal education outside of their prenatal appointments. For moms who do make it to a prenatal education class, there are still major gaps. Topics like health insurance, and STI prevention often fall through the cracks. And even though around half of all of births in Georgia are Medicaid births, fewer than 12% of classes covered Medicaid-related topics.

Georgia has a dire need for accessible, mom-friendly, evidence-based maternal and infant health information and resources.  The P&I team talked to moms, childbirth educators, and providers across the state to figure out how we could help fill that need. On this platform, families can find the information they need through mom-friendly videos, articles and quizzes and sign-up for virtual courses on a number of perinatal topics. The platform will also provide toolkits and referral guides available for providers and educators who need Georgia-specific maternal health resources.

Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia® launched on Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020 and is still in its infancy.

“With partners like the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, we aim to make this program an inclusive and accessible space for pregnant and postpartum women to access the critical information, support and supplies they need,” shared HMHBGA Executive Director, Elise Blasingame.

The funds provided by the Foundation will expand HMHBGA’s existing virtual perinatal education courses to include increased enrollment of expectant moms on the Westside and metro-Atlanta. Expansion will include targeted outreach on the Westside and throughout metro-Atlanta to offer prenatal and postpartum sessions in English and Spanish. The funds will also support the development of additional course content to offer more virtual sessions to families in need.

“We are too often reminded that in Georgia, Black, Brown and Indigenous mothers are dying at a rate much higher than that of white women within the first year of giving birth,” said Suganthi Simon, Sr. Program Officer, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “By supporting the Pickles and Ice Cream program, we have the opportunity to help Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia meet mothers where they are to positively change the health and development outcomes for Georgia’s moms, babies and families.”

Families throughout Georgia are encouraged to sign up for these free online courses which take place virtually each week at www.picklesandicecreamga.org. Georgia residents can earn up to $20 in Amazon.com or Walmart gift cards!
Complete our pre- and post-tests: $5
Complete our 3-month follow up survey: $5
Complete our 6-month follow up survey: $10

Participants in HMHBGA prenatal education workshops consistently demonstrate knowledge gains in key areas for addressing the current disparities in maternal and infant health in Georgia, including:

  • Post-birth Warning Signs to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity
  • Oral Health & Pregnancy
  • HIV/STI Transmission
  • Safe Sleep to prevent infant mortality
  • Birth Spacing
  • When to begin family planning

Importantly, HMHBGA conducts surveys with program participants at the 2-week, 3-month and 6-month marks from the date of their class. This allows us to evaluate proximal and distal outcomes regarding the impact of our work. Key outcomes for our 2019 participants included:

  • 100% strongly agreed or agreed that they learned something new from the workshop
  • 83% had a flu shot during pregnancy
  • 75% initiated breastfeeding
  • 100% of participants’ infants attended newborn appointments
  • 100% of participants’ infants slept in their own crib

What HMHBGA Prenatal Education Clients Say:

“It was an awesome workshop. The class reassured me!”
“Awesome class, learned something new and this is 3rd child”
“Shared the information with cousins and brother’s girlfriend – especially about Medicaid what you can get.”
“It helped a lot because I’m a first-time mom.”
“Liked everything – got a friend to sign up for the next workshop.”
“I felt very supported. I learned about baby blues and I learned that it wasn’t just me feeling this way. I told my doctor about it.”

About the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

Formed in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation promotes innovative solutions to transform the lives of youth and their families, seeking results that move communities beyond what seems possible today.

The Foundation invests in education, parks and greenspace, youth development, community redevelopment, and the arts, and leads giving programs for each of the Blank Family of Businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, PGA TOUR Superstore, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, West Creek Ranch and Paradise Valley Ranch.

Mr. Blank, chairman of the foundation, co-founded The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001. Through the foundation and his family’s personal giving, Mr. Blank has granted more than $560 million to various charitable organizations.

Black Lives Matter, Black Mamas Matter

Over the past week, our team has come together to discuss how the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and the wave of protests against police violence sweeping through the country are impacting us on a personal level.  These types of abuses of power and the systemic marginalization of Black people are an endemic problem in America.  Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia stands in solidarity with our Black team members and all Black people and allies in affirming that Black Lives Matter.

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia is a community – it is made up of our staff, board members, volunteers, members, program participants, collaborating partners, funders and every single family we serve on a daily basis.

To all of our community members who feel this issue at the core of your identity, to those of you who have known this pain in either yourself or the ones you love, and to everyone who needs support in order to deal with the painful and powerful structures affecting them daily, we want you to know that we support you.  And part of that support is sustained action.

Now, more than ever, we need to show up in whatever ways we can to show support and love for our Black colleagues, friends and families – and for ourselves.

As a team, here is how we are working to dismantle white supremacy and uphold health equity as our highest value throughout our work:

  • We continue to use and create dialogue around our experience in using the Project Implicit tools to address our personal biases, how they impact our work, and how to address them. We talk as a team and take turns coming up with group activities to further engage in this dialogue.
  • When we talk about racial disparities in public health data, we speak intentionally. We call out structural racism, the role of implicit and explicit bias in healthcare (and other) systems, and we don’t use language that blames Black people for having higher rates of poor maternal or infant health outcomes. We know these outcomes exist because of racism.
  • We take our mental health seriously. We have consistently been an organization dedicated to the self-care of our team members and a promoter of positive mental health. Every team member takes paid mental health breaks during each work week to focus on individual needs and to decompress.
  • We are holding team check-ins to create a supportive space for team members to share how these current events are impacting them emotionally and personally. From those discussions, here’s what we decided we need from each other right now and in support of our Black team members:
    • Understanding. The anger we express may not be about you. There’s a lot going on and we need grace and leniency.
    • If your colleague seems off or are not acting like themselves, just check in. When you do, make sure they know there is no pressure for them to talk, but you are there when they are ready.
    • No judgment. This impacts everyone in different ways and at different times. Someone might be just fine one minute and then really not OK the next. Things are changing on a minute to minute basis – what’s going on at home, with our families near and far, in the streets, on the news and on social media all impact us.
    • Be authentic. You can only speak for yourself and your experience.
    • Don’t assume someone’s experience based on how they appear. Our identities are complex, as are our families.
    • Take some time to think before you act. Is it helpful? Is it what Black people in our community have asked for? Think about WHY you are acting.
    • If you need a moment, please let supervisors know and we will do our best to make sure you can take a breather and re-set.
  • We’re taking Juneteenth off. In honor of Juneteenth, our offices will be closed on June 19, 2020 for a day of reflection and action.  We encourage other businesses and organizations to do the same.

As HMHBGA continues our imperfect work in pursuit of racial justice and health equity, we invite you to join us:

  • Donate to Black-led health and advocacy organizations like the Black Mamas Matter, Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Feminist Women’s Health Center, SisterSong, Black Women’s Health Imperative, and other groups serving your community.
  • Continue to fight with us to end the Maternal Mortality Crisis in Georgia.  We are still working hard to protect vital maternal mortality prevention funding and to pass the extension of Pregnancy Medicaid to one-year postpartum in our State. Black women are 3-4x more likely to die from pregnancy, delivery or postpartum complications in Georgia than white women. It’s not OK and it has to stop. With the current budget cuts, this is a critical effort and we need your help! Sign up for Keeping Current @ The Capitol here.
  • Contact your elected officials, including your mayor, city council members, and district attorney to advocate for accountability and change specific to addressing police brutality, such as the policy changes recommended by Campaign Zero, the American Public Health Association, and PolicyLink.
  • Vote, volunteer and seek other ways to be active in your community.
  • For non-Black allies: deepen your understanding of how racism affects all of us by reading anti‑racism resources and having conversations with your family and friends.
  • Take your mental health seriously! There’s a lot going on right now between COVID-19 and the racial injustices we are processing as a community. If you need to locate a mental health provider, you can call us at 1-800-300-9003, Monday – Friday, 9AM – 5PM.
    • If you are experiencing maternal mental health concerns, you can call Postpartum Support International’s 24-Hr Helpline at 1-800-944-4773 or text 503-894-9453.
    • If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call the toll-free Georgia Crisis & Access Line at 1-800-715-4225 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
  • Above all else, take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Our Promise to You:

We are present. We are here for you. Georgia families still need support and we will always be here, standing beside you.

We will never stop fighting to improve Georgia’s maternal and infant health outcomes. We will always address disparities in outcomes based on structural racism and be intentional about that work within the community.

We will continue to do the work of addressing structural racism and white supremacy within our organization and in providing programs to the diverse communities we serve across Georgia.

Need resources? Call us at 1-800-300-9003, Monday – Friday, 8AM – 5PM.

In Solidarity,

Elise Blasingame, Executive Director & Johnecia Mason, Board President


PRESS ADVISORY: Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia Launches Sunday!

May 7, 2020 – Atlanta, GA

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) is proud to announce the launch of Pickles & Ice Cream GeorgiaTM – HMHBGA’s Perinatal Education Program that includes virtual online education and a dynamic online platform aimed at educating and empowering women and their families in the perinatal period. Pickles & Ice Cream GeorgiaTM has articles, videos, quizzes, blog posts to meaningfully engage pregnant and postpartum families in Georgia, with new content added weekly. The Pickles & Ice Cream GeorgiaTM platform also offers referral guides and toolkits available for providers and childbirth educators who need Georgia-specific maternal health resources.

A still frame from the Pickles & Ice Cream GeorgiaTM video on identifying post-birth warning signs to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity.

The official launch of the online platform (www.picklesandicecreamga.org) will take place on May 10, 2020 in honor of Mother’s Day.

“We have worked so hard on creating Pickles & Ice Cream GeorgiaTM and we are extremely proud of the finished product,” shared Mica Whitfield, HMHBGA Director of Programs. “Our goal was to ensure that Georgia moms have all the pregnancy & postpartum information they need at their fingertips, and an online community to support them, and that’s what we’ve accomplished!”

Families and providers can access Pickles & Ice Cream GeorgiaTM content on the website, and through our social media accounts – Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The main page of the Pickles & Ice Cream GeorgiaTM online platform.

In 2019, HMHBGA released the report, An Evaluation of Current Prenatal Education Availability and Receptivity to Online Education in the State of Georgia. The report included an extensive review of prenatal education curriculums and referral practices across the State. The report surveyed over 200 prenatal providers with the strong majority stating that they would like an online resource that is evidence-based, and Georgia specific, to refer their clients to outside of traditional in-person classes at labor & delivery hospitals.

“Many women cannot travel to in-person classes, especially in rural areas of Georgia.” explained Whitfield. “And right now, pregnant and postpartum women in all areas of the State, rural and urban, are staying home. We worked diligently to prepare the platform one month early in order to meet the high demand for online resources during this time of social distancing and isolation.”
A still frame of the Pickles & Ice Cream GeorgiaTM video on the importance of Birth Spacing – waiting between pregnancies to reduce low-birthweight and prematurity.

Prenatal education has the ability to educate women on vital signs and symptoms, can encourage them to seek medical attention, and can increase their likelihood of following medical advice. This is especially important for Georgia families as our state continues to rank poorly for maternal and infant health outcomes (Georgia ranks 4th highest in low birthweight, 5th in prematurity, 6th in infant mortality, and worst in maternal mortality).

“We are so excited to finally share the Pickles & Ice Cream GeorgiaTM online platform with families across Georgia!” shared Elise Blasingame, HMHBGA Executive Director. “After two years of research, focus groups, and engagement from our partners, we are very proud to share this essential resource meant to address current disparities in maternal and infant health in Georgia. We are thrilled to be able to offer this important resource at a time when pregnant and postpartum families need a great deal of virtual and online support.”

CONTACT: Mica Whitfield
678-697-4971 | mica.whitfield@hmhbga.org

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia would like to thank the R. Howard Dobbs Jr. Foundation for making this project possible.

PRESS ADVISORY: Inspiring Mothers of Georgia Award Winners Announced!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PRESS ADVISORY

CONTACT: Mica Whitfieldmica.whitfield@hmhbga.org

May 5, 2020 – Atlanta, GA
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) is proud to announce this year’s winners for the 2020 Inspiring Mothers of Georgia Awards. HMHBGA presents this award annually to six Inspiring Mothers from across the state who embody the characteristics of Strength, Sacrifice, Caring, Compassion and Generosity.

“These women have made incredible impact not only within their own families, but throughout their communities here in Georgia,” explains HMHBGA Executive Director, Elise Blasingame. “They embody the spirit of this award and we are proud to honor them this year.”

“Due to the pandemic, we had to postpone the original celebration of these awardees from late April to August 9, 2020,” shared HMHBGA Public Relations Chair, Latasia Brown. “We hope to be able to gather in person at that time, but are also making plans in case we need to celebrate virtually.”

The process this year was very competitive with over 45 nominations received! The six awardees and their bios are listed below.

2020 Inspiring Mothers of Georgia Award Winners:

Amy Ard – Atlanta, GA – Mother | Organizer | Justice-Seeker

Amy Ard, a native of Atlanta, has spent a career building nonprofits and small businesses committed to justice-work and maternal health. She founded and owned DC Birth Doulas, the largest doula agency in Washington D.C., before moving to her home state of Georgia to advocate and work directly with incarcerated pregnant women and families impacted by parental incarceration. She is the Executive Director of Motherhood Beyond Bars and was honored to work with a broad coalition of advocates who wrote legislation that ended the practice of shackling of pregnant and postpartum women in Georgia’s prison and jails in 2019. She lives in a multi-generational home with her mother, husband and three children. 

“For someone who consistently shoots for a participation trophy, this feels like a monumental gift! I’m honored to be included on this list of inspiring mothers and wish to thank many of the mothers I’ve met in prison and beyond who have illuminated my path.” – Amy Aard

Conyetta Clements – Macon, GA – Mom | Friend | Mentor

Conyetta Clemmons, 39 yrs old, is a resident of Macon, GA. She is a mother of two handsome boys (12 & 14) and a foster mother of three beautiful girls. She became a foster mother in 2017 when she began fostering Ayva and her sister Isabella. Ayva is happy baby, but needs special care as she suffered from shaken baby syndrome, congestive heart failure, moderate cerebral palsy, as well as a genetic disorder. She will turn three in June and requires a lot of hospital visits. In early 2019, Conyetta began fostering Laila, Ayba & Isabella’s sister.

Conyetta enjoys shopping, eating, and traveling whenever she gets the chance. She keeps very busy with her teenage sons and her three foster daughters.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as a good mother and I wouldn’t change it for anything.” – Conyetta Clements

Jenny Cochran – Atlanta, GA – Mother | Educator | Mentor

Jenny Cochran is a certified childbirth educator with CAPPA and an Evidence Based Birth® Instructor. Jenny began teaching childbirth classes in 2002 after the birth of her first child. From there her passion for birth work grew and she became a certified labor doula. In 2009, Jenny recognized a need in a neighboring community, labor doula support for refugee women. After volunteering her doula services with World Relief Jenny realized that childbirth education and health advocacy were also a need in the refugee community in Clarkston. 

In 2010 Embrace Refugee Birth was born and joined with a loarger non-profit, Friends of Refugees. As the founder of Embrace Jenny served as the Director until 2019 when she stepped away to return to school. She has served the Atlanta metro area for more than 17 years as a Childbirth Educator teaching over 600 couples and as a labor doula attending more than 100 births. Jenny loves educating families about the birth process and how be a confident consumer in our medical system. It is her passion to see families advocating for themselves with confidnece and current evidence on maternal healthcare practices.

“It was humbling to be nominated and it is such an honor to have been selected as one of the six inspiring mothers.” – Jenny Cochran

Tracey Moore – Covington, GA – Advocate | Mentor | Friend

Tracy is a grateful follower of Jesus Christ and has been happily married to her husband Scott for 31 years. They have served in full-time ministry at Eastridge Church in Covington, GA for almost 30 years. They are parents to six amazing sons, two beautiful and talented daughters-in-law, and three precious grandchildren. In 2013, they were forever immersed into the world of special needs when they adopted their fifth son, Samuel Kage, and then again in 2018 with their sixth son, Trenton. Although no longer fostering due to their sons’ significant needs, Tracy and Scott will always be advocates for both the foster care system and the orphaned, and also for those with disabilities.

Tracy is a graduate of Point University majoring in human relations and counseling. Over the past 30 years, she has enjoyed many roles including leading in women’s ministry, speaking at various retreats and conferences, teaching bible studies and classes, counseling women, homeschooling, and teaching psychology at Scholars Guild Academy in Loganville, GA. Currently, she’s chasing a life-long dream of continuing her education and becoming certified as a biblical counselor with Think LifeChange Institute of Biblical Counseling. 

“I am incredibly humbled. I am only one woman in a world with many, many moms whose hard work, love, sacrifice, and determination could also be awarded. Because I was chosen, it leaves me very thankful.” – Tracey Moore

Kimya Motley – Covington, GA – Mom | Champion | DV Dragon-Slayer

Ms. Kimya N. Motley is an inspirational speaker, author, and an Intimate Partner Violence subject matter expert. She serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Haven of Light International, Inc. and spearheaded the movement to revive the domestic violence task force in Newton County, Georgia. Motley now serves as its co-chairperson.

She received a Bachelor of Sciences in a dual program with the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and the College of Education from the University of Georgia. Additionally, Motley received a Master of Sciences in Counseling Psychology from The University of Missouri.

Motley’s passion is to increase safety for victims and survivors of domestic violence, enhance accountability of batterers, and make systemic changes to laws locally, nationally, and internationally – all to eliminate gender inequality. Kimya is the proud mother of Theron and Corrine and lives with her family in Covington, GA.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as one of the Inspiring Mothers of Georgia. My children have gone through so many challenges in their lives; yet, they always persevere. Their incredible resilience inspires me to be my best for them and others. Receiving this award makes me feel like this is a win for all the moms out there striving to do their best each day to show up for the world and be a light for their families.” – Kimya Motley

Deneta Sells – Atlanta, GA – Mother | Leader | Advocate

Deneta Sells grew up in Illinois and Maryland, the oldest of four children. She graduated from Harvard College in 1992 with a degree in Sociology and received her medical degree from the University of Tennessee College Of Medicine in 2003. She completed her residency in pediatrics at the Morehouse School of Medicine. Deneta opened Intown Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in September 2006.Deneta’s personal philosophy is to be a true “neighborhood” doctor: involved in community activities, offering convenient appointment times and after-hours advice. She is a board member of the Georgia American Academy of Pediatrics and is a founding board member of NewPower PAC, a non-partisan political action committee supporting women candidates in Georgia.

Deneta lives in Atlanta with her husband Bryan, a voting rights and election law attorney and their daughter Sarah Elizabeth. They have a large garden with chickens and bees. They enjoy sampling Atlanta’s great restaurants, supporting the Atlanta United soccer team, and going out to hear live music.

“Being selected for this award leaves me more assured of God’s grace and forgiveness. I am by no means a perfect mother, but I know I am a good one.” – Deneta Sells

HMHBGA Launches May Giving Campaign!

May 1, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

Dear HMHBGA Supporters,

I am writing to ask for your support for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia’s May Giving Campaign. Between May 1st-May 15th, HMHBGA will be raising funds to offset the financial losses to the organization and the Georgia communities served due to COVID-19.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, HMHBGA is working especially hard to fulfill our mission to improve maternal and infant health in Georgia. Both the Coalition and Call Center staff have been able to quickly shift into providing all of our regular services remotely. This includes offering our evidence-based prenatal education online at no cost to families in need!

Our team is expected to serve more than 5,000 families across Georgia through our Call Center, evidence-based, online prenatal education and through the gift cards, hand sanitizers and baby supplies we will be providing to families and healthcare providers in labor and delivery units between April 1 and June 30, 2020.

Despite what has so far been a smooth transition, tough financial times are imminent for HMHBGA.

With the ongoing economic downturn and our cancelled fundraising events, the organization is expecting a budget shortfall that will have a notable impact on day-to-day operations. Your support during this campaign and during the #GivingTuesdayNow event on May 5th will help HMHBGA be better prepared for the difficult days ahead. Here are some examples of how your contributions can support Georgia families in the time of COVID-19:

  • $25 – Guarantees one hour of phone support for a mom or family in need
  • $50 – Provides baby supplies for participants in our evidence-informed prenatal education workshop
  • $100 – Provides books for one person to become a doula or childbirth educator
  • $250 – Covers the cost for ten people to participate in our online prenatal education course
  • $500 – Covers the cost of a webinar for maternal and child health professionals to gain necessary skills for moving the needle on maternal and infant health disparities
  • $1,000 – Covers the cost of case management services for one pregnant to postpartum family for 3 months

DONATE NOW

 

Don’t Forget: May 10th is Mother’s Day! Consider making a donation to HMHBGA in honor of the mothers and grandmothers in your life. In these times of social distance, give the gift that will support pregnant and postpartum mothers throughout Georgia to get the education, support and healthcare they need.

Would you like to help fundraise for HMHBGA?

Please consider setting up your own fundraising page in support of HMHBGA! See instructions below:

You can also setup a Facebook Fundraiser in support of HMHBGA. Click here to begin.

Thank you for your generosity and support of Georgia’s families during this difficult time!

Sincerely,

Elise Blasingame, Executive Director & Latasia Brown, Public Relations Chair

HMHBGA reaches GuideStar’s highest Seal of Transparency

Platinum Seal allows donors to focus on progress and results

Atlanta, GA – Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) earned the 2020 Platinum Seal of Transparency today, the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, a service of Candid. By sharing metrics that highlight progress HMHBGA is making toward its mission, the organization is helping donors move beyond simplistic ways of nonprofit evaluation such as overhead ratios.

To reach the Platinum level, HMHBGA added extensive information to its Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar: basic contact and organizational information; in-depth financial information; qualitative information about goals, strategies and capabilities; and quantitative information about results and progress toward its mission. By taking the time to provide this information, HMHBGA has demonstrated its commitment to transparency and to giving donors and funders meaningful data to evaluate nonprofit performance.

“We at HMHBGA are dedicated to the highest level of transparency in order to instill the utmost confidence for our program participants, funders and partners,” shares Elise Blasingame, Executive Director. “This extends to our finances, operations and program impact which we are proud to share publicly via the GuideStar platform.”

About GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles

In February 2019, GuideStar joined forces with Foundation Center to form Candid, a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Today, GuideStar is a service of Candid. The GuideStar database contains a profile for every tax-exempt nonprofit registered withthe IRS. The profiles are populated with information directly from nonprofits, the IRS, and other partners in the nonprofit sector. Candid encourages every nonprofit to claim and update its profile at no cost to the organization. Updating allows nonprofits to share a wealth of up-to-date information with the more than 13 million people who
visit guidestar.org to learn more about nonprofit organizations each year. Updating also allows nonprofits to share information with the more than 200 philanthropic websites and applications that are powered by GuideStar data, such as AmazonSmile, Facebook, and Network for Good. To reach a given participation level, organizations must complete all required fields for that level. The GuideStar participation levels, acknowledged as symbols of transparency in the nonprofit sector, are displayed on all updated participants’ profiles in the GuideStar database.

About Candid

Every year, millions of nonprofits spend trillions of dollars around the world. Candid finds out where that money comes from, where it goes, and why it matters. Through research, collaboration, and training, Candid connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to do it. Candid’s data tools on nonprofits, foundations, and grants are the most comprehensive in the world. Find out more at candid.org and on Twitter @CandidDotOrg.

PRESS ADVISORY: New Resource for Pregnant Families During COVID-19

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) has published, Navigating COVID-19 Resources for Pregnant and Postpartum Families in collaboration with a broad and diverse group of maternal health organizations.

This resource is meant to provide families with guidance on how to plan for pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The report will be translated into Spanish and made available in the coming weeks.

“Due to the current public health emergency, navigating our health system may be difficult at this time,” shared HMHBGA Executive Director, Elise Blasingame. “We hope this resource will answer the many questions Georgia families are asking right now about their pregnancy, delivery and postpartum plans.”

Resources within the toolkit include how to prepare for delivery, postpartum & infant health information, and how to apply for public benefits.

“We have heard from families and advocates that there are a number of critical issues facing Georgians right now around prenatal care, delivery and postpartum care,” explained HMHBGA Research & Policy Analyst, Amber Mack.

Current concerns include, but are not limited to:

  • Fathers being banned from the labor & delivery room
  • Doulas being banned from the labor & deliver room
  • Coersion by providers who are trying to get women to allow for c-section when it is not medically necessary, but will get the labor over with faster so they can serve more patients
  • Postpartum women potentially delaying care out of fear of risk of exposure (this is troubling given our maternal mortality/morbidity issue in the postpartum period)
  • New moms and babies being released from the hospital early
  • Providers and patients both delaying prenatal care visits
  • Pediatricians and obstetricians canceling or limiting appointments
  • Issues related to isolation and perinatal anxiety and depression

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) would like to recognize the following partner organizations for their contributions to this toolkit. Their expertise, time, and dedication to ensuring families are connected to the resources they need during the COVID-19 crisis furthers our mission of improving maternal and infant health through advocacy, education, and access to vital resources:

  • A Better Balance
  • Atlanta Birth Project
  • Bellies to Babies Foundation
  • Center for Black Women’s Wellness
  • Center for Reproductive Rights
  • Emory University
  • Feminist Women’s Health Center
  • Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students
  • Georgia OBGyn Society
  • Georgians for a Healthy Future
  • Majaica, LLC
  • March of Dimes Georgia
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Nurse-Midwives of Georgia
  • SisterSong
  • Twin Mommy, LLC
  • Voices for Georgia’s Children

HMHBGA Call for Nominations to the Board of Directors

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia seeks nominations to the Board of Directors!

About Us: Since 1974, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia ( HMHBGA) has been the strongest statewide voice for improved access to healthcare and health outcomes for Georgia’s women and babies. Our mission is to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in Georgia through advocacy, education and access to vital resources. HMHBGA is the only organization in Georgia that focuses on the full spectrum of maternal and child health concerns from prematurity to maternal mortality. Learn more at: www.hmhbga.org

HMHBGA is looking for Board Members who have the following experience/background:
  • Information Technology (Database, Telecommunications, Website and App Development, Call Center, Etc.)
  • Media (Print/Radio/Online/Broadcast, Etc.)
  • Commercial Real Estate / Property Development
  • Legal
  • Organizational Change Management
  • Human Resources
  • Corporate Healthcare
  • Leaders of Corporations Based in Georgia
  • Fundraising – Events
  • Fundraising – Grant Writing
  • Fundraising – Cultivating Individual Donors
  • Fundraising – Cultivating Corporate Donors

We are especially interested in applications from candidates who work and reside in: North Georgia, East Georgia (Augusta area), West Georgia (Columbus area), Southeast Georgia (Savannah area), Southwest Georgia (Albany area), South Georgia (Valdosta area).

Current Size: 14 Members
Tenure: Board is well established; organization founded in 1974
Annual Financial Contribution: Yes – $250 annual dues + additional fundraising requirements
Term: 2 Years
Meeting Schedule: Bi Monthly (5-6 per year)
Committees: Advocacy, Public Relations, Organizational Management (monthly calls)
Social Media Channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn

To Apply: Please email elise.blasingame@hmhbga.org to request application materials. Please outline your interest in serving in the body of the email. We kindly request that completed materials be submitted by June 12, 2020.

The term of service would begin in October, 2020. See the current Board of Directors and their bios here.