The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has sparked important conversations around the health of women and birth givers across our state. Given this decision, we would like to address some questions and concerns you may have:
What is HMHBGA’s mission?
Our mission is to improve maternal and infant health through advocacy, education, and access to vital resources.
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 mothers, birth givers, and babies. HMHBGA is the only organization in Georgia that focuses on the full spectrum of maternal and child health concerns from prematurity to maternal mortality.
Does HMHBGA have a stance on abortion?
No. We are a nonpartisan organization. As we always have, we will continue to ensure that women, birth givers, and families have access to vital resources. However, it is imperative that we acknowledge the repeal of Roe. V. Wade would increase at-risk pregnancies in our state, therefore increasing the need for critical services and policies for those individuals.
What is HMHBGA’s policy agenda?
During the 2022 HMHBGA worked diligently to fight for its Legislative Policy Agenda. Informed by our advocacy, the state successfully passed the expansion of pregnancy Medicaid from six months to one year postpartum. This was a huge win for the health and safety of mothers and birthers in our state. However, many of our policy objectives from 2022 will be continued in 2023. These objectives include:
- Supporting legislation to protect pregnancy and postpartum employees in the workplace and provide appropriate workplace accommodations.
- Ensuring adequate funding for the Department of Public Health’s Maternal & Child Health Section.
- Supporting Doula Medicaid Reimbursement for prenatal, birth, and postpartum doula services.
- Increasing access to adequate oral healthcare for pregnant women including but not limited to oral health, mental health, and cardiac health.
- Supporting the increase of the state tobacco product excise tax on both tobacco and tobacco alternative products.
You can read the details of HMHBGA’s 2022 policy objectives here.
We are looking to release a comprehensive 2023 Legislative Policy Agenda soon.
If I am looking for more resources and information on reproductive rights, where can I go?
HMHBGA recognizes the power of partnerships and serves as an important connector to resources for families. To that end, we recommend contacting the following organization for resources and information on reproductive rights:
If I am pregnant or planning for a child, what resources do HMHBGA provide?
Our team at HMHBGA is committed to providing the resources and information mothers, birth givers, and families need to thrive in the state of Georgia. We currently offer the following:
Information & Referral Services: On behalf of the Georgia Department of Public Health, HMHBGA operates the Georgia Family Healthline, Children 1st high-risk screening line, and Help Me Grow Georgia to provide callers with appropriate referrals and resources across the State. HMHBGA also operates the Prevent Child Abuse Georgia Helpline on behalf of Georgia State University. You can reach us Mon-Fri from 8 AM-5 PM at 1-888-457-4769.
Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia: Aimed at educating and empowering women and their families in the perinatal period, P&I offers virtual education sessions on prenatal and postpartum education classes, breastfeeding classes, and baby care classes led by professional child-birth educators; peer support groups; and a dynamic online platform. Visit us at picklesandicecreamga.org.
Perinatal Kits: To encourage positive maternal health and wellness, we provide free essential items needed for birth givers during the prenatal and postpartum period as an early intervention to maternal morbidity in Georgia. To order your kit, please complete our form.
Maternal Mental Health Support: Our maternal mental health peer support groups provide all mothers and birth givers the support needed to help with their mental health during and after pregnancy. All groups are led by volunteer moms who are trained in how to provide a safe space and facilitate a successful peer support group. See all available groups and schedules here.
Perinatal Workforce Development: To help fight birth disparities in Georgia’s most vulnerable communities, our Building Perinatal Support Professionals (BPSP) program provides scholarship and mentorship for those seeking credentialing as a Certified Doula, Maternal Mental Health Certified Peer Specialist, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, and Childbirth Educator. Learn more about our program.
How can I get involved with HMHBGA?
HMHBGA convenes a number of working groups to address priority maternal and infant health topics:
- Oral Health & Pregnancy
- Doula Access
- Georgia Coalition of Pregnant Workers
- Maternal Mortality Stakeholders Group
- Infant Mortality
- Planning for Healthy Babies
Please email Madison Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about joining a working group.
Additionally, we are looking for individuals to join our Community Advisory Committee. The Committee will support the interaction of families, community organizations, and businesses, and ensure that HMHBGA’s activities are responsive and culturally relevant to those it serves.
If you are interested in applying, learn more here.
Nina Brown Named 2022 Inspiring Mother of the Year by Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia
ATLANTA, GA — Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) is proud to name Nina Brown as the 2022 Inspiring Mother of the Year. Brown will be honored at HMHBGA’s Inspiring Mothers celebration on April 30th at Wild Heaven Brewery, where she will join Ky Lindberg, Executive Director of HMHBGA, in a conversation around motherhood.
As the co-host of the Frank Ski Show with Nina Brown on KISS 104.1 in Atlanta and 96.3 WHUR in Washington DC, Brown has leveraged her platform to be an authentic advocate for herself, her children, and those navigating injustices. Her mantra as a mother is, “You have a voice — and I will always hear you.”
“Nina Brown embodies the essence of what it means to be an inspiring mother,” says Lindberg. “Her story of resilience, perseverance, and success is a reminder to all us moms and birth givers that being given the title ‘Mom’ is both incredibly special and yet, comes with beautiful challenges. Despite these challenges, we can do incredible things for our family and community.”
Brown boasts, of all the titles she has held, mom will always reign as her most proud, most favorite, and most important. Her passion for motherhood also includes supporting other mothers.
“It is so important that we ensure the health and well-being of mothers and birthing people because they are the lifelines of God’s most beautiful work. Without healthy mothers and sound birthing people, we cannot ensure the miraculous transition known as childbirth, happens safely. Mothers are most often a child’s first love, first protector & first image of God’s grace. We must protect that at all costs,” says Brown.
The Inspiring Mothers celebration is open to all. To purchase tickets for the event or learn more, visit Eventbrite.
Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 2/18/2022
HOT TOPIC: Georgia’s Smoke Free Air Act
It’s no secret, smoking is bad for pregnancy. Although the aerosol of e-cigarettes generally has fewer harmful substances than cigarette smoke, e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine are not safe to use during pregnancy. Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and developing babies and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs. In recognizing this, Rep. Bonnie Rich sponsored HB1348, which will prohibit vaping in designated smoke-free areas. To learn more, click here.
HOT TOPIC: Maternal Autopsies
Maternal autopsy examination provides an exact cause of death in most cases and is still a valuable tool for understanding the cause of maternal mortality. To that end, we are pleased to share that this week, Sen. Dean Burke sponsored SB496, a bipartisan bill that would require a medical examiner’s inquiry when a pregnant person dies. If passed, this would be incredibly valuable in our maternal mortality review processes and identifying methods towards prevention. For more information on the bill, click here.
BILLS TO WATCH
HB1092: Georgia Women’s CARE Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to arrest by law enforcement officers generally, so as to revise provision relating to the arrests of pregnant women; to provide that women who have been arrested are offered pregnancy testing upon detention; to enact a provision regarding delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates; to amend Article 1 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to inmate policies, so as to revise provisions relating to the treatment of pregnant and postpartum female inmates; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes
HB1013: Mental Health Parity Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 37, 45, and 49 of the O.C.G.A., relating to courts, education, health, insurance, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
SB338: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
HB864: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public assistance, so as to provide for the submission of a waiver request by the Department of Human Services to permit the recipients of certain public assistance benefits to use such benefits for the purpose of purchasing diapers or menstrual hygiene products if the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service makes such waiver available to states; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
HB825: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to provide for Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor human milk; to provide for submittal of a state plan amendment or waiver request, if necessary; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
A Tool for Advocating: PROJECT 236
Project 236 is an advocacy tool that can be used to understand the state of maternal and infant health in your legislative district! Outcomes include rates of preterm birth, low birthweight, infant mortality, and prenatal care inadequacy. In this age of virtual advocacy, we hope that this can be used as a way to advocate for improved maternal and infant health in your own backyard.
How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.
CLICK HERE to access Project 236
Dr. Natalie Hernandez Named 2021 Carolyn Wetzel Continuum Award Recipient
On October 18, 2021, Natalie D. Hernandez, Ph.D., M.P.H. will be honored with the Carolyn Wetzel Continuum Award at the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) 47th Annual Meeting and Conference.
Each year, HMHBGA, recognizes a volunteer or health professional for their contributions in advocacy and policy in support of the health and well-being of Georgia’s families with the Carolyn Wetzel Continuum Award. The award was created to honor the memory of Carolyn Wetzel, a long-time HMHBGA member, friend, and dedicated public health advocate for mothers, birth givers, and babies, and is presented to the recipient at HMHBGA’s annual conference on maternal and child health. In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic shed light on many of the health inequities facing Georgia families, with significant impact on mothers and caregivers.
“The last few years have been exceptionally taxing for many families across Georgia. COVID-19 has exacerbated health inequities in insurmountable ways which have long term impacts for those beautiful individuals who bring forth life and their sweet babies,” says Ky Lindberg, Executive Director of HMHBGA. “That’s why we need change agents who are advocating for culturally relevant, responsive, and equitable solutions aimed at improving maternal and infant health in our state. This is a truth that’s steeped in our Coalition’s founding and exhibited by each of our partners, one such partner being Dr. Natalie Hernandez.”
Dr. Hernandez advocates for women and birth givers through her research in maternal health. Her work is dedicated to advancing science towards the elimination of women’s health inequities by evaluating health policy and social determinants of health, specifically within Black and Latina populations. Additionally, her research explores the integration of technology to advance women’s health. Hernandez has laid the groundwork for research in maternal health by establishing partnerships with local and national organizations dedicated to maternal morbidity and mortality disparities, evaluating maternal health interventions and programs, and validating effective measures of maternal mental health, medical mistrust, as well as psychosocial factors relevant to maternal health inequities. She has more than 17 years of experience in developing community partnerships and implementing community-based participatory research that engages diverse stakeholder groups including health care providers, patient populations, organizational leaders, and policymakers.
“Dr. Hernandez’s work lifting up the urgency to find policy, research and community solutions to increase health equity and improve maternal health for black women coupled with her fierce commitment to expand access to services for rural birth givers has sparked collective action from all sectors of the community. She leads with grace and empathy, amplifying the stories of hundreds of women who have brushed death whilst giving birth and giving them a platform to share their experiences navigating our healthcare systems. It is because of this and her just being an all-around beautiful human being that I am pleased to name Dr. Natalie Hernandez as the recipient of the 2021 Carolyn Wetzel Continuum Award.”
-Ky Lindeberg, Executive Director at HMHBGA
Hernandez is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine and the Interim Director of the Center for Maternal Health Equity at Morehouse School of Medicine. She currently sits on Georgia’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, Georgia PRAMS Steering Committee, Georgia Improving Postpartum Care Affinity Group, and on various maternal and child health organizations including Postpartum Support International-Georgia Chapter Advocacy Group and Georgia Maternal Health Stakeholder Group. She also sits on national organizations including the American Public Health Association Committee on Health Equity, Health Disparities Taskforce of the National Preeclampsia Foundation, and many others.