Maternal & Infant Health Policy Breakfast & Legislative Awardees Announced

Author: HMHBGA Staff

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) is excited to announce our 2020 Maternal and Infant Health Policy Breakfast will be held in collaboration with Georgia March of Dimes on January 29, 2020 from 7:30AM – 11:00AM at the Central Presbyterian Church (201 Washington Street SW in Atlanta, Georgia), across from the State Capitol.

Legislative Panelists – Chairman Chuck Hufstetfler, Representative Carolyn Hugley, Representative Darlene Taylor, and Senator Nan Orrock – will be answering audience questions about the future of maternal and infant health policies in the State.

Six legislators will also be honored with HMHBGA’s Charlotte Wilen Advocate of the Year Awards at the Policy Breakfast  on January 29, 2020. The Wilen Award acknowledges the hard work and efforts of our State’s lawmakers to improve maternal and child health through policy change. Charlotte Wilen was an avid advocate for Georgia families during her life and was the founder of HMHBGA in 1974. Please join us in congratulating the following policymakers whose contributions in the 2019 Legislative Session made real impact for Georgia families!

“We are very grateful to this year’s Wilen Award Winners,” stated Caryn Hanrahan, nurse-midwife and Chair of HMBGA’s Advocacy Committee. “Without their steadfast support, we would not have been able to secure the funding our state so desparately needs to finally address our terrible maternal and infant health outcomes. We look forward to working with them this session to protect that funding and get those programs off the ground for Georgia’s families.”

Chairwoman Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) and Representative David Dreyer (D-Atlanta) are both being honored for their work to support the passage of HB345 – Dignity for Incarcerated Women.
“I am honored to receive this award from the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, and I am thankful for their partnership in implementing legislative change for maternal health for so many years. I am proud to be recognized for our work on House Bill 345, which ensures that all mothers, including new and expecting mothers in Georgia’s correctional facilities, are treated with dignity and experience a healthy and safe pregnancy and delivery.” -Chairwoman Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta)


“Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies has made a positive impact for families across Georgia. I’ve been honored to work with them to make meaningful improvements for the lives of mothers and children. I’m so thankful of this recognition, and I look forward to continuing our work together.” -Representative David Dreyer (D-Atlanta)


Senator Randy Robertson (R-Cataula), Representative Debbie Buckner (D-Junction City), Chairman Butch Parrish (R-Swainsboro), and Senator Freddie Powell Sims (D-Dawson) are being recognized for their strong support of including almost $5 million in newly allocated funds to address maternal and infant health for the 2019 State Budget. They continue to support these critical program dollars to address Georgia’s abysmal maternal and infant health outcomes.


“Everyone was shocked when we started looking at the maternal mortality rates in Georgia and how bad it was, especially with how we could be compared with third world countries. Part of the problem is moms have not gotten prenatal care or education. If we could help get care on the front end we would see better outcomes particularly in rural counties where we have issues with transportation and availability of providers and hospitals. Providing needed care and education would lead to better health outcomes, which will be great for all Georgians.” -Chairman Butch Parrish (R-Swainsboro)


“It has been a privilege to work on behalf of Georgia’s families to make major improvements in the way we provide prenatal education in Georgia, especially to our rural communities. It is important to ensure that all women, regardless of geography or income have access to the resources and education they need to have a healthy pregnancies. I believe this will truly make positive impacts on the health of Georgia’s mothers and babies.” -Senator Freddie Powell Sims (D-Dawson)


“We are given a short period of time on this earth and we’re given a short window of opportunity to do what’s right. In 100 years, no one will know who Randy Robertson is, but my job is to take care of the smallest and most vulnerable among us, and it is babies and the moms that carry them. Supporting Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies’ rural perinatal satellites last session was the easiest thing I did.” -Senator Randy Robertson (R-Cataula)


“I am so honored to be recognized for prioritizing maternal and infant health initiatives in the Georgia Budget. As a woman, daughter, mother, and a public health educator it is incredibly important to me for our Georgia women to have accurate, safe, health care. In an effort to improve Georgia’s atrocious maternal death rate I continue to advocate for expansion of Medicaid coverage up to one year after delivery of a baby.” -Representative Debbie Buckner (D-Junction City)


As part of our day of action, from 1PM – 3PM, advocates will be in the South Rotunda of the State Capitol raising awareness around Georgia’s current maternal mortality crisis. This will include an exhibit that displays over 1,700 Mother’s Day Cards representing each year a family did not have their mom due to her passing between 2012-2014 (these are the years Georgia’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee has completed data review for cases). Please join us.