Sunday, July 22, 2012

On a Mission...

Things are really beginning to reve up.  I feel like snowball, rolling downhill.  I sign the lease on our new training space tomorrow and Uzazi Village will have an address!   Later this week, I leave for Orlando Florida, to attend the International Lactation Consultant Association conference, and to sit for the Lactation Consultant exam.  I also have finals this week and need to finish up my clinical assignments before I leave for Florida.  Next week, we move into our beautiful urban training space (exposed brick walls, high beam ceilings, and finished wood floors) and start training our Sister Doula candidates, and holding our Chocolate Milk Cafe (breastfeeding support group).  I am on an absolute high, seeing things come together, that I have long only dreamed of.  This weekend was the annual retreat for the Missouri Midwives Association, and I spent a blissful weekend with my sister midwives (mostly CPMs, the CNMs have their own group, sadly).  (Even though I'm training to be a CNM, I believe the CPM model is a better one for my community.)  I loved spending time with my sister midwives and was able to share my intention to fill their ranks with midwives of color.  Two other local midwives are starting a birth attendant class, and my peridoula course will serve as a nice pre-requisite.  With the local midwives taking on apprentices our little corner of the map is soon to become a hotbed of midwifery resurgence.  This is my personal mission- to restore midwifery to my community.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Perinatal Doula Training

Preparing for an upcoming training:
Perinatal Doula Training
32 hours of training for certification as a Peri-Doula

Peri-Doulas care for women throughout the childbearing cycle- prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum. This training includes four certifictions:

  • Certified Le Leche League Breastfeeding Peer Educator
  • Certified Contraceptive Counselor
  • Certified Birth Doula
  • Certified Childbirth Educator

This course is $595 (installments offered) and will be held

August 4 (8am-4pm), August 11 (8am-4pm), August 18 (8am-4pm), August 25 (8am-4pm)

This course is offered by Perinatal Resource. For more information call Mariah Chrans at

913-486-8568 or Sherry Payne at 913-638-0716.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Beat Goes On...

I remain in waiting mode, for word about the building.  I can't tell if God is trying to build my faith, or torment me.  I did not hear back about my tenant application last week as told, so I expect to hear back this week- hopefully in the next day or so.  The Uzazi Village website is complete (for now) and my next order of business is to open a bank account.  I need to depos. it the money from the fundraiser.  The board elected to go with a neighborhood bank, and they are in very short supply in the urban core.  (Now if we wanted to go with a title loan place or one of the 400% interest rate loan places... we'd have our pick.)  There are two banks to choose from so I'll see which has the best offers for business accounts.

I really need to devote some time to my books.  My publisher is waiting on overdue edits for my existing book, and I have a  New York literary agent wanting to see a proposal on my new book.  Writing is a very time consuming process and I need to just sit down and do it.  I have an outline for my book proposal, but no title, but I may just send it without a title. 

My work on the conference right now involves writing a preliminary budget and tracking down funding sources.  As soon as the hotel contract is signed, we can start marketing it.  This is going to be a fabulous conference.  The focus will be on decreasing health disparities with Mother-Friendly and Baby-Friendly care. 

On the education front, I have two upcoming conferences.  In two weeks, the Missouri Midwives Association is having its long awaited annual midwives retreat.   I will be teaching CPR and NPR and I have an agenda item on the business meeting: cultivating birth workers of color.  As usual I'll be the only woman of color there, and I need to start raising some awareness.  The other conference is the ILCA in Orlando (lactation consultants).  In just two more weeks, I'll be taking the LC exam.  This has been a HUGE undertaking that has taken me two years to prepare for.  My fee for the exam was $600.  If I pass (keeping my fingers crossed) I have already laid the groundwork for my doctoral thesis I call the "Pediatrician/Lactation Consultant Partnerhip"  I will work one morning a week in a local pediatrician's office (with an urban mostly African-American practice) assisting with breastfeeding issues in order to increase duration rates.  The pediatrician will start to track his number now- he has no idea what percentage of his clients breastfeed now, and when they encounter difficulties, he can only offer positive encouragement, but no skills to help.  (Part of the problem is that as a pediatrician, he can only assist on the baby side not the mother side - he can't bill for mother-based interventions, only baby interventions.  I'd also like to offer a breastfeeding support group in his office as well as promote the Chocolate Milk Cafe- which should be up and going in August.  Which reminds me, I have one more conference- Midwives Alliance of North American in Asilomar CA where I'll do a session on the Chocolate Milk Cafe.  That is coming up in September. 

     In the meantime I do what needs to be done for the current day- and today that is lots and lots of homework and study for a test tomorrow.  Bye for now.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Whirlwind of Activities- when it rains, it pours

The past two weeks have been filled with activity.  I decided not to go to Boston for clinicals and instead accepted an adjunct teaching position in the Fall.  I did so becuase things are moving faster than I thought they might, and I don't think I can leave my projects for an entire month.  The provisional board of Uzazi Village is making arrangements for a permanent board to be in place by October.  We are furiusly writing a business plan in hopes of a small nonprofit start up loan.  The biggest news is that we found a wonderful location for Uzazi Village and are waiting to hear if our lease application has been accepted.  If so, we will spend the month of July preparing our space and moving in, and will start operations the first of August.  I won't write about the space until I know we have it. 

There is so much going on all at once.  Antepartum (prenatal) clinicals this summer are a whirlwind and I am learning so much.  I am seeing between 4- 12 patients a day in the clinics I attend.  It has been a fantastic learning experience.  This Fall I look forward to catching my first baby (first of many, I hope.) 

Uzazi Village is now calling for applicants interested in free training to become Sister Doulas.  These peridoulas will be trained and certified in doula services, childbirth education, breastfeeding peer counseling, and contraceptive counseling.   We decided to move ahead with the Peridoula Demonstration Project without any grant funding.  This is a complete act of faith.  The training will take place the month of August, and the selection process begins now.  We are hoping to train 5-10 Sister Doulas to have in place ready to go, should our proposal be accepted by a local Medicaid HMO.  The Sister Doulas will be paired with Medicaid moms for the purpose of decreasing health disparities through prevention of preterm birth and the promotion of breastfeeding and baby spacing.

My other big project is the CIMS conference for 2013.  It is a go and it will be held here in Kansas City.  That means I am also simultaneously trying to raise funds for conference expenses an to pay for the big name speakers we are trying to get here in KC.  I know this will be a fantastic event and I look forward to seeing many of my readers there.