Monday, June 17, 2013

Saving the World... one class at a time

I am headed to Seattle Washington later this week to present at the Inequities in Breastfeeding Support Symposium.  I will be offering a culturally specific view of barriers African-American women face in their lactation journeys and strategies normative culture providers can use to preserve, protect, and promote successful lactation.  I am very excited to present this information to a wider audience though I have given this talk about 10 times in the past two years at various local and national conferences.  I look forward to seeing Seattle (my first trip out there- though I have a feeling it won't be my last) home of Bastyr University and Penny Simkin (whom I will miss completely while I'm there- she'll be traveling).  I'm grateful to the planners of this conference to attempt a 'white privilege' take on this topic.  I hope it draws a broad audience.  I have two more invitations this Fall to present my topic and plan to attend the AABC conference in Minneapolis in September (a very busy month for conferences).
While I am gainfully unemployed and unschooled, I am taking advantage of the 'free' time to build an empire. (Insert wry smile.) I am quite excited about my business, 'Perinatal ReSource'  ( and the products I am producing.  I am producing books and curriculum like a mad fiend, and I am excited for where this company/school is headed.  I am teaching my first class through Perinatal ReSource on Monday nights.  Perinatal Academy has four very diverse students for the initial class.  It is 16 weeks of all things maternal- infant.  I wrote it, I teach it, and I will evaluate its value.  I want to do other niche education, and to that end, am on the lookout for coalitions, and alliances.
I'm still waiting to hear back from Frontier, whether or not I'm accepted into the Fall class, and what of my credits they will accept.   There are so many irons in the fire right now.  Things are going well, my life is quite productive, and many, many things seem possible. I want to use my time wisely this summer and set into motion projects that will have lasting impact.  I plan to keep my readers posted and how my book writing is going (I currently have two book contracts with two different publishers), the status of my nonprofit, Uzazi Village (I'm working on our annual report today- we're coming up on the end of our first fiscal year), and gearing up for hosting my first (of many) annual symposiums on perinatal health disparities.  So its off to work I go (at my dining room table- my makeshift home office).  There's much to be done in the battle against perinatal health disparities.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Midwives in the Making

I've decided to resume my writing on this blog.  I was trying to wait until I had definitive news to report, but I may not know for a while still.  The big news?  I am no longer in the midwifery program at KU.  I have instead applied to the Frontier at-a-distance program and am waiting to hear back about my application.  I don't wish to elaborate, but the experience has made me more determined than ever to complete my degree and start my career.  I have a much better understanding of why there are no midwives of color in the states of Kansas and Missouri,   The midwifery model of care is a beautiful model of care.  I absolutely do believe that it can be a part of the answer to health disparities, HOWEVER, midwives (and their professional associations) have not made this a priority.  With due deference to those who have tried to bridge the disparities gap, neither have they made the healthcare impact they should have made by now, leaving the women who might best benefit from midwifery care with the least access to it.   I have re-committed myself to the goal of Uzazi Village to restore the community midwife.  I understand much better now, why I must start my practice, and within that practice give midwifery students of color a place to be supported and nurtured.  To that end, Uzazi Village has started a new group, "Midwives in the Making."  This group is open to any aspiring midwife pursuing any path to midwifery, but it is ESPECIALLY a safe haven for women of color to nurture their dreams of becoming midwives.  We will meet the last Sunday of the month from 6-8pm and will rotate between member homes to share a meal and share our stories.  This is how I currently feel led to fight for my community.  To carry on in my own personal fortitude, courage, and moral veracity to make a space that does not currently exist for aspiring midwives of color.