Maternal and Child Health Advocate Running for Colorado State Senate

Hosting the annual ‘Big Latch On‘ with the Pikes Peak Breastfeeding Coalition

Back in high school, I heard a story about someone close to me being “unable” to give birth and needing major surgery to have her baby. She was healthy, and so was the pregnancy and the baby, but the doctor told her she was too “small”. Her whole story left me afraid for my own experience one day.

In college I stumbled across a book about maternity care and it opened my eyes to the travesty that is our healthcare system. The utter lack of respect for the normative course of healthy childbirth, and its participants, was leading to trauma, unnecessary interventions, and increasing risks to the mother and baby – not to mention, costly.

I’ve been working, for over a decade now, at the grassroots level with my birth-worker community to inform parents, maternity care providers, and the public about how the odds are stacked against them, and how to avoid unnecessary risk and trauma.

But I’ve become frustrated with the lack of action from the top, and so have my friends and colleagues. The lack of policy focused on protecting our most vulnerable; protecting our liberties, our choices, and our freedom – to choose where and with whom we give birth, to be free of trauma, to live.

There are simple ways that we could be saving lives, improving the mental and physical health of mothers and babies (and ultimately, our entire population), and saving a whole heck of a lot of money.

Training local Health Workers and Home Visitors as Breastfeeding Peer Counselors

Expanding access to midwives and doulas, for example, would save lives, improve experiences and outcomes, and save BIG on cost. Evidence shows that investing in home-visiting programs for postpartum and early childhood leads to better outcomes and cost-savings for individuals (as well as economies) across the life-span.

We won’t wait anymore.

It’s time to take this fight to the top.

I’m running for our Colorado State Senate and I need your support!

My race will take lots of teamwork to win. My opponent has more connections (he’s been voting against progress in the State Legislature for more than a decade already), and he knows more folks with lots of money. He votes against healthcare, votes in favor of companies that pollute and against protecting our communities, and he is far removed from what it takes to raise a family in Colorado today.

Please follow my campaign, make a $10 donation to show your support, and share this with a friend.

We’ll win this for families, together!

Peer Counselors, home-visitors, and community health workers save lives AND money!

About me:

I’ve been a birth doula (providing emotional, physical, and informational support to a birthing person/family), and provided postpartum support to families as an Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I’ve served in Early Head Start and Head Start as a home-visitor and Parent Educator, and I’ve worked with children on the Autism Spectrum providing in-home and clinic-based ABA services. I have a Master’s Degree in Public Health, worked in state-wide hospital quality improvement, and directed multi-state public health programs.

Preparing for Coronavirus: What I Want My Community to Know

I began college with the plan to study pathogens and eventually become a Virologist; The Hot Zone (a book about Ebola) was one of my all-time favorites in high school and college.

I’ve been reading up on Coronavirus, and thinking about my family, community, and my State, and I want to share some things I’ve learned, resources, and things you can do.

It’s concerning to me that some folks, including our President, are saying the Flu is a bigger issue than Coronavirus because more people have died of the flu.

That’s because the Flu is already wide-spread here, Coronavirus has only begun.

Let’s look at where this could go. And then what we need to do.

Flu fatality rate = .1%
Coronavirus fatality rate = 2-4% (early estimation)

This means that when 10,000 people get the flu, 10 people die.
BUT, when 10,000 people get Coronavirus, 200-400 may die.

What is MOST concerning to me about this whole discussion is that our flu statistics actually indicate we aren’t very good at preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses in the United States.
We see 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually from the flu.

Imagine, then, if we have this many people every year getting, being hospitalized by, and dying of the flu, these numbers will be worse *when* it’s Coronavirus.

We need to be serious about this.
We can start right now by implementing better practices which decrease the spread of illnesses like Coronavirus and the Flu.

What to Do:

HUMIDIFY – I’m starting with this one because I think it is the least-well known and has significant potential to decrease the spread of respiratory and airborne illness here in Colorado. Humidify your home, worksite, classroom, business – this will help decrease the transmission of airborne pathogens. Research

WASH YOUR HANDS – Make it a religious practice. When you arrive home, get to the office, use the restroom, wipe your nose with your hand… etc

CARRY SANITZER – Hand sanitizer does not replace washing your hands, but helps when you touch the Subway rail, or run into Target. Use it between hand-washing opportunities.

COUGH/SNEEZE INTO YOUR ELBOW – Or a tissue, just not your hand. Teach children to do the same.

STAY HOME WHEN SICK – Seriously. Stay home.

I also want to get everyone thinking about, preparing for, and using a very effective public health measure to stop the exponential spread of a pathogen – Quarantine.
Quarantines really work. We should use them; we should heed them.

Stay home if you are sick. Stay home if others are sick. Order groceries for pick-up, or ask a friend to drop groceries at your door, work from home/allow employees to work from home, and generally limit public contact.

Quarantine can also come from the Government and in these cases, it is incumbent upon our public health professionals, government representatives, and local officials to share frequent and transparent information about the purpose and procedures being used to keep the public safe.

Keeping people isolated and separated, often in our own homes, is a very effective way to stop the public spread of an illness. We need to consider that we may be instructed to stay in our homes for a period of days, and that businesses, schools, and public events could be cancelled for a period of time. You can prepare for this similar to how we prepare for weathering out a big storm.

I like this article by NPR for personal preparation.

Preparedness is waaay cooler than panic, and the steps to prepare are simple, start taking them a few at a time.

Wishing you all the best of health,

p.s. I’m running for Colorado State Senate and there aren’t enough Legislators with a background in public health and emergency preparedness. If that concerns you too, please donate $5-$25 to help me reach more voters and elect a Senator that values prevention and your health.  

More Coronavirus Resources: