Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Lamaze International Wants to Recognize Childbirth Education Leaders! Submit Your Nominations Now!

May 21st, 2015 by avatar

NominateDid you know that Lamaze International has several different awards that are given during the annual conference to recognize the contributions of deserving individuals to the field of childbirth education?  There are a total of four awards available, read about all four and consider if you have someone deserving of a nomination.

The Lamaze International Elisabeth Bing Award recognizes a Lamaze certified childbirth educator (LCCE)  who has “made outstanding contributions in the field of childbirth education.”  With Elisabeth’s passing late last week, after a long and productive life as the pioneer of childbirth educators, this award will be extra poignant in 2015.  Can you think of an educator who has achieved national or international recognition, embodies the principles of Lamaze International and has made positive contributions to the field of childbirth education? This year’s recipient will be joining prestigious past winners.  Please consider nominating a deserving educator so that they can be considered for this year’s award.

The Lamaze International Research Award is to honor the person or organization whose research has significantly contributed to the field of childbirth education and normal birth.  This award recognizes and encourages the need for ongoing research in the field of childbirth education to support the evidence-based content of Lamaze education and information.

The Lamaze International President’s Award is given at the discretion of the President to an individual or organization that embodies the spirit of the Lamaze mission and vision, and has made significant contributions to advancing safe and healthy pregnancy, birth and early parenting through evidence-based education and advocacy.

The Lamaze International Media Award is for Lamaze International to honor individuals or organizations that present normal, physiologic birth and/or Lamaze International in a positive light in the mass media. Can you think of a blogger or journalist who has worked hard to provide both consumers and professionals with accurate information on current best practice?  If so, consider nominating him or her to be considered for this award.

In order to nominate an individual or an organization for any of the above awards, please submit the nomination through our online form.  We ask you to also email a copy of the nominee’s CV/resume.  The Executive Committee will review the nominations in each category and select the award recipients.

The awards are presented at the annual conference, this year to be held September 17-21, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Recipients are informed in advance so they may plan on being in attendance to receive their award. The deadline is June 1st, so don’t delay in submitting the names of deserving individuals.

Registration is now open for the conference, so take advantage of early registration savings by registering now.


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Mary Jo Podgurski, EdD, LCCE, Receives National Award for Work With Teens

October 21st, 2014 by avatar

Mary Jo Podgurski, RNC, EdD, LCCE, FACCE has been selected to receive the 2014 Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education by the Healthy Teen Network.  Dr. Podgurski will be in Austin, Texas on Wednesday, October 22nd to accept the award at this year’s Healthy Teen Network conference: Synergy: Achieving More Together.

© Mary Jo Podgurski

© Mary Jo Podgurski

The Healthy Teen Network builds capacity among professionals and organizations through education, advocacy, and networking so that they can assist all adolescents and young adults, including teen parents, to have access to the services and education that allow them to make responsible choices about childbearing and family formation, and are supported and empowered to lead healthy sexual, reproductive, and family lives.

Dr. Podgurski could not be more deserving of this award. Her impact on the lives of the young people lucky enough to have been exposed to or participated in one of Dr. Podgurski’s programs is profound.  This woman is has a heart of gold.  At the top of Dr. Podgurski’s CV is the following statement, which so clearly speaks to what drives and shapes her work and her heart:

Perhaps the most important biographical fact needed to know about me deals with joy. I am blessed to spend my days interacting with young people and I treasure every moment; I believe deeply in their wisdom. My primary mantra is simple: Each person is a person of worth. Actually that tenet translates well to my primary value – that all must be respected, regardless of age, size, race, ethnicity, sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socio-economic status, education, religion, or position in society. My papa was my spiritual guide and he taught me that we are “all in this together.”   

Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski is the Director of The Washington Health System Teen Outreach and President and Founder of the Academy for Adolescent Health, Inc. Her undergraduate education is in nursing and education, her master’s work was in counseling, and her doctorate is in education. She began volunteering with pregnant teens in the 70s and has created numerous youth development and education programs using reality-based, interactive educational techniques that are evidence-based and empower youth. Teen Outreach programs have reached over 18,000 students annually through in-school sexuality education in all 14 Washington County school districts. Since the Outreach began she and her team have taught over 231,000 young people in-school comprehensive sexuality education in four counties and 38 schools in Western PA. The Outreach has mentored over 7,000 young parents and trained over 10,000 peer educators. She directs a monthly Adolescent Advisory Board of 75 teens, maintains an active peer educator group (since 1995), and produces original teen educational dramas through the Real Talk Performers. The Outreach’s Ambassador for Respect Program was created in 2006 and models respect throughout the county; the 2013-2014 focus was Respect for Older Adults and the 2014-2015 theme is Smash the Stereotypes.

© Mary Jo Podgurksi

© Mary Jo Podgurksi

During 2010, Dr. Podgurski introduced her Real Talk for Real Teens™ trainings on sexuality education for school staff; these trainings provide activities, lesson plans, and PowerPoint presentations for 5th and 6th graders, middle school and secondary school students. Her educational/mentoring programs for pregnant and parenting teens (PPT) reach over 150 young parents annually in three counties. The PRIDE (Parenting Responsibly with Dignity and Empowerment) PPT Program and a program for expectant teen fathers entitled REAL Dads: Strong Fathers, Strong Families Program involve intensive, weekly mentoring contact with professional staff and young parents. The PPT Program averages an 85 – 94% high school graduation rate; over the last decade students in the program have experienced a 3% or less repeat pregnancy rate. The ECHO (Educate Children for Healthy Outcomes) early intervention program she created in 1999 provides intensive educational mentoring on a weekly basis for youth in grades 7 – 12. Founded on the evidenced-based antecedents for early childbearing (history of abuse, internal and external poverty, foster placement, and generational teen pregnancy) ECHO served 581 at-risk young women between 1999-2009. Only three of those young people experienced a pregnancy and all three were 17 or 18. ECHO clients are typically seen for 4 – 5 years. ECHO is currently being evaluated with help from Susan Philliber Associates.

I have had the privilege of meeting Mary Jo several times over the years at various childbirth functions and conferences.  The magic that this wonderful woman possesses is clear from the minute you meet her.  If you are lucky to spend some time with her, her, you cannot help but see her special powers!  When you talk to Mary Jo, she makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world.  You are heard, listened to and valued.

nonnie podgurskiMary Jo dreams big and makes things happen!  The depth and breadth of what she has accomplished is so expansive. In addition to her extensive program development history, she is an accomplished author, with works that include Inside Out: Your Body is Amazing Inside and Out and Belongs Only to You, a body-positive, child-centered, interactive, child abuse prevention program, is a result of her experience with survivors. Her publications include Games Educators Play One and Two, and What’s Up as YOU Grow Up?  In 2014 she authored a cutting edge children’s book on the challenging topic of gender/gender identity. Nonnie Talks about Gender is unique, interactive, and pertinent to today’s culture. Her latest books are Real Talk for Real Teen Parents: A Real Life Workbook for Young Parents, and Real Talk for Real Teens: #communicate, an interactive collection of scenarios to inspire adult/teen communication.  Mary Jo Podgurski is also a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and a Fellow in the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators.

Mary Jo Podgurski, please accept my personal congratulations and those of the entire Lamaze International organization, as you accept the 2014 Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexual Education.  We could not be more proud of you and we honor the work you are doing.  It is making a difference in the lives of many.  Thank you for all you do.



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April is Cesarean Awareness Month – Resources and a Test Your Knowledge Quiz

April 10th, 2014 by avatar

fb profile cam 2014April is Cesarean Awareness Month, an event meant to direct the American public’s attention to the United States’ high cesarean rate. 32.8% of all birthing women gave birth by cesarean in 2012. A cesarean delivery can be a life-saving procedure when used appropriately, but it takes one’s breath away when you consider that one third of all women birthing underwent major abdominal surgery in order to birth their babies.

Professionals that work with women during the childbearing year can be a great resource for women, pointing them to evidence based information, support groups and organizations that offer non-biased information to help women lower their risk of cesarean surgery, receive support after a cesarean and work towards a trial of labor after a cesarean (TOLAC) and achieve a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC) for subsequent births if appropriate.

Here are my top suggestions for websites and resources every birth professional should have on their short list to share with students and clients when it comes to cesarean awareness.

1. International Cesarean Awareness Network – an international organization with almost 200 volunteer led chapters, (most in the USA) offering peer to peer support for cesarean recovery and VBAC information by way of a website, e-newsletters, webinars, online forums, Facebook groups and monthly meetings in the community.

2. VBACFacts.com – Led by birth advocate Jen Kamel, this website is big on research and helps consumers and professionals alike understand the evidence and risks and benefits of both repeat cesareans and vaginal birth after cesarean, including vaginal birth after multiple cesareans.

3. Lamaze International’s “Push for Your Baby” – is a great resource for families to learn about the Six Healthy Care Practices, what evidence based care looks like and how to work with your health care provider to advocate for a safe and healthy birth. Also Lamaze has an wonderful infographic that can be shared online or printed.

4. Spinning Babies – Midwife Gail Tully really knows her stuff when it comes to helping babies navigate the pelvis during labor and birth. Many cesareans are conducted for “failure to progress” or “cephalopelvic disproportion” when really it is a case of a malpositioned baby who needed to be in a different position. This website is a wealth of information on what women can do to help their babies into the ideal position to be born, prenatally and during labor. It includes valuable information about helping a breech baby turn vertex. This is important, because finding a health care provider who will support vaginal breech birth is like finding a needle in a haystack.

© Patti Ramos Photography

© Patti Ramos Photography

5. Childbirth Connection – This website is a virtual goldmine of evidence based information about cesareans and VBACs including a valuable guide “What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know about Cesareans.” There are questions to ask a care provider and includes information on informed consent and informed refusal.

6. Cesareanrates.com is a great website run by Jill Arnold for those who love the numbers. Find out the cesarean rates of hospitals in your area. All the states are represented and families can use the information when searching out a provider and choosing a facility. Jill’s resource page on this site is full of useful information as well.

7. Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean –  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists along with the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine recently published a groundbreaking document aimed at reducing the first cesarean. While fairly heavy reading, there is so much good information in this committee opinion that I believe every birth professional should at least take a peek. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Test your knowledge of the facts around cesareans and VBACs with this informative quiz:

As a birth professional, you can be a great resource for all your clients, helping them to prevent their first cesarean, providing support if they do birth by cesarean and assisting them on the journey to VBAC by pointing them to these valuable resources. You can make every day “Cesarean Awareness Day” for the families you work with, doing your part to help the pendulum to swing in the other direction, resulting in a reduction in our national cesarean rates and improving outcomes for mothers and babies. What are your favorite resources on the topic of cesareans and VBACs? Share with us in the comments section.

  1. Patti Ramos
  2. creative commons licensed ( BY-NC ) flickr photo shared by Neal Gillis
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  4. creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by mikeandanna
  5. creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by mikeandanna
  6. creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by Kelly Sue
  7. creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Marie in NC
  8. creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by lucidialohman
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  11. creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by Mwesigwa

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Recognition for the Lamaze Push for Your Baby Campaign

March 20th, 2013 by avatar

PR News announced this week that Lamaze’s Push for Your Baby campaign was a co-winner for the 2013 Nonprofit PR Award for Digital PR and Marketing.

The Push for Your Baby campaign worked to provide expecting mothers with key information they needed to push for a safe and healthy birth for their baby. According to PR News, “the campaign launch successfully positioned Lamaze as a go-to resource for maternity care information and generated excitement among its educators.”

Within a week of launch, the campaign’s online video received over 1,000 views, and overall the campaign yielded more than 18 million earned media impressions. To date, the video has had over 8,400 views. Lamaze would like to thank Jones Public Affairs for their work on this campaign and leading the implementation.

Science & Sensibility first wrote about the “Push for Your Baby” in the blog post: New Lamaze Campaign: Push for Your Baby! Childbirth Educators Play a Key Role.

Are you using this wonderful video and accompanying materials to reach your students with the message that parents can push for a safe and healthy birth?  What has been the feedback from your classes on this material?  If you are not using it, won’t you consider incorporating this fantastic resource in your class curriculum?

You can read more about this award from PR News.


Awards, Babies, Childbirth Education, Evidence Based Medicine, Healthcare Reform, Healthy Birth Practices, Healthy Care Practices, informed Consent, Lamaze International, Lamaze News, Maternal Quality Improvement, Maternity Care, Newborns, Push for Your Baby , , , , ,

Have You Made The Connection with Childbirth Connection? Three Reports You Don’t Want To Miss

January 10th, 2013 by avatar


The past few weeks have been big ones for 95 year old, New York based Childbirth Connection.  Since I started working in the birth world, I have always appreciated the information and publications from Childbirth Connection, not only to advance my own professional knowledge, but as a reliable, evidence based resource for my clients and students as well as the doula and CBE trainees that I work with.  Today on Science & Sensibility, I would like to share the three new Childbirth Connection reports that you may find useful.

1. Vaginal or Cesarean Birth: What Is at Stake for Women and Babies?

Maternity care stakeholders (consumers, health care professionals, insurers, state Medicaid agencies and others) are increasingly concerned about the immediate, short-term and long-term impact that the country’s high cesarean delivery rate is having on mothers and children.  A Maternity Action Team was convened by a collaboration of national organizations. The purpose of this team was to address unsafe or inappropriate maternity care.  The team’s overall goal of reducing the cesarean rate in low-risk women to 15% or less.

The report created by Childbirth Connection focuses on the adverse consequences of cesarean birth on both women and children.  Included in the report is also information on potential adverse outcomes of labor and vaginal delivery.  The following questions are answered:

  • What physical effects may occur in women more frequently with
  • cesarean delivery?
  • What physical effects may occur in babies more frequently with cesarean delivery?
  • What role may cesarean delivery play in the development of childhood chronic disease?
  • What complications are unique to cesarean delivery?
  • What complications are unique to vaginal birth?
  • What are potential psychosocial consequences of cesareans?
  • What are potential effects of cesareans on women in future
  • pregnancies and births?
  • What are potential effects of a scarred uterus on future babies?
  • Does cesarean delivery protect against sexual, bowel, urinary, or
  • pelvic floor dysfunction?
  • Does cesarean delivery protect against injuries to babies?

The results of the evidence reviewed allowed the following conclusion to be reached the authors:

The findings of this report overwhelmingly support striving for vaginal birth in general and spontaneous vaginal birth in particular in the absence of a compelling reason to do otherwise. To improve both the quality and value of maternity care in the United States and promote the optimal health of women and infants, clinicians, policy makers, and other stakeholders should prioritize identifying and promulgating practices that promote safe, spontaneous vaginal birth and reduce the use of cesarean delivery.

2. The Cost of Having a Baby in the United States

Childbirth Connection in collaboration with Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform recently released a report on the financial impact our current maternity care system has on both private payers and government funded care.  Maureen Corry, Childbirth Connection Executive Director shared that if the US were able to reduce the cesarean rate down to 15%, (from the current 33%), national spending on maternity care would go down by $5 billion dollars.

For the commercially insured, the average cost of a birth by c-section in 2010 was $27,866, compared to $18,329 for a vaginal birth. Medicaid programs paid nearly $4,000 more for c-sections than vaginal births.  (The Cost of Having a Baby in the United States)


There are facilities and providers who are effective at providing quality care and excellent outcomes while also demonstrating fiscal responsibility.  Yet other teams have costs that are drastically higher with outcomes that leave a lot of room for improvement.  What is the difference?  The report also noted that there were large variations in costs based on different geographic regions in the US.  Does the opportunity for practicing evidence based maternity medicine (resulting in a lower cesarean rate) provide the path for a reduction in maternity costs?  We learn in this report that “high-quality, high-value care” is an attainable goal and one that will benefit mothers and babies everywhere in our country.

3. Maternity Care and Liability: Pressing Problems, Substantive Solutions

If everyone is in agreement that the cesarean rate in the United States is too high, and that health care costs, including maternity care costs are skyrocketing, without an improvement in outcomes, then the next stop has to be examining the risks that health care providers and facilities assume and are held liable for when a less than optimum outcome occurs for mother or baby.  In the newest Childbirth Connection report released this week, Childbirth Connection takes a look at 25 different possible liability reforms and runs each scenario through the same filter, to find out which ones;

  • promote safe, high-quality maternity care that is consistent with best evidence and minimizes avoidable harm
  • minimize maternity professionals’ liability-associated fear and unhappiness
  • avoid incentives for defensive maternity practice
  • foster access to high-value liability insurance policies for all maternity caregivers without restriction or surcharge for care supported by best evidence
  • implement effective measures to address immediate concerns when women and newborns sustain injury, and provide rapid, fair, efficient compensation
  • assist families with responsibility for costly care of infants or women with long-term disabilities in a timely manner and with minimal legal expense
  • minimize the costs associated with the liability system
Which proposal will stand the test, and prove to be the solution that has the possibility of improving the situation for all involved, consumers, providers and insurers.  Are we headed down the right track with the changes that have been already implemented? It appears that we may be doing more harm then good in some cases.  Liability concerns may very well drive every decision a health care provider makes, and the proper system has to offer protection to both the consumer and the provider. This report identifies the factors that the appropriate reform needs that will allow for everyone involved to benefit.

Additionally, along with this fascinating report, is a set of 10 printable fact sheets that can be shared with health care administrators,  consumers and health care providers to facilitate understanding and discussion on the topic of liability reform.

Childbirth Connection Executive Director Recognized

Finally, I would like to share that Maureen P. Corry, MPH, the executive director of Childbirth Connection was recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the “13 To Watch in 2013: The Unsung Heroes Changing Health Care Forever.”  Maureen is recognized as “a strong policy advocate, but also a thoughtful and purposeful researcher who brings all sides together in very constructive ways, which is why many of the issues she has raised over the years are now on the top of the policy agenda in Washington.

The reports that Childbirth Connection has recently released clearly show that this organization, under the leadership of Maureen, is making significant and timely contributions to improving pregnancy and birth outcomes for mother and babies.  I am grateful for this organization, and would like to congratulate Maureen on behalf of myself, this blog and Lamaze International for a job well done!

Next week, Amy Romano, former Science & Sensibility community manager, and current Associate Director of Programs for Childbirth Connection will share how educators and advocates can use these reports in their classroom and with their clients and patients.  Have you taken the time to read any of the reports listed here today?  Are you already using them?  Please share your thoughts in our comments section.

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