The Lamaze International 2017 Advocacy Summit held earlier this week was a complete success. Historically, the Lamaze Board of Directors has visited politicians in the House of Representatives and the Senate to advocate for more attention and funding for maternal-infant health. Despite the United States being the wealthiest nation on earth, our outcomes for maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity is horrific. That is simply shameful.
This year, Lamaze International invited members and supporters to join Lamaze leadership in connecting directly with politicians during the 2017 Advocacy Summit. Day one found us listening to Neel Shah, MD, MPP and Ginger Breedlove, CNM, Ph.D, FACNM speak about the importance of advocacy. Lamaze International staff Molly Gianmarco and John Richardson provided some talking points and tips for meeting our government officials face to face, organized us into teams and confirmed schedules the next day. Lamaze Advocacy Summit attendees would be divided into teams and scheduled to visit five to seven different offices in both the Senate and House buildings.
Meeting the buses at 7 AM the next day, the excitement was palpable. We were ready! Lamaze representatives descended on the Hill and spread out to cover the most ground possible. What an impact we had! Every office and politician (or their appointed staff) heard our message that maternal-infant health matters and childbirth education plays a key role in improving birth outcomes. Everyone in attendance added their voice to our united message and we left no stone unturned. Families matter! Birth matters.
The end of the day saw weary and exhausted attendees arriving back at the Advocacy Summit site needing to rest their feet. They had gone nonstop to get the message out and the excitement and stories of meetings bubbled up all around. Membership should be proud of the efforts of those at the Summit. Also, a great thank you to staff and Board of Directors who really paid attention to every detail to make this effort well organized, easy and effective. Lamaze International once again demonstrated that we are leaders in the field of childbirth education, that we care about families and that we are willing to speak out on behalf of maternal-infant health in the USA and internationally.
Please enjoy these images from the Advocacy Summit and Hill visit. If you are interested in joining other Lamaze members in advocating on the national or local level for families and babies, please do not hesitate to reach out to Molly Giammarco, our Government Relations Manager.