4 Reasons The US Is Back on Track With Global Health

As is true with each new presidential administration the global health community hangs in the balance. According to KFF.org the US global health funding was set at $11 billion in FY 2019 and in 2020 the funding was significantly decreased. This funding goes towards programs in more than 70 countries for HIV, malaria, maternal and child health among other health challenges. But now with the … Continue reading 4 Reasons The US Is Back on Track With Global Health

Built on Kindness a New Online Eco-Friendly Marketplace Launches For #SocialGood

This year has sure been a doozy with challenges across not only our country, but around the world. Despite a year filled with a pandemic and the repercussions and reverberations of it, many people have stepped up to help others. Stories have caught waves all over the news and social media from food banks helping families survive to people banding together to save beloved local … Continue reading Built on Kindness a New Online Eco-Friendly Marketplace Launches For #SocialGood

Black Doctor Dies During Childbirth #MaternalHealth #BlackMaternalHeaLTH

I do not take pleasure in writing about black maternal health in general or specifically about black women who die either during pregnancy, giving birth, directly after birth, or even a year after having a baby. In fact, it is depressing. In this case, however, despite the other women who have died publicly during and/or because of childbirth, I decided to write about this mother … Continue reading Black Doctor Dies During Childbirth #MaternalHealth #BlackMaternalHeaLTH

[VIDEO] Mother Advocates for Her Own Health After Delivery And Preeclampsia #BlackMaternalHealth

A few years ago I was honored to speak at Blogher with Merck for Mothers. The panel was about maternal health outcomes globally as well as in the United States. As I have mentioned so many times on this blog, the United States leads the developing world with maternal health deaths. This number is exaccerbated by the sheer number of black women who die from pregnancy and delivery complications.

One of the key points we honed in on during the panel was the importance of women being advocates for themselves with their healthcare providers when they feel something is wrong. But, that is not always easy. Take Serena Williams for example. She basically had to beg doctors and nurses to get a CT scan to see if her lung had blood clots which she routinely got as an athlete. They finally relented and what did they find? Blood clots in her lungs. Serena saved her own life.

Many women, especially black women, are not afforded the opportunity to simply get a doctor or nurse to believe that they do not feel well and oftentimes their lives are hanging in the balance. In fact, NPR and ProPublica gathered over 200 stories from black women who felt that they had been “devalued and disrespected by medical providers” during their pregnancies.

I regularly watch a Youtube channel called R&L Life, a cute family channel out of Florida. The mother, Rachael, recently delivered her son and a few days later she had preeclampsia symptoms with massive swelling and high blood pressure. She and her husband went to her doctor only to discover she could have a seizure at any time because of her high blood pressure. She needed to be rushed to the hospital for oral medication and a magnesium drip.

Continue reading “[VIDEO] Mother Advocates for Her Own Health After Delivery And Preeclampsia #BlackMaternalHealth”

The CDC Releases Newly Updated Maternal Death Statistics in Over a Decade

United States maternal death statistics that have been used for over a decade have finally been updated. The CDC released 2018 national and state maternal death estimates last week. The numbers have increased dramatically and still remain the worst of any developed country in the world.

Currently, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) is 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. In 2007, the MMR was 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. The CDC says the MMR increase largely comes from the new data and collection requirements now on standard death certificates. Starting in 2003, a checkbox requirement was placed on the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death in order to accurately record maternal deaths. The checkboxes are:

  • Not pregnant within past year
  • Pregnant at time of death
  • Not pregnant, but pregnant 43 days to 1 year before death
  • Not pregnant, but pregnant within 42 days of death
  • Unknown if pregnant within the past year
Continue reading “The CDC Releases Newly Updated Maternal Death Statistics in Over a Decade”

[Review] Be More Green With Sustainable, Reusable Water Bottles and Coffee Cups

I am trying to do my part to live a greener life. I am in no way an expert in living a more sustainable lifestyle, but I am doing little things that make a difference. I am already a stickler when it comes to recycling. My family and I no longer buy water in plastic bottles. Instead we filter our tap water and when we go out we take filtered water in glass containers. And we have nearly cut all meat out of our diets.

One of the things I have wanted to do for awhile now is use more sustainable containers for my tea and coffee because that is one area that I am not working hard enough to change until now.

I received two Fressko products to use and review and I love them! One is a flask that can be used to infuse tea or you can use it to make fruit water and smoothies. So far, it’s been great for tea. The other is a reusable coffee cup.

FRESSKO TOUR FLASK ($34.95)

The Fressko Tour is a 13 oz, BPA-free glass canister. It has double walled glass and a leak-proof bamboo lid. It also has a food grade stainless steel influser for tea. The Tour stays cold for six hours and hot for four hours.

Continue reading “[Review] Be More Green With Sustainable, Reusable Water Bottles and Coffee Cups”

Woman Dies From Pregnancy-Related Complications After Waiting Hours in Emergency Room

You have probably heard the story of Tashonna Ward, the 25-year-old Milwaukee woman who recently spent hours in the emergency room due to shortness of breath and died after waiting too long. Ward was told that she would spend between two to six hours in wait time at the ER according to distressing posts on her Facebook page. Preliminary tests were performed on Ward and showed she had cardiomegaly, an enlarged heart, but she was never admitted despite having chest pains and tightness of breath.

After waiting 2 hours and 29 minutes in the ER, Tashonna Ward and her sister decided to go to urgent care. She never made it. She passed out en route and collapsed and died in the urgent care parking lot. The cause of death: hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

While many reports mentioned the emergency room wait times that led to Ward’s death, a few have reported that she developed cardiomegaly due to pregnancy complications from a miscarriage in March of 2019. In fact, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Report states that the “decedent did develop cardiomegaly during pregnancy.”

“decedent did develop cardiomegaly during pregnancy.”

Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Report from January 14, 2020
Continue reading “Woman Dies From Pregnancy-Related Complications After Waiting Hours in Emergency Room”

Remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today By Donating to His Historic Sites In Atlanta and Montgomery

A few years ago I traveled through Alabama on its Civil Rights trail with the Alabama Tourism Board. I am so glad I went on that trip. I learned so much about the Civil Rights movement that I didn’t know and visited poignant historic sites that really brought the movement to life. Today on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day I want to share some … Continue reading Remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today By Donating to His Historic Sites In Atlanta and Montgomery

Jewelry That Gives Back to Oceans

I have been a bit obsessed lately with two Instagram accounts that I absolutely love: @paulnicklen and @Mitty. Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier respectively are prolific underwater photographers and founders of Seal Legacy, an organization committed to creating healthy and abundant oceans for us and the planet.

It’s funny: As much as I love the oceans I don’t really visit them often. Sure, I fly over them often and at long stretches and I take photos of the ocean from a distance like the one above that I took in the Philippines, but I never get up close and personal to the ocean. I would like to change that one day. In the meantime, I live vicariously through Nicklen and Mittermeier. Also, as I sat looking at their work I wondered how I can help the oceans in my own little way and you can, too. Here are jewelry companies that have beautiful bling while also giving back to oceans, ocean clean-ups, reefs, and ocean life.

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Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris on Successful Black Maternal Health Outcomes

It has been a historic week with the announcement of Kamala D. Harris as the first black woman nominee for vice president. Pundits and political experts alike will, without doubt, parse through her record from her time working as DA of San Francisco and Attorney General of California as well as serving in the United States Senate. One thing is clear: Senator Harris has worked tirelessly on maternal health issues as it pertains to black women who are three times more likely than white women to die due to pregnancy and delivery complications.

Harris joined forces with Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) to introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, a series of nine bills that take racial disparities out of the maternal health outcomes, funds communty-based maternal health organizations, improve data collection, and invests in digital health tools among other pertinent issues.

In February of this year, Harris convened a Black Maternal Health Roundtable where women recounted their experiences with health care providers during their pregnancies and experts discussed racial disparities in maternal health care.

Courtesy of Office of Kamala D. Harris, US Senator for California
Continue reading “Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris on Successful Black Maternal Health Outcomes”

[Reviews] 2 Social Good Books For Your Bookshelf

I recently received two books about philanthropy: Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give (now in paperback) and The Rotary Book of Readings: Inspiration to Change the World both published by Hatherleigh Press. They are quick reads that promote inspiration and encouragement for those who give.

Continue reading “[Reviews] 2 Social Good Books For Your Bookshelf”

9 Maternal Health Stories Worth Reading This Weekend

Now that 2020 is in full swing I decided to catch up on the many maternal health and mortality articles that were published during the holiday season. There has been a lot of stellar reporting that you might have missed. I did. Here is a compilation of some of the articles I found the most compelling starting with a wrap-up post, 7 things I learned from spending a year reporting on mothers in Alabama,  by Anna Claire Volle about the excellent year-long reporting she did on mothers in Alabama.  I particularly liked 

Black Maternal Health

[Self] Congresswoman Alma Adams on Why She Co-Founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus: Alma Adams is the congresswoman for my district. I am proud of the bi-partisan work she has been doing to help curb black maternal mortality. In this interview in Self’s Black Maternal Health series, Adams talks about the reasons why she is a co-founder of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

[NBC News] Extremely alarming’: New report addresses maternal mortality in the U.S.: Taraneh Shirazian, director of Global Women’s Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health and president of Saving Mothers discusses on Morning Joe how maternal mortality has decreased globally, but in the United States maternal deaths have increased particularly for black moms.

[The Hill] Reproductive revolution: Ending black maternal health inequities in 2020: Tracey Lewis-Elligan, an associate professor & chair of Sociology at DePaul University, details the ways in which black mortality can be decreased starting this year. She highlights some of the work of doulas and midwives in the fight against black maternal mortality.

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Donate Blood This Month, Save a Life, Plus Win a Great Trip

When I was in high school I was a volunteer at my local Red Cross donation center. I did a variety of things like give donors cookies and juice after they donated blood, separated the vials (sans any blood) between autologous, directed, and regular blood donations, and also registered donors into the system. I loved every bit of that volunteer work and am always happy to talk about the lifesaving work the American Red Cross does all year long.

Every January since 1970 the American Red Cross has celebrated National Blood Donor Month. This time of year there is always a heightened need for blood donations due to the increase in communicable diseases and also because it is after the holidays when most people put off giving blood. Additionally, inclement weather keeps many away from donation centers. The American Red Cross is asking the public to donate blood, platelets, and plasma. In order to sustain the blood supply for 2600 hospitals, clinics, and cancer centers, 13,000 donations are needed per day during National Blood Donor Month.

Continue reading “Donate Blood This Month, Save a Life, Plus Win a Great Trip”

2020 Marks The International Year of The Nurse and The Midwife #SupportNursesAndMidwives

It is no surprise that the world needs more health workers. In fact, even though there are currently 22 million nurses and 2 million midwives globally there is an urgent need for 18 million more health workers in order to reach universal health care coverage by 2030 according to the World Health Organization.

There is a particular need for 9 million nurses and midwives as they are critical components to a robust health system and are often on the front lines of general and critical care including:

  • Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases
  • Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of noncommunicable diseases
  • Sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, and maternal and newborn health care, including immunization and breastfeeding support.
Continue reading “2020 Marks The International Year of The Nurse and The Midwife #SupportNursesAndMidwives”

Subscription Boxes That Give Back

As the holiday season is quickly approaching many of us are thinking about gifts that give back. Here are five subscription boxes that provide fun products for kids and adults, but also donate to a variety of charities.

Karma Candle Club donates to Mercy for Animals, No Kids Hungry as well as The Life You Can Save.


Earthlove gives back to truly eco-friendly brands and partner with environmental non-profits each season who help heal our ecosystems.


Give the gift of creativity with Green Kid Crafts! Each box is 100% recycled. They also give back. They are carbon neutral and at least 1% of sales are donated to environmental organizations through their membership in 1% for the Planet.


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