March of Dimes and Gretchen Carlson unveil inaugural cohort of advocacy fellows
March of Dimes’ MOMentum initiative and the Gretchen Carlson Advocacy Fellowship (GCAF) convene new fellows for advocacy education and training in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C, July 9, 2018--March of Dimes, the nation’s leading maternal and infant health nonprofit, today announced the next phase of its MOMentum advocacy network with the unveiling of its inaugural cohort of women chosen from over 200 applicants to champion the issues important to women, moms, babies and families.
March of Dimes President Stacey D. Stewart and Ms. Carlson convened the group of 20 women on Capitol Hill to kick off the year-long advocacy fellowship. The experience begins with the MOMentum Meetup, a series of workshops on grassroots organizing and advocacy, culminating with a Congressional day-of-action meeting with key legislators and staff.
“March of Dimes MOMentum marks the beginning of a movement, embodied by the next generation of women’s advocates dedicated to making a change for all moms and women,” said Stewart. “Bringing this powerful group together in Washington, D.C. signifies not only the critical need for grassroots engagement around issues that matter today, but the urgency for more action to address the health crisis women, moms and babies face in America.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of the group of women that have been selected for this inaugural class,” said Carlson. “They [the fellows] illustrate what today’s woman really looks like: engaged, active in their communities and using their networks to problem solve. They are natural leaders who will lift up the issues facing today’s moms, mothers-to-be and babies.”
Launched in partnership with Ms. Carlson and supported by her Gift of Courage Fund, the MOMentum Gretchen Carlson Advocacy Fellowship will engage and empower the fellows through regular trainings with leaders in maternal and child health and advocacy to learn how to shape public discussion, influence their networks and engage others to affect the changes needed to shape a brighter future for all moms and babies. Fellows will come together to build their skills in ongoing advocacy, media and storytelling training.
March of Dimes will activate the fellows throughout the year around important policy moments on both the national and state levels. On Tuesday, the fellows will lobby Members of Congress in support of the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act of 2018, a bill to renew and update federal programs that enhance research and education on the prevention and treatment of preterm births. The fellows will also advocate in support of national legislation to reduce maternal mortality, such as the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act and the Maternal Health Accountability Act.
This year’s fellows represent group of women diverse in age, race/ethnicity, careers and geographic location who demonstrate the passion and lived experience on key issues facing moms and babies.
MEET MOD MOMENTUM’S 2018 GRETCHEN CARLSON ADVOCACY FELLOWS:
● E. STARR BARBOUR [Maryland]
Founder and CEO, STILLGOING
E. Starr Barbour has more than 15 years of executive leadership experience with some of America’s top companies including General Electric, IBM and Accenture and the founder of STILLGOING, an online “live” guided meditation platform promoting workplace wellness and employee productivity.
● HANNAH BERGBOWER [Pennsylvania]
Midwife, Nurse Practitioner
Hannah Bergbower, RN BSN MPH, began working as a Registered Nurse in 2010 after graduating from Lakeview College of Nursing.
● BREANN BIERMAN-VOGT [Arizona]
Breann Bierman-Vogt is a full-time mom, an award winning journalist and communications professional and volunteer advocate for mothers and babies.
● CAROLYN BROOKS [Georgia]
Director of Strategic Initiatives, United Health Group
Dr. Carolyn Brooks is a Director of Strategic Initiatives on the Product Development team at UnitedHealthcare Community & State where she is responsible for designing, implementing and scaling products and programs aimed to improve health outcomes for those they serve.
● EMILY COLLINS [Indianapolis]
Mom; Army veteran
Emily Collins is a former Army officer and mother of three, including a recent NICU graduate.
● ASHLEY COOPER [California]
Director of Development, Major Gifts, USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism
Ashley Dawn Cooper is the Director of Development at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism and mother of four-year-old twins.
● ANDREA DEMARIA [Indiana]
Assistant Professor, Public Health Graduate Program, Purdue University
Dr. Andrea L. DeMaria is a tenure-track Assistant Professor within the Department of Consumer Science at Purdue University and the first faculty hire at Purdue with a joint appointment in the Public Health Graduate Program within the College of Health and Human Sciences.
● GAIL EISENBERG [Indiana]
Civil Rights Attorney, Stowell & Friedman, Ltd.; New Trier Township Trustee
Gail Schnitzer Eisenberg is a civil rights attorney at Stowell & Friedman, Ltd., focusing on workplace discrimination and harassment and a mother of two.
● FELISHA FLOYD [Florida]
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC); Author
Felisha Floyd, BC, CLC, IBCLC, is an author, speaker, trainer, consultant and an award-winning hospital-based International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She is also the owner of the consulting service Beyond Breastfeeding and the founder of the support group Our Brown Baby.
● APRIL HAMILTON [Arizona]
Assistant General Counsel, Employment & Litigation, GoDaddy.com, LLC
April Hamilton is Assistant General Counsel on the Employment and Litigation team at GoDaddy and a mother of two.
● MEGHAN HOWELL [Louisiana]
Pediatrician; Clinical Director of the Tulane NICU Graduate Clinic; Tulane Medical School professor
Dr. Meghan Howell is a board certified pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics through Tulane University School of Medicine and a mother of two.
● KATHERINE MORROW [South Carolina]
Kate Morrow has over ten years of experience as a senior level executive in health care communications and non-profit management and mother of twins. Kate is focused on advocating for better maternity leave and more flexible career options for women.
● JAIDALYN RAND-OUSLEY [Illinois] Health Care Administrator; Wellness Director, Westside Health Authority
Jaidalyn Rand-Ousley leads a team of community wellness workers in conducting in-home wellness visits for seniors, single mothers, and other special need populations. She is also a mother and medical student at Trinity School of Medicine.
● KNESHA ROSE-DAVISON [Louisiana]
Health Communications Director, AgriSafe Network
Knesha Rose-Davison is the Health Communications Director with AgriSafe Network, a nonprofit organization that addresses occupational health issues within the agricultural community.
● NATALIE SAWYER [Texas]
Mom; dedicated March of Dimes volunteer
Natalie Sawyer divides her time between raising four young boys, managing a household and volunteering for local organizations.
● EMILY SCOTT [Indiana]
Pediatrician; Medical Director Newborn Nursery, Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital
Dr. Emily Scott is a pediatric hospitalist at Indiana University Health and Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and a mother of two.
● KRISTEN SHARP [Wisconsin]
OB/GYN; Medical Director of Centering Pregnancy, Dept of OB/GYN, UWSMPH
Dr. Kristen Sharp is an Ob/Gyn at the University of Wisconsin and the medical director of their Centering Pregnancy program (a group prenatal care model that has been shown to improve birth outcomes) and a mother of two.
● LEIGH TOWNSEND [Louisiana]
NICU Family Support Navigator
Leigh Townsend, MPA, CPXP serves as the NICU Family Support Navigator at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, LA. She is a mother and the parent partner with the NICU’s Quality team, and serves as the parent voice for the 84 bed Level III NICU.
● LAURA VARGAS [Arizona]
Procurement Supervisor, City of Phoenix, Human Services Department
Laura Vargas is a procurement supervisor for the city of Phoenix, Arizona Human Services Department and a mother.
● SARAH WILKERSON [Colorado]
Marketing Manager; Vice President of the Board, Save Babies Through Screening Foundation
Sarah Wilkerson is a mom and rare disease advocate, as her son Noah was born with a rare genetic disorder in 2009. She recently lobbied to update Colorado's newborn screening law, which was passed in June 2018.