June was pretty busy for me, as not only was I getting ready to wrap up my 20th school year, but I also had the pleasure of speaking at both the NYSPA (New York State Perinatal Association) Annual Conference in Albany and at the March of Dimes Lobby Day.


NYSPA is a state-wide alliance of health and human service professionals and consumers concerned with perinatal health issues from preconception through early childhood. NYSPA advocates for optimal perinatal care and parenting and promotes education and research, influences state priorities and encourages a multi-cultural and multidisciplinary approach to maternal and child health.


NYSPA’s 2-day conference was held at the Desmond Hotel in Albany and it was great, although I was only able to attend the first day. The conference covered some of the latest evidence-based information and research for pregnancy, delivery and newborn health; NYS current & new policies and related programs; care delivery best practices; and other similar topics. Many of the attendees included Obstetricians, Midwives, Nurses, Neonatologists , Nutritionists, Advance Practice Nurses, Public Health Professionals, Comm. Health Professionals, Pediatricians, Social Workers, Researchers, Nutritionists, Epidemiologists, Dietitians, Lactation Consultants, Perinatologists, Family Practitioners, Support Group Leaders, and Educators. I had the pleasure of attending most of the presentations and giving my own presentation as well.

(I’m getting ready to present)

(Almost ready!)

The title of my presentation was “How My Experience Can Help You Gain and Keep a NICU Parent’s Trust” and I was told that I accomplished all of my objectives. You can still view the link to the agenda here: http://nysperinatal.org/resources/Documents/NYSPA%20conference%20brochure%202019%20-Final.pdf




The Opening Keynote Speaker was Wendy Shaw, M.S.,B.S.N and her presentation, “Improving Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes in NYS”, set the tone for the conference by providing a review of NYS’s priorities for perinatal health. Other presentations, besides mine, included “Reproductive Justice at the Heart of Maternal Child Health”—Lauren Deutsch, JD; “The Role of the Community Health Worker in Improving Maternal & Infant Health Outcomes”—Panel presentation—facilitator: LuAnne Brown, RN, MSN; “Protecting Maternity Care in an Era of Health Industry Consolidation”—Lois Uttley, MPP; “Postpartum Maternal Self-care”—Shannon McCarthy-Leone, ED.D RN; “Addressing Maternal Mortality and Racial Disparities”—Sascha James-Conterelli, DNP, CNM, FACNM & Helena Grant, RN, BSN, CNM, LM, CICP; “Cell-free DNA Testing and Newborn Screening– What We’re doing Now and Future Directions”— Diana Bailey; “Amniotic Fluid Embolism: Code Blue to Special Delivery” —Miranda Klassen, AFE Foundation; “Practitioner’s Guide to Helping Patients through Ambivalence in Pregnancy” — Lucy Shaw, LMSW, Leslie Noble, LMSW; “Constructing & Implementing a New Paradigm for Working Mothers & Babies Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology”— Sally Dear-Healey, Ph.D., PPNE, TICP, CBE, Doula; “Understanding New York’s Reproductive Health Act”— Erika Christensen & Katharine Bodde, MD; “Debriefing Skills for Leaders– Coming together”— Chris Arnold, MS, RNC, CHSE, Bonnie Walden, MS, CNL, RN-BC and “Out with the Old (Finnegan) and in with the New (eat, sleep, console)” by Deanna Shon, BSN, RN, & Martiel Stoecker, DNP.



The Board of Directors of the New York State Perinatal Association selected Cheryl Hunter-Grant, LMSW of the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network as this year’s Stanley James Award winner. The L. Stanley James Award was named in recognition of Dr. James – the founder of the New York State Perinatal Association and is NYSPA’s highest honor.



(Dr. LaGamma of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital- introducing Cheryl)

Overall, this conference was eye-opening for me. I was not aware of all that was going on in my own state and how much work was being done in the maternal and neonatal health space in my own backyard. I hope that I can get more involved in the processes that policies that are designed to improve care for mothers and babies and the family as a whole.


You can read about my participation in the NYS Senate Press Conference on vaccine preventable diseases here: https://www.speakingformomsandbabies.com/measles-outbreak/

Thanks for reading. Check back to www.speakmb.com again soon to see what other work is being done to better the pregnancy, childbirth and neonatal experiences for families.