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JENNIFER DEGL

AUTHOR, SPEAKER, MATERNAL & NEONATAL HEALTH ADVOCATE

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The 2019 NICU Parent Network (formally Preemie Parent Alliance) Summit was outstanding. I always love to come to our annual summit because it feels like I’m coming to a family reunion where I get to catch up with my closest cousins and also meet new relatives with whom I instantly connect with. This year did not disappoint! Denver, Colorado was the perfect city to host our crew and the September weather cooperated quite nicely.

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NICU Parent Network is a network of organizations offering support to families of premature infants.

Our first major order of business was to announce our name change. We operated under the name Preemie Parent Alliance (PPA) for about ten years, but it became apparent that our name did not reflect several of our member organizations and the families that they serve, so we voted to change our name to be more inclusive and it was announced on the first night.

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We are now the NICU Parent Network (NPN for short). After our name change was announced, we were all charged up to kickoff our annual summit. The NICU Parent Network is unlike any other conference and hosted by the only professional association for NICU Parent Leaders and we wanted to get started.

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Our attendees were treated to many expert leaders and speakers in the maternal and infant health fields including Devra Densmore of Sage Therapeutics, Ali Dunn of My Two Books, Dr. Linda Franck of UCSF, Pam Frasco of Project Preemie, Tara Gonzales of Sobi, Lisa Brubbs of NICU Helping Hands, Susan Hepworth of National Coalition for Infant Health, Gigi Khonyongwa Fernandez of Families Blossoming, Dr. Martin Lee of Prolacta Bioscience, Brittany Lothe of Will’s Way Foundation, Angela McCoy of Takeda, Kay Mathews of Shades of Blue Project, Ryan Rhoten of CareerBrand, Trish Ringley of Every Tiny Thing, clinical psychologist Mara Tesler Stein, Erin Thatcher of PPROM Foundation, Meyleen Velasquez of Hummingbird Counseling, and Erin Whaley of Troutman Sanders.

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You can view our entire NICU Parent Network Agenda by clicking HERE.

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I was honored to provide opening and closing remarks for much of the conference and also introduce many of our esteemed presenters.

This was my first summit as a member of the NICU Parent Network Board of Directors and I could not be more proud to wear that my new badge. As a member of the Board I get to help steer positive changes as our organization grows in numbers and becomes inclusive to all NICU parents with all types of families. I cannot wait to get to work. You can read more about our Board of Directors by clicking HERE.

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Not only did we have a weekend full of expert presenters in maternal and neonatal healthcare, but we also had two lovely dinners, a New Member Breakfast and a Members Only Breakfast throughout the weekend. These are the times where we really get to know each other in a less formal environment and also summarize our committee work with the rest of the membership. Oh.. I can’t gorget to mention the beautiful Wellness Room filled with essential oils, soft music, soft lighting, inspirational sayings and photos of our precious NICU babies to remind us all why we are there.

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I got to spend some time with The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund as well as brainstorm our next projects. I am also a proud member of their Board of Directors as well.

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NPN had a pinning ceremony where all member organizations were given a new pin reflecting our name change and recognizing their contributions to our organization.

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Our conference was made possible because of the generous sponsorship of our industry collective colleagues at Prolacta Bioscience, Sobi, Sage Therapeutics, Takeda and The Wellness Network. We are always grateful for not just their sponsorship, but for their belief that the NICU parent voice should always be a part of each health care conversation.

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We had a lot of exhibits as well. Check out some of our member exhibits below:

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Attendees of our summit had the opportunity to join with like-minded people to give and learn. Many new collaborations begun, ideas were exchanged and hugs were shared. I could write a ten page blog post on our 2019 NICU Parent Network Summit but the average attention span for adults these days is 12 seconds unless there is video, so I will finish up ?

It was a great summit!

I also got to take a few hours to myself and I toured Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods. They were beautiful.

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I also saw Bigfoot!

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And the view from my hotel room wasn’t so bad either ?

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Thanks for reading and we hope to see you next year at the 2020 NICU Parent Network Summit. It will be in Austin, Texas!