August 23, 2023
Lamaze Virtual Education Symposium – Meet the Presenter: Mary Jo Podgurski
By: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE | 0 Comments
Lamaze International is hosting an exciting learning event – The Virtual Education Symposium, on October 4, 2023. This event provides an opportunity to hear from experts in childbirth education on how you can enhance your childbirth education program activities to increase learner retention, improve perinatal outcomes and reduce inequities facing birthing people of the Global Majority. Over the next weeks leading up to the event, Connecting the Dots will present short interviews with the speakers, so that you can learn more about them, their upcoming presentation and some of their favorite resources. Today, meet Mary Jo Podgurski, RNC, EdD, LCCE, FACCE, CSE, who will be presenting "Make It Stick: The Science and Psychology of Successful Learning."
- How did you first become interested in the research and science behind the principles of adult learning and how it relates to childbirth education?
My interest in how learning works best - which includes a passion for research into cognition and retention - was inspired by my strong commitment to preparing my students for birth in the best way possible. It was not enough for me to repeat what I’d learned in seminar; I wanted to know why learning happened! I began teaching teens early on, which inspired me more. Once I founded our Teen Outreach in 1988, I knew I was hooked. Teaching teens made conveying my message more urgent. I start my 15th year teaching Educational Psychology at Washington and Jefferson College in a few weeks; every semester, I strive to empower my students to be the best educators they can be. My life is a continuous journey of seeking the why and art of learning!
- What problem will perinatal professionals attending your session better be able to solve after their time with you?
My title is "Make It Stick" and I hope to inspire perinatal professionals to do just that. I want to guide educators to teach in an empowering manner, interactively, and using what we know about cognition, learning and retention. In short, I want them to leave my session better equipped to teach well.
- Based on your knowledge and experience, what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing people who are growing their families in 2023?
The biggest challenge facing people with growing families is, to me, mental health. We never addressed our nation’s problems during the COVID pandemic, nor are we looking at education and the controversies there. Families need support more than ever before. I’ve directed a Teen Outreach since 1988 and a Teen Center since 2008. My community is solidly behind my efforts, but the teens I serve share fear and confusion.
- How did you first come to be associated with Lamaze International and what has kept you engaged with the organization?
I was pregnant with my first baby in 1975. I read everything I could get my hands on - Elizabeth Bing, Grantly Dick-Read, Donna Ewy, Ina Mae Gaskin, Marjorie Karmel. I started my certification process before I gave birth and became certified in the first year of my baby’s life. Why did I stay? I believe in women’s bodies’ ability to birth. I believe in education for pregnancy and birth. I was a doula to a 12 year old in the 1970s and that experience inspired my work with adolescents. I love Lamaze for its philosophy, its sisterhood, and its history.
- What is a resource (blog, website, book, podcast, influencer, etcetera) that you recently enjoyed learning from?
I read constantly, but I cannot list one particular resource. I am writing a textbook for Routledge Press called Reclaiming the Sexuality of Pregnancy, Birth and PostPartum and all my time is devoted to it. My health issues in the last four years have made it challenging to focus at times - chemo brain is real - but I was drawn to the study of how we learn because of my experience, so there’s a plus!
Come hear Dr. Podgurski share some great teaching tools and tips at the Virtual Education Symposium by registering now. Look for more interviews in the coming weeks.
TagsChildbirth education Mary Jo Podgurski Sharon Muza Virtual Education Symposium