March 09, 2020
Meet Dr. Jennifer VanderLaan, MPH, CNM - Lamaze International's 2020 Childbirth Education Advocacy Summit Keynote!
By: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE | 0 Comments
The Lamaze International 2020 Childbirth Education Advocacy Summit, in Washington, DC, is happening mid-May, just a couple of months away. Plans are being finalized to offer an amazing array of Pre-Summit Workshops and Conference Keynote speakers along with an important day on the Hill meeting with government representatives. Early bird pricing is accessible through today, March 9, 2020 for the May 18-19 Summit. I spoke to Jennifer VanderLaan, PhD, MPH, CNM, the a Keynote speaker at the Childbirth Education Advocacy Summit. Dr. VanderLaan’s session is titled "60 Years of Lamaze: How the Impact of the Past Coupled with Current Research Informs the Future." Lamaze International is turning 60 this year, and Dr. VanderLaan's look back combined with impactful plans for the future will be amazing. Dr. VanderLaan’s bio and contact information can be found at the end of her informative interview. - Sharon Muza, Connecting the Dots Community Manager
Sharon Muza: How would you answer this question- “My presentation at the Lamaze Advocacy Summit will be a success if…?"
Jennifer VanderLaan: If attendees are able to use research evidence to advocate for increased access to childbirth education. Attendees will come with their experiences, their local perspectives, and an understanding of the needs of their communities. I want to add national and international research to that toolbox.
SM: What would your response be if a pregnant person asked you why it is important to take childbirth education classes during their pregnancy? What should they look for when selecting a childbirth education class?
JV: Childbirth education is one component of comprehensive antenatal care. It complements the health education provided during prenatal health visits, providing opportunities for building skills and examining options.
Look for a comprehensive evidence-based class. Look through the list of topics covered in the class, your best value is one that includes information about all six of the Lamaze Health Birth Practices are included.
SM: What is the biggest challenge currently facing childbirth educators today and do you have any thoughts on a potential solution? Where are we missing the mark?
JV: In my opinion, the biggest challenge is the system in which a childbirth educator operates. We think about the health system as designed to meet health needs, but many decisions about access in our health system are based on economic needs, not health needs. Where hospitals are located, how much time women have during antenatal appointments, and whether a hospital has a neonatal intensive care unit are usually decided based on economics.
As an example, 80% of first time parents attend childbirth education at a hospital or doctor’s office. This means the location of health facilities- a decision made by someone who is not a childbirth educator – can determine where an educator provides childbirth classes.
SM: In your opinion, has there been any successes in recent efforts to change our maternal mortality crisis, particularly for BIPOC families who are most impacted? Where are we still failing miserably?
JV: I do think we have made progress, but most of that progress has been in the care we provide during the 2-4 day hospital stay for delivery care. We need to think about the health of people and the care provided before delivery, and before pregnancy.
SM: What do you hope to achieve, accomplish or learn while attending the 2020 Lamaze International Advocacy Summit?
JV: I’m looking forward to hearing about what is happening in local communities and how Lamaze educators are working to improve health outcomes in their hometowns. The creative problem solving and powerful collaborations our educators form are inspiring.
About Jennifer VanderLaan, PhD, MPH, CNM
Dr. Jennifer VanderLaan, MPH, CNM is an assistant professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ School of Nursing. She is a member of the Nevada Maternal Mortality Review Committee and serves as the Chairperson for the Lamaze Research Workgroup. Her research work examines the quality and safety of maternity care focusing on such aspects as the access to care, identification of maternal risk, and use of techniques to promote physiologic birth – such as childbirth education.
TagsChildbirth education Lamaze International Advocacy Advocacy Summit Sharon Muza Jennifer Vanderlaan Childbirth Education Advocacy Summit