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January 28, 2014
Who's Saving Women and Babies?
DC has the highest maternal mortality rate in the country. That's just one of the challenges facing the new CEO of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses.
Lynn Erdman is up to the task, since she's been focusing on women's health since the early days of her nursing career. As the new AWHONN CEO, she'll be looking at why maternal death rates have doubled in the US over the last decade. (The US now ranks 46th in the world.) One reason is that more women are hemorrhaging after giving birth. The association will be working on improving how clinicians recognize and respond to hemorrhage cases in DC hospitals. We talked to Lynn during her first week on the job. (She comes from the American College of Surgeons in Chicago, so DC's wintry weather didn't scare her a bit.)
Lynn, showing us her nursing mementos, says she'll also work on programs to educate women on access to healthcare, including whether they're able to sign up for insurance through ACA. The mother of two daughters says it's important since women are largely the decision makers when it comes to health. The organization will also look at whether aging women are aware of what they need to be doing as they live longer. AWHONN is one of the largest nursing organizations, with over 350,000 nurses who take care of women and newborns. AWHONN mostly focuses on creating hospital guidelines, like safe patient-to-nurse ratios, fetal heart monitoring, and nursing education. The organization, which does some fundraising, also awards research grants focused on improving health care for women and babies.
Lynn is from Charlotte, NC, and still has a home there with her husband. (She'll be heading back on the weekends.) She started in nursing as a hospital aide through college and then became a neonatal intensive care nurse and eventually held hospital executive positions. She became interested in women's health after working in a clinical research study for women with cancer in the '80s. Some of the women in the study died, and it left Lynn wondering if they had enough health information to make informed decisions about their participation in the study. Lynn also worked at the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen, where she helped run the organization during challenging times.
The Next Mark Zuckerberg?
Ask kids to solve local social issues, and you may get stares. Ask them to do it using technology, and you'll get over 1,000 ideas. It's part of the Innovative App Challenge, created by the Verizon Foundation and the Technology Student Association. The entries will eventually be narrowed to a final eight on Feb. 19. This all-girl team from Howard University Middle School is one of five DC area teams going to the second round. The girls developed an Build Central app that helps users construct items using a mobile device. (Can someone please use it to construct some coats for them? Brrrr, girls.)
One of last year's winners was this group from South River High School in Edgewater, Md., which developed the Study Buddy app, now selling in the Google Play Store. It helps students avoid procrastinating, organize notes, and prep for exams. (Can adults use this?) Teams that move to the second round get a $5,000 grant for their schools; their faculty advisors, along with two colleagues, receive an online MIT course on teaching app creation. The Best in Nation winners will get $15k for a STEM program at their schools, a Samsung tablet, and onsite access to MIT's Media Lab Center for Mobile Learning. Verizon will also help the winners get their apps ready for distribution.
Boost in Affordable Housing
This fancy building will bring 71 net new affordable rental apartments to Arlington County. The county board approved the $38M redevelopment of Carlyn Springs Apartments, a property owned by Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. The forthcoming The Springs Apartments will have 104 units, with 98 committed affordable for the next 60 years for individuals and families earning under 60% of the Area Median Income, or $64,000 for a family of four. Among those 98 units, 22 of them will be for residents earning under 50% of AMI. Construction could finish in 2016. APAH CEO Nina Janopaul says Arlington once had 17,000 affordable housing units, but now it's down to 5,000, creating a housing and employment crisis.
More Shoes For Kids
Soles4Souls just got $17,300 to buy shoes for impoverished communities. The money comes from customers buying shoes at 89 of Shoe Sensation's retail locations. The Nashville, Tenn., nonprofit will get shoes from well-known brands and give them to its various relief programs, including 30,000 shoes for Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines. Soles4Souls also collects millions of used shoes annually, which are converted to currency for sustainable jobs through the organization's micro-enterprise program in Haiti and other countries. The nonprofit says children who live without shoes often get infections or can't go to school. The World Bank says some 400 million children worldwide live without shoes.
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