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TEDx talk on maternal and child health shows there's womb to grow

Post-Its represent ideas formed at the TedX talk.

Post-Its represent ideas formed at the TedX talk.

With TED’s mission to “spread ideas” in mind, speakers from various fields of study gathered to address the topic of child and maternal health at a TEDxUNCSalon event in the UNC School of Social Work Tuesday night.

Melanie Sadur, who works with public preschool through Orange County Early Head Start, said that she was excited for the speakers at the event.

"I work in the early childhood development world so for me, it’s exciting to hear innovative and creative talks about the world affecting mothers and children," she said.

Sarah Verbiest, who helped organize the event and is the executive director of the UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health, introduced the theme of the night and said she hoped the talks would spark imagination. 

“We hope that maybe you'll hear something tonight that wakes you up and something that inspires you to action,” she said.

Gita Gulati-Partee, the founder of OpenSource Leadership Strategies, Inc., spoke first on leading for racial equity. 

She pushed attendees to help create a culture that talks about structural racism and racial disparities.

“Leading for equity means we join together,” she said. “We publicly declare our powerful vision for a just and fair and healthy world where all of us can thrive."

Tanya M. Bass, the lead instructor for Human Sexuality at North Carolina Central University, followed Gulati-Partee with the question “What if we normalized intimacy?” 

She said that it is important that educators and medical providers are able to help people go through life with intimate connections.

“When it comes to intimacy, it's not about being perfect," she said. "It's about being present in that moment."

Diane E. Ramos, the co-chairperson of the National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative, said the solution to improving the nation’s health could be as simple as cellphones.

"Leveraging the technology in our cellphone can help people be healthy," she said.

Attendees heard numerous other facts displaying the health disparities that exist with the U.S. at the beginning of the event, including the alarming statistic that black moms are three to four times more likely to die due to pregnancy than other moms. 

As the third speaker of the night, Ramos offered her remedy to these disparities. She described phones as a “health equalizer in the palm of our hand.”

As the talks continued, each speaker brought their own perspectives and experiences with the hope that their ideas, with the help of their community, would one day become a reality.

"I think a lot of people in this country focus on issues affecting children when they're older, like disparities in high school or school-to-prison pipeline, but I think that sometimes people forget it all starts prenatally and when you're a baby," Sadur said. 

"It's like a whole pipeline, so I love that they are focusing on the early years and on moms."


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