A new Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Leaders (GMCHL) program at IUPUI, led by Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health – Indianapolis professor, Dr. Jack Turman, inaugurated the first five women to be grassroots maternal and child health leaders in Indiana zip codes at high risk for infant mortality.
The GMCHL program aims to train and mentor leaders who are skilled in fostering social change that results in healthy birth outcomes. It believes addressing poor birth outcomes through the cultivation of grassroots maternal and child health leaders is crucial to creating and sustaining a culture of health and well-being for women, children and families.
This initiative is a partnership of the Indiana University School of Medicine department of pediatrics, and the Fairbanks School of Public Health, with funding support from The Riley Children’s Foundation. Through the GMCHL program, participants learn policy advocacy and development, how to write and create their personal stories for a Photovoice project, and much more. During the inauguration, each woman had an opportunity to read their personal stories and present photos from their projects.
First Lady Janet Holcomb attended the inauguration, provided remarks and spent time getting to know the women who completed the initial training.
“We are very grateful for the support of First Lady Holcomb and Dr. Jen Walthall, secretary of Indiana Family and Social Services Administration,” said Dr. Turman. “Mrs. Holcomb and Dr. Walthall were incredibly supportive and encouraging to the women, stressing the need for community based approaches to reduce infant mortality.”