Friday
Jun262015

MOTHERWOMAN RECEIVES MULTI-YEAR GRANT TO IMPACT FAMILY POLICY IN MASSACHUSETTS



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shannon M. Rudder, MBA Executive Director 
220 Russell Street, Suite 200
Hadley, MA 01035 
(413) 387-0703 
www.motherwoman.org 
 

 


MOTHERWOMAN RECEIVES MULTI-YEAR GRANT TO IMPACT
FAMILY POLICY IN MASSACHUSETTS

HADLEY, MA (June 26, 2015) – MotherWoman is pleased to receive three-year funding of $60,000 from Women’s Fund of Western MA to support MotherWoman’s Firm Foundation: Policy Change for Mothers Project in partnership with UMass Amherst and Hampshire College.   

“For the past eight years, MotherWoman has been working on ways to impact family policy. This time around, we are leading the way with our current Pregnant Worker Fairness Act (PWFA) legislation. Many MA employers treat pregnant workers fairly; the PWFA Act will ensure that all women be afforded reasonable accommodations regardless of where they happen to work,” says MotherWoman Executive Director Shannon M. Rudder.

The project will utilize a multi-tiered approach of public awareness, engagement with legislators and employers as well as expanding collaborative networks of support for pregnant workers.  PWFA’s active campaign is underway connecting with mothers with lived experience of pregnancy discrimination to empower them to share their stories in meaningful ways.  MotherWoman promotes this initiative via social media and most recently hosted a flashmob to “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer, as a creative engagement and awareness strategy to feature PWFA. 

MotherWoman has partnered with UMass, Hampshire College and a host of local activists to organize and rally support for this legislation. Funds from the Women’s Fund will significantly increase capacity for the PWFA and other family policy initiatives spearheaded by MotherWoman over the next three years. 

To get involved with MotherWoman and help pass PWFA, contact MotherWoman at info@motherwoman.org or 413.387.0703. 

About MotherWoman
MotherWoman supports and empowers mothers to create positive, personal and social change by building community safety-nets, impacting family policy and promoting the leadership and resilience of mothers. MotherWoman, is committed to ensuring that all mothers have information and education, access to resources, and proper care during their time(s) of expressed need.

 

Friday
Jun262015

HEALTH NEW ENGLAND PARTNERS WITH MOTHERWOMAN, SPONSORS POSTPARTUM SUPPORT GROUP FOR WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS FAMILIES

CONTACT:
Shannon M. Rudder, MBA Executive Director 
220 Russell Street, Suite 200
Hadley, MA 01035 
(413) 387-0703 
www.motherwoman.org
 





HEALTH NEW ENGLAND PARTNERS WITH MOTHERWOMAN, SPONSORS POSTPARTUM SUPPORT GROUP FOR WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS FAMILIES


Hadley, MA (June 26, 2015)
– MotherWoman, a leading non-profit dedicated to supporting and empowering mothers will partner with Health New England to provide a free MotherWoman Postpartum Support Group for moms who are pregnant or with babies birth to one-year old and experiencing perinatal emotional complications (PPD). The Health New England sponsored Support Group will serve mothers once a week over the course of one-year offering essential support and resources.

 

MotherWoman Support Groups™ are designed to serve all mothers and respond to unique needs within a given community. Trained MotherWoman facilitators are equipped to host groups of high-risk, diverse mothers with perinatal emotional complications, focusing on those in crisis to maintain their well-being and stability as well as mothers experiencing the adjustment of motherhood at all levels.

 

“Health New England is pleased to partner with MotherWoman to support Western Massachusetts families by providing a safe space for mothers in need,” said Laurie Gianturco, Senior Medical Director, Health New England. “Our sponsorship of the MotherWoman Postpartum Support Group supports our mission to improve the health and lives of the people in our communities and we are proud to support this great cause.”

 

MotherWoman Support Groups™ provide mothers with a safe, confidential, non-stigmatizing, accessible place to share their truths and be heard, understood, nurtured and validated. MotherWoman trained facilitators also provide community referrals and connect participants to any necessary additional care.

 

Shannon M. Rudder Executive Director for MotherWoman says: “Our support groups have been proven to reduce participants' stress and anxiety, prevent maternal suicide, child abuse and neglect, lessen isolation and enhance the feeling of resiliency by connecting mothers to local community resources and support networks to encourage their individual experience of motherhood.” 

 

To find a MotherWoman Support Group in your area, please visit www.motherwoman.org/support or call 413.387.0703.

About MotherWoman
MotherWoman supports and empowers mothers to create positive, personal and social change by building community safety-nets, impacting family policy and promoting the leadership and resilience of mothers. MotherWoman, is committed to ensuring that all mothers have information and education, access to resources, and proper care during their time(s) of expressed need. 

About Health New England
Based in Springfield, Massachusetts, Health New England is a non-profit health insurance carrier serving more than 200,000 members. Health New England offers employer groups and individuals various coverage options in the commercial, Medicaid and Medicare markets. Visit www.healthnewengland.com for more information.

 

Monday
Jun222015

Local Perinatal Mental Health Champions to Speak at the State House

Rep. Ellen Story, Chair of the Postpartum Depression (PPD) Commission and Liz Friedman, MotherWoman’s Program Director will be speaking at Important PPD Event 

MotherWoman will be announcing an important grant opportunity to bring perinatal mental health resources to communities across the Commonwealth. For more information on this opportunity see below.

Hadley, MA—Join communities from across the state on Monday, June 29th 12:00pm – 3:00pm in Boston at the State House for an important PPD event, Bringing Postpartum Depression into the Light: Decreasing Stigma, Supporting Families and Implementing Policy Change in MA. Speakers at this event include key perinatal mental health champions from across the Commonwealth and local leaders on the issue.

The MA Commission on PPD is hosting this awareness day. The Commission is co-chaired by Rep. Ellen Story (Amherst) and Senator Joan Lovely (Salem) and is charged with making recommendations to the Department of Public Health and the MA State Legislature on advancing best practices regarding PPD screening, treatment and public and professional education.  Additionally, newly published PPD regulations for MA will promote screening and reporting for this issue.

“I have been leading the PPD Commission for four years and am pleased with the successes we have accomplished so far. We must continue to raise awareness and address barriers to care for the detection and treatment of mothers experiencing postpartum depression,” said Representative Ellen Story (D – Amherst).    

MotherWoman, a local non-profit in Hadley will announce their 2nd annual Request for Proposal (RFP) grant opportunity for communities to bring perinatal mental health resources to their communities. This grant opportunity is funded through the MA Department of Mental Health and MCPAP for Moms. Through this grant communities will receive resources such as, specialized perinatal mental health training, community readiness assessment and perinatal mental health strategic action plan, perinatal mental health toolkit, technical assistance and webinar support. Build a comprehensive safety net for moms in your community to ensure moms and families receive the best care and treatment available. For more information and to submit your Letter of Intent today visit http://svy.mk/1MM0Irc.              .

“Postpartum depression is really a community issue. Everyone involved with mom and baby from pregnancy through the first year can help support mothers and provide much needed resources. We look forward to this opportunity to bring perinatal mental health resources to additional communities across the state. It is our goal that ALL mothers in Massachusetts receive the necessary care and treatment they deserve.” said Liz Friedman, Program Director, MotherWoman.  Liz Friedman will be speaking at the event.

Mothers with lived experience and committed leaders from across the Commonwealth are gathering for the awareness day to bring attention to postpartum depression (PPD), a crucial public health issue.  This event will highlight the exciting events occurring in Massachusetts aimed at improving perinatal mental health outcomes for mothers and families, including: the Massachusetts Commission on (PPD), MA Department of Public Health PPD screening regulations, first year anniversary for the important program MCPAP for Moms, and successes from perinatal mental health coalitions.

“We are told having a baby is supposed to be a time of great joy. For many it brings on emotions never felt before. It is a devastating experience to feel like there is no hope. Mothers should feel surrounded by support. It is critical we educate and empower mothers in our communities to feel strength in a time that can be extremely scary,” said Jamie Belsito, a mom from Beverly, MA who will be speaking at the event.

Research suggests 10 – 20% of mothers experience postpartum depression. These numbers drastically increase when additional risk factors like poverty, domestic violence, addiction and teen pregnancy are taken into consideration. In 2012, there were 72,457 births in Massachusetts. Thus, 7,245 – 14,491 mothers were at risk for or experiencing postpartum depression statewide. When undiagnosed and untreated, postpartum depression can have severe negative effects on mothers, infants and birth outcomes. While the risk and impact of PPD is critical, there is hope in Massachusetts that mothers and families can access the resources they need.

“When the expectation exists that a new mother will function as she did before the baby was born, the kind of attentiveness an infant requires will not only be challenging, it may be impossible. Faced with this expectation, many mothers feel very much alone. In contrast, when as a community we listen to and support new mothers, we support healthy growth and development of the whole family,” said Dr. Claudia M. Gold. Dr. Gold, pediatrician, writer, and director of the Early Childhood Social Emotional Health Program at Newton Wellesley Hospital, will be the keynote at the event.

MCPAP for Moms, a new program that began in July 2014, will be highlighted at the event. MCPAP for Moms promotes maternal and child health by building the capacity of providers serving pregnant and postpartum women and their children up to one year after delivery to effectively prevent, identify and manage postpartum depression.

“Pediatricians have been leading the charge for improving postpartum depression because we understand the importance of providers working together to create change for both the health of mothers and their families. I am pleased to be involved in raising awareness to this issue. MCPAP for Moms is an excellent program ensuring that providers are well informed and have access to the necessary resources so that we can care for families appropriately,” quoted John H. Straus, M.D., Founding Director, Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP).

MotherWoman’s successful Community-based Perinatal Support Model will also be highlighted. MotherWoman has been actively working to improve perinatal mental health for over 15 years, and in partnership with and funded by MCPAP for Moms, is currently implementing their Community-based Perinatal Support Model© (CPSM) in six communities across MA – Cape & Islands, Greater Lynn, Greater New Bedford, South Shore, Springfield and Worcester. The CPSM addresses barriers to care to achieve optimal mental health outcomes for mothers and families, through multi-sector collaboration in education, training, resource development, triage/referral protocols, screening and policy.

As a result of implementation of the CPSM in these six communities, four perinatal mental health coalitions have been strengthened, two have been formed, over 250 providers have received specialized perinatal mental health training and nine new MotherWoman Support Groups are being formed in MA. Among the CPSM grantees is Baystate High Street Health Center, a local community organization. As a result the Baystate Medical Center (BMC) PPD Coalition has shown great success and is working to break down the silos of care and ensure that all mothers receive necessary care and treatment. The BMC PPD Coalition is transforming the labor and delivery floor with plans to provide professional education and implement universal screening. The have also implemented 3 perinatal mental health support groups in just one year.

For information regarding this event please contact Anna Roy at anna.roy@masenate.gov or visit http://on.fb.me/1Eo5biS

About MotherWoman

MotherWoman’s mission is to support and empower mothers to create positive personal and social change for themselves, their families, their communities and the world. MotherWoman also addresses the socio-economic issues facing American mothers by advocating for family-friendly policy. MotherWoman seeks to create a culture that understands and de-stigmatizes screening and treatment of perinatal emotional complications. MotherWoman promotes evidence-informed models in prevention, detection, and treatment of perinatal emotional complications by addressing barriers to care. MotherWoman has successfully trained many medical and mental health professionals, as well as Support Group facilitators, within various communities across the state to implement this vision.

For more information visit www.motherwoman.org

About MCPAP for Moms:

MCPAP for Moms is an exciting new statewide program designed to bridge the gap between mothers and their limited access to mental health resources and support needed to address perinatal depression. It is an expansion of the successful Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP), which has improved child mental health care in Massachusetts by offering pediatric primary care providers rapid access to child psychiatry consultation, education, and care coordination. MCPAP for Moms aims to promote maternal and child health by building the capacity of providers serving pregnant and postpartum women and their children up to one year after delivery to effectively prevent, identify, and manage depression.

For more information visit www.mcpapformoms.org

For More Information on MA Department of Public Health PPD Regulations visit http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/laws-regs/dph/proposed-regulations/postpartum-depression-screening-and-reporting.html

For more information contact:
Liz Friedman
413-387-0703
Liz@motherwoman.org

Wednesday
Apr292015

WHOLE FOODS MARKET HADLEY TO DONATE 5% OF SALES TO MOTHERWOMAN Proceeds will help fund community safety nets for mothers

MEDIA CONTACT:

Shannon M. Rudder, MotherWoman
Executive Director, 413-387-0703

Bill Butcher, Whole Foods, 413-992-8360

On Tuesday, May 5th, Whole Foods Market in Hadley is hosting a 5% Community Giving Day for MotherWoman. On this day, the Hadley store will donate 5% of the day’s net sales to the Hadley-based non-profit. The donation will help fund MotherWoman’s groundbreaking support groups that offer mothers a chance to talk openly about the challenges of parenting, gain support and build community. 

“We are absolutely thrilled about this wonderful opportunity to partner with Whole Foods Market in Hadley,” said Shannon M. Rudder, MotherWoman Executive Director. “This community giving event will assist MotherWoman in our mission to support all women and families here in the Pioneer Valley.”

MotherWoman will have volunteers at the store from 3 – 6pm on Tues., May 5 to thank customers for shopping and helping to raise money for the group.

MotherWoman empowers mothers to create positive personal and social change by promoting their inherent resilience and leadership.  MotherWoman groups provide safe places of mutual respect and non-judgment where mothers can build community and support one another as they navigate the realities of motherhood.

“I am so thankful for my MotherWoman Group. Knowing that a caring, understanding circle of women was there for me every week gave me so much emotional comfort and strength, especially in the darkest times. I will never forget the part you played in my life.” – Support Group Participant

MotherWoman’s vision is to provide a firm foundation of personal support, community networks, and family-friendly policy, upon which mothers and their families can flourish. For more information, please visit www.motherwoman.org

Whole Foods Market Hadley is dedicated to helping non-profit organizations in our local community. Four times during the year, Whole Foods Market donates five percent of one day’s net store sales to a selected non-profit organization. Previous recipients include Hadley Youth Baseball, the North Amherst Community Farm and Amherst Survival Center. Please visit www.wfm.com/hadley

WHO:

MotherWoman and Whole Foods Market – Hadley 

WHAT:                      

5% Community Giving Day

WHEN:

Tues., May 5, 2015 

WHERE:

Whole Foods Market – Hadley

Mountain Farms Mall

327 Russell Street, Route 9

Hadley, Mass.

WHY:

To raise money to fund MotherWoman’s groundbreaking support groups that offer mothers a chance to talk openly about the challenges of parenting, gain support and build community.

Thursday
Mar262015

Supreme Court Decision Underscores Need for Mass. Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

For interview contact:
Liz Friedman
413-658-8231
liz@motherwoman.org
Program Director
MotherWoman.org
 
The United States Supreme Court today issued a decision that bolsters the case for the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in Massachusetts. The legislation is sponsored by Hadley-based MotherWoman and supported by a coalition of advocacy organizations across the state.
 
In the historic pregnancy discrimination case, Young v. UPS, the Supreme Court gave former United Parcel Service driver Peggy Young another chance to prove in a lower court that she was discriminated against when her employer refused her light duty as an accommodation for her pregnancy and instead forced to leave the company. Young’s attorney called the decision ““a big step forward towards enforcing the principle that a woman shouldn’t have to choose between her pregnancy and her job.”
 
“The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would further strengthen this win for pregnant workers by providing a clear standard to ensure that providing reasonable accommodations is business as usual for employers when a pregnant worker needs it,” said MotherWoman Program Director Liz Friedman. 
 
The act would require employers to grant women across Massachusetts reasonable on-the-job accommodations related to pregnancy or childbirth, such as access to water, seating, adequate bathroom breaks, and the need to express breast milk, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship for the employer.
 
While the courts have new standards by which to assess Young’s discrimination claim, UPS and other employers facing similar suits are still able to argue their policies are legal because they are based on some acceptable reason. For example, while UPS has updated its policy to accommodate pregnant workers, the United States Post Office has not.
 
Aliza Guyer, who left her job when denied basic accommodations during her pregnancy as a nurse practitioner at a Harvard Health Center in Cambridge said,  “It’s great news for mothers that the Supreme Court decided in support of Peggy. No mother should have to lose their job because they are pregnant. And when the MA Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is passed in Massachusetts, we will have a full guarantee that no one has to go through what I went through during my pregnancy.”
“Our legislators must act to streamline the process and pass the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to reinforce today’s decision and provide an unmistakable rule, to ensure no woman is ever forced to choose between her job and the health of her pregnancy,” said Friedman.
 
“The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would ensure that all workers with medical needs arising out of pregnancy have a right to accommodations, just as workers with disabilities do.” 
 
Eleven states and nine municipalities across the nation have similar laws directing employers to accommodate pregnant workers, bringing clarity for both workers and their employers.  The Pregnant Workers Fairness is also before Congress at this time with Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a co-sponsor. “We need to make sure women are given the necessary accommodations from their employers so they can work in healthy and supportive environments and are able to continue working as far into their pregnancies as possible,” Warren said in support of national legislation.
 
The Massachusetts PWFA was introduced into the legislature by primary sponsors Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst), Rep. Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge) and Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem) to address the needs of the state’s pregnant women and new mothers, more than half of whom are in the workforce. 
 
“It is time Massachusetts protects pregnant workers from being pushed out of their jobs and makes changes to current law to support our families,” said Story.
Case Synopsis of Young v. UPS: 
Peggy Young is a former UPS worker who was forced to take unpaid leave because of her pregnancy. When Ms. Young told UPS she was pregnant, UPS required her to get a doctor’s note “listing her restrictions.”  Her doctor’s note indicated that she should not lift more than 20 pounds; Ms. Young was willing to continue her regular duties because she rarely had to lift anything that heavy, but the senior manager at Ms. Young’s workplace told her that she was “too much of a liability” and she would have to go home until she was “no longer pregnant.” Meanwhile, UPS regularly provided so-called “light duty” and similar accommodations to people with disabilities, people with on-the-job injuries, and even people who had lost their commercial drivers’ licenses as a result of DUI convictions—but UPS refused to provide light duty to Peggy Young when she sought it.  The Supreme Court was asked to decide whether UPS violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act by forcing Mrs. Young to take unpaid leave rather than offering her the same work accommodations made available to these employees. Ms. Young filed her case in 2007, and her daughter, Triniti, is now 7 years old. 

For interview contact:Liz Friedman413-658-8231liz@motherwoman.orgProgram DirectorMotherWoman.org The United States Supreme Court today issued a decision that bolsters the case for the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in Massachusetts. The legislation is sponsored by Hadley-based MotherWoman and supported by a coalition of advocacy organizations across the state. In the historic pregnancy discrimination case, Young v. UPS, the Supreme Court gave former United Parcel Service driver Peggy Young another chance to prove in a lower court that she was discriminated against when her employer refused her light duty as an accommodation for her pregnancy and instead forced to leave the company. Young’s attorney called the decision ““a big step forward towards enforcing the principle that a woman shouldn’t have to choose between her pregnancy and her job.” “The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would further strengthen this win for pregnant workers by providing a clear standard to ensure that providing reasonable accommodations is business as usual for employers when a pregnant worker needs it,” said MotherWoman Program Director Liz Friedman.  The act would require employers to grant women across Massachusetts reasonable on-the-job accommodations related to pregnancy or childbirth, such as access to water, seating, adequate bathroom breaks, and the need to express breast milk, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship for the employer. While the courts have new standards by which to assess Young’s discrimination claim, UPS and other employers facing similar suits are still able to argue their policies are legal because they are based on some acceptable reason. For example, while UPS has updated its policy to accommodate pregnant workers, the United States Post Office has not. Aliza Guyer, who left her job when denied basic accommodations during her pregnancy as a nurse practitioner at a Harvard Health Center in Cambridge said,  “It’s great news for mothers that the Supreme Court decided in support of Peggy. No mother should have to lose their job because they are pregnant. And when the MA Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is passed in Massachusetts, we will have a full guarantee that no one has to go through what I went through during my pregnancy.”
“Our legislators must act to streamline the process and pass the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to reinforce today’s decision and provide an unmistakable rule, to ensure no woman is ever forced to choose between her job and the health of her pregnancy,” said Friedman. “The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would ensure that all workers with medical needs arising out of pregnancy have a right to accommodations, just as workers with disabilities do.”  Eleven states and nine municipalities across the nation have similar laws directing employers to accommodate pregnant workers, bringing clarity for both workers and their employers.  The Pregnant Workers Fairness is also before Congress at this time with Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a co-sponsor. “We need to make sure women are given the necessary accommodations from their employers so they can work in healthy and supportive environments and are able to continue working as far into their pregnancies as possible,” Warren said in support of national legislation. The Massachusetts PWFA was introduced into the legislature by primary sponsors Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst), Rep. Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge) and Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem) to address the needs of the state’s pregnant women and new mothers, more than half of whom are in the workforce.  “It is time Massachusetts protects pregnant workers from being pushed out of their jobs and makes changes to current law to support our families,” said Story.

Case Synopsis of Young v. UPS: 
Peggy Young is a former UPS worker who was forced to take unpaid leave because of her pregnancy. When Ms. Young told UPS she was pregnant, UPS required her to get a doctor’s note “listing her restrictions.”  Her doctor’s note indicated that she should not lift more than 20 pounds; Ms. Young was willing to continue her regular duties because she rarely had to lift anything that heavy, but the senior manager at Ms. Young’s workplace told her that she was “too much of a liability” and she would have to go home until she was “no longer pregnant.” Meanwhile, UPS regularly provided so-called “light duty” and similar accommodations to people with disabilities, people with on-the-job injuries, and even people who had lost their commercial drivers’ licenses as a result of DUI convictions—but UPS refused to provide light duty to Peggy Young when she sought it.  The Supreme Court was asked to decide whether UPS violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act by forcing Mrs. Young to take unpaid leave rather than offering her the same work accommodations made available to these employees. Ms. Young filed her case in 2007, and her daughter, Triniti, is now 7 years old.