Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii was prompted in 1981 in response to the US Surgeon General’s conference concerning infant mortality. This Organization was a collaboration between: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), The March of Dimes, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The American Nurses Association (ANA), The National Congress of Parents and Teachers, and The US Public Health Service, to provide families with education for infant and prenatal care! Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai’i (HMHB) is committed to bettering “Hawai’i’s maternal, child and family health through collaborative efforts in public education, advocacy and partner development.”
Lisa Kimura is the Executive Director of HMHB. She has actively been involved for a little more than 3 years now and sees many more years ahead of work with this organization. I met Lisa in the midst of Legislation season, which Lisa admitted is a very busy time for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, considering they actually lobby for certain bills and are very present at these meetings. Lisa expressed that, “Lobbying is actually really fun.” It’s a great way to effectively meet needs head-on and push for bills and issues that need to be addressed.
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies is an organization that does a lot of work that the public sees, however, they match that public influence with work that is behind the scenes. One of these flourishing services they offer is their MothersCare Hotline. This is a hotline where women have access to questions concerning ANY of their maternal needs. This includes Breastfeeding (they can actually speak with a CLC), insurance questions, WIC questions, infant safety and care and more. They also have a service that is called Text4Baby. These are weekly developmental education texts concerning infant care. The texts update mothers on important milestones and give information on the stage in which their infant is at according to their age. Educating mothers is their most powerful way to empower mothers to thrive in their role. Providing this service is a multifaceted benefit to families! The United States has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world, some of the lowest success rates of breastfeeding and breastfeed for significantly shorter periods of time. Why is this? There is absolutely no need for statistics to reflect on this subject so poorly. I believe that this is merely a lack of support and community when it comes to parenting, and I think many would agree. There are so many resources for parents and yet many are not aware of all of the support they could have, especially when wonderful organizations like HMHB are fighting to make these resources known, and accessible for every family regardless of their economic status.
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies adapted to community needs as the years have progressed. The organization’s main prerogative is still rooted in preventing maternal and infant mortality. Lisa expressed that their mission is “Helping moms welcome babies, and get access to care so that everyone is healthy and happy.” This mission she feels is well accommodated by the multitude of expertise that each of the collaborating organizations has. “Successful breastfeeding underlies everything with HMHB.” Lisa says. The success of a mother is strongly tied to the community around her and the support that she is provided. With that said, breastfeeding also greatly reduces the likelihood of many of the health issues that they aim to prevent, so it is a huge driving force for them!
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies works to make sure that even in the workplace women are getting the rights and support they need. They also help employers properly accommodate these women with all that they need as a nursing and working mother! A powerful force that is accessible to the women of Hawai’i!
herself is responsible for many things. Some of these things include overseeing all of the programs ran by HMHB, including Legislation, Programs, Media and Outreach efforts. She expressed that the organization is still fairly small and so they all work hard and wear multiple hats in order to fulfill the organization’s needs! There are currently only six people that work for the organization but each of them are “powerhouses” when it comes to effecting positive change in the community! One of the board members is a seasoned midwife as well, which as a birthing professional, really reveals to me the heart of the organization to support families with knowledgeable members. Almost all of them are parents, like Lisa, who is a mother of three. It’s refreshing to see parents wanting to see success and wellness in fellow parents. We are meant to parent and birth in communities, so please reach out to your local resources, there are always classes and people who are passionate about serving you and seeing your family flourish!
If you are in need of support or know of someone who could use these services please check out their website:
www.HMHB-Hawaii.org or contact them directly at
Phone: (808) 737-5805