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Preeclampsia Awareness Month was marked with much vocal support by a large number of Members of Congress who sought to spread the word about the importance of preeclampsia research, actions needed to improve maternal and infant health and well being, and the necessity of addressing preventable maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. Reaching out through social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter and participating in Promise Walks throughout the country, Congressional Representatives and Senators - both Republicans and Democrats - spoke out loudly and repeatedly.
Preeclampsia Awareness Month was established in 2013 thanks to the support of Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Gwen Moore (D-WI) who joined the Preeclampsia Foundation in requesting that the Obama Administration designate May as a permanent month for preeclampsia awareness. This year brought the support of additional members of Congress, with three members taking to the House congressional floor to deliver statements on the importance of moving forward - identifying the causes of this disease, protecting women's health long-term after preeclampsia, and putting an end to preventable maternal morbidity and mortality (see right column for full text).
Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) who serves as Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues stated "together we must do all we can to eliminate preventable maternal and infant death and disability. I am grateful for the work of clinicians around this country and organizations like the Preeclampsia Foundation who work so tirelessly to advance maternal and infant health and well-being."
Her statements were mirrored by others, including Representative Lois Capps who co-chairs the Health Committee of the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues and Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) who worked with a Foundation volunteer to issue a congressional record statement to mark the memory of her sister, Joan Donnelly Heiden who was lost due to preeclampsia-related complications.
|Tweets like this one helped to raise preeclampsia awareness|
Congressional members, including Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) who serves as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) also tweeted and re-tweeted their support to their several thousands of followers.
|US Represenative Daniel Webster with Director of Community Relations Laney Poye and Orlando Walk Coordinator Nicole O'Connell.|
Representatives Daniel Webster (R-FL), Representative Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI), Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and Representative Jim McDermott, MD (D-WA) attended, addressed the crowds, and participated in Promise Walks, taking and tweeting photos to their followers to raise awareness. Others, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) sent letters of support to the Foundation for efforts to educate women and place a spotlight on preeclampsia awareness.
The Preeclampsia Foundation is working to educate more Members of Congress about the need to increase research for preeclampsia detection and treatment options. We are engaged in new efforts at the National Institutes of Health to study the placenta and understand the root causes of diseases like preeclampsia. We are also engaged in efforts at the NIH to design a pregnancy registry and ensure research can help advance efforts to address preeclampsia.
In the face of fiscal pressures and significant competition for resources, the Preeclampsia Foundation is working to ensure your voice in heard in Washington and that advancements in preeclampsia detection and treatment options persist. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all of our volunteers who worked collaboratively with congressional offices to support their participation in Promise Walks this year and for those of you who reached out to share your personal stories and the stories of your loved ones. You left quite an impression, and we will continue to advocate on your behalf to ensure Congress continues to sit up and take notice.
11th Annual Texas Conference on Health Disparities
Ft. Worth, TX
June 9-10, 2016