Improving maternal health globally

first_imgA new three-year, $12 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) effort to significantly improve maternal health in developing countries. The project will be led by Ana Langer, professor of the practice of public health and coordinator of the Dean’s Special Initiative on Women and Health at HSPH.Under the grant, HSPH will host the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) — an initiative bringing together major global and country-level maternal health organizations to improve maternal health in developing countries by leading, coordinating, and promoting innovative and effective knowledge management, technical exchanges, and consensus-building activities; strengthening countries’ health care capacity through mentoring and training; and supporting strategic research on critical issues.The MHTF was established in 2008 by EngenderHealth, a leading global reproductive health organization working to improve the quality of family planning, maternal health, and HIV programs in more than 20 countries. During the past three years, the MHTF at EngenderHealth has created connections among existing maternal health initiatives and engaged global and national organizations to pinpoint problems facing the maternal health community and identify solutions. It has also disseminated scientific information to maternal health professionals all over the world; created opportunities for colleagues and groups in developing countries to lead and participate as equal partners in technical exchanges and agenda-setting processes; mentored young leaders in the maternal health field; and identified and supported innovation in maternal health worldwide.Building on this strong foundation, HSPH will lead the next phase of the task force, continuing key program activities as well as undertaking new initiatives, including major research on maternal health and related fields. HSPH will assume hosting responsibilities for the next phase of the task force beginning on Nov. 1.HSPH, with a distinguished history in research on maternal and child health as well as well-established partnerships with governments, academic organizations, and nongovernmental organizations in developing countries, is uniquely positioned to host the next phase of the Maternal Health Task Force. In July 2010, the School made a firm commitment to advancing the global women’s health agenda by establishing the Women and Health Initiative.Although most maternal deaths are preventable, it’s estimated that more than 340,000 women each year still die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. “We are talking about sheer survival,” HSPH Dean Julio Frenk wrote last year in a Harvard Public Health Review article about the School’s women and health agenda. “The fact that 99 percent of maternal deaths take place in poor countries makes this the most inequitably distributed health indicator in the world.”Currently, stakeholders from the public health, academic, governmental, and philanthropic communities are keenly focused on reducing maternal mortality. One of the United Nations’ eight Millennium Development Goals is to achieve a 75 percent reduction from 1990 levels in the global maternal mortality ratio by 2015. However, despite some recent signs of improvement, progress remains slow and lags well behind the rate needed to meet the 2015 goal.The goals of the next phase of the MHTF — bolstered through its affiliation with HSPH — will include expanding research and educational activities that are critical to the eradication of preventable maternal morbidity and mortality, said Langer. “This new grant will help us meet the perceived needs of the global maternal health community and help HSPH continue serving as a trailblazer and putting these issues at center stage,” she said.last_img read more

Hundreds participate in 37th annual YMCA Half Marathon

first_imgThe race is set to be inducted later this fall into the Maine Running Hall of Fame. 382 runners and walkers, ages 13 to 72 completed the course on a perfect morning for running, sunny but not too warm. Nine miles of the half marathon course are inside Acadia National Park along carriage roads. 13-year olds Evan Merchant of Beals and Ezekiel Valleau of Hulls Cove were the youngest finishers in the half-marathon.The 5K (3.1-mile) began at 8:45 a.m. and looped through downtown Bar Harbor to Cleftstone Road and down Route 233, ending near the Mount Desert Island Hospital. 5K winners were Brian Cole of St. Helena, Calif., with a time of 16:35 and Annie Cutler of South Portland with 20:24. At age 7, Spencer Grierson of Southwest Harbor was the youngest of the 131 finishers in the 5K. Bob Hartley of Mount Desert was the oldest. “We had the largest field in the 5K ever this year,” race director Becky Carroll said. “There were a lot of race-day entries.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThe race is the YMCA’s largest fund-raising event of the year, with proceeds funding the organization’s scholarship programs, among other ventures. 150 volunteers helped with information packets and water stations, and served as course monitors.“Without their help, the race could not continue or wouldn’t be as fun as it is for all the runners,” Carroll said. “It was a great race. The park and the police were great in helping with safety and navigating the areas with construction. I couldn’t do it without them either. Everyone worked hard.”New this year was chit timing, where a sensor in the runners’ bib itself logs the time at the finish line. Photographer Melissa Herrick offered photos of the runners for sale on her website, with proceeds supporting the YMCA.Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is the primary sponsor of the half marathon, and the Acadia Inn, Poor Boy’s Gourmet, Subway and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce are also sponsors. 5K sponsors include Cool as a Moose, Fiore, Mount Desert Island Spring Water and EBS. Other businesses also donated gifts for a raffle.2014 MDI YMCA Fall Half Marathon Results(complete 5K and half marathon results online at        Mike Mackinnon  Miscouche, PEI    1:16.212        Robert Ashby       Brunswick  1:18.483        Vince Molosky     Tallahassee, FL    1:19.204        Matt Homich        Ellsworth    1:19.485        Shane Ruddy        Blue Hill     1:20.596        Scott Clark Summerside, PEI  1:21.337        Rico Portalatin     Milo  1:23.178        Christopher Gabirelson Westford, MA      1:23.239        Jefferson Ashby   Presque Isle 1:23.5010      Andrew Kephart  Ellsworth    1:24.1711      Joshua Plog          Madrid Twp         1:25.3812      Tom St. Germain Bar Harbor 1:25.4613      Nathaniel Lamy    Medford, MA       1:26.1314      Christine Twining Brunswick  1:26.3415      Matthew Mace     Arnold, MD         1:29.4716      Juan Aponte                  Brooklin     1:30.0517      Amy Oliver Belgrade     1:30.1418      Tammy Slusser    Monroeville, PA   1:30.1619      Scott Bottomley   Bethel         1:31.0920      Brian Pitreau        Falmouth    1:31.1121      Sam Thomas        South Portland     1:31.5722      Peter Ingram         South Portland     1:32.3523      Jeff Dubis   Fort Kent    1:33.1024      Peter Heslam        Newburyport, MA         1:33.1925      Daniel Ritchie       Boston        1:33.2326      Stephen Whalen   Bernard      1:33.4427      Edz Lamy   Beverly, MA        1:35.3628      John Klein  Gloucester, MA    1:35.4529      George Melchior   Portsmouth, NE   1:36.1530      Dave Clark Summerside, PEI  1:36.2331      Frank Kelly Brunswick  1:36.3032      Nichole Kelly       Brunswick  1:36.3733      Joe Bertolaccini    Winslow     1:37.0634      Emily Birchby      Portland      1:37.3935      Jon Henderson     Orono                   1:38.0036      Christopher Scully         Taunton, MA       1:38.0537      Jeffrey Swana       Shrewsbury, MA  1:38.3438      Jeff Mansir Gardiner, ME       1:38.5739      Christopher Irish  Turner, ME 1:39.2040      Peter Smith New York, NY     1:39.4941      Desiree Sirois       Trenton       1:39.5042      Randy White        Calais                   1:40.0043      Andrew Galvin     Dedham      1:40.0244      Erin Kershaw       Ludlow, VT          1:40.0845      Zachary Gilhooley         Bar Harbor 1:40.1746      Edward Fels         Falmouth    1:40.3047      Leah Kovitch        Nashua, NH         1:41.0248      Rebecca Richardson       Blue Hill     1:41.1949      Joan Ingram         South Portland     1:41.3950      Peter Malinowski Beverly, MA        1:41.45 Liz GravesReporter at Mount Desert IslanderFormer Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor. Keene appeals his 2019 murder conviction – July 30, 2020 Luchini named to Maine Running Hall of Fame – August 12, 2020 MDI Hospital to begin contact tracing – August 5, 2020 Half-marathon winner Mike Mackinnon of Prince Edward Island completed the course in one hour, 16 minutes and 21 seconds.BAR HARBOR — Mike Mackinnon of Prince Edward Island and Christine Twining of Brunswick were the winners of the 37th annual YMCA Half Marathon Saturday. Bio Latest posts by Liz Graves (see all) Latest Postslast_img read more