I began working as a nurse in Las Vegas, Nevada more than 25 years ago. After which, I began volunteering my services to Interplast, an international non-profit organization that provides free plastic surgery in developing countries around the world. I participated in more than 15 volunteer trips to diverse locations as the Philippines, Mexico, Jamaica, Tanzania, Chile, India, Madagascar, Honduras and Ecuador. During my travels, I learned about the tragic plight of pregnant women and newborns in developing countries and in particular Tibet, where one out of ten newborns is believed to die in the first month of life often due to preventable causes.
In 1998, I founded One HEART (Health, Education, and Research in Tibet) a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of Tibetan women and their newborns during the birthing process. I organized a fact-finding mission for the first year to understand the local traditions, religious beliefs, customs, and procedures of women giving birth. Once I understood the local views of the Tibetans I then set-up a Skilled Birth Attendant Training Program, which focused on village and township doctors in providing clean birthing conditions and medical attention to pregnant women. I found that much of the knowledge and life saving skills and medical supplies were not filtering down to the local village level so I began training the local village women on learning basic life saving skills and supplying clean birthing kits so that they could take their skills back to their local villages as birth attendants.
With the help of my team, we have designed and implemented a successful repeatable and sustainable maternal newborn model for rural cultures all over the world. In January of 2010, we took our knowledge, skill set, and model to Mexico’s Tarahumara Tribe near Chihuahua. Additionally, we are initiating another new site in Nepal and have requests for our program in Tanzania. I am dedicated to ensuring that all pregnant women and infants have access to life-saving care and information.