News Releases for 2013
View Our 2013 Newsletter
Our 2013 Newsletter is here. Please take a look to learn more about what we have been up to this year and what we
have to look forward to in 2014!
OHW Board Chair Receives Recognition from the LCA
One Heart World-Wide Board Chair, Jay Blumenkopf, of Gonzalez, Saggio, and Harlan LLP, has been selected as a recipient of the Litigation Counsel of America’s inaugural Peter Perlman Service Awards. The first class of 25 Peter Perlman Service Award recognizes LCA Fellows and others within the legal profession who have contributed in meaningful ways to society by giving their time and resources in an effort to improve the lives of others. The award is supported and sponsored by Peter Perlman, the LCA’s 2013 president.
Network of Safety: Decreasing maternal and neonatal mortality
(original post on Midwife International’s Blog)
Healthcare, education, running water and electricity are nearly non-existent in some of Nepal’s most remote regions, places like Dolpa, located near the Tibet border and nearly ten days by foot from the nearest road. Consequently, maternal and neonatal mortality is common, and getting assistance or maternal healthcare is nearly impossible. Yet one organization, One Heart World-Wide has developed a care model, which they call the Network of Safety, that has proved successful in remote regions such as these.
Dolpa is one of the largest and least developed districts in Nepal, located at the border of Tibet. The nearest road is ten days away on foot. Because of its remote location and difficult terrain, and elevation of up to 25,000 feet, Dolpa lacks some of the most basic amenities such as health services, education, running water and electricity.
Maternal health services are nonexistent in this extraordinarily remote region. Before One Heart World-Wide (OHW) began working in Dolpa, there were no functional birthing centers in the entire district. OHW renovates existing health posts’ infrastructure, trains the local staff, and provides necessary equipment and supplies to upgrade them into certified birthing centers. Today, there are two certified birth centers in Dolpa, the first was opened in 2011 in Dunai (lower Dolpa), and the second, in 2012 in Dho Tarap (upper Dolpa).
Wangmo Thapa is the Skilled Birth Attendant (SBA) who works in Dho Tarap. She lost her own mother in childbirth when her brother was born. Though she was just eleven years old, it was then that she decided to become a nurse to help other mothers survive childbirth. Once she graduated from nursing school, Wangmo went back to work in the small health post of Dho Tarap. At that time, she was frustrated because she felt that she did not have the resources necessary to help the women of her community. Then she met a member of the OHW team who decided to sponsor Wangmo to participate in midwife training to become a certified Skilled Birth Attendant for the new birthing center.
Now 23 years old and a certified SBA in a new birthing center, Wangmo is thrilled. She tells us that at the beginning, women were reluctant to reach out to her for assistance, because of her age. Then she met Nyima Lama, who was pregnant for the second time, 17 years after the birth of her first child. Nyima had experienced complications with her first pregnancy and was anticipating another complicated birth, leading her to reach out to Wangmo. They stayed in close contact until her eighth month of pregnancy, then lost contact for a month during the harvest season. One evening in July, a villager informed Wangmo that Nyima was in labor and needed her help. Wangmo rushed to Nyima’s house with her delivery kit, where she found her already in the second stage of labor with severe contractions. Nyima had been in that state since the morning, but there had been no progress. Upon examination, Wangmo discovered that the baby was in a breech presentation, with his feet first. These cases can be very difficult to deliver, and in the United States are almost always delivered by Caesarean section. However, this was not an option in rural Nepal. Instead, Wangmo remembered her training and safely delivered a baby boy. The new baby was having difficulty breathing so Wangmo stimulated him by rubbing his back and used suction to clear his airways. When he was breathing normally, Wangmo helped the mother through the final stages of labor and in the end, both mother and baby were healthy.
Nyima and her baby are alive today because of Wangmo’s ability to recognize the proper actions to take. Wangmo says “I was able to perform all the necessary procedures and help to both the mother and the baby smoothly and with confidence because of the One Heart World Wide SBA training I got to take.” After this incident, the women of the community gained respect for Wangmo and they now see her as a hero in their community.
Wangmo’s story demonstrates the multidimensional structure of the OHW Network of Safety model. The organization works to create functional birthing facilities within reach of women in remote areas who would otherwise have to travel for hours or even days to reach a health facility. They run midwifery education programs to train nurses in midwifery skills, enabling them to handle complicated deliveries with confidence, and educate women and their community members on how to recognize dangers signs and to know where to reach community health volunteers or Skilled Birth Attendants who can aid in deliveries and evacuations to referral hospitals. These simple interventions are raising awareness, changing behaviors, and reducing preventable deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth.
One Heart World-Wide’s life-saving programs were initially established in the late 1990s in the Tibetan Autonomous Region where the founders experienced a number of significant successes in collaboration with the Lhasa Prefecture Health Bureau and the Women’s Federation. Over ten years, the organization was able to decrease unattended home births from 85% to 20%, by ensuring the presence of a skilled attendant at delivery. In 2008, in the two counties where OHW was working, the Lhasa Prefecture Health Bureau reported no maternal deaths and newborn death rates dropped from 10% to 3%. One Heart World-Wide (OHW) developed an effective, replicable, and sustainable model to reduce preventable deaths related to pregnancy and delivery among vulnerable, rural populations. Simply put, OHW works with local communities and health providers to develop a culturally appropriate Network of Safety around mothers and infants by raising awareness, teaching good practices, and distributing essential supplies to ensure that mothers and infants survive delivery and the first months of life. The demonstrated success of this model has led OHW to expand operations to other sites in need including the Baglung and Dolpa Districts in Western Nepal, and the Copper Canyon in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Learn more at http://www.oneheartworld-wide.org.
We are very excited to announce that OHW will be Dining for Women's featured project for July 2013!
Dining for Women is a dinner giving circle. Chapter members “dine in” together as a chapter once a month, each bringing a dish to share, and then pooling “dining out” dollars (what would have been spent if they had eaten at a restaurant) to send to programs empowering women worldwide. All of the donations from hundreds of chapters are then combined to support carefully selected international programs each month. Dining for Women funds grass-roots programs in education, healthcare, vocational training, micro-credit loans and economic development. The programs they support are aimed to improve the living situations for women and their families, by providing the tools they need to make changes.
One Heart World-Wide is very excited to announce that we have been chosen to be the lucky recipient of July 2013’s “dining out” dollars! This funding will be used to expand the Network of Safety in Western Nepal by funding four master trainers’ salaries and benefits for one year, training expenses and supplies for 800 trainees, and 2,000 birthing kits which include gloves, plastic sheeting, razor blade, string, soap. Our goal is to empower Female Community Health Volunteers as efficient maternal and neonatal health outreach providers for both Baglung and Dolpa districts. By strengthening the maternal and neonatal knowledge and skills of local FCHV who care for women and their newborns at the village level, we will in turn increase the access to skilled birth attendants, essential resources, and safe motherhood messages for vulnerable pregnant women, leading to better birth outcomes across our program areas.
We could not be more grateful for this opportunity. The support of Dining for Women will allow us to save many lives, one birth at a time.
Stay tuned for updates!
To learn more about Dining for Women and the project they are funding, visit www.diningforwomen.org
New Blog Post from the Maternal Health Task Force's Blog Series on Respectful Maternal Care
Cultural sensitivity training for maternal health providers
POSTED ON APRIL 23, 2013 BY SARAH BLAKE
Guest post by Arlene Samen APRN, Founder and CEO, One Heart World-Wide
The integration of modern medicine into traditional systems can be challenging. One Heart World-Wide (OHW) works with the Tarahumara populations of the Canyon in Northern Mexico. The Tarahumara are among the indigenous groups farthest removed from mainstream society, and as a result suffer from many barriers to care. Discrimination against indigenous groups in Mexico creates one such barrier. Many Tarahumara people fear that medical providers will disrespect them, violate their right to make informed medical/family planning choices, or otherwise mistreat them. Language barriers further exacerbate these issues, as many Tarahumara do not speak Spanish and many providers do not take the time to make sure indigenous patients have understood them.
Many Tarahumara women feel that providers make little effort to understand their practices or beliefs, and often act with an air of superiority by telling women that there is no place for their use of traditional parteras (midwives). They often leave the clinics feeling patronized and without an understanding of the care or advice they have received. This is due to the complicated medical language that the providers use, which even a well-educated, native Spanish speaker might have trouble with.
These circumstances, coupled with the difficult travel and long distances that many women face in order to reach a clinic, lead to almost 90% of Tarahumara women delivering without a skilled birth attendant. This in turn results in dismal maternal and neonatal survival outcomes.
OHW is seeking to improve this situation through our Network of Safety model. The Network of Safety is an intervention aimed simultaneously at several levels, from the mothers to the referral hospital. Providers are trained, health facilities are upgraded and outreach programs on safe motherhood target community members.
In order to encourage facility-based deliveries, we have found it necessary not only to inform women of services available and advise them on their use, but also to work with clinical staff to ensure they provide culturally appropriate, quality care to indigenous patients. We want the Tarahumara women to feel comfortable in the clinics so that they will be willing to return.
We recently began including a new cultural sensitivity training module in all of our trainings for providers. Our trainers focus on raising awareness on the effects of communication on patient relations by discussing intercultural communication theories and dynamics and by practicing techniques to increase clarity and understanding by both parties. Through the exploration of different viewpoints, we invite trainees to recognize beliefs held by the Tarahumara, even if they are not aligned with their own, so long as they do not cause harm to the mother or newborn.
It is our hope that behavioral changes among health care providers that lead to more respectful provision of care will allow for greater changes among the Tarahumara as well, ultimately resulting in increased numbers of facility-based/attended births and therefore healthier birth outcomes for Tarahumara women.
For more in the respectful maternity care blog series, click here.
For more on Maternal Health Task Force, visit their website
Women Deliver: Celebrate Solutions
Celebrate Solutions: “Foot Soldiers of Change” Bring Healthcare to Rural Women
January 14th, 2013
By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver
Throughout the world, rural women are particularly disadvantaged in their access to quality maternal health care. Distance to health facilities, lack of trained health workers, and supply shortages are some of the most prominent barriers preventing women from reaching the care they need to be healthy. In the Copper Canyon, it can take residents four hours by foot to reach the nearest clinic and another six or eight by truck to reach a hospital. The situation is not much better in much of Nepal, where seven out of ten babies are born at home without a skilled health worker, and a young mother dies every four hours.
One Heart World-Wide began operations in Nepal and Mexico operating under the motto, “To work in places where no one else dares to, but where the need is the greatest.” On a local level, volunteers are trained as “Foot Soldiers of Change” who hike through remote areas, bringing safe motherhood tips, clean birth kits and prenatal vitamins to pregnant women in their communities. They are also trained to recognize signs of dangerous complications, and how to safely evacuate women in life-threatening situations. For many, these Foot Soldiers serve as the much-needed link between rural pregnant women and essential health care.
As of March 2012, One Heart World-Wide had trained 70 volunteers in Mexico and another 500 in Western Nepal. For the 2,000 pregnant women they have helped, these volunteers truly are “Foot Soldiers of Change”, bringing hope to those in the most remote corners of the planet. As distant as they may feel from the rest of the world, these women now have someone looking out for them, crossing canyons and mountains through the day and night to ensure a world with fewer tragic statistics and more healthy mothers.
To support One Heart World-wide, check out their projects on Catapult here.
Flickr photo via Gates Foundation.
Catch up on One Heart's work during 2012
News Releases for 2012
ARLENE SAMEN WINS GOLD STEVIE® AWARD IN 2012 STEVIE AWARDS FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS
Winners Announced at Event in New York City
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – November 13, 2012 – One Heart World-Wide has been named the winner of a gold Stevie® Award in the Women Helping Women category in the 9th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives, and the organizations they run. All individuals and organizations worldwide are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The 2012 awards received entries from 17 nations and territories.
Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word for “crowned,” the awards were presented to winners during a dinner at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
More than 1,200 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Executive of the Year, Company of the Year, Mentor of the Year, Women Helping Women, and Communications Campaign of the Year, among others. One Heart World-Wide won in the Women Helping Women category for Government or Non-profit.
Arlene Samen has been a Nurse Practitioner in Maternal Fetal Medicine for 31 years. In 2004, she left her University of Utah clinical practice to dedicate her life to serving pregnant women living in the most vulnerable conditions. She founded One Heart World-Wide to be the “Network of Safety” for women in Tibet, Nepal and Mexico in order to reduce the high rates of preventable maternal and neonatal deaths in these remote areas.
Arlene was selected as one of the 50 Unsung Heroes for Acts of Compassion in 2001 and a CNN “Hero” of the week in 2008. She has been a recipient of the Soroptomist Women Making a Difference Award. In 2009, she was a Rainer Arnhold Fellow with the Mulago Foundation and is a current member of the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2011, she was a TEDxSF guest speaker.
Sibylle Kristensen, One Heart World-Wide COO says, “Arlene Samen is one of the most compassionate people I have ever had the honor to meet. She relentlessly fights to ensure that all mothers and newborns survive pregnancy and delivery. Her dedication never waivers, despite all of the many obstacles she faces. Arlene is a force to reckon with.”
We were honored to have One Heart World-Wide Board President, Jay Blumenkopf, attend the award ceremony and to accept on behalf of Arlene and the organization.
Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 200 executives worldwide who participated in the judging process this year.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to conclude our tenth year of organizing Stevie Awards programs with a very successful Women in Business event,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “This year’s Stevie Award-winning women are the most accomplished, impressive group we’ve ever had. Their stories of success will be an inspiration to women around the globe who dream of starting and growing a business and making a difference in the world.”
Details about the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the list of Stevie Award winners are available at www.StevieAwards.com/Women.
About One Heart World-Wide
Based on over ten years of experience in Tibet, One Heart World-Wide established an effective, replicable and sustainable model to reduce preventable deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth among remote rural indigenous populations. This model improves the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and infants that may not otherwise have access to medical or public health services due to socio-cultural barriers, limited personal resources or remote living conditions. The organization is based in San Francisco and can be reached at 415-379-4762. Find out more at www.oneheartworld-wide.org
About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in four programs: The International Business Awards, The American Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about The Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.
Jenny Holl or Arlene Samen
OHW's work is highlighted by photographer, Raechel Running in new post on The Lamp Project
“...Raechel uses her work to advance many non-profit organizations that serve social and environmental needs. Among them is the Mexico Program of One Heart World-Wide, which trains community members and outreach workers to provide obstetrical and neonatal care to indigenous women in Mexico’s Copper Canyon region. These women, called Tarahumara (or Raramuri in their own language), represent only 3% of the Mexico’s population but account for 38% of all maternal deaths. Most live in small settlements at least three hours away from the nearest health post and a least a day away from the nearest facility equipped to handle deliveries.
One Heart President and Founder, Arlene Samen, says, ‚“Raechel has done so much to highlight the plight of the Tarahumara women in the Copper Canyon, who die needlessly at home due to lack of access to care. Through her photography, Raechel has brought much-needed attention to the cause.”
As Raechel puts it herself: “What I have learned from my time in Mexico is, it’s not about being afraid but about the spirit of resiliency and courage to dream against the odds.”
Running a Hunger Race: One Heart Mexico Relieves Food Shortages in the Copper Canyon of Mexico
Arlene Samen, Nurse practitioner in maternal fetal medicine
Posted 07/14/2012 5:01 pm
The Tarahumaras have been known for their superhuman physical stamina and strength in long-distance running. The celebrated National best-seller novel, Born to Run, has attracted the attention of many to this indigenous population hidden within the Copper Canyon of Mexico.
This time, however, the race is not as favorable.
Since the beginning of 2012, the worst drought that Mexico has endured in the past 70 years has devastated many lives of the Tarahumara population living in the state of Chihuahua. Crops desiccated before the harvest season; livestock perished in the semi-arid pastures; people struggled to keep their families alive. Numerous organizations, including One Heart World-Wide, joined hands to support a relief program for the community isolated by its geographic barriers.
One Heart World-Wide is a nonprofit organization that strives to reduce maternal and infant mortality in remote communities, and the Tarahumaras have been one of the communities we work with since 2009. In instances of food shortages, pregnant woman and infants are the most susceptible to the risk of malnutrition and starvation. Proper nutrition during pregnancy and infancy are necessary for healthy development, and a lack of basic nutrients contributes to increased rates of illness and even death.
The two-year drought has brought tremendous stress to the people. In order to alleviate this issue, One Heart World-Wide has successfully raised funds from the Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation and other generous donors to purchase food packages that constitute a typical Tarahumara diet of corn, rice, beans, milk, cooking oil, noodle soup, sugar, corn dough, salt and coffee. Each food package is sufficient to nourish a family for a month. We found a local vendor and distributor, Diconsa S.A. that delivers the food packages in a timely and efficient manner.
Diconsa S.A. delivered the food to two central locations, one at the municipal clinic of Urique and the other on the opposite end of the canyon, in a village called Cerocahui. The perilous transport of the food packages from these central locations to the more remote communities would not have been possible if it were not for One Heart-Mexico volunteers and members of the Health Service Authorities. They assembled and distributed these food packages to families with either a pregnant woman or a nursing mother.
Unfortunately, the devastation brought by the drought and the food shortages have led the Tarahumaras to seek other resources for income. Some, out of desperation, resort to becoming “burros” (illegally transporting marijuana on foot in very dangerous situations) between the US and Mexican borders. Camillo Villegas-Cruz, a Tarahumara, explained his conflicting situation in a Newsweek report issued in June 2012. When strangers offered them him to be a burro for $1500, he quickly accepted and found himself in jail when the US border patrol caught him.
No one knows when the hunger race will end. Regardless, as public crowds cheer and encourage marathon runners during a race, so should we support the Tarahumaras in whatever way possible.
With determination and hope, there is no doubt that the Tarahumaras will finish this race strongly.