Friday, May 12, 2017

Moms Helping Moms: Mass. General Expands Efforts to Help Women in Uganda

On this Mother’s Day weekend 2017, the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is pleased to announce the next phase of Moms Helping Moms, an MGH-led program in southern Uganda, Africa, which aims to improve conditions inside the maternity unit at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.

Born in Boston in 2012 as a grassroots patient effort to support the work of MGH physicians in Uganda, Moms Helping Moms has now been awarded a $100,000 grant from Bank of America, enabling the program to accelerate its work on quality assurance at Mbarara Hospital.

Moms Helping Moms aims to give babies in Uganda a healthier start. (Laura Riley, MD)


“Five years ago, many of my patients would come to me after giving birth, looking for a way to give back,” says Laura Riley, MD, director of labor and delivery at MGH. “When I would tell them about the lack of even basic supplies like surgical blades and soap needed for a safe delivery in Uganda, this initiative took hold, with moms giving what they could to help stock shelves in Mbarara and sponsor physician education. Now, with Bank of America’s support, we can focus even further on strengthening clinical care and quality improvement projects, and touching more lives.”

Money from the Bank of America grant will be used to train new staff in quality improvement, develop a safety system with guidelines, and expand data collection on obstetric outcomes in order to guide better patient care.

“We approach the complex issue of global health through both a humanitarian and economic lens – all tied to our broader strategy to help build thriving economies,” says Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “By partnering with Moms Helping Moms, we’re honored to support a proven solution in creating a sustainable workforce of physicians who can meet the medical needs of Uganda’s women and families.”

Several MGH physicians will help lead this next year-long phase of Moms Helping Moms in Uganda, including Riley; Lisa Bebell, MD, (Infectious Diseases); Adeline Boatin, MD (Obstetrics and Gynecology); and Blair Wylie, MD (Obstetrics and Gynecology). They will continue teaching faculty at Mbarara Hospital, simulate emergency events, and assess the efficacy of the quality improvement measures.

Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with an annual research budget of more than $800 million and major research centers in HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, genomic medicine, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, photomedicine and transplantation biology. The MGH topped the 2015 Nature Index list of health care organizations publishing in leading scientific journals and earned the prestigious 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. In August 2016 the MGH was once again named to the Honor Roll in the U.S. News & World Report list of "America’s Best Hospitals."

Media contact: Julie Cunningham, julie.cunningham@mgh.harvard.edu, 617 724-6433

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