ewnc's blog

Find Your Inner Yoshimi: A look at the social determinants of health and stress

by Steffie Duginske – Western Regional Coordinator

Every time I hear the Flaming Lips song, Yoshimi battles part 1, from their album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, I can’t help but think that it could be the theme song for the NC Preconception Health Campaign when it comes to our multivitamin/folic acid message. Listening will make reading the rest of this article more enjoyable and understandable, but not totally necessary. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzlMeTxVdH8

The Link Between Tobacco Use and Substance Use/Mental Health Disorders

by Brenda Stubbs

I think most people – health providers and patients alike – understand the dangers and overall health risks of tobacco use, even those who currently smoke or use tobacco.

Add substance use or mental health disorders into the mix, and the risk goes up even more, as smoking rates are even higher in these vulnerable populations. Look at the statistics: 90% of women who use opioids, along with 77-93% of patients in treatment for substance use or addiction, and 60-88% of people with mental health disorders – ranging from depression to bipolar to schizophrenia – ALSO SMOKE.

For many people in these populations, smoking may SEEM like the least of their problems – but it is certainly the one problem that may be killing them at higher rates.

Alcohol and Your Preconception Health

by Eleanor Snell

North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign Cape Fear Regional Coordinator…wow, that’s a mouth full and my new job title! After ten years I have returned to work for March of Dimes for which I formally served as a Community Director in Wilmington.

During my hiatus from this wonderful organization, I worked for seven years as an Education and Training Specialist for the North Carolina Alcohol and Beverage Control Commission. I traveled throughout eastern North Carolina educating those who sell and serve alcohol to the public, including ABC stores, restaurants, bars, and convenience stores about state alcohol laws. I worked with employees on military bases who sell and serve alcohol, and provided alcohol education programs to parents, civic groups and students from elementary to college age.

Welcome Eleanor

Please welcome Eleanor Snell, Cape Fear Coordinator to the March of Dimes and the North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign.

A Fayetteville native, Eleanor earned an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from St. Mary’s College and furthered her education at East Carolina University, completing a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. She has worked as a Training and Education Specialist for the North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control Commission and is also a former Community Director for the Southeastern Division of March of Dimes in Wilmington.

Eleanor will be serving health providers and the community at large, and her outreach will have an emphasis on healthy weight, folic acid and the statewide multivitamin distribution program.

A new staff member has joined our team!

Please welcome our newest regional coordinator, Michaela Penix! As the Eastern Regional Program Coordinator, Michaela provides preconception health education, training, and support in 29 counties in eastern North Carolina.

The Benefits of Planning for Your Reproductive Future

by Kweli Rashied-Henry

During my teenage years, my girlfriends always provided good advice. From who to date and what outfit to wear to school, to what colleges to apply to and how to bargain shop. They did not have a say, however, in my figuring out when to have children. Planning for my reproductive future was always a tricky subject. Between talks with my dad about the consequences of being a teen mom, and the dirty looks given to my fellow students who got pregnant as teenagers, it was a distant goal and definitely not something I intended at a young age. However, there is far more talk today about reproductive life planning, especially among young adults.

Campaign Welcomes New State Coordinator

The North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign welcomes its new State Coordinator, Kweli Rashied-Henry. Kweli has over 15 years of public health experience and she has worked in different capacities to improve the health and wellbeing of underserved communities across the life-course. Previously, she served as the Director of the Black Infant Mortality Reduction Resource Center in New Jersey, a statewide infant mortality initiative that focused on reducing stress and promoting other risk-reduction strategies among women of African descent.

Have you seen the new FREE consumer education pieces from the Campaign?

By now, much of the public health and health care community in North Carolina recognize this Campaign as the March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign. We are known for spreading preconception health messages within health departments and doctor offices, among consumers and providers, and at community- and professional-level events. 

However, many people still remember our initial years as the North Carolina Folic Acid Campaign, a nationally recognized, award-winning campaign created to improve infant and maternal health by promoting the benefits and consumption of folic acid. While we were similarly engaged across the state as the Folic Acid Campaign as we are now as the Preconception Health Campaign, our messaging was more singularly focused on the promotion of folic acid use among women of childbearing age. And through those first years’ work many came to recognize our flagship folic acid pieces. 

Tobacco Talk: A Provider Must

By Steffie Duginske, Western Regional Coordinator

As a health educator, I am interested in my health and the health of others.  However, I am also a former cigarette smoker and understand tobacco addiction all too well.  Like so many others, I started young - 14 years old - for the typical reasons.  I wanted to fit in with a friend.  I was definitely addicted well before high school graduation.  Sadly, it took me 10 years to finally kick the habit.  On a positive note, I’m one of the lucky ones who quit for good.  Of the nearly 69% of adult smokers in 2010 who wanted to quit, more than 50% tried but only 6.2% succeeded.1

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