Dear friends of MCHC,
I can’t believe this is my last letter to you as chair of the board. Time has really flown, and I am going to miss getting to bang the gavel and call meetings to order! As many of you know, I (like many women across the world) am extremely busy. Juggling a full-time-plus position with the city, keeping my three kids fed and getting them to the right place at the right (fingers crossed) time, being a loving and patient partner and carving out time for my health… there was really no good reason for me to take on a board position for MCHC and add to my list of personal and professional obligations.
And yet, the stakes have always seemed too high to pass up the opportunity to serve MCHC and the mothers and babies of our region. Premature birth, low birth weight and infant and maternal mortality continue to be predicted by skin color; the medical community is slow to evolve and serve vulnerable families with cultural humility; mistruths and fake news about vaccine safety continues to lead to outbreaks of preventable diseases. These are the things that keep us all up at night. These are the reasons we do what we do, and these are the reasons that MCHC and its leadership must continue to constantly self-reflect and ask whether the goals of the organization are aligned with the needs of our highest-risk communities. I am confident that the board and the staff of MCHC are committed to a culture of improvement, and I look forward to working alongside them as they evolve. The next board is in very capable hands.
I am grateful to my fellow board members and the staff of MCHC for making my tenure as chair so fulfilling. We have made some real progress and had some tough conversations along the way. A special thanks goes to Susan McLoughlin, who always took my commitment to moving meetings along quickly and getting done early in stride.
I will continue to keep pushing, alongside MCHC and its partner organizations, until every baby is born healthy, to a healthy mother, going home together to a healthy neighborhood. Whether board chair or not, the mission doesn’t change. If all of us continue to focus on a future where health equity is possible, and continue to question the status quo and innovate our organization, I truly believe that success is within our reach.
Sarah Martin PhD, MPP, MPH
Mother & Child Health Coalition Board Chair, 2017-2018