Engaging Professionals: December Education Wrap-Up

The Partnership is ending the year strong! Here’s a recap of our recent professional events.

EMIC Meeting

December’s Essex Metro Immunization Coalition (EMIC) quarterly meeting coincided with National Influenza Vaccination Week, and highlighted the urgent need for everyone six months and older to receive the annual shot.

Jennifer Miller, advocate and board member for Families Fighting Flu

Jennifer Miller, an advocate and board member for Families Fighting Flu, told the moving story of her then five-year-old daughter Caroline’s near-fatal battle with the flu. Nicknamed ‘zoom’ in Kindergarten due to her rambunctious personality, Caroline went from a healthy swimmer and gymnast to suffering from pneumonia, severe sepsis, septic shock, hypoxemia, and impending cardio-respiratory failure only 48 hours after the appearance of her first flu symptoms. After being transferred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Caroline was placed in a drug-induced coma, intubated, and put on an oscillating ventilator for two weeks. Thankfully, Caroline eventually recovered, but Miller stressed the seriousness of the flu and the fact that over 50,000 people in the United States die from the illness every year.

“Flu doesn’t discriminate,” said Miller. “All of us are at risk.”

Miller also emphasized the importance of flu prevention through advocacy and education and the benefit of partnering with organizations like EMIC to spread this important message.

The Essex Metro Immunization Coalition’s goal is to provide the most up-to-date information about the safety, importance, and benefits of immunizations for infants, adolescents and adults across the lifespan.   This group is open to health care and community professionals.  To learn more, contact us at 973-268-2280.

Perinatal Emotional Wellness Among Adoptive and Birth Parents Workshop

Both birth and adoptive parents face unique psychosocial issues in planning, preparing for, and handling the birth and adoption of a newborn. The Perinatal Mood Disorders team hosted the Perinatal Emotional Wellness Among Adoptive and Birth Parents workshop on December 5   at Saint Clare’s in Denville.  This dynamic event featured two therapists specializing in adoption shared best practices to best assist birth and adoptive parents during their hospital stay and postpartum.

(l to r) Presenters Joni Mantell and Lindsay Conover,

Joni Mantell, Founder and Director of the Infertility and Adoption Counseling Center, stressed that each hospital situation could present a complicated picture for professionals just meeting the birth and adoptive parents. According to Mantell, it is vital for health care workers to be vigilant and watch for any ‘red flags’ that the adoptive parents, in particular, may display. Some of these include acting ambivalent about the baby, suspicions of substance abuse, or appearing disconnected. In the case where a birth parent decides to keep their baby, it is essential to assess the mental health of the adoptive parents and support their feelings.

Lindsay Conover, therapist and consultant for the Community YMCA, stressed the importance of community health workers helping both adoptive and birth parents find a great support system.

“Each set of birth and adoptive parents you meet will have their own personalities, fears, and wishes,” she said.

According to Conover, resources such as The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, licensed therapists, and both birth and adoptive parent support groups are all great places health care workers can direct women to turn to for additional support after an adoption placement.

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