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Publication Date: 
06/2019

The Education Department at the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health recently received a $20,000 grant from the Hazelbaker Foundation, a private foundation that awards grants to programs addressing arts, education, and women and children in need. This particular grant will help create a new course integrating APPPAH's mission, that babies are conscious, and their experiences starting preconception with early parenting may lay the foundation for health lifelong, with the midwifery model of care. "We hope to develop a rigorous course for birthing professionals, especially midwives," says Director of Education, Kate White. "We are now assembling a team of professionals to help us create a course that will help all kinds of professionals who help women during the childbearing year, from doulas to homebirth and hospital-based midwives to understand how to support families with the baby's experience in mind and practice."

The science of understanding the baby's experience has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, encouraged by the growth of the fields of epigenetics and neuroscience. Researchers are getting closer to fully integrating how to support the baby as a conscious being in utero, during birth and after birth. The increase in awareness of stress and trauma in particular, and the patterns that grow in girls, women and families in response to overwhelming chronic conditions have helped change the landscape of education for birthing and pediatric professionals. APPPAH's 11 module Prenatal and Perinatal Educator Certificate course is filled with resources and information to support the professionals who want to know about the baby's experience and improve their practices. The new midwifery course will be developed to support professional practice, from foundational information about this early prevention paradigm, to specific information regarding midwifery and birthing practice. Evidence-based practice, best practices and research on stress, birthing practices, attachment, and postpartum support will be included. The latest trends include neuroprotective practices, stress management for newborn, families and staff, informed consent for all birth practices and interventions, especially how they can affect the baby and the mother-baby relationship, adverse early experiences, transgenerational and intergenerational trauma, prenatal bonding and perinatal mood disorders.

The Hazelbaker Foundation also supports APPPAH's return to Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child as part of the Science of Innovation program. APPPAH received a scholarship to attend the initial training in the Center's IDEAS Lynn KorstImpact Framework™, a new approach to program development and evaluation. The training helped the Education Department determine a course of action that closely examined how its program works, for whom it works (and does not work), and in what contexts. Feedback from the Center included further understanding our audiences and creating targeted education programs with defined outcomes. APPPAH began investigating the many audiences that look to its leadership in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology. The development of the midwifery course is the first outcome of a thorough audience segmentation effort that was spearheaded by new APPPAH Board Member Lynn Korst. Ms Korst is a graduate of the Prenatal and Perinatal Educator Certificate Program. She worked many years in the corporate sector in marketing, and started her own business, Discover Parenthood where she coaches and guides pregnant couples through the emotional transition to parenthood and believes that parenting is the biggest catalyst for personal growth. The new grant is funding the return of a team from APPPAH to further define and evaluation their measures of success to help early human development.

These combined efforts will bring together a team of professionals who will help bring APPPAH to the next level in their educational goals. APPPAH is very grateful for the work and support of the Hazelbaker Foundation. Further support for the work of developing more rigorous programs can be completed by making donations to APPPAH here.