Hundreds attend inaugural ‘Latched On’ maternal health forum

Published 5:38 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

With medical professionals from all across the country stopping by, Tennessee College of Applied Technology proved to be a hotbed of knowledge — and fellowship — for mothers in the area Friday.

It all came in part of the inaugural “Latched On to Maternal Health: World Breastfeeding Week Celebration,” which came from an extensive partnership created by the BABE Coalition, Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition, Appalachian Perinatal Mental Health, Carter County Health Department and several others entities throughout the region.

Latched On featured different components during the all-day event. Early morning hours allowed rural health providers, health students and other professionals to learn more about working with mothers in the region thanks in part of a laundry list of medical experts that specialize in maternal health.

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“We had two physicians come in from the University of Michigan. We also had the director of psychiatry come in from the University of North Carolina,” CCDP Executive Director Jilian Reece explained. “All of the speakers we had were fantastic. We’re very grateful for Dr. Diana Morelen for helping make this possible. She works with the mom power program locally. She did her fellowship in Michigan with the two awesome doctors and were able to get them to come for us. We appreciate all the speakers we had.”

Reece added the experience was well received by providers in attendance. The CCDP director also shared the story of one speaker that spoke about postpartum psychosis, in which five percent of mothers that have the psychosis either commit suicide or kill their children.

“It was important to hear these types of stories so we know what issues are going on,” she said. “It was really an eye-opening experience.”

Having the ability to bolster up the informative aspect and increase resources for mothers was a key part of the event, said Reece, who added the event was something she’s looked forward to for over the past eight years.

“This event has been on my heart for a very long time,” Reece said. “It has been amazing to see the way this has come together. To have both providers and moms in the same place is really awesome, honestly. It’s great to see the way the providers have interacted with the speakers and seemed genuinely invested in learning more so they can have more resources when working with mothers.”

Another aspect of the event was the afternoon sessions that included breakout information sessions and a resource fair offered for families. Reece thanked Gratia Cash, with the health department, for the work she put in for that facet of the CME conference.

“The health department has been instrumental in the mom portion of the event,” Reece said. Gratia Cash worked to add a mom component to the program which has been fantastic. It wouldn’t have been the event without the mothers. Our goal is to love on the moms because they’re the reason why we’re here today. We’re looking forward to the chance of offering this event again next year.”