We’re thrilled to announce the winners of our 2016 Champions for Change awards. Champions for Change honors local leaders who are making a difference for moms and babies in our community.

Our 2016 winners are:

Social Support Champion: Jackie Rivers Ms. Rivers, a community health worker at the Cincinnati Health Department, has spent years working to improve the lives of young mothers and their social, economic and health well-being. Through the Ohio Equity Institute, she helps connect women through support groups and instills a sense of hopefulness in their lives. Her gentle and trusting nature has fostered strong relationships with moms, so much so that they maintain contact with her long after their professional relationship ended.

Social Support Champion: April Griffin As part of the StartStrong TriHealth team, Ms. Griffin has become a staple in the Avondale community. She is a dedicated community health worker, who builds trusting relationships with her clients while empowering them to set goals that ensure better outcomes for themselves and their families. April helps her clients overcome many barriers, securing beds, furniture, air conditioning units, and countless baby supplies to help mothers in need.

Social Support Champion: Mary Kay Heldman LISW-S, MSW As a bilingual social worker, Ms. Heldman works with a unique population: immigrants. She provides women from Guatemala, Mexico and other Latin American countries support throughout their pregnancy at the Bethesda North OB/GYN Center. She helps moms overcome language and transportation barriers while also providing emotional support during what can be a scary and confusing time.

Champion for Moms and Babies: Barbara Terry, MS When Ms. Terry, Vice President of Healthcare Integration at the Children’s Home, recognized that many children in Madisonville had to choose between missing class or skipping the doctor, she knew that the Children’s Home should get involved. Working with the community and funders, Barbara opened a school-based health center in the Children’s Home to serve the students of Shroder High School and their families. Now, students have a trusted medical home to support all of their medical and mental health needs.

Champion for Knowledge: Thomas Boeshart, MPH Mr. Boeshart is an epidemiologist with Hamilton County Public Health. He plays a pivotal role in tracking the state of maternal and infant health in Hamilton County. Over the past year, he has aligned the Child Fatality Review and Fetal Infant Mortality Review programs – both of which help direct the work of Cradle Cincinnati and its partners. Tom is diligent in ensuring that local data is both timely and accurate. His work now serves as a model for other communities in Ohio, including Cleveland and Columbus.

Safe Sleep Champion: Amy Sapsford, RD Ms. Sapsford is a leader in safe sleep within the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She undertook the enormous task of addressing how staff talk about and model safe sleep within a hospital setting by leading a quality improvement team composed of several healthcare disciplines. Spurred by the loss of her own child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Amy’s work extends beyond hospital walls and into the community through her involvement in Charlie’s Kids Foundation, a local organization dedicated to raising SIDS awareness and providing resources to families that support safe sleep.

Champion for Better Care: Dr. Yvette Casey-Hunter Dr. Yvette Casey-Hunter secured a $375,000 grant from Bethesda Inc. to implement Centering Pregnancy and Centering Parenting programs at WinMed’s health centers, the first federally qualified health centers in the county to offer these evidence-based programs. Additionally, she spearheaded WinMed’s participation in the Cradle Cincinnati Learning Collaborative in order to provide the best health care possible for the patients her health centers serve. Dr. Casey-Hunter overcame many personal and professional obstacles to champion these initiatives – doing so with grace and compassion.