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Doing Well by Doing Good… Across the Globe

by Leslie Brunner, SVP of People and Process

It’s been almost 16 years since we started this incredible journey as the medical practice known as athena women’s health and the Birthplace. Since then, we’ve veered off in different but amazing directions. (See the reunion of the early athenistas from athena women’s health photographed, right). Jonathan has led the evolution of athena into a force of 2400+ athenistas all dedicated to creating a national health backbone in order to make health care work as it should, Todd Park (athena’s co-founder) is serving as the CTO of the United States and then there’s Mitch Besser.

Mitch was one of the physicians who led our birth center’s small team of caregivers, all dedicated to making a real difference. Since we last worked together Mitch has gone on to serve as the co-founder of mothers2mothers (m2m), an exemplary non-profit group that works to eliminate the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies and keep mothers alive.

athena women's health: Mitch Besser, MD, Carl Byers, Leslie Brunner, Chris Lafferty, MD, Annie Gatewood, Jonathan Bush, Bill Schwartz, MD and Ed Park m2m trains HIV-positive mothers as “Mentor Mothers,” (photographed, left) creating a new tier of health care providers to support overburdened medical systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Although pediatric AIDS has been virtually eliminated in the developed world, there are still almost 900 babies born every day, unnecessarily facing a life shadowed by HIV/AIDS. To date, m2m has reached more than one million mothers across nine countries.

Mentor MothersEarlier this week, athena hosted a fundraiser for m2m. We helped raise funding to keep the Tanzania program operational. And we are evaluating putting athenaClinicals, our cloud-based electronic medical record, and athenaCommunicator, our patient communication portal, in the more than 400 m2m sites to help the caregivers capture and report on critical social history and stay in touch with clients so they remain in care. If we’re successful in this endeavor athena will be operational in three other parts of the world – India, Haiti and Africa.

As a new mom, I know how blessed we are in the United States to celebrate Mother’s Day without the threat of HIV hanging over our children. We can show our gratitude by saving other lives.

If you’d like to learn more about this incredibly special organization, please visit www.m2m.org.

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