Whenever I share about Embrace, I think back to my first volunteer experience over seven years ago and focus on the warmth, laughter, and gentle sharing of cultural wisdom that happened in that circle. I was seated with a group of refugee women from at least four different language groups - and possibly seven or eight different countries from around the world - and sharing some information about what to expect at an annual visit to a women's healthcare provider in the United States. As I pointed to diagrams and tried to explain them in English, I would intermittently pause
As an Atlanta native, I feel right at home and halfway across the world while being in my neighboring community of Clarkston, often described as "the most diverse square mile in the United States." I am incredibly grateful for my experiences as a Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I pioneered an International Studies curriculum that gave me the opportunity to live and work in east Africa with women and their families. While researching my thesis on the HIV/AIDS crisis in Rwanda, I developed a love for maternal-child health and resolved that all women deserve access to culturally sensitive healthcare. As a Fuld Fellow at Emory University's School of Nursing, I recognized that nurse midwives have a unique opportunity to walk alongside women in pregnancy and childbirth, empowering them with knowledge to make healthy choices for their families. I then worked as a Certified Nurse Midwife with Kaiser Permanente at Northside Hospital, "catching" nearly 400 babies and helping countless other mothers throughout their pregnancy and childbirth.
Since that first experience at Embrace, I haven't been able to leave. Jenny, Heidi, and the rest of the team have made me feel like a part of the family from day one. After the birth of my third daughter, I joined the advisory council at Embrace and the executive board of Friends of Refugees, serving as its chairperson from 2018-2020. I am thrilled to be with the Embrace family again in this new capacity as Director, and proud to introduce my three girls, friends and communities to all the wonderful people who continue to teach me and shape me in the most beautiful and unexpected ways. My hope is that our Embrace family can continue to grow and find those moments of mutual learning from one another that allow for all women and their families to thrive.