Talk With Me Baby is a program that aims to transform parents and caregivers into conversational partners, providing early language exposure to babies in order to nourish critical brain development required for higher learning. It integrates language nutrition coaching as a core competency across large-scale workforces of nurses, WIC nutritionists, and early education professionals, thus systematically training nurses to educate parents about the importance of early language exposure. The program is a collaborative effort between the Georgia Department of Public Health and Department of Education, Emory University’s School of Nursing and Department of Pediatrics, the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Atlanta Speech School’s Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, and Get Georgia Reading – Georgia’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading.
Research has shown that the first year of a baby’s life, when the brain is developing and maturing, is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. Those skills are easiest to develop when a baby is consistently exposed to language from even their first hours of life. The regular practice of talking to a baby lays a solid foundation for the child’s future educational achievements. It has been suggested that babies that are born into low-income families are exposed to fewer words than their peers. By the age of 3, these children hear 30 million fewer words than a child that comes from a professional family. Talk With Me Baby aims to solve this problem.
When I read the new proposed guidelines the CDC posted on circumcision, I knew that I wanted to blog about it for Birth and Global Health. Men are largely ignored when it comes to reproductive health; however, they are 50-percent of the equation. Being a self-described hippie, I have always said that if I had male children that I would not circumcise them as it was unnecessary. However, the CDC says that there is strong evidence that male circumcision can:
- Cut a man’s risk of getting HIV from an infected female partner by 50 to 60 percent.
- Reduce their risk of genital herpes and certain strains of human papillomavirus by 30 percent or more.
- Lower the risk of urinary tract infections during infancy, and cancer of the penis in adulthood.
All of this evidence sounds extremely promising, but I am interested in how many men will opt to get a circumcision now that they are older adults, especially since the CDC has recommended that doctors counsel parents of baby boys and teenagers, as well as men, on the benefits and risks of circumcision.
After multiple presentations on abortion, I became interested in learning more about abortion laws in Georgia. According to the Guttmacher Institute, there are several restrictions on abortion in Georgia that are in effect as of November 1, 2014. These restrictions include:
- A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.
- Health plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act can only cover abortion when the woman’s life is endangered or her health is severely compromised.
- Abortion is covered in insurance policies for public employees only in cases of life endangerment.
- The parent of a minor must be notified before an abortion is provided.
- Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
These restrictions are severely muddled especially the phrase, “counseling that includes information to discourage her from having an abortion.” I am interested in the exact verbiage of this counseling and if the counseling takes into consideration the situation in which the woman became pregnant, e.g. rape. I am also interested why rape is not a reason for abortion under health plans offered by the Affordable Care Act.
Abortions in Georgia as well as in the United States, have been steadily declining since 1991. In 1991, there were 24 legal abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-24. In 2011, there were 16.8 legal abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-24. During this time, there were 28 abortion providers in Georgia, with 19 of those being clinics. Also, 96% of counties in Georgia had no abortion clinic and 58% of Georgia women lived in these counties.
For those of you from other states, I am interested in knowing more about the abortion laws in your states. Please chime in.
“State Facts About Abortion: Georgia.” Guttmacher Institute. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/georgia.html>.