Senator Bill Frist, M.D., founder of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Melinda Gates, co-chairwoman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are set to lead a community conversation on “The Mother & Child Project: Simple Steps to Saving Lives in the Developing World,” on Monday, July 14, at Belmont University.
Influencers from throughout Nashville and members of the media are invited to take part in the discussion, which will be hosted by Belmont University and moderated by Scott Hamilton, U.S. Figure Skating Olympic champion, television commentator, and philanthropist, who with his wife, Tracie, has a great passion for global health.
Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH), a Nashville-based global health organization, recently partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create the Faith-based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide. Its mission is to galvanize faith leaders across the U.S. on the issues of maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries. It emphasizes the benefits of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, including the voluntary use of methods for preventing pregnancy, not including abortion, that are harmonious with members’ values and religious beliefs.
“Currently, more than 6.9 million children die every year in the developing world from preventable, treatable causes. More than 287,000 women die every year due to complications of pregnancy or childbirth, most of these deaths occurring in Africa and South Asia,” Senator Frist said. “With a focus on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, we can make major strides in just a few years. That’s great news for women, children, and our entire world.”
HTHH Executive Director, Jenny Dyer, Ph.D said, “This one issue—healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies–could be a key to saving lives and economic empowerment in the developing world.”
Ms. Gates said, “When women are able to plan their families, the positive benefits last a lifetime – they have healthier pregnancies, healthier newborns and healthier children. Faith-based organizations, with their deep roots in communities, can play a critical role in expanding access to information and tools to space births. Together, these efforts can build on the remarkable progress we’ve made toward saving and improving the lives of women and children around the world.”
In addition to hosting the July 14 event, Belmont University will also be partnering with Hope Through Healing Hands via a Frist Global Health Leader award, which will fund a global health overseas experience for a Belmont graduate student. Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “Belmont is committed to preparing compassionate and engaged healthcare leaders who can tackle the difficult issues of a 21 st century world. Empowering healthy mothers and children through awareness and knowledge fits well with our mission, and Hope Through Healing Hands is a perfect partner for the University as we seek to expand global health opportunities for our students.”
The Mother & Child Project event will focus on these topics, addressing questions from the audience and those submitted in advance to Jenny@HopeThroughHealingHands.org. A light breakfast will be served at 9:30 a.m. in the Maddox Grand Atrium at the Curb Event Center on the Belmont University Campus, at 2002 Belmont Boulevard, Nashville. The discussion will follow at 10 a.m. Parking is available at the Curb Event Center Garage on Bernard Avenue (between Belmont Boulevard and 15 th Avenue South).
Information about those who have joined the coalition to date, as well as how others can help, is available at http://www.hopethroughhealinghands.com/faith-based-coalition. Endorsements for the coalition are available at http://www.hopethroughhealinghands.com/endorsements_1.