Around the UFT

UFT Welfare Fund maternity presentation

Sharing resources for healthy new moms and babies

UFT Health Advisory Committee members Kristian Lisowski (left) of PS 33 in Queens and Robert Fernandez of PS 62 in the Bronx follow up with questions for Maureen Corry, the executive director of Childbirth Connection, after her presentation.
Karen Smith-Hagman, the vice president of medical management at Emblem Health, holds up a pregnancy book available for free at all.

To improve health outcomes for both mothers and their newborn babies, the UFT Welfare Fund’s Health Advisory Committee hosted a presentation on Oct. 16 by Childbirth Connection, a national organization focused on improving the quality of maternity care, and Emblem Health, the parent organization of GHI (the city health plan which most UFT members opt for), to share information and free resources to help ensure healthy beginnings for new babies.

UFT members had more than 3,000 babies last year — a typical year in the life of the union, according to Arthur Pepper, the UFT Welfare Fund’s executive director — so the presentation filled an important need.

In a case of “less really is more,” Childbirth Connection’s Maureen Corry described how costly medical interventions can result in worse outcomes for mothers and babies.

“We see overuse of practices that waste resources and may cause harm and underuse of many beneficial and generally safe practices,” she told committee members.

To empower women to ask questions of their doctors so that they are better able to make well-informed decisions, the website is chock-full of information on a wide range of topics.

On the homepage of the organization’s website, you can click on the many links on the left including the Preparing for Pregnancy section that has information about nutrition, medications, pre-pregnancy check-ups, how to choose a maternity caregiver and more.

Karen Smith-Hagman of Emblem Health shared resources available to all women (not just subscribers) from the Pregnancy Journey section of its website. At, click on the Visitors tab on the left, then the Resources to Help You Manage Your Health link on the bottom. Here you will find the Healthy Beginnings PATH Pregnancy Management Program with answers to many questions, including eating healthy, keeping your baby safe at home, and dealing with depression during and after pregnancy.

You can also sign up for a new program, Text4baby, a mobile information service which promotes maternal and child health and is offered free (no cost for the phone text charge either) for women everywhere. Just visit to learn about this educational tool.

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