As far back as Heather Page can remember, she’s had a calling to help people.
“I wanted to be a nurse and have always been the kind of person who just jumps in to help, to do something,” she says. “I also strongly believe in caring for the health of the whole person, from their physical health to their mental well-being.”
A graduate of Chamberlain’s RN to BSN Online Degree Completion Option, she was working in Labor and Delivery Services at a local Virginia hospital, when the 41-year-old mother of five started homing in on the discrepancies in treatment between women of means and pregnant moms with limited financial resources.
“The maternal mortality rate is very high, and I was seeing that and a lot of postpartum depression among new moms,” she says. “What I noticed is that the moms who could afford and attend the prenatal classes were not the same pregnant or new mothers who were having these issues and hadn’t been to classes for prenatal and postnatal care or care of newborns.”
To that end, she tried bringing her concerns to her colleagues and administrators at the hospital. But to no avail, she says.
That is when she jumped in and launched her own nonprofit—Empowered Beginnings and Beyond—with her daughter, Katelyn Page, 22, a prenatal yoga instructor. The two-year-old organization serves as a bridge between the local communities in Prince William County, Virginia and its prenatal and postnatal educators and instructors. The goal is to make prenatal education classes, newborn care classes, and prenatal and postnatal yoga accessible to all at no cost.
“We recognize a community disparity and will not accept a lack of basic educational access to all,” she says. “We recognize that there exists an unjust disparity between childbirth education resources available to those with the funds to obtain necessary, lifesaving education, and those without. Our mission is to help correct that disparity and ensure the availability of such resources to everyone regardless of income, gender, age, nationality, sexual orientation or background.”
To further her passion to care for the whole person, the Montclair, Virginia resident currently is enrolled in Chamberlain’s Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program and serves on the board for The Prince William County Community Services Board (CSB). Located on the Potomac River, the County has a population of more than 470,000, making it Virginia's second-most populous county.
“Mental health services are a real challenge in this area, and we especially are trying to provide access and early intervention for children,” she says. One of the programs she is especially committed to is the New Horizons School-Based Services, which works closely with area schools to provide a range of therapeutic services to students on site and free to address their own or family substance abuse issues and co-occurring mental health issues.
Page hopes to leverage her nursing experience, community service and passion for the underserved to become a public policy advocate. She is strongly committed to uplifting resources for mental health, development disability, substance abuse, early intervention and emergency services.
When she is not running her nonprofit, attending graduate school, teaching childbirth education and infant classes and advocating for better mental health services, Page home schools her youngest two of five children, ages 8 and 10. The family also serves as an animal rescue foster.
“We’ve got lots of animals, lots of animals,” she says.
Four cats, two dogs, a parrot, bunny and currently they are awaiting the birth any day of 36 chickens who are about to hatch.
“The animals are a lot of fun and bring us such joy loving and caring for them,” says Page.
Chamberlain celebrates the contributions of public health professionals in making our communities safe and healthy, especially as the nation currently addresses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This National Public Health Week, join us in recognizing how public health is Building Bridges to Better Health.
Interested in learning more about how you can work with communities and populations throughout the world to promote healthy living and prevent community health problems?
By Mary Beth Sammons
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