New nonprofit head calls removing barriers to baby and mother health ‘critical’

Although infant and maternal health in Georgia have improved dramatically in recent decades, according to figures published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics for the state still show a good deal of room for improvement. Among the organizations working to improve health outcomes for babies and the women having them is Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA), a nonprofit headquartered in DeKalb County’s Northlake area.

Kyesha Lindberg, recently announced as HMHBGA’s new executive director, said her hope is “to continue to drive HMHBGA’s vision to create a Georgia where every mother and baby has the resources and support to be healthy and thrive throughout the perinatal period.” Lindberg succeeds Elise Blasingame, who headed the organization from 2016 to 2020, and Colleen Bozard, who served briefly as interim executive director.

Acknowledging the organization’s “fierce commitment to improving maternal and infant health,” Lindberg said, “I am humbled to be of service to the community as the new executive director. During these unprecedented times, HMHBGA recognizes just how critical it is to not only provide direct resources and education to families but also bolster the workforce and reduce systematic barriers to ensure that every mother and child has access to resources for a healthier life.” 

In announcing its choice for executive director, HMHBGA cited Lindberg’s more than 15 years of leading “transformational community programs” as well as her “strong advocacy experience” on behalf of young children and families. “Her passion for service drove her to hold senior leadership roles in public education as well as in nonprofit organizations,” states the announcement.

HMHBGA, which focuses on underserved communities where health problems among babies and new mothers are more common, noted that Lindberg has been recognized for her “unique, collaborative and innovative approaches to supporting early language and literacy acquisition for underserved communities when she was named in The Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 program.”  

After earning her bachelor’s degree at Wayne State University, Lindberg served as the senior community liaison for the office of Congressman Sander Levin, where her focus was reducing systematic barriers in education and healthcare.

Before joining the HMHBGA team, Lindberg served as the regional lead of early childhood partnerships for LENA, a national nonprofit whose mission is to aid language in babies up to age 3. There she managed systems and state level partnerships in 13 states across the Midwest and Southeast.

Lindberg said that throughout her career she has “worked to bolster the education, health and wellbeing of families throughout the southeast,” adding, “I have learned just how critical supporting mothers and children is not only to families but to the economy and community as a whole.”

Kyesha Lindberg

Founded in 1974, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia describes itself as “the strongest statewide voice for improved maternal and infant health outcomes in Georgia.” Its mission, according to the nonprofit’s website, is “to improve maternal and infant health in Georgia through advocacy, education, and access to vital resources.”

Lindberg explained that she is a long-term admirer of the nonprofit she has been chosen to lead. “As the only organization in Georgia that focuses on the full spectrum of maternal and child health concerns from prematurity to maternal mortality, HMHBGA has become a vital resource for the community,” she said.

Lindberg cited as an example of HMHB’s “unwavering commitment in ensuring women and babies are key priorities,” the recently launched Pickles & Ice Cream website, “which provides a myriad of resources for moms and families to use from the pre-pregnancy to postpartum period.  I also hope to continue fostering the spirit of collaboration. It’s because of these types of relationships that we are able to offer peer support and case management services to families who may have limited access to resources.” 

“HMHBGA Board of Directors President Johnecia Mason commented in a news release, “We look forward to her continuing the long-standing mission of the organization, as well as a fresh new approach to maternal and infant health during these very different times.”

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