Around the Globe for Women’s Health and a Q&A with Taraneh Shirazian

Just last week, “Around the Globe for Women’s Health: A practical guide for the health care provider" was released. The book was edited by Saving Mothers’ Medical Director Taraneh Shirazian, with contributions by our Global Health Fellow Erin Gertz and  President Nichole Young-Lin.* It’s a great example of what Saving Mothers staff has been doing to prepare health care providers for work in the field and we hope you’ll head over to Amazon to check it out! In addition, Taraneh was kind enough to answer a couple of questions about her background and the impetus for her involvement with Saving Mothers and "Around the Globe for Women’s Health." Enjoy!

1: Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you get interested in medicine, specifically women’s health?

I am a practicing faculty ob/gyn at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York city, and the Director of Global Health for the Department. I got interested in medicine as a high school student volunteering in the women and infant’s ward at my local hospital and specifically interested in women’s health when I developed a community outreach program at Brown as a college student. I called this programThe Interpreter’s Aide Program and it addressed the lack of interpretation services present at Rhode Island Hospital at that time, and the issues underserved women in the community faced trying to negotiate cross-cultural medical concerns while trying to obtain good health.

2: How did you become involved with Saving Mothers? Can you tell us about the work you do for the organization?

I started the organization with Nichole Young-Lin in 2009 and currently serve as the Medical Director. In that capacity, I oversee and develop all of our medical and community outreach programs. We currently have women’s health programs multiple countries as well as an obesity and pregnancy program here in the US.

3: Can you talk a little about “Around the Globe for Women’s Health”? Where did you get the idea to work on this project? How long did it take you and what was the process like? Who do you see as the intended audience?

I am excited about the handbook “Around the Globe for Women’s Health” because it is intended to fill a void in preparing women’s health providers for work abroad.  I was approached by the Springer book publishing company  at the national Ob/Gyn meeting  a few years ago and asked to serve as the editor of this handbook. The process has taken quite a while, we’ve had multiple contributing authors with experience in Global health write chapters for the book. The book covers everything from maternal mortality to anesthesia care and is meant to prepare volunteers for the ethical and cultural challenges they will face as women’s health providers in underserved areas. The intended audience is nurses, midwives, medical students, physicians and really anyone interested in Global women’s health care and the issues involved in working abroad.

4: What are the changes in maternal health practices you hope to see over the next 5-10 years? Do you think such changes are realistic?

The biggest change I hope to see is a sharp decline in the maternal mortality rate. Too many women die in labor and delivery around the world. This is really a human right’s violation and is completely unacceptable. Saving Mothers has been trying to do its part to develop programs that will improve care provided for women and make a dent in the staggering death rates facing women in many low-resource areas.

*Proceeds from sales of this book will not go to Saving Mothers


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