Interview with Dr. Taraneh Shirazian

Mothers and their children in Guatemala who have received care from Saving Mothers.

Mothers and their children in Guatemala who have received care from Saving Mothers.

My Interview with Dr. Taraneh Shirazian of Saving Mothers

When I first introduced Layton’s partnership with Saving Mothers, I also shared my mission of helping mamas ease into motherhood. With the start of Layton, I always intended to give back to women and their families, whether it be locally or globally. With our partnership, 10% of all sales from now and until the end of the year, will be donated to Saving Mothers. I am so happy to be able to give back and want to share more intimate details of this amazing organization that I learned while talking with the president and founder of Saving Mothers, Dr. Taraneh Shirazian.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how/what made you start this incredible organization?

“Thank you for having me, Layton! I’m an OBGYN based in New York City, but after working in various development contexts, I came to believe that tackling the most intractable inequalities in maternal health demanded an integrative, global vision of care that focused exclusively on women. I founded Saving Mothers in 2009 to empower women in resource-limited settings by training their local medical providers, bringing lifesaving medical technologies to rural hospitals and clinics, and providing reproductive health education.”

What programs does Saving Mothers support globally?

“To date, Saving Mothers has developed four distinctive programs to tackle various barriers to global maternal health. These programs have been tested and piloted in Kenya, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Uganda. Our programs are adapted to fit the cultural context of each country and are continuously tested at their sites for effectiveness and scalability. I actually just returned with my team earlier this week from our Maternal Continuum of Care Program in Kenya - where we performed pro-bono surgeries and opened our second clinic for women to receive prenatal services throughout the duration of their pregnancies! It’s so exciting to see how our impact on the communities we serve continues to grow!”

A Kenyan mother and her baby who received care from Saving Mothers.

A Kenyan mother and her baby who received care from Saving Mothers.

Doctors performing life saving care.

Doctors performing life saving care.

Do you have any programs for women living in the US?

“Yes, we do. We’ve recently launched our Saving Mothers mPOWHER Kit Program in NYC. The United States has the highest maternal death rate among developed countries and is one of only three nations – the others are Afghanistan and Sudan – where the maternal mortality rate is rising. Our new program will use our globally-tested community health worker program to empower both community health workers and expectant mothers through health literacy and education and advocacy to help identify high-risk complications for pregnant women in resource-low areas of New York. Our hope is to grow and scale this program to reach more women nation-wide.” 

Saving Mothers is celebrating their 10 year anniversary this year– what would you say is the accomplishment that you are most proud of over the course of this decade?

“Wow, it's been an amazing 10 years and I'm proud of all the success I've seen in our communities to reduce maternal death and improve access to health services and reproductive health for women. At its core, I've seen the empowerment of women through health education and training which in turn has created a cycle of health and education for the entire community. I have also been proud to see our programs used in other communities creating sustainable models of global women's health programming.”

A group of Guatemalan women and care providers holding hands in unison.

A group of Guatemalan women and care providers holding hands in unison.

The doctors that make Saving Mothers possible.

The doctors that make Saving Mothers possible.

How can we support Saving Mothers?

“Great question! Come to our 10 Year Anniversary event on Tuesday, October 22nd at the 3 West Club in NYC! 10 Years of Saving Mothers: Because No Woman Should Die Giving Life will celebrate all that we have achieved and introduce the many groundbreaking initiatives we have planned for the future. Our Host for the evening will be Emmy-Award winning journalist Contessa Brewer, and our Guest Speaker will be Amy Robach, co-anchor of ABC’s 20/20 and breaking news anchor for Good Morning America. You can purchase tickets on the Saving Mothers website, savingmothers.org. You can also follow Saving Mothers on all social media platforms, and myself on Instagram @drshirazian.”

Are there any opportunities to get involved with Saving Mothers on a local level?

“We love people who want to join our cause in eradicating maternal mortality globally – and there are several ways to get involved! The Saving Mothers team can help you organize a fundraising event, whether it be packing our safe birth kits to ship to communities in need, selling Saving Mothers bracelets, or any other creative idea you might have! We also recommend individuals checking with their employers to see if they offer a matching gift program! You can learn more on our website at www.savingmothers.org.”

A happy Kenyan mother and her little one.

A happy Kenyan mother and her little one.

XO, Devon