Full name and title: Stacy D. Scott, PhD, MPA, Senior Project Director
Years with NICHQ: 7 months as a project director; multiple years as an expert partner
How has your background/experiences led you to join a national children’s health organization?
I am a 30-year public health advocate and infant safe sleep expert with work ranging from the government agency level to ground zero, spearheading numerous community outreach programs nationwide to end health disparities and reduce the risk of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID). I founded the Global Infant Safe Sleep (GISS) Center in 2016, an organization with a mission to support vulnerable and marginalized global communities to reduce SUID. Its latest campaign, “Changing a Tradition, Changing a Position,” addresses grandparents and other caregivers, and the "Community of Committed Men," offers events and forums for men in the community. I ended my federal government consulting career in October 2017, after 20 years of working with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Now working with NICHQ, I'm provided with a wonderful opportunity to impact families and achieve better outcomes for all children. Recognizing the importance of being inclusive and striving for health equity, NICHQ’s mission is aligned with my passion for being a champion for social justice and an agent of positive change.
"Stacy brings her expertise and passion for health equity to every project she joins. She is an incredible leader and mentor who challenges her colleagues through support and encouragement,"
NICHQ Chief Operating Officer, Judi Gooding, MA
Favorite memory from a NICHQ project:
My favorite memory from a NICHQ project was being appointed chairman of the Wisdom Council of the National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep (NAPPS-IIN) and later accepting a position as one of the project directors who serve on the NAPPSS-IIN project. The NAPPSS-IIN project aims to make infant safe sleep and breastfeeding a national norm, with a focus on operating under an equity lens. I’ve been able to support multiple teams by engaging diverse partners to represent the populations that we are trying to reach in an effort to reduce disparities. Since I’ve come in, we’ve recognized that we need to do more in that area. I have worked hard to embrace that as we work to move the needle towards equity in both breasting and safe sleep rates.
Biggest lesson-learned when working on a quality improvement project:
Never make any assumptions and respect everyone’s lived experiences.
Funniest thing that ever happened on a NICHQ project:
Being stuck in the airport numerous times no matter the location.
What are you most proud of from your time with NICHQ?
I’m most proud of NICHQ’s effort to build awareness on the true importance of diversity and inclusion. Since I’ve been with NICHQ, I feel that I’ve helped us look at our work with an equity lens. I’ve had the opportunity to help plan and participate in our Health Equity Webinar Series, and guide NICHQ and other organizations and health professionals in this direction. My expertise shared from my lived experience of being an African American women gives me the opportunity to bring a unique perspective to NICHQ based on who I am. I thank NICHQ for giving me a platform to share my lived experiences, with the hope that I can make an impact for women and children across the United States.
What are your goals for NICHQ’s future?
My goal is for NICHQ to continue working in the area of health equity and ensure that our projects and initiatives are operating through a health equity lens. With the Ohio Infant Mortality Focused Home Visiting Curriculum, I'm working with the Ohio Department of Health to create an implicit bias training for Ohio home visitors. These home visitors are women who are from the same communities, who experience racism and implicit bias even in their efforts to advocate for there clients. We are constructing a curriculum that addresses their lived experience and what they’ve been through to turn it into a positive. With the Missouri Safe Sleep Strategic Plan project, we’ve partnered with the Missouri Safe Sleep Coalition to focus on health equity by addressing financial and geographical disparities and racism so that we can improve safe sleep practices throughout the state.
A Physician’s Reflections on Racism and Treating Sickle Cell Disease
For NICHQ’s current and future work, I am motivated by wanting to be a better version of myself in service of others. Wondering whether my own implicit biases impacted my care of patients and families, I realize that I cannot redo past ER experiences. If I could go back, I would slow down to acknowledge and try to set my biases aside and approach patients from a personally more informed perspective. But now, I can use my past, present, and future experiences to ensure NICHQ is amplifying important lessons from this multi-year effort reflecting the compassion, care, and commitment of hundreds of dedicated professionals in pursuit of equitable, accessible, and quality healthcare for people living with sickle cell disease.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Kim Sprunck
As NICHQ's Associate Director of Programs and Project Director for the Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Regional Collaboratives Program and Content Development for Newborn Screening Clearinghouse initiatives, Kim Sprunk shares key takeaways and findings from the projects and their importance to NICHQ's overall programming goals.
Navigating Well-Child Visits and Vaccinations during COVID-19
Well-child visits and recommended vaccinations are essential, ensuring children stay healthy and are protected from preventable diseases and illnesses such as measles, whooping cough, and seasonal flu. But, as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, data shows that fewer childhood vaccinations have been given and many children have fallen behind on their scheduled appointments. Healthcare professionals should utilize the following strategies to work with parents and caregivers to get their children caught up on missed appointments and recommended vaccinations.
Exploring a Nonbinary Approach to Health
NICHQ is not abandoning the traditional use of the terms “mother” and “maternal.” We are embracing the inclusive language of “birthing person/people” across our work. A move toward inclusive language does not force us to stop using language that so many people identify with; at its core, inclusion is about creating more space for one another. We are taking care to expand the use of these terms in our communications, on our website, in our resources, and eventually, in all our projects.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Stacey C. Penny
With NICHQ's Rare As One Network Workstream Facilitation Initiative at a halfway point, Senior Project Director Stacey C. Penny, MSW, MPH shares an inside look at one of NICHQ's most collaborative projects.
Are Screens Making our Children’s Eyes Worse?
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, children of all ages were spending more screen time than ever before on cellphones, tablets, and laptops. Prolonged periods of time staring at a screen that may be too big, too bright, or too close to our eyes can cause eye fatigue or even lead to dry eye, a chronic eye condition common in older adults. With eye conditions becoming more prominent in children, it's important for health professionals to encourage healthy screen viewing habits and support children’s eye health in the digital age.