On February 23rd, 2019, NOFAS trained Circle of Hope members from the Washington, D.C. area to speak at various events targeted towards educating physicians and other healthcare providers about FASD.
The members of the speakers bureau will join FASD Champions from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and FASD Champions from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
The Speakers Bureau was developed to train and empower women that have given birth to a child with an FASD or who have used alcohol or other substances during their pregnancies, to share about their experience with healthcare providers in order to reduce stigma.
It is not uncommon for healthcare providers to have biased notions and stigmatizing attitudes towards birth mothers, as many are not thoroughly educated about addiction and the possibility of recovery.
Witnessing a heartfelt testimonial from a woman that has used substances during pregnancy or has a child with FASD is a powerful tool to combat the stigma, preconceived stereo-typing, and bias’s that healthcare providers may have. Research has shown that when healthcare providers hear directly from a person with real life experience, that interaction reduces stigma.
The belief is that when stigma is reduced amongst healthcare providers, it will ultimately:
1) Decrease future alcohol and other substance exposure pregnancies.
2) Increase the likelihood of intervention, treatment and support for the birth mother.
3) Improve identification, accurate diagnosis and care of children with an FASD.