In this episode, Chris Duffy visits with Sue Steen and Lynn Zdechlik, the founders of Birth With Dignity: Mothers and Babies of Uganda. Birth With Dignity is a fiscally sponsored project of Star Legacy Foundation.
The mission of Birth With Dignity is to educate, support, and equip nurses and midwives of Uganda to improve care for patients and families with high risk perinatal needs with the goal of decreasing maternal and neonatal deaths, as well as caring for families with perinatal loss.
While teaching Bethel University Nursing Students in Uganda, Sue and Lynn saw the great needs of mothers and babies in childbirth. They experienced firsthand the great disparity of childbirth care between women in Uganda and women in the western world. With many years of teaching experience behind them, they decided to embark on a new teaching experience, educating Ugandan midwives and nurses on ways to prevent maternal and newborn death, as well as improving care for families who suffer a perinatal loss. They continue to educate nurses on global standards of care in hopes of saving the lives of moms and babies and support families who experience loss.
Sue’s nursing and teaching career spans over 35 years. Sue has done research in the area of perinatal bereavement and works as a Perinatal Nurse Navigator at Maple Grove Hospital, with families who have suffered the early or late loss of a baby. She is also an adjunct nursing professor at Bethel University and has practiced maternal child nursing in a variety of settings. Sue has published a number of articles related to faith development in children, nursing education, and perinatal bereavement. She has also led nursing conferences in the US and Spain. Sue resides in the Twin Cities of Minnesota with her husband and two grown children.
Lynn has been a nurse for 36 years and a nurse-midwife for 33 of those years. She has spent her nursing career in clinical practice and teaching at the University of Minnesota in the master’s degree Nurse-Midwifery Program and at Bethel University in the Nursing Program. In addition to caring for mothers and babies, Lynn has worked with Multiple Sclerosis patients, educating them on the disease and teaching them initiation of disease modifying therapies. Lynn resides in the Twin Cities of Minnesota with her husband and three adult children.