By Healthy Women Houston
June 18, 2020
Healthy Women Houston pairs a pregnant woman with an experienced, empathetic community health worker. Also known as a community care coordinator, she provides medical and social service support referrals, connecting the pregnant woman to the services she deserves. These may include access to high quality, personalized medical and behavioral healthcare; resources to prevent and recover from substance abuse and intimate partner violence; and the means to address social needs – food security, education, housing, transportation, and employment. The community care coordinator walks alongside the woman during her pregnancy, making sure the woman is heard, listens to her, and ensures the woman knows what is going on with her care and what to expect next.
The Healthy Women Houston community care coordinators are dedicated individuals, committed to serving pregnant women: Cheneria, Kaylynn, Meleekha, Schronda, and Tianca.
Cheneria is a community care coordinator from Avenue 360 Health & Wellness: “I’m a proud mommy of a four-year-old daughter Londyn Elizabeth, that’s who I’m holding in my belly. I’m a community health worker, and happy to be a part of Healthy Women Houston. Before becoming a community health worker, I had the opportunity to become a postpartum doula. In this position, I comforted moms who were under stress and needed help adjusting to parenthood. Helping moms with breastfeeding techniques, bonding with their babies, and teaching different ways to help their baby sleep, was most rewarding and exciting. Being hands on with Healthy Women Houston has been a wonderful journey, and I am enjoying it to the fullest!”
Kaylynn is a community care coordinator from Avenue 360 Health & Wellness. “I am from Houston, TX. I went to school in New York, and I am so excited to be back in Houston and working in my city! I am excited to be a part of Healthy Women Houston because it is a great program that I can help advocate for women who are pregnant and their needs during and after their pregnancy. Increasing positive maternal health outcomes in Harris County is important to me because it can help produce healthy babies.
Not only that but if we increase positive maternal health outcomes we can increase the number of healthy mothers who will then help raise healthy families. I am so driven to do this type of work because there are so many disparities that women face due to their social determinants of health. Most of these social determinants of health can be addressed through awareness of the different resources that are out in each community as well as primary prevention education. I hope to be the liaison between the members of Healthy Women Houston and whatever they need to bridge any gap or disparity they might be facing.”
Meleekah is a Tejana, born and raised in the west part of Houston, TX, and moved to Third Ward in 2001. She is an activist, community health worker, and artist working as a community care coordinator with The Council on Recovery and on issues related to health, wellness, and community development in Houston’s Third Ward and in Dream 77021 community. Meleekah is a mother of four children ranging from 16 to eight years of age and had the opportunity to join Healthy Women Houston in 2018 to assist women like her that need or want resources and coordinated services.
With her personal experience and perspective, she dreams of demolishing poverty and health disparities for women, children and communities. Nurtured by service, mentors and motivators, she develops her passion for transformation and renewal through the use of creative methods such as photography, drama therapy and outdoor activation. She enjoys creating space for communal conversations, exploration and healing as a creative connector to support socioeconomically disadvantaged communities through the arts, culture and care.
Schronda serves as a community care coordinator with Avenue 360 Health & Wellness. “I am from Houston and was raised in Beaumont, TX. I moved to Houston years ago right after Hurricane Rita. I moved back to Beaumont a few years later when my grandmother died and finally made my way back to Houston last January for good this time with kids and grandkids. In my spare time, between work and the grands, I love cooking, reading, fishing, or just being anywhere near the water. I also love road trips! Healthy Women Houston means a great deal to me. I am so proud to be a part of this initiative because it is much needed in our communities.
It means Healthy Women, mind and body which in turn brings us healthy, happy babies. I am driven to do this work because of the need for change. Another mother lives and another child lives! I am very passionate about this initiative. I am a mother. I had a very difficult childbirth with my first child which could have went either way for the both of us. However, we made it through. So this is for all of my sisters, and I say sisters because that’s what we are. When it comes down to being pregnant and giving birth, we all pray for the same thing; a healthy and happy baby! That’s the tie that binds us all. There are many who do not make it through, either mother, or child, sometimes both. Healthy Women Houston is working to change that. I want our Healthy Women Houston members to know that you have someone fighting for you. Advocating on your behalf. Here for you in many different capacities. We are here to support YOU. Thank you for putting your trust in us.”
Tianca is a community care coordinator from The Council on Recovery and serves pregnant and postpartum women in the Third Ward and Sunnyside communities. She is a chef, mom, birth doula, and a birth activist. She received her doula certification from the International Doula Institute in 2019. Her inspiration to enter into the world of birth work, maternal health, and advocacy came from her own struggles with navigating the complexities that exist in the system, while pregnant with her son. Being a lifelong resident of South Park, her dream is to one day create her own birthing center within the community she calls home.
Healthy Women Houston is a collaboration among seven agencies committed to improving maternal health in Harris County: Avenue 360 Health & Wellness, Community Health Choice, The Council on Recovery, Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, HOPE Clinic, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, and Memorial Hermann Health System.