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Eleni Tsigas
As we end the first official National Preeclampsia Awareness Month designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we are grateful to numerous organizations, companies and individuals who partnered with us in this month-long campaign to educate, inform and inspire. With the support of over 40 Web content partners, we were able to educate the public on a large scale. Blogs posted to millions of their constituents in the U.S. and worldwide potentially took Preeclampsia Awareness to millions of new people. A list of major Web publications and links resulting from our May partnership with other organizations can be found on

Our Promise Walk coordinators, their volunteers, and thousands of walkers and donors have helped raise awareness from from coast to coast. You not only expanded awareness and made the impact of preeclampsia felt, but you also raised essential funds to keep our mission programs going and growing: preeclampsia awareness and advocacy, patient and health provider education, quality care improvements, support for all those affected, and research for a cause and a cure. 


One of the significant benefits of The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™ is how it brings people together to share and support each other. We are all local communities of people bonded by care, love, hope and purpose. Together you have demonstrated commitment and are spreading important information: the symptoms and impact of this life-threatening complication of pregnancy, as well as the critical need for more research and professional education to turn the tide on disastrous maternal and newborn outcomes that result from hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.  


As June begins, let us celebrate together the 36 Promise Walks that have occurred so far this year. A sampling of photos from our walks are posted on Facebook. There are eight Promise Walks still to come. Please donate or register for a Promise Walk near you.  

With warmest regards and sincerest thanks,


Eleni Tsigas

Executive Director   




TUESDAY JUNE 4, 2013   


Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the end of the first Preeclampsia Awareness Month.  


Preeclampsia is a life-threatening disorder that can occur during pregnancy or the postpartum period and is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity. Each day hundreds of women and babies are affected by this condition, which is marked by a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizure, stroke, organ failure or death. Any pregnant woman is at risk, but symptoms are often dismissed as typical pregnancy complaints. Knowing the warning signs can help lead to more timely diagnoses and improve health outcomes for both the woman and her child.   


Unfortunately, few people are adequately aware and informed of the risks. That is why I worked with my colleagues Representative Roybal-Allard and Representative Moore to add Preeclampsia Awareness Month to the National Health Observances Calendar.


We must improve the full scope of maternal health and need continued research to advance the field and improve the standard of care. In the meantime, we must build awareness to ensure women understand preeclampsia and are prepared to appropriately respond to warning signs.


Together we can eliminate preventable maternal death and disability by aligning resources, tools, and knowledge to address our most troublesome challenges. And this is exactly what the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative is doing in my home state. Just this year the Preeclampsia Collaborative began to help hospitals manage preeclampsia, reduce complications, and improve care for patients. I hope that as preeclampsia awareness grows this will be one of many initiatives across the country focused on helping providers deliver comprehensive, high quality maternal healthcare.


Thank you to the Preeclampsia Foundation and the many groups who worked tirelessly on behalf of women across the country to secure a national recognition. I am proud to be able to help commemorate the end of the first ever Preeclampsia Awareness Month and excited to see what the future brings.



Now available, our new Illustrated Symptoms Tear Pad was developed in collaboration with health services researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The tool effectively informs pregnant women, even those with potentially poor literacy, about preeclampsia. Because preeclampsia is a disorder that can have grave consequences for a mother and her unborn baby, the goal is for the tool to offer information in a way that allows women to assimilate and retain knowledge related to preeclampsia, leading them to promptly seek medical attention should they have symptoms related to preeclampsia.


Findings from a study published in  American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (May 2012) and funded by the Preeclampsia Foundation, supported the Foundation's long-held belief that knowing the symptoms of this life-threatening disorder of pregnancy would help empower women to secure the care they need. The results of this study prompted the Foundation to mass produce this educational tool in the form of a single-sided tear pad.  


The English version of the Illustrated Preeclampsia Symptoms Tear Pad is now ready for distribution to health care providers and can be obtained through our online Marketplace for just the cost of shipping and handling. Spanish tear pads will be printed next, pending funding support. We are very excited to put this evidence-based tool in the hands of all who provide prenatal care and counsel pregnant women.


Recognizing the importance of patient education in efforts to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, the  California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC), reviewed and adopted the tear pad into their Preeclampsia Toolkit. Now, it will be distributed and used by hundreds of hospitals in California.


Local health departments provide health services to members of their community and can make use of an effective educational tool. With that in mind, The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) will be sharing the Illustrated Preeclampsia Symptoms Tear Pad with more than 2800 local health departments nationwide.  


"This tool will be useful in providing health education to prenatal women receiving a variety of services at local health departments" said Robert Pestronk, Executive Director of NACCHO. "Pregnancy-related death continues to be an important public health concern. Information that can prevent up to half of the most serious preeclampsia-related outcomes, such as maternal mortality, should be accessible to all pregnant women - regardless of socioeconomic status or education level."


"It is our hope that women who understand and recognize the warning symptoms associated with preeclampsia will be more likely to seek timely and appropriate care," said Dr. Whitney You, the principal investigator for the research study which developed the tool. "Patient education should work in concert with clinical and laboratory initiatives aimed at treating preeclampsia to ultimately reduce the morbidity and mortality that stems from the disease. It is important to recognize that even if we were to develop the perfect therapy or cure for preeclampsia, its value is greatly reduced if women fail to seek appropriate care."  


One of the benefits of the Illustrated Symptoms Tear Pad is its application in a multitude of settings and languages. With some minor language translation and a check on cultural sensitivity, we are eager to equip health care providers in low resource settings with this important patient and community education tool.


Nadine Brunk, a Certified Nurse-Midwife, started a program called Midwives for Haiti (MFH). We've been talking to Nadine about how we can extend our work in patient and community education to prenatal care settings like those found in Haiti. 


Recently four midwives went to the rural town of Saltadere, Haiti, to do a monthly prenatal clinic. There, they found themselves with five preeclamptic women, an hour from the closest hospital. Here's a link to Nadine's amazing story of   



Editor's Note: Marshall Ukpoma's wife died from preeclampsia in 2009, and since then, he has been a tireless advocate in Nigeria on behalf of our mission to drive awareness and education. Last week, he was representing the Preeclampsia Foundation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the Women Deliver conference, speaking at the Preeclampsia Symposium.   


From the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Lagos-Nigeria, over the lovely Indian Ocean to the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia, it certainly was worth flying over 15 hours to arrive at the Kuala Lumpur convention center for the Women Deliver 3rd Global Conference.


According to President of Women Deliver Jill W. Sheffield, guests from about 145 countries were hosted in this year's conference with the hope that one day, through the collaboration of every stakeholder, women across all geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural lines will have access to the care they need, and no woman will die giving life.  


This year's event featured various talks, focusing on women and girls, delivered by experts and policy makers across genders, sectors and generations, and from around the globe.



Pre-conference events took off at various centers in KL, Malaysia, and it would have been an incomplete event if issues concerning preeclampsia and eclampsia were not discussed! Thanks to support from Sabrina's foundation USA, USAID and MCHIP, the PRE-eclampsia Eclampsia Monitoring Prevention and Treatment Team from the University of British Columbia (PRE-EMPT) successfully organized a symposium on preeclampsia and eclampsia, tagged Pre-eclampsia 2013: A Global Symposium.


Click here to read about the distressing news I learned about the challenges of using Magnesium Sulfate in parts of the world.  

New Foundation Videos on YouTube Raise Preeclampsia Awareness

Please share the following educational and inspiring videos with friends and family. These and more videos are available on YouTube to raise awareness and help others understand your experience and commitment to raising awareness year round.

Preeclampsia Awareness Saves Lives is a new 3.5-minute video produced by Multivu/PRnewswire in support of The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia and our first official National Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Because preeclampsia is a disorder that can have grave consequences for a mother and her unborn baby, the goal of this video is to offer information in a way that allows women to assimilate and retain knowledge related to preeclampsia, leading them to promptly seek medical attention should they have related symptoms. This video was part of the Foundation's May multi-media news release (MNR) about the introduction of the Foundation's Illustrated Symptoms Tear Pad. Thank you, Multivu/PRnewswire.


What is Preeclampsia? is a video of the Google+ Hangout hosted by Pregnancy Magazine in early May, in support of The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™ and National Preeclampsia Awareness Month. In this Hangout, Executive Director of the Preeclampsia Foundation Eleni Tsigas discusses the risks of preeclampsia with guests Dr. Doug Woelkers, MD; Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway, MD; and Nicole O'Connell, a preeclampsia survivor. Thank you, Pregnancy Magazine.


Warner Family Builds Shelly's Legacy is a video first shown at the 2009 Saving Grace gala in Chicago, where John and Brenda Warner were awarded the 2009 Chairman's Hope Award for Outstanding Service. The Warners have coordinated the Promise Walk in Davenport, Iowa since 2006 and will be chairing the 2013 Saving Grace - A Night of Hope gala in Iowa City on October 18, 2013. John and Brenda Warner lost their daughter Shelly in 2005 to severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Since then, they have worked tirelessly in support of the Preeclampsia Foundation to help educate and raise awareness to save the lives of moms and babies across the U.S. Thank you, John and Brenda Warner.


Tackling Preeclampsia, a Deadly Disease of Pregnancy

In IMPATIENT OPTIMISTS, a blog of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Eleni Tsigas calls upon the international community of policymakers, researchers, clinicians and funding organizations to not settle for incremental solutions. Click here to read her global call to action and about her April participation in World Health Organization (WHO) workshops to determine the research priorities for maternal and newborn health between now and 2025.

As a Follow Up to National Preeclampsia Awareness Month, the NICHD Highlights Some of Its Research on Preeclampsia  


Some efforts to understand preeclampsia focus on risk factors and causes (or mechanisms). Understanding the "how" and the "why" of the condition could provide effective ways to prevent it from occurring or to slow its progress. Evidence shows that certain factors, such as pre-pregnancy obesity or a first pregnancy, put women at higher risk for the condition. A recent NICHD spotlight described some of the Institute's specific studies on the risk factors for preeclampsia, including studies on reducing risk.




Editor's Note: Even though the following FDA recommendations do not impact the use of magnesium sulfate for preeclampsia, we thought it important to share news about one of the only drug interventions known for clinical management of preeclampsia.


Magnesium sulfate is approved to prevent seizures in preeclampsia, a condition in which the pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine, and for control of seizures in eclampsia. Both preeclampsia and eclampsia are life-threatening complications that can occur during pregnancy. Magnesium sulfate is the anti-seizure medication most commonly used in women with preeclampsia to help prevent eclampsia, seizures, stroke, multiple organ failure, and death of the woman and/or baby.


The FDA is now advising health care professionals against using magnesium sulfate injection for more than 5-7 days to stop preterm labor in pregnant women. Administration of magnesium sulfate injection to pregnant women longer than 5-7 days may lead to low calcium levels and bone problems in the developing baby or fetus, including thin bones (osteopenia), and fractures. The shortest duration of treatment that can result in harm to the baby is not known.  


The FDA's full article provides more information that will be added to the drug label for Magnesium Sulfate Injection, USP 50%. Pregnant women should discuss with their health care professional the possibility of going into labor before term and the risks and benefits of any treatments that may be used.

JUNE 2013
Thank You, National  
Promise Walk Sponsors!  
Total Promise Walk Donations as of June 5, 2013: $415,303.

Let's keep those pink feet moving! 

Upcoming Activities

Houston, TX Promise Walk
Ray Miller Park
June 8, 2013

San Antonio, TX Promise Walk
Olmos Park
June 8, 2013

June 12-14, 2013

Greenwood Civic Center
June 22, 2013

Brooklyn Bridge, Walt Whitman Park
June 22, 2013

Lake Eola Park
June 22, 2013

Almaden Lake Park and Los Alamitos Creek Trail
June 23, 2013

Every Dollar Raised Means Every Day:

4,000 new website visitors learn about preeclampsia.
10,000 women and their families are supported and guided through the medical and emotional complexities of preeclampsia.

Babies are born to women who have the information and courage to try again.

The voice of the patient is heard by policymakers, researchers, and health care administrators and providers. 
2013 Preeclampsia Awareness Month Proclamations 
Three members of Congress, Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA), and Gwen Moore (D-WI) supported the Foundation's successful petition for Preeclampsia Awareness Month to be added to the National Health Observances Calendar. On a state and local level, government proclamations have been secured across the country to raise awareness about preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.  


State Proclamations: 
Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin


State or County Resolutions: 
New Jersey (Senate), Pennsylvania (House), Pennsylvania (Senate),  
Virginia (House)
Local Proclamations: 
Addison, Texas
Albany, New York
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Asheville, North Carolina
Birmingham, Alabama
Brielle, New Jersey 

Charlotte, North Carolina
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Chicago, Illinois
Clark, New Jersey

Cranford, New Jersey 

Clifton Park, New York

Cohoes, New York

Colonie, New York 

Deerfield, Illinois 

Denton, Texas
Easton, Pennsylvania
Farmer's Branch, Texas

Indianapolis, Indiana 

Livingston, New Jersey

Milburn, New Jersey

Morristown, New Jersey 

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Plano, Texas

Rensselaer, New York

Richmond Center, Wisconsin 

San Diego, California
San Jose, California

Schenectady, New York 

Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Springfield, New Jersey

Wausau, Wisconsin 

Union, New Jersey

Washington Township, New Jersey   

Westfield, New Jersey 

Members Making a Difference 

Johanna Aiken, HELLP Syndrome Survivor and Central/Midwest Regional Coach for Preeclampsia Foundation recently spoke with nearly 100 Chicago-area OB/GYN nurses about the benefits of the Preeclampsia Foundation educational materials at the Northshore Health System OB/GYN Nurses Conference. 
Mission Moment  
When I was pregnant, I looked at your website several times to review my symptoms and get help and informa-tion.Thank you for all of the work you do.

~Morgan Griffith (Via E-mail)  
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Newsletter Contributors
Deborah Bush
Angela Little 
Laney Poye
Eleni Tsigas
Marshall Ukpoma 

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