Happy New Year Everyone!
Jessica Hardy is a very active and engaged member of the EWSE leadership team. She is a registered nurse, with an advanced degree in public health from the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB). She has served more than nineteen years with the Alabama Department of Public Health in various capacities, including the Alabama Women’s Health Liaison for the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jessica was appointed to serve as the first Director for the Alabama Office of Women’s Health (OWH) in 2002 (a position she continues to hold), and was appointed as Acting Director of Alabama’s office of Minority Health from 2009 to 2012. In addition to her work and volunteering with EWSE, Jessica is currently a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Troy University, in Alabama. We asked Jessica about the health problem she cares the most about as well as about the favorite part of her work and her favorite book. Here are her responses!
Infant mortality is a concern not only for Alabama but for the nation as a whole. In Alabama the infant mortality rate is higher than the national average and is compounded with a very daunting disparate rate between the white and black infant mortality rate. It has been said that the infant mortality rate reflects the health of a community; in Alabama this is one of our top women’s health issues today. What I love most about my current responsibilities is the outreach into the community. My work allows me to advocate for health in general, and preventive health programs in particular. Communities are very receptive to shared health information. I enjoy serving as liaison between public health and the communities across our state. One of my favorite books is by Christine Northrop, Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom. I have found that women in the community can often relate to the information Dr. Northrop shares in her books, and it opens the door for me to introduce additional resources to the women in communities across Alabama.