Saving Mothers

Saving Mothers is a nonprofit committed to improving maternal health worldwide.
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Check out this guest blog on balancing medicine and motherhood by our very own Medical Programs Director, Dr. Taraneh Shirazian

Calling all New Yorkers: Tomorrow, Tuesday April 16th, stop off at the Pinkberry in Gramercy (350 3rd Ave btwn 25th & 26th), have yourself a tasty snack, and watch 20% of the proceeds go to Saving Mothers! Just show them this attached photo and YOU CAN HELP US SAVE LIVES!

From Dr. Erin Gertz, Saving Mothers Global Health Fellow:

"I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the D.R. 2 weeks ahead of the surgical team in order to see and screen patients in the rural areas where ILAC works.  Side-by-side with the Cooperadores, we were able to see 297 patients with gynecologic issues in that short time!  Each community welcomed me with open arms and made me as if I was one of their own.

ILAC works with 142 “Cooperadores” - the rural healthcare volunteers chosen by their own community to provide basic healthcare outreach and referral.  The Cooperadores also accompany patients from their community to ILAC on the day of surgery, room overnight with the patients, and travel back home with them, while keeping a watchful eye for any sign of post-operative complications.”image

From March 30th to April 5th, our Saving Mothers surgical team descended on Santiago, DR to screen, treat, and educate 137 different patients. During our week of surgeries, our team performed 42 separate life-saving and completely FREE gynecological procedures on 35 different women, many of whom had never seen a doctor before in their lives.

We worked closely with local health care professionals, showing them new techniques, sharing ideas, and continuing to strengthen the relationship Saving Mothers has built with the Santiago community.

We did our work in the clinic at the Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC) Center,  housed at “La Mision” located 7.5 kilometers outside Santiago. Located in the second largest city of the Dominican Republic, the ILAC Center provides numerous opportunities for students and health care professionals to grow personally, professionally and spiritually through service to others. We had two operating rooms going simultaneously, plus several exam rooms and a fully-functioning PACU (Post-Anesthesia Care Unit), which allowed us to treat many women at different stages all at the same time.

We were able to perform more difficult surgeries than on past missions, due to some amazing equipment donated by generous people around the world.  Our standouts were our new headlamp, which allowed for MUCH better visibility, and our crown jewel, the cystoscope and monitor provided by STORZ, which we used to provide dozens of cystoscopies for the first time.

We had a wonderful time meeting so many amazing people and doing meaningful, life-saving work.  The full team in attendance was:

Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, Ob/Gyn, Saving Mothers Medical Programs Director; Dr. Erin Gertz, Ob/Gyn SM Global Fellow; Dr. Mamta Mamik, UroGyn; Dr. Salma Rahimi, UroGyn Fellow; Dr. Laura Desrosiers, UroGyn Fellow; Dr. Irene Osborn, Anesthesia; Dr. Andrew Perez, Anesthesia; Dr. Carrie Hamby, Anesthesia Resident; Ingrid Garnes, Registered Nurse; Valerie Davis, Registered Nurse; Samantha Smith, Registered Nurse; Estrelania Williams, Medical Student; Jonah Platt, PR Coordinator

We can’t wait for the chance to go back to the DR to continue working with the amazing people of the Santiago community.  Please take a moment to donate now — every single dollar helps us afford to bring health care to women around the globe, and we literally can’t do it without you!

Saving Mothers welcomes Sawyer Michael Henry Jafar who was born on February 22 @ 12:26 pm weighing 5lb & 7oz. In sharing their good fortune, at the baby shower celebrating parents Julia and Mark, a donation was made to Saving Mothers on behalf of family and friends, as an alternative to conventional party gifts/favors. WE THANK YOU and wish your family all of the happiness and joy imaginable! 

Saving Mothers welcomes Sawyer Michael Henry Jafar who was born on February 22 @ 12:26 pm weighing 5lb & 7oz. In sharing their good fortune, at the baby shower celebrating parents Julia and Mark, a donation was made to Saving Mothers on behalf of family and friends, as an alternative to conventional party gifts/favors. WE THANK YOU and wish your family all of the happiness and joy imaginable! 

At the end of March, Saving Mothers is returning to the Dominican Republic to continue working with ILAC (Institute for Latin American Concern) with support from the Platt Foundation. 

By working with “cooperadores,” locally trained community health workers, through the ILAC Cooperadores de Salud Education Program Health Outreach Initiative, we will continue to gather health information and screen thousands of people in hard-to-reach rural villages where there is no formal medical care.

In August 2012, the Saving Mothers team trained over 160 cooperadores to screen for prolapse, incontinence, and abnormal pap smears. In October 2012, we returned to perform surgical repairs and to teach local health care providers fundamental skills.

Overall, 119 patients were evaluated and 40 received life-changing surgeries, such as sling procedures and vaginal hysterectomies. Later this month, our cohort of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses will return to perform an even larger number of procedures. Stay tuned to hear updates!

Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

At Kuper Academy High School in Montreal, Quebec on the 28th of February the Saving Mothers Kuper Academy Student Chapter held its very first fundraiser! 

Following several raising awareness events including a school assembly, an information session and a sign-up meeting for all those interested, we gathered about 15 students and formed the Saving Mothers Kuper Academy Student Chapter. As a group, we raised awareness of worldwide maternal health issues through videos and informative posters that we placed around the school.

For the fundraiser, students and teachers made $1 bets on the birth date and gender of the baby of one of our French teachers, Mme. Florence Dusausoy.  After the baby’s birth, prizes will be given to those who made the five most accurate guesses. 

The group raised $175 US and is excited about being part of the effort to reduce maternal deaths worldwide.

Saving Mothers Kuper Academy Student Chapter:

Nilufar Mokhtarian, President
Dylan Masson, Vice-President
Mr. Luigi Discepola, Teacher and supporting member
Mme. Florence Dusausoy, Teacher and supporting member
Angad Malhotra
Harman Malhi
Namarta Malhi
Mariam Aldulaimy
Olivia Ruscito
Vanessa De Muy
Walid Rankoussi
Harjas Mann
Alexander Bevacqua
Caleb Chang
Saleha Lamrani
Terrence Serpone
Sadhvi Mehta


Here I go with my lovely friend, Concepcion, and a health educator from PRODESCA. We went on home prenatal and post-partum visits in the rural “aldea,” Tzanchaj. All the women I visited had homebirths with comadronas. The young lady and baby you see here shared my first homebirth experience with me. I was called by Juana, a comadrona, and asked to accompany her to a birth. I quickly packed my “birth bag” and ran out the door. 3 hours later, I am watching her give birth to her first child. The delivery went well and baby was great. I repaired mom’s lacerations with a headlamp and my humble supplies. I visited her 2 weeks later and both were happy and healthy. - Jessica Oliveira, Guatemala Coordinator



This is San Juanerita Clinic in San JUan , La Laguna. Saving Mothers is helping the clinic start a prenatal care program. The woman in the pictures is an auxillary nurse and a comadrona (Mayan birth attendant). Saving Mothers helped Lesbia get her job at the clinic last year as a diabetic health educator and now I have been training her to be the women’s health care provider in this small clinic. Most women here in San Juan deliver at home with their comadronas and rarely get any proper prenatal care. - Jessica Oliveira, Guatemala Coordinator