Q&A with NACCHO Board Member Sandra Elizabeth Ford, MD, MPH
Director of the DeKalb County Board of Health
A baby is born with a birth defect in the United States every 4.5 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Birth defects are defined as any structural changes present at birth that affect how the body looks, works, or both, and they can vary from mild to severe. While not all birth defects can be prevented, there are concrete steps pregnant mothers can take to increase the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby. In honor of National Birth Defects Prevention Month, the CDC released a resource guide providing pregnant moms tips for preventing birth defects.
If you had US$1 million to give to charities aiming to eradicate poverty, how would you do it?
Would you support a soup kitchen? A financial literacy program? Educational scholarships? Organizations pressing for policy changes?
I worked for nonprofits for many years before realizing the way I approached solving social problems said more about me than it did about the problem I wanted to solve. If I really wanted to make a difference, I had to think about how I was thinking about the problem. And, if I wanted to make a difference at a broader level, I had to help donors and nonprofit leaders think about how they think.
Nonprofit fundraisers consider many demographic characteristics to explain and predict charitable giving, such as age, gender, income, and marital and parental status. As far as I could tell, no scholars had considered “how people think” as a category worth considering.
My quest led me to obtain my Ph.D. and learn to analyze how an individual’s thinking changes over time. Along the way, I found that how people construct their ideas influences their philanthropic choices, and that how donors think is as important as what they think.
How donors think
Human beings develop increasingly complex ways of making sense of the world over the course of a lifetime. To a large extent, this is intuitive – you probably expect a 20-year-old to think about many things differently than a 50-year-old. How people think, however, is largely unconscious. People are rarely aware of how they are thinking in the moment.
I am always happy when World Breastfeeding Week rolls around each year. It gives me a chance to hear about the latest programs that are working around the world to increase breastfeeding rates. This year I learned about how World Vision is promoting breastfeeding in the Philippines through its 7-11 Core Intervention Framework which includes 7 interventions for women and 11 for children 0 – 24 months of age.
The way in which we discuss breastfeeding is different depending on the country and the context. While in the United States we talk a lot about infant feeding choices, in other countries, especially those that have thousands upon thousands of yearly infant deaths caused by diarrheal diseases, infections, and sub-optimal feeding, the context changes. In these cases, it is nearly always critical that mothers breastfeed their children up to two years of age.
In the Philippines, parents spend $240 million on breast milk substitutes and multinational formula feeding companies spend $100 million on marketing in the Philippines alone. Those numbers account for the fact that only 34% of infants under the age of six months are exclusively breastfed. While providing the best start in life for infants, many mothers are convinced that formula is better and easier for their lifestyles. But, often times women in low-and-middle-income countries like the Philippines do not always have access to clean water for formula. Dirty water can cause deadly diarrheal diseases that kill infants.
Oftentimes when we think of giving to charity we get stuck on the charity we want to help and the best way we can donate funds to their worthy cause. Do we want to donate on their web site, via their app, on Facebook, or even send them a check? Do they have a special campaign going on? Will there be matching funds? Where does your money go anyway?
There is a lot to consider when donating to a cause that is dear to you. We want to make donating a little easier with three incredibly simple ways you can give to a charity you love.
I love all kinds of chocolate. I love dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate with caramel, chocolate with nuts, you make it and I’ll eat it. This company, Tony’s Chocolonely, however, has decided to make the delicious desert the right way. Until yesterday I had no idea there was still slavery in the world, and I definitely didn’t know slaves harvested cocoa beans in Ghana and the Ivory Coast to provide me with the sweet treat that I love so much. And to make it worse the slaves harvesting these cocoa beans are children! Can you believe that? It is 2017 and there are still people in the world who are treated like dirt so we can enjoy a small bar of chocolate that only provides a short period of happiness.
That’s why this new chocolate company I’ve discovered is so important. Teun van de Keuken, a Dutch journalist, discovered that large companies in the chocolate industry were buying cocoa from plantations that had child slavery which is unacceptable! He ate twelve chocolate bars and then decided to turn his back on the tainted sweets and created his own chocolate company to combat the cocoa slave industry. So Tony’s Chocolonely was born.
Tony’s Chocolonely has become the largest Dutch chocolate company in less than ten years, showing that you don’t need child slavery to have a profitable company. And let me tell you, the chocolate is delicious.
First of all the wrapper encasing the sweet treats is golden which is very reminiscent of the golden wrapper in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Secondly, the inside of the paper contains a message explaining the story of the brand and their duty to help children around the world.
The inventive uneven squares in each bar show the inequality in the chocolate industry. And last but not least I have tried two of the seven flavors and they are amazing.
The first one I ate was dark chocolate almond sea salt and it was delectable. There were plenty of almonds and the sea salt was a nice surprise that only enhanced the taste of the chocolate bar. The second flavor was dark chocolate coffee crunch and it was incredible! There was literally a crunch of coffee in every semi-sweet bite. This is the perfect bar to eat with coffee. There are four other flavors that I haven’t tried yet but I know they’re all going to be delicious.
Tony’s Chocolonely is not only a fantastic Dutch company but last fall they entered the U.S. via Portland. Now you can obtain the delicious chocolate throughout this wonderful country and I am ecstatic. The sweets are so important to the world and so magnificently tasty that they have definitely found a new customer.
And the extra special thing about Tony’s Chocolonely is their incredibly affordable prices. Their large bars which are six ounces of delicious chocolate are only $4.99 and their small 1.8 ounce bars are $1.99. Yes, the chocolate is very inexpensive. It’s nine days until Mother’s Day and if you would love to give your mother some tasty chocolate get her these amazing chocolate bars in their largest size. She will, first of all, love the taste plus she’ll love the story behind the wonderful brand.
I’m so pleased to discover a new brand that not only is very, very delicious but is also great for the world. If you see this chocolate at a store you have to try it. This delectable sweet will put a smile on your face for two reasons, it’s delicious and it’s good for the world.
Thank you for reading my post and I hope you’ll try this chocolate. It’s truly worth getting. Have a beautiful day!