All posts by: Elizabeth Heubeck

Midwives Could Be Key To Reversing Maternal Mortality Trends

The Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center in Danbury is a 50-minute drive from Evelyn DeGraf’s home in Westchester. Pregnant with her second child, the 37-year-old didn’t hesitate to make the drive—she wanted her birth to be attended by a midwife, not a doctor. DeGraf believed midwifery care to be more personal and less rushed than that delivered by obstetrics/gynecologists (OB/GYNs). She also knew an OB/GYN would deem her relatively advanced maternal age and previous cesarean section history too high-risk to attempt a VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean section. But she had to drive roughly 35 miles to find a midwife because there aren’t many of them. Despite the fact that an estimated 85 percent of women are appropriate for midwife care, midwives attend about 11 percent of births in Connecticut, said Holly Kennedy, professor of midwifery at Yale School of Nursing. By contrast, about half of all babies in England are delivered by midwives, according to National Health

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What’s the Payoff — Love or Money?

Some of these profiled artists received highly specific training to pursue their endeavors. Others fell into them. For those who earn their living from their art, most agree it’s getting increasingly harder to do so. Nevertheless, all feel passionately about their work, and they’ve got impressive pieces to show for it. A sample of Jill Orlov’s work. (Handout photo) Jill Orlov Jill Orlov, 49, counts “The Borrowers,” a book-turned-movie about a tiny family that lives in the walls of a Victorian house, as one of her artistic work’s primary influences. Seeing her exquisitely crafted, minuscule rooms made of metal, it’s easy to understand why. Shortly after earning a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and starting her career, she left the profession and took a welding course, which led to a near obsession creating mini-vignettes from steel and other metals — some as dioramas in vintage wood boxes or drawers, others set within full-scale table

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Filmmaker Follows Baltimore Step Team in New Documentary

Amanda Lipitz grew up loving musicals and learning how to give back. These passions — plus a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, an internship at Nickelodeon and a post-graduate job with a Broadway producer — put the 36-year-old Owings Mills native on the entertainment industry fast track. By 24, Lipitz had produced Broadway’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” followed by the Tony Award-winning “A View from the Bridge” and “The Humans,” also a Pulitzer finalist, among others. Lipitz also created and produced the groundbreaking MTV series “Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods.” But Lipitz’s foray into creating documentaries led to her most significant achievement to date. The feature-length documentary “Step,” directed and produced by Lipitz, follows the first graduating class of an all-girls high school in inner-city Baltimore as they compete on the school’s step team and strive to be the first in their families to

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Treating Women “Down There”

Originally published in the September 2018 issue of Her Mind magazine. After being widowed suddenly at the age of 35, Ellicott City resident Janet Weise approached each day in survival mode. Balancing the equally demanding jobs of a single mother to her son with her career as a college administrator, the former Division 1 college athlete admits that her personal health needs came last. “You can say I was a hot mess,” jokes Weise, who over the years had become inactive and, by her own admission, “pretty severely obese.” Then came the wakeup call. At the time they met, Janet Weise, left, promised Dr. Amanda Fader, right, that she would lose 90 pounds. The two have since become friends and walking partners.  Two years ago, at the age of 53 and post-menopause, Weise noticed bleeding. She mentioned it to her gynecologist who performed an internal ultrasound as well as an endometrial biopsy, by removing a piece of tissue from her uterus. Weise was diagnosed with

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Two-Sport Wonder

Originally published in the Towson Times on September 5, 2018. Of the nearly 8 million high school athletes in the United States, only a small fraction — about 2 percent — will earn a college athletic scholarship, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Then, there’s Towson native Julia Dorsey, a rising 12th-twelfth grader at McDonogh School. She falls into a category of high school athletes so unique that statistics reflecting her circumstances don’t even exist. Dorsey has been recruited to play both lacrosse and soccer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Division I athletic powerhouse. Extraordinary talent and commitment on two different playing fields have earned her this rare place in the world of collegiate athletics. That she’s managed to navigate the youth sports culture on her terms, not succumbing to the push so many young athletes feel to “specialize” in a single sport, makes Dorsey’s feat even more remarkable. Her parents,

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The Kavanaugh allegations dredged up bad memories. But it’s my teen daughter I worry about.

Originally published on September 27, 2018 on It has been 30 years. I thought I had moved on from the painful memories of what I endured in the late ’80s as a student at a small, private college. But my own experiences with sexual harassment and attempted sexual assault — both hazy and razor sharp — have been dredged up along with accusations about Supreme Court justice nominee

Brett M. Kavanaugh. I am okay now. It is my 17-year-old daughter I worry about. As she embarks on the college search process, I wonder how closely the

environment and the male attitudes at elite universities where she is looking resemble

those of the 1980s. I certainly was not prepared for them. Before enrolling in a college whose setting could be described as overtly insular and attracting predominantly children of extreme privilege, I hadn’t been exposed to the smug and elitist attitude that festered there among many of its male students. I attended an

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Bridging Racial Gaps In Pregnancy-Related Health Outcomes

This article was originally published in the Hartford Courant on August 8, 2018. Kimberly Streater was pregnant with her third of six children when she called her friend for a ride to the hospital after sustaining a hit to her stomach by her then-husband. When she reached the hospital, Streater, not yet 28 weeks pregnant, alerted personnel that her baby was coming — now. “They said, ‘No, no, he’s not coming,’ after I told them he was,” she recalled. Minutes later, Howie was born at 3 pounds and 1.5 ounces in the admitting area of the hospital, just as Streater had predicted. Statistically, the preterm birth of Streater’s baby does not come as a surprise. In Connecticut and nationwide, black women and their infants suffer disproportionately worse pregnancy-related health outcomes than white women. The March of Dimes’ 2017 Premature Birth Report Card for Connecticut revealed that between 2013 and 2015, 8.4 percent of all infants born to white women were premature,

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Fall Arts Guide 2018

Originally published in on September 1, 2018. There’s a lot to love about the fall. The oppressive heat and the you-can-cut-it-with-a-knife humidity ease up; summer getaways have left folks feeling recharged and ready to socialize again; and the city’s arts and culture scene responds with an abundant calendar of intriguing events and cool places to explore and rediscover. The challenge now becomes not what to do, but how to fit it all in. It’s impossible to get to everything, of course. But for those willing to try, we’ve provided a full listing of local cultural events that span the fall season. We’ve also picked out a few cultural gems around town that we deemed worthy of special spotlighting. Whether you’ll be checking out these local landmarks for the first time or making a return trip, they’re sure to leave a lasting impression. Enjoy! Baltimore Book Festival 2017, Inner Harbor Read On! More than three decades ago, then-Mayor

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The voyeur vacation: How much of your friends’ fabulous trips do you really want to see?

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun on August 23, 2018. It’s the middle of August and, so far this summer, I’ve seen the Dead Sea, the Tuscan countryside, a quaint village in England and some ancient-looking towns in Italy. But the most exotic place I’ve actually visited is my backyard which, I will say, is rather lush and lovely after all the rain we’ve had this season, especially when looking up at it from a prone position in my swinging hammock. As for all these fantastic aforementioned places, culled from vacation photos posted on Facebook by my social media “friends,” I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I grasp that a stunning sunset is worth sharing, as is the view from a high mountaintop resort. And when I glimpse photos on Facebook of picturesque European villages dating back thousands of years, I can almost see myself strolling through them. Similarly, I practically taste the authentic Italian cuisine pictured on the plates in these pictures, even as I wonder:

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How We Get ADHD Wrong

Originally published in Education Week on February 13, 2018 Today, more than 10 percent of all children ages 5-17 in the United States receive a diagnosis of ADHD, despite the American Psychiatric Association’s estimation that only 5 percent actually have the disorder. The disparity is even starker for boys, 14 percent of whom end up diagnosed with ADHD. My son is one of those millions of boys who have been diagnosed with this greatly overused label. My 15-year-old son has been dubbed a “slow processer”—the kind of kid who tends to stare out the window during class as he gathers his thoughts or daydreams. His reading has hovered slightly below grade level since teachers began assessing it. His organizational habits are less than stellar: Homework assignments, school clothes, sports equipment tend to land where they fall. So, a few years ago, when my husband and I took our son to an educational psychologist (at the suggestion of his middle school’s learning specialist) for

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