One might say that Eira Yates, MSSA, CLC was destined to work with parents and babies having been named after her mother’s midwife. Yates is one of five children– the only to be accompanied by a midwife during her birth. She teases that this makes her the Special One.
Yates remembers fondly asking her mother to tell her birth story and stories about her young childhood in innocent vanity and an obvious interest in maternal child health.
Surely it’s special to have been birthed into the hands of a midwife, but what I find most special about Yates is the loving, vivacious energy she exudes. I can’t help but be drawn to her glow.
She is one of the newest faculty members at Healthy Children Project, and we are pleased to highlight her work this week on Our Milky Way.
Yates endured an imperfect experience bringing her son into the world, but managed to process that experience into advocacy for others.
When she gave birth prematurely as a young mother, she says she knew about breastfeeding, but it wasn’t offered to her as an option in the hospital. And because she wasn’t fully equipped with knowledge about the importance of breastfeeding, she says she didn’t speak up.
Since then though, she’s been speaking up for others through her work as a social worker.
“I just knew people needed a voice, especially low income African American women,” Yates says.
Early in her career, Yates started running the MomsFirst program which offers home visiting services to pregnant moms until two years postpartum through the City of Cleveland.
Now, Yates travels to the Capitol biannually to speak with politicians about infant mortality and to campaign for more funding that will help sustain programs that decrease mortality rates.
Because of the opioid epidemic, Yates reports having success in securing funding for these programs. She extols the work of Senator Sherrod Brown who has been instrumental in fighting for and representing his constituents.
At the end of February 2020, Yates and her colleagues at OhioGuidestone will bring to a close an exciting pilot program that addresses paternal depression.
The Yates Depression Screening Tool, funded by the city’s mental health board, has similar objectives to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.
Yates and her colleagues are working with the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood to implement more programs for partners postpartum.
“We have to make sure there are resources set up for them,” Yates says.
You can connect with Yates at the upcoming International Breastfeeding Conference January 14 to 17 in Deerfield Beach, Fla.