Necessity Really Is the Mother of Invention: Meet Two Nurses Working on Clever Innovations to Keep Moms and Babies Healthy By Meghan Rabbitt

You’ve likely heard the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention.”

At Johnson & Johnson, we take that message to heart—especially when it comes to supporting nurses, whom we believe are some of healthcare’s greatest innovators.

It’s why Johnson & Johnson launched the Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge series in 2018, with the sole purpose of helping bring nurses’ bright ideas for how to improve healthcare to life through mentorship and funding.

The latest one, the Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge in Maternal and Newborn Health—held in partnership with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses—was focused on finding innovative solutions for improving neonatal care, obstetrics and women’s health.Modern-Day Nightingales: Meet Three Enterprising Nurses Who Moonlight as Inventors

“With 2020 designated by the World Health Organization as International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we were very excited to launch the Johnson & Johnson Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge in Maternal and Newborn Health,” says Lynda Benton, Senior Director, Global Corporate Equity at Johnson & Johnson. “We knew that nurses and midwives were innovating in this space every day, that it was an area with many needs, and hoped that this challenge would help to inspire more nurses and midwives to bring their great ideas forward. We continue to be blown away by the quality and depth of the submissions for each challenge we have launched, and our two awardees for this challenge are equally impressive.”

In time for Mother’s Day and National Nurses Week, we sat down with both of the winners—each of whom will receive $50,000 in grant funding and mentorship from experts at the Johnson & Johnson family of companies—to learn about their work, the impact they’re already having on the health of moms and babies, and their plans for making that impact even bigger.

“I Want All Pregnant Women and New Moms to Feel Prepared—and Supported”

You’d think Sigi Marmorstein, who was working as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse when she was pregnant with her first child, would have felt ready for labor, delivery and becoming a mother.

  • Sigi Marmorstein, founder and CEO of digital health platform BabyLiveAdvice

Sigi Marmorstein, founder and CEO of digital health platform BabyLiveAdvice

Yet when her son was born with facial paralysis, and she experienced hemorrhaging afterward, she felt lost.

“I’m a nurse! I know things about babies,” Marmorstein says. “But I didn’t feel like I knew what was happening with me, or that my healthcare providers were really supporting my pregnancy and post-partum journey.”

So in 2014, when Marmorstein became the director of a telehealth services company, she knew exactly what she wanted to do to help other women feeling the same way.

“I wanted to figure out a way to keep an eye and ear on mom and baby throughout her pregnancy and those potentially tough post-partum days,” she says. “I wanted us to be able to go home with them, in a way.”

Enter BabyLiveAdvice, a digital platform designed to support, educate and empower mothers and parents so they feel confident and knowledgeable about pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding, infant care and more. It features both video and chat components so moms can easily get help online from a healthcare provider, midwife, nurse, mental health practitioner and even a peer if something concerning is going on.JLABS @ Washington, DC: The Unique Innovation Hub That’s Poised to Help Protect Us From Future Pandemics

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, BabyLiveAdvice has seen a surge in users.

“Like everyone, new moms are at home more now, and unfortunately that’s increasing everything from anxiety to depression,” Marmorstein says. “Our ability to connect with new moms who may be struggling in a number of ways is so helpful right now.”

Marmorstein’s ultimate goal is to reach 1 million moms around the world, and she’s hopeful that being an awardee in the Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge in Maternal and Newborn Health will help her do just that.

One of our big goals is to keep the membership cost down so everyone can access BabyLiveAdvice,” she says. “We’d also love to provide even more educational services for free, so more women feel more prepared to become mothers.”

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