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Helen Baker

Helen Baker - 2017 Nominee
Position: PhD Candidate / Clinical Instructor / Nurse
Organization: Emory University
Current Location: United States, North America
MSc from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine/Demography and Health
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
PhD in Nursing and MS in Family Nurse Practitioner
Dissertation: Assessing the adoption and diffusion of family planning integration into postabortion and postpartum care in Togo, West Africa
Expected Graduation August 2017

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing (Distinction)
May 2013

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (with honors)
July 2010

Macalester College, St. Paul, MN
Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude)
Major: Anthropology
Minor: French
Honors Thesis: Speaking or Signing?: An ethnography of deaf schools in Dakar, Senegal
May 2004

Registered Nurse in Georgia and Oregon
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Ethics of International Research and Scholarship Case design/analysis competition first place
    Awarding Organization:
    Laney Graduate School, Emory University
    Date Awarded:
    April 15, 2014
  • Award:
    Woodruff Fellow
    Awarding Organization:
    Emory University
    Date Awarded:
    August 25, 2012
  • Award:
    Joan Sutton Award for Clinical Excellence and Interdisciplinary Practice
    Awarding Organization:
    Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
    Date Awarded:
    May 1, 2010
Helen's commitment to FP is holistic and bridges research in academia, programming for NGOs, teaching of future nurses & public health professionals, and service delivery as a nurse. A two time Peace Corps volunteer, her dedication to FP is global. – Natasha Lerner, Program Associate, Research and Learning at EngenderHealth
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I conducted research with EngenderHealth's AgirPF program examining the factors related to the implementation of integrated family planning. I also mentored two teams of Emory students to work with the Togolese Midwifery Association and the Togolese IPPF affiliate.
As a nurse researcher and nursing instructor I am dedicated to teaching future nurses about family planning. Last year I became the faculty mentor for the Emory chapter of Nursing Students for Sexual and Reproductive Health. I hope to develop and teach a course which focuses on contraception and abortion at Emory School of Nursing. As part of this course, I plan to work with a local refugee organization which has expressed an interest in improving access to contraception for the refugee women in their program.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

My passion for family planning started during my MSc degree in Demography and Health during a course about family planning. This passion grew while I was a Peace Corps volunteer in northern Togo where I knew five women who died from unsafe abortion. These women have stuck with me and I decided to complete a PhD in nursing at Emory University and focus my research on improving access to family planning in low resource settings.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

I returned to Togo with the U.S. Peace Corps Response program as the Monitoring and Evaluation/Research Specialist on the EngenderHealth/AgirPF project. I had the opportunity to build the capacity of numerous West African counterparts in relation to data quality, analysis, and presentation as well as in relation to conducting implementation research related to family planning. As part of this work, I created numerous collaborations between local, international, and academic organizations.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

I am dedicated to building the future generation of nurses interested in working in and researching family planning. I will use this 120 Under 40 platform to introduce nurses and nursing students in the U.S. to the amazing people involved in family planning world wide. I will use the $1000 grant to work with nursing students and Mommy and Me, a local refugee literacy organization, to develop a pilot project to improve access to family planning for refugee women in and around Atlanta.

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