What are the secrets to growing up and growing older? This week on Full Frame we explore issues at both ends of the age spectrum, from the global health problem of preterm births to New York women who make aging looking stylish.
In this episode from New York City, we’ll talk to people who have found solutions to prolonging life for the young and the young at heart alike.
Tune into Full Frame on CCTV America at 6:00 PM EST on January 31, 2015. Or watch the live stream of the program here.
March of Dimes provides support in the NICU
When signs of labor rushed Danielle and Joshua Donohue to the hospital one morning, the first-time parents were nervous and stressed. But their nerves were more than just the normal pre-delivery jitters of expecting parents: Danielle was only 26 weeks pregnant, and they worried that their baby wouldn’t survive.
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) team at Stony Brook Hospital explained that the odds weren’t very good, but the Donohues remained optimistic – even after the delivery, as their baby struggled in the first few days of his life.
But the Donohues didn’t have to face the ordeal alone. The NICU Family Support Specialist from the March of Dimes was there with much-needed information and support.
The March of Dimes, a non-profit organization founded in 1938 to combat polio, now works in countries around the world to help prevent birth defects, premature births and infant mortality.
And in the NICU, March of Dimes programs provide strategies for care that help bond parents and babies, and even save lives – strategies like kangaroo care, in which a parent holds the baby against his or her bare chest. This skin-to-skin contact can help a baby sleep, breastfeed, stay warm, and keep his or her heart and breathing stable, in addition to the emotional benefits for the parents.
Since going home with their healthy son, Max, Danielle Donohue has returned to the NICU, this time to help other expecting parents as a March of Dimes Family Support Specialist.
This week on Full Frame, Joanne Colan reports from New York on the March of Dimes’ work with preterm babies at Stony Brook Hospital and beyond.
Follow March of Dimes on Twitter: @MarchofDimes
Anne Geddes focuses on Premature Babies
Anne Geddes’ photographs of babies have brought smiles to people all over the world. And now, as a March of Dimes ambassador, she is using her camera to bring awareness to the issue of preterm birth.
For World Prematurity Day in 2014, observed annually on November 17, Geddes snapped the signature photograph for the March of Dimes campaign: a tiny two-pound, six-ounce baby, Alfred, born eight weeks premature. It’s an image that recalls one of Geddes’ most famous photos, a stunning black and white photo of a premature baby girl, Maneesha, enveloped in a man’s hands.
Alfred and Maneesha represent the 15 million premature babies born each year around the world. More than one million don’t survive past their first birthdays. March of Dimes raises awareness about this global health issue, researches the causes of preterm births, and provides expecting mothers with information on healthy pregnancies.
Geddes’ iconic photos also give hope to families that their premature babies will grow up healthy: Maneesha is now twenty-one years old.
Photographing these tiny newborns is an emotional task, says Geddes, who has worked in four NICU units in her career, and she draws on her years of experience of photographing infants to get the perfect image in a matter of minutes.
Though she didn’t begin her photography career until she was 25, Geddes has always been drawn to the power of still images to capture moments in time. She started out doing portraiture in her native Australia, eventually choosing to focus on babies. Babies represent potential and new beginnings, she says, and they’re clearly a popular and universal subject: Geddes has sold 18 million books and 13 million calendars in eighty-three countries around the world.
On this week’s episode of Full Frame, Geddes joins Mike Walter in the studio to talk about babies and photography, from her famous, whimsical Down in the Garden photos to her work with March of Dimes.
Follow Anne Geddes on Twitter: @annegeddestweet
Simple solutions for the survival of children
Two of our guests this week are determined to achieve one of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: reducing child mortality. Tim Prestero, founder and CEO of Design that Matters, and Dr. Kate Rogers of UNICEF, are representative of the cooperation between private sector and governmental organizations in addressing issues like preterm birth.
While the solutions themselves are sometimes quite simple, implementing them in developing countries is not as straightforward. That’s what Prestero discovered with his invention, NeoNuture, an incubator that was named one of Time magazine’s top inventions of 2010, but was ultimately not distributed.
But that failure taught Prestero that the objective should be to create a device that is hard to use incorrectly, a maxim he kept in mind as they developed Firefly, a newborn phototherapy device used to treat jaundice in developing countries.
Jaundice affects two-thirds of babies born worldwide, and 10% of those babies require treatment. One simple and effective treatment is phototherapy: shining blue light on the surface of a newborn’s body. But traditional phototherapy devices are sometimes used improperly. Prestero’s team found that hospitals in developing countries were putting multiple babies under the same device, and that mothers were covering their babies in blankets, both actions rendering the device ineffective.
With this understanding, Firefly was designed to be hard to use the wrong way. Light shines from both the top and the bottom of the device, which fits only one newborn.
Firefly is just one example of the available technologies advancing the goal of child survival.
UNICEF, together with the governments of Ethiopia, India, and the United States, has mobilized the world to support the commitment to end preventable child deaths through a pledge, A Promise Renewed, which has now been signed by 178 countries.
Prestero and Rogers join Mike Walter to discuss implementing simple solutions to infant mortality worldwide.
Follow UNICEF on Twitter: @UNICEF
Aging stylishly at any age with Advanced Style
New York City is home to many stylish women, and Ari Cohen has made it his mission to photograph them. But his subjects aren’t high-fashion models, they’re well-dressed senior citizens.
What began as a blog documenting the street style of women aged 50 and older has become a best-selling book and now a documentary of the same name, Advanced Style. By sharing photographs and stories of these vibrant older women, Cohen hopes to change perspectives on aging.
Cohen, 28, has always had a connection with older people. Growing up, he was best friends with his grandmothers, Bluma and Helen, whom he credits with giving him a positive image of aging.
Now, one of Cohen’s muses is 94-year-old Ilona Royce Smithkin, petite and effervescent, with a shock of red hair and eyelashes to match. Smithkin is an artist whose career has included portraits of Ayn Rand and Tennessee Williams.
But despite her success, Smithkin says it wasn’t really until ten years ago that she truly came into her own. That renewed self-confidence prompted a change in outlook; a freedom from worrying what others think.
Women young and old have been inspired by the ladies of Advanced Style to dress creatively, and more importantly, to not be afraid of aging.
Cohen and Smithkin join Mike Walter in New York this week to discuss aging gracefully and fashionably.
Follow Ari Seth Cohen on Twitter: @AriSethCohen
March150: Paintings that raise money for premature births
The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia is a nonprofit dedicated to visual arts enrichment. It is home to eighty-two artists’ studios, the largest collection of publicly accessible studios in the United States, and six galleries, including the Target Gallery, which hosts national and international exhibitions.
One such exhibition, March150, brings together the community to support both art and the March of Dimes in an annual fundraiser.
Artists pay a $15 entry fee and donate their works, all on the provided 10×10 wood panels, agreeing that the proceeds from the sale will go to support the local chapter of the March of Dimes and the Gallery’s outreach programming. The resulting exhibition is a wall of paintings, all the same size but otherwise different.
For March of Dimes supporters, it’s a chance not only to raise money, but to talk about premature births and support those who face the challenge, as one in nine families across the nation do.
Meet the artists and volunteers making an impact in this week’s Close-Up as we visit the studios and exhibition at the Torpedo Factory.
Follow the Torpedo Factory on Twitter: @TorpedoFactory
Tune into Full Frame on CCTV America at 6:00 pm EDT on January 31, 2015. Or watch the Livestream of the program here.