Hawa's Hope Co-Founder Recipient of David Lawrence Community Health Award
A midwife who trains midwives in the West African nation of Sierra Leone is a recipients of the annual Kaiser Permanente David Lawrence Community Service award. The award, started in 2003, is named for former Kaiser Permanente CEO and Chairman David Lawrence and is given to employees who volunteer to improve community health in the United States and abroad.
The daughter of missionaries, Seacrist lived in Sierra Leone as a child and returned to volunteer shortly after finishing nursing school in 2004.
“I felt a really strong calling to return to Sierra Leone and use my nursing skills,” Seacrist said.
After several volunteer trips, she moved there in 2008 for 2 years and became a nursing supervisor at a hospital that treats women with birth-related injuries. She then started an organization called Hawa’s Hope that now trains midwives Sierra Leone.“We’ve trained 175 midwifes at the 3 midwife schools there,” Seacrist said. “We give them skills to prevent the very specific reasons women die during childbirth. Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world.”
Seacrist said her parents instilled in her a strong motivation to help others.
“I grew up with a public service mentality,” she said.