Keira: Founder & Executive Director of NICU Parent Network (formally Preemie Parent Alliance)
PreemieWorld: How long have you been working in your field?
Keira: 12 years
PreemieWorld: Why did you choose your current profession?
Keira: I actually did not choose this profession, it chose me! After the birth and 9 month NICU stay of my 25 weeker triplets and the loss of one of my daughters at 14 months old, I felt a deep need to support other parents who found themselves in a similar circumstance. What started as a desire to do one-on-one support organically grew into a role in advocacy and the creation of the NICU Parent Network. There are so many amazing advocates and organizations providing the front line support to families, I realized that my skills and experience were better served bringing industry, clinical professionals, and NICU parent leaders together to represent the needs and best interests of NICU families.
PreemieWorld: What do you want other professionals to know about what you do?
Keira: I want professionals to know that our members are not “just” parents. Our members have turned the significant, traumatic life experience of having a baby in the NICU or losing a child, into sustainable programs and services for current NICU and bereaved families. We are a professional membership association made up of incredibly committed NICU parent leaders. Everyone in Maternal Infant Health has to have an equal and welcome seat at the table because we are all approaching the same ultimate goal by way of our own unique strategies. It is ineffective, inefficient and frankly, impossible to tackle the myriad of issues facing NICU families and their babies in silos. By working together we can ensure that every NICU family is equipped and empowered to face the long-lasting effects of a NICU stay during and after their time in the hospital.
PreemieWorld: What advice do you give to preemie parents?
Keira: Never lose hope. There are so many resources available to you to help you make it through what may seem like the hardest experience of your life. You are NOT alone.
PreemieWorld: Provide a short quote about your field.
Keira: “Collaboration is the key to unlocking innovative solutions to some of the world’s most complex social and medical issues, especially in maternal-infant health. NICU Parent Leaders are the key informants and the key stakeholders, this must never be undervalued or underrepresented.”
PreemieWorld: Fun Facts: Tell us a fun or quirky fact about you.
Keira: Before I founded the NICU Parent Network I was a high-end residential interior designer that worked for a firm in Atlanta, GA where one of our clients was Elton John. I once spent an entire Saturday alphabetizing his collection of art books (there were thousands)!
PreemieWorld: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Keira: I want everyone to know just how remarkable our members are. These NICU Parent Leaders are the most inspirational group of professionals you could ever hope to be surrounded by. They selflessly give so much of their time, resources, and energy to ensure that every parent who needs support gets the help they need. They are so much more than their traumatic experience, they are the innovators of NICU family support!