Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Hosting a Maternal Health Symposium in Memphis

August 10, 2018
Enewsletters

Dear Friend,

This week, I hosted an infant and maternal health symposium in Memphis along with Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois which featured experts, advocates, and those at risk to discuss issues around infant and maternal mortality. I also received a perfect score on the Progressive Public Health and Environmental Scorecard which tracked Members of Congress’ records on issues concerning public health and the environment; met with Chastity Toler of the Step by Step Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Foundation in Memphis; talked with former Congressional office intern Janeisha Harris, Co-Founder and Chairwoman of the National Black Action Committee at Tennessee State University, and others, to review issues ranging from the state of minority businesses in Memphis to the importance of federal financial aid programs to students throughout Tennessee; and paid tribute to Charlottesville murder victim Heather Heyer on the anniversary of her death.  Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me onTwitter and Facebook to see more updates as they happen.


Hosting a Maternal Health Symposium in Memphis
Receiving a 100% Score for My Record on Public Health and The Environment
Meeting with Chastity Toler and the Step by Step Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Foundation
Discussing Criminal Justice Reform with Co-Founder and Chairwoman of the National Black Action Committee
Meeting with Marquiepta Odom and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)
Meeting with Tennessee College Access and Success Network
Signing Up for “Congress On Your Corner” and this e-Newsletter
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week


Hosting a Maternal Health Symposium in Memphis

 
  

On Thursday, I hosted a symposium on infant and maternal mortality at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. I was pleased that Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-Illinois) joined me as a co-host of this important event which featured health experts from across the Memphis area. Michelle Robinson McKissack, our newly elected school board member and editor of Memphis Parent Magazine, was our phenomenal moderator. Congressman Kelly and I discussed bills before the House of Representatives, including my legislation, the NEWBORN Act, that addresses America's and Memphis' high rate of infant mortality, and Congresswoman Kelly's legislation, the MOMMA Act, that addresses maternal mortality and morbidity. We discussed the needs of our community and the barriers to improving maternal health care and reducing infant mortality. Our expert panel shared their experiences as they work directly with mothers and other health care and non-traditional partners within our community. The panelists included Ajay J. Talati, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and OB/GYN at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Tiana Pyles, co-founder of BSTARS; Susan Helms, director if Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South; Nikia Grayson, midwife at CHOICES; Beth Shelton, lead therapist at Appleseed Inc.; and Danielle Tate, director of the high risk OB clinic at UT Regional One Physicians. We discussed resources available right here in Shelby County, such as free car seats for those in need. See my weekly health tip for more. I want to thank everyone who joined us to make this symposium a success. 


Receiving a 100 Percent Score for My Record on Public Health and The Environment
 
Also on Thursday, I was proud to be one of only of 12 lawmakers to receive a 100 percent score on a Congressional Legislative Scorecard compiled by National Nurses United, Food & Water Watch and the Progressive Democrats of America. 

The scorecard tracked Members of Congress' records on issues concerning public health and the environment, and looked specifically at 5 bills: the Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act(H.R. 676), which would ensure every person in the U.S. has quality health care; the Inclusive Prosperity Act (H.R. 1144), which would impose a small tax on Wall Street to fund public health and environmental initiatives; the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety Act (H.R. 2392), which would help nurses and hospitals ensure quality patient care; the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (H.R. 3671), which would bring us closer to a 100 percent renewable energies future; and the WATER Act (H.R. 5609), which would provide major investment to update and improve the country’s drinking water infrastructure.

I’m a co-sponsor of all 5 of these bills, and I’ll continue to advocate for bold solutions to our most urgent public health and environmental problems.


Meeting with Chastity Toler and the Step by Step Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Foundation

 

On Tuesday, I met with Chastity Toler, a 1992 graduate of Melrose High School and the force behind the Step by Step Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering, equipping, supporting and improving the quality of life for all affected by Multiple Sclerosis. When Chastity needed support, she found the closest group was in Nashville and so she created her foundation, which can be reached at SBSMSA@Outlook.com. Her work is inspiring many in Memphis to face their health problems with determined courage.


Discussing Criminal Justice Reform with Co-Founder and Chairwoman of the National Black Action Committee

Also on Tuesday, I was pleased to welcome back to my office our former intern Janeisha Harris, who is now the Co-Founder and Chairwoman of the National Black Action Committee at Tennessee State University. We discussed criminal justice reform measures I support as a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, and I appreciated the opportunity to hear her perspective on a variety of issues as a young woman on a college campus. 


Meeting with Marquiepta Odom and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)

  

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to speak with Marquiepta Odom, Associate Executive Program Director for the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Greater Memphis, and other YWCA representatives. The meeting dealt largely with the YWCA's funding needs and its plan to increase the capacity of its domestic violence shelter from 44 to 78 beds by the end of September. It's always valuable to talk over issues with those so deeply involved with them locally. I appreciate the work the YWCA is doing to help those affected by domestic violence.


Meeting with Tennessee College Access and Success Network 

On Tuesday, I also met with Kate Watts of the Tennessee College Access and Success Network to discuss the importance of federal investment in education. We talked about ways to make it easier for first-time college students to get access to higher education. Ms. Watts also presented evidence from a study in Davidson County that the Tennessee Promise Scholarship is in effect plundering the resources of the Tennessee Hope Scholarship to the detriment of many students in need of help. The evidence indicates the lowest income students get the least amount of assistance yet are most likely to advance while the highest income level Promise students get the most money but are less likely to advance. The Promise Scholarship doesn't operate as a scholarship should -- rewarding merit and meeting genuine need.   

 


Signing Up for "Congress On Your Corner" and this e-Newsletter



I enjoy meeting regularly with constituents in the district and helping get answers for them to questions about dealing with federal agencies. If you are interested in attending one of my “Congress on Your Corner” events, you can sign up here to receive notification as soon as the next event is scheduled. 

For those who haven’t participated in a telephone town hall, it’s easy to sign up for them by using this form.  

If you would like to receive this weekly e-Newsletter, or share it with others, you can do that with this form.


Weekly Health Tip

Each week, I share a health tip in the hope of promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents of the 9thCongressional District. As always, it is best to check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.

The Shelby County Health Department provides free child safety seats to eligible county residents. Eligibility criteria include the baby's birth certificate, the recipent must be enrolled in TNCare, SNAP or WIC programs; and the recipient must have a valid Tennessee driver license or state I.D. Appointments are required (call 901-222-9276) and distribution is limited to 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Another tip this week stems from my meeting with Chastity Toler and the Step by Step Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Foundation. MS is a terrible illness but important work at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is making advances in its treatment. See detailshere.


Quote of the Week

Sunday will be the first anniversary of the death of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old Charlottesville, Virginia, paralegal protesting the neo-Nazi and white supremacists rally who was run down and killed. The same organizer of that backward movement plans another protest outside the White House on Sunday. I hope all my constituents will pay tribute to Heather's bravery and the cause for which she gave her life and remember, too, that the President of the United States said that there were "some very fine people on both sides." I am a cosponsor of theNational Opposition to Hate, Assault and Treats to Equality (NO HATE) Act (H.R.1566).



As always, I remain,

Most sincerely,

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress