The T. Rae Dismuke Award is presented each year to a GPA member who exemplifies the work, mission, and values of Georgia Perinatal Association. As we celebrate GPA’s 40th anniversary and 33rd annual conference it must be acknowledged that GPA is nothing without its members, the work you do, and the lives you touch. The 2019 recipient is Jodi Hudgins.
About Jodi Hudgins. Born and raised in Ohio. BSN from University of Cincinnati, MSN from Medical College of Georgia. Transplanted to GA in 1992. Very fortunate to be married to James for over twenty years, a very dear and patient man. Mother of a blended family, 2 of my own, and 2 of his. Blessed to be grandmother of 6 with 1 due at the end of August. A long career as a nurse has always included elements of women’s, perinatal and family health. Working with families experiencing perinatal loss led me to help develop the hospital’s Perinatal Loss support group, then to Labor and Delivery. In 1990 she was fortunate to be a part of the team to help plan and transition to a women’s health pavilion that included 24 LDRP, 20 bed antepartum unit, 55 bed NICU, and 4 bed OBICU. This hospital was a regional center, where and she was part of the maternal air-transport team. A move to Augusta, GA in 1992. First job in Augusta was as an OB Educator at the Medical College of GA. After working at MCG, then another local hospital, she began working for “soft” money. A HRSA funded Healthy Start grant. The role there included community wide, staff, and direct patient education. The focus of the program and underlying education and community support was to reduce infant mortality and disparities in birth outcomes. Moving from an inpatient environment to a public health domain was not without challenges. Involvement in professional organizations such as AWHONN, GPA, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of GA, and the CSRA Breastfeeding Coalition were important in developing knowledge, and maintaining commitment to perinatal care. Activities in these groups have continued to provide personal and professional growth opportunities that stimulate thinking outside my lane. Jodi has been blessed with opportunities to learn and be trained to teach Infant Massage, Better Brains for Babies and the ASQ/ASQ-SE Child development screening. The commitment to the health and improved birth outcomes for infants, mothers and their families has always provided the challenge to think outside the box. It is important to understand that families have different needs, incentives and interests that move them along their continuum. I have been very fortunate in my career to learn from experts, and to be mentored by colleagues with a passion to match my own. My current environment has brought me back full circle. Now back to an inpatient setting, providing nursing education, and helping launch new nurses as professionals, I can only hope they are as blessed to have a long, challenging and rewarding career.