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Hancock and Rini elected to leadership positions in nursing organization

Dr. Mary Hancock and Dr. Elizabeth Rini

Two nursing faculty members were recently elected to key leadership positions in the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).

Dr. Mary Hancock, associate professor of nursing, was elected chair of the West Virginia section and Dr. Elizabeth Rini, associate professor of nursing, was elected secretary/treasurer to a term beginning January 1, 2019. Rini, whose research has focused on women’s childbirth experience, first became a member of AWHONN in 1980. Hancock, whose specialty area is obstetrics, has been a member since 1991.

“AWHONN’s mission is to promote the health of childbearing women and their newborns as well as women throughout the lifespan,” Hancock said.

AWHONN members receive two peer-reviewed journals per year and the opportunity to help formulate and promote health policy.

“There are challenges in childbirth and issues related to childbirth all over the country, and I think one big issue in West Virginia revolves around the opioid crisis and babies born to addicted moms,” Rini said. “Participating in AWHONN offers an opportunity to help improve healthcare for these moms and babies.”

“We see a lot of drug-addicted women giving birth with no prenatal care because of their fear of judgment and not wanting to be sent to jail, which would not be the case,” added Hancock. “I think there needs to be some education around providing women nonjudgmental care.”

Hancock and Rini said one major goal for AWHONN is increasing membership in the West Virginia section.