This commentary originally appeared in the Austin American-Statesman.
"I just have a passion for pregnant women,” says Jennifer Johnson.
The community health worker in the city of Austin’s Maternal and Infant Outreach Program explains: "I’m usually in a mom’s life for less than two years, including her pregnancy and the first year of her baby’s life — but those two years set them on track for the rest of their lives.”
State legislators meeting on Thursday for a hearing on birth outcomes could learn a lot from what Johnson sees in those two years.
Pregnant moms tell Johnson they want their kids to be healthy, get a good education, and go further than their parents. But more than anything, Johnson says, they just want their kids to be healthy.
"They’re nervous. They’re excited – at least most of them. They want to learn more about what they should do to have a healthy baby,” she says. "If they can’t get to a doctor, they go by...