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Grateful Parents Give Back Three-fold

March 13, 2018
The Bernsteins had such a wonderful experience delivering their first child, Elizabeth, at GBMC that they decided to give back. Joining the Parents Advisory Council on a friend's recommendation, they were not only able to serve an organization they were grateful to, but they were able to see the results of their philanthropy.

Then they were able to experience that impact first-hand with the birth of their twins.

"It was still a good experience, just a different experience," Dr. Deirdre Vaughn said on giving birth to their two boys at 32 weeks, five days. "But you also had some sort of solace in knowing you trusted where your children were being taken care of, that they were in good hands."

"That was where we really got a view of things," her husband, Dr. Joe Bernstein, said. "Between just the terrifying aspect of them being preemies, her having this emergency C-section and then them being in the NICU, it gave us a whole new window into what families have to go through."

Seven years later, Joe and Deirdre remain active and engaged co-leaders of the Parents Advisory Council's Giving Circle, and frequently speak to members – new and old – about the importance of the Council's role in serving GBMC's pediatric community.

"Over the years, we've been able to see what a group of parents together can fund and make happen," Joe said. "The more you see what you can do, the more you want to do it. It's tough with our age group when you're trying to get a group of parents together because, with life, it's not easy to be able to fit in time to do these events. The more people can see what their money does and what they are able to achieve, that encourages more enthusiasm for doing more."

The Parents Advisory Council brings together like-minded, young individuals and families who have had a direct experience with GBMC's maternal, newborn and/or pediatric services. In gratitude, members give back to GBMC programs that benefit these areas.

The Giving Circle within the Council asks each member to donate a minimum of $500, but many give more. The Council meets once a quarter to hear from physicians and leadership on areas or programs in need of support and the Council votes on where to distribute funds.

Both Deirdre and Joe were profoundly affected by a presentation given by Laura Clary, clinical program manager of GBMC's SAFE and domestic violence programs. The Parents Advisory Council was able to help fund an expansion of the program so more nurses could be certified to treat pediatric patients.

Though it was "rough thinking about the challenges facing people those situations," the Bernsteins felt rewarded in not only being able to fund the program, but also hear months later about the successful incarceration of a perpetrator based off forensic evidence collected during a SAFE exam at GBMC.

"So many people are blessed and lucky," Deirdre said. "They have healthy children, no bumps in the road, and so it's especially meaningful for us because we have had a little bump in the road where we recognize the value in having a facility like GBMC so close to us where we have so many specialists available in case there are any issues. Sometimes I think people are complacent about being healthy and it just takes one instance to think, 'life is so tenuous and maybe we should do a little bit more.'"

If you are interested in learning more about the Parents Advisory Council and their work, please contact Rachel Ladenson at 443-849-3765 or rladenson@gbmc.org.

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