Boston Medical Center (BMC) hosted First Lady Melania Trump on Wednesday afternoon, with the First Lady coming to hear about an innovative program at BMC that helps babies that are born addicted to opiates.
Specifically, he visit highlighted Boston Medical Center’s treatment programs for babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), as part of the First Lady’s Be Best initiative.
She was accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
“Be Best is dedicated to shining a light on programs similar to the ones I learned about today at Boston Medical Center,” said First Lady Melania Trump. “The programs implemented supply the necessary services and education to patients and families struggling with addiction. Thank you to Boston Medical Center for welcoming me today. It was evident that the care and compassion that the medical staff devotes to the patients and their families has a positive impact on the entire Boston community. I will continue to raise awareness about Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and promote the incredibly important resources and programs that provide families with the care and help they need.”
First Lady Trump met with leadership and staff from BMC during a roundtable discussion. The First Lady received a briefing on the hospital’s programs that center on the care of mothers and their children. Project RESPECT provides medically assisted treatment to nearly 200 women annually, creating a more stable environment for babies. Cuddling Assists in Lowering Maternal and Infant Stress (CALM) is a program that utilizes volunteers from within the community to hold babies with NAS, providing them comfort while decreasing their withdrawal symptoms when the child’s parent is not available.
The final program discussed was the Supporting Our Families Through Addiction and Recovery (SOFAR) Clinic. The SOFAR Clinic, launched in 2017, focuses on the wellness of a family during the recovery process. The program’s overall goal is to maintain the health of the family and to provide them with the education and resources they need to overcome the lasting effects of addiction.
The First Lady concluded her visit with a tour of Boston Medical Center’s Pediatric Unit. First Lady Trump met with children and families who are currently enrolled in the hospital’s recovery program, SOFAR, and learned about their experiences with NAS and opioid addiction.
The First Lady’s Be Best initiative has taken her to hospitals throughout the country and she has been dedicated to promoting community resources meant to help families affected by the opioid epidemic. She has visited hospitals and recovery centers such as Lily’s Place in West Virginia, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Roundtable Participants at BMC included:
•Secretary Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary
•Lauren Baker, First Lady of Massachusetts
•Kate Walsh, President and CEO of Boston Medical Center Health System
•Bob Vinci, MD, Chair, Chief of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center
•Aviva Lee-Parritz, MD, Chair, Chief Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston Medical Center
•Elisha Wachman, MD, Neonatologist at Boston Medical Center and Director of NAS/NOW Care
•Eileen Costello, MD, Chief of Ambulatory Pediatrics and Co-Director of SOFAR at Boston Medical Center
•Nancy Gaden, Chief Nursing Officer
The appearance by the First Lady did spark some protests by a few hundred nurses on the lawn by Harrison Avenue, many of whom carried homemade signs questioning the First Lady’s sincerity in caring about the children.
Traffic was also significantly affected in the neighborhood due to the heightened security surrounding the visit.