The hard, often unseen, work of our early days brought support to hundreds of thousands of people. These relationships continue to bring opportunities to make more happy endings for families facing Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is not morning sickness. HG is defined as a potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease that may cause weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, and debility due to severe nausea and/or vomiting, and may cause long-term health issues for mother and baby(ies).
The very first hyperemesis gravidarum website on the internet was launched by Kimber MacGibbon, RN, in 2000 brought evidence based information to all who needed it. Ann Marie and Jeremy King found help from Kimber, and in 2002, the three founded the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation. Marlena Fejzo, PhD, geneticist and Research Advisor, and Aimee Brecht-Doscher, MD, Medical Advisor, became part of HER’s roots in those early years. HER forums supported thousands of people facing HG, and many of those individuals are core volunteers over a decade later.
HER research work began in 2000 with a patient survey, and our first peer reviewed study was published in 2007. This breakthrough study found that 83% of HG survivors experienced at least one negative psychosocial impact. In 22 years, HER collaborative research with USC and UCLA has published over 40 papers, was the first to find the increase in neurodevelopmental diagnoses in children exposed to HG in utero, and the first to find a genetic connection to HG. We are the only dedicated HG research team in the world doing genetic research on HG.
Our 2005 Congressional Briefing cosponsored by Congressman and Dr. Dave Weldon (FL-15) and Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31) come full circle with time spent with now HHS Secretary Becerra at ACOG 2022.
Our Board of Directors began in 2018. These sector leaders guide operations and programs which include crisis support services, patient and provider education, breakthrough research, awareness, and advocacy. Our newest and most famous Board member, Amy Schumer, was announced recently, and our Board Chair, Kelly Ryerson, MBA, has roots in HER’s support forums in the early days.
One of our long-time volunteers, Suzanne Drapeau, MFA, became our first part time staff member in 2019. With her help on social media, Kimber and the leadership team were able to focus attention on programming. This new role also meant more support and education for families and the opportunity to build friendships with the women at Hyperemesis Indonesia and HG Warriors, now Hyperemesis Africa Foundation, and a new partnership with the University of Michigan through HER’s Internship Initiative.
Building Relationships and a Stronger Movement
In 2020, HER launched the “1 MOM is 2 Many” campaign, a collaborative effort aiming to eradicate severe HG and its complications. 1 MOM program partners include African Health Now, Action on Preeclampsia Ghana, San Diego International Birthing Project. 1 MOM has created friendships with MMHLA, 2020 Mom, March for Moms, Stop the Clot, and TTTS.
Our Ambassador Council launched in 2021 brings a voice to those who may feel silenced. We are thankful for Aijia Grammer (who found HER because of Amy Schumer), Jen Jean-Pierre and Jermaine Maull, Kathryn and Andrew Romine, Letitia Hazella, Cindy Montoto, and Stella Escobedo and look forward to adding new voices in the future.
Time for Change: Next Steps
We have the people in place to create the changes needed. As the Global Voice of HG, the HER Foundation is committed to research, support, advocacy, and education, and we can’t wait to take the next steps in achieving our mission.
Our 2022 Program Partners
- Participate in HG research.
- Become an advocate.
- Make a gift to the HER Foundation.
- Share your story and support other HG moms.
- Become a HER Foundation volunteer.
- Blog about HG and show support for HER.
- Share resources with local health professionals and hospitals.
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