anet Meyers introduced Alisse Harris who visited us on behalf of Direct Relief in Santa Barbara. She grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley and received her Bachelors of Arts in Law and Society from UC Santa Barbara. Alisse spent several years in the Bay Area as a senior account executive at the San Francisco Chronicle and was active in the World Affairs Council while living in the city. Alisse and her husband married in 2007, and decided to move back to the Santa Ynez Valley to purchase their dream fixer-upper home in Solvang. Alisse spent 9 years in project management and decided to pursue her passion for helping people with a new role
as the Manager of the Campaign for Direct Relief in 2016. When Alisse is not spending her free time with her husband and 6 year old daughter Scarlett, she enjoys interior design, landscaping, gardening, swimming, reading, cooking, and walking her Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Alisse plans to share a little about Direct Relief and the mission to improve the health and lives of Mother’s and their children affected by poverty and emergencies.

Alisse told us that Direct Relief protects women through the critical periods of pregnancy and childbirth. This support includes ensuring more trained midwives are properly equipped, expanding emergency obstetric care in high-need areas, and supporting life-restoring surgeries for women who suffer the debilitating effects of obstetric fistula—a birth-related injury that affects
deeply impoverished women almost exclusively.

Pregnancy is often a time of joy and anticipation, but in developing countries, it can be a life-threatening condition. Most of the risks for pregnant women in developing countries are related to poverty, poor nutrition, a high burden of infectious disease, limited access to care, and the
lack of understanding about when to seek care.

  • A woman dies every two minutes from complications during pregnancy or childbirth—more than 250,000 women each year.

  • Direct Relief’s humanitarian health efforts place particular emphasis on protecting women and babies through the critical periods of pregnancy and childbirth.

    Direct Relief supports partners in countries around the world, including Rotary, who provide critically needed maternal and child health services during the full spectrum of pregnancy.

    Thank you Alisse for a very informative presentation. After many questions from our Club members, this will probably not be the last time we hear about Direct Relief! For more information about how Direct Relief is providing maternal and child health services, go to https:// www.directrelief.org/issue/maternal-health/