Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared October Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Julie Smith, who is a unit coordinator and bereavement counselor at the Sentara RMH Family Birthing Center, said more people should be aware of how common this loss is. Smith said 10 to 25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage, which is when an embryo or fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. She said pregnancy loss can occur for many reasons, common ones being the mother having high blood pressure, issues with the placenta, or knots in the umbilical cord.

“It’s the most devastating day of [the family’s] life, and they usually have no idea what to do or what to expect,” Smith said. “It doesn’t just affect the [parents]. It affects the entire family unit.” After a stillbirth, Smith said there is limited time families can spend with the child, but technology called a Cuddle Cot helps extend that time together. “A Cuddle Cot is a cooling device where the baby can stay in the room with the parents as long as they want. No time limit,” Smith said. “In the past, we would have to take the baby away because they would start to break down after being born. The Cuddle Cot extends that time they can have with their baby since that is the only time they will have.”

Without the Cuddle Cot, Smith said babies could only remain with the family for a few hours. Because this affects so many families, Smith said pregnancy and infant loss should be talked about more.

“People need to know this happens and it’s not taboo because a lot of your friends won’t say anything after you lose the baby because they’re afraid to upset you, but a lot of moms need to talk about it," Smith said. "They need to talk about the child that they had because they did have that child. They don’t anymore, but they did.” Smith’s advice to people who know someone suffering from a pregnancy or infant loss: reach out and show you care and support them.

“There are no specific words that you can say that can make it any better, just let them know you’re there and let them know that you care," she said.

10 Tips to Help You Grow Now

1. Just Chill

Schedule in 30 minutes of idle time each day next week. Don’t waste it on social media. Just be with yourself, alone, quietly, and let your creative ideas flow freely.

2. Give Thanks

You may feel like something has been taken from you by circumstances out of your control. The best remedy? Make a devoted effort to improve your gratitude for all that you still have.

3. Tell Yourself

We all have our backstories. But your past is only a positive influence if you frame the story correctly. Remind yourself of the greatness you’ve already accomplished.

4. Focus Internally

Make a short list of the most important things currently under your control. It won’t solve all the world’s problems, but keeping your focus on those things will help keep you centered.

5. Put Yourself First

In relationships, we all have a tendency to bend toward our counterpart. That’s fine unless we near a breaking point. If you feel like your dreams are being held back by someone else, it’s time for a frank discussion with them.

6. Think Critically

If you’ve got an entrepreneurial itch, but can’t ever seem to get started, your self-limiting beliefs may be an issue. Take some time to journal this weekend about your fears so you can tackle them.

7. Lift Her Up

Men and women alike, we all have a part to play in helping to encourage and promote more women (and women of color) into leadership. Consider someone you know who you can help.

8. Make Em’ Smile

Your teammates will work harder if they know you’ve got their back. Schedule in a weekly or monthly pleasant surprise to keep the rewarding feelings of happiness flowing.

9. Overcome Together

Self-pity can be debilitating. If you have a problem that seems to be slowing your pace, search for a mentor or coach who can help you through it. You don’t have to go alone.

10. Take Action

Now is the time to get serious about your personal growth. Consider each of the resources we’ve curated and make a commitment to improve your skill set.

Pharr to Receive $1.5M Federal Grant for Hiring of Firefighters

The city of Pharr was awarded a federal grant of $1,475,883.9

9 for the hiring of “front line” firefighters, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn announced today. The funding comes through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program (SAFER), which aims to increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in communities.

“As our first responders are handling unprecedented crises, the federal government should make sure they have every resource they need to keep Texans safe,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I’ll continue to do everything I can to support firefighters in Pharr.”

Health care professionals helping fight “modern slavery” of human trafficking

Health care professionals are helping fight human trafficking – also known as “modern slavery” – under recently-created Texas laws supported by the Rio Grande Valley state legislative delegation, reports DHR Health. Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including in Texas and the United States.

House Bill 2059, authored by Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, was passed during the 2019 legislative session, and became effective on Sunday, September 1, 2019. “I filed this bill, and I’m glad we got it passed because heath care providers are in a unique position to identify victims of human trafficking. House Bill 2059 is the first step in ensuring that health care professionals are knowledgeable of the signs that a patient is being trafficked and are adequately prepared to report such cases to help in our fight against human trafficking in Texas,” Blanco wrote in an email on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, to Reform Austin (RA) News. The author is the legislator who files a bill and guides it through the legislative process (also called the primary author). “With more trained eyes and ears, it is my hope we can save victims from their exploitation and make our communities safer,” Blanco’s email continued.

Anchored in southwest Edinburg, with a growing presence in neighboring McAllen, DHR Health offers some of the most comprehensive medical care on the U.S. southern border, with more than 1,400 nurses and 600+ physicians providing care in 70+ specialties and sub-specialties. DHR Health is the flagship teaching hospital for the UTRGV School of Medicine and encompasses a general acute hospital with the only dedicated women’s hospital south of San Antonio, a rehabilitation hospital, a behavioral hospital, more than 70 clinics Valley-wide, advanced cancer services, the only transplant program in the Rio Grande Valley – and the only functioning 24/7 Level 1 Trauma Center south of San Antonio. DHR Health is headquartered on a 130-acre site, with most of the facilities in southwest Edinburg but with a growing South Campus immediately across Owassa Road in northwest McAllen.

Human trafficking can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Supporters said the state law created by House Bill 2059 said:

• HB 2059 was approved to help Texas combat human trafficking by ensuring that health care providers are trained to identify and assist victims. Studies have found that there are an estimated 313,000 human trafficking victims in Texas and that an estimated 88 percent of trafficking victims surveyed report having come into contact with a health care provider while they were being trafficked; and

• By training physicians, nurses, and other licensed health care practitioners to spot the warning signs as part of their professional education requirements, they shall effectively assist victims in receiving care and escaping their traffickers. Without this training, practitioners may fail to recognize a human trafficking victim. By tying license and registration permit renewal to the completion of a human trafficking training course, the knowledge would ensure that health care practitioners could recognize human trafficking and assist victims.

The state law created by House Bill 2059 required health care practitioners, other than physicians and nurses, to complete a training course on identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking. Completing the course was a condition for the renewal of these health care practitioners’ licenses, and the course had to be approved by the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).Health care practitioners were not required to complete the required training course before September 1, 2020.


The state law created by House Bill 2059 required physicians who submit an application for renewal of a registration permit and who designate a direct patient care practice to complete the human trafficking prevention course approved by the HHSC’s executive commissioner. Completion of this course fell under the hours of continuing medical education required of license-holders. The Texas Medical Board was required to adopt rules to implement this requirement and designate the required course as a medical ethics or professional responsibility course for the purposes of complying with continuing medical education requirements.


As part of a continuing competency program, a nursing license holder who provides direct patient care is required to complete the human trafficking prevention course. The Texas Board of Nursing was required adopt rules to implement this requirement. The executive commissioner of Health and Human Services Commission must approve training courses on human trafficking prevention, including at least one free course, and post a list of the approved courses on its website. The executive commissioner will update this list as necessary and consider for approval training courses conducted by health care facilities. As soon as practicable after September 1, 2019, courses had to be approved and posted and the rules necessary to implement the training requirements for health care practitioners adopted.

Provisions of the law created by House Bill 2059 relating to continuing education programs for physicians and other license-holders would apply only to the renewal of a registration permit to practice medicine or nursing on or after September 1, 2020.

“Health care providers have a unique opportunity to become the first point of contact in identifying and connecting Texans who have been trafficked,” its website explains. “It is important to understand the dynamics of human trafficking, know what questions to ask when you suspect someone may be a victim and to have appropriate resources about available services to offer victims. It is vital for health care providers to take a thoughtful, approach to engaging patients. Creating a safe environment will help you identify trafficking indicators and help your patient.”

Local non-profit provides free mammograms all year round

It all started with a few breast cancer survivors meeting each other & supporting each other during chemo & radiation. When they finished chemo and radiation treatments, they would get together to celebrate LIFE. They later formed a breast cancer support group and would meet once a month. Together they started bringing awareness to schools and any church that would allow them to bring breast cancer awareness.

On 2013, +Melina Garcia-Silva (Mission, TX.), +Maricruz Bernal (McAllen, TX.) and Dolores "Loly" Ornelas(Edcouch, TX.), decided to take it a step further, so they started the process of becoming a nonprofit organization. On Dec. 2015 & Feb. 2018, Dolores Ornelas suffered the great loss of both Co-Founders, Melina Garcia Silva and Maricruz Bernal to Metastatic Breast Cancer.

Today, in honor of her Co-Founders, Dolores Ornelas continues with their mission by providing aid to low to middle income women across the Rio Grande Valley that do not have health insurance. Faithful Warriors Breast Cancer Support Group provides free mammo

grams NOT ONLY during October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but year round. Remember, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Early detection is the key to survival. Make your pledge and schedule your mammogram. Cancer does not discriminate against race, age or gender. Breast Cancer will strike anyone with or without a history of breast cancer in their family.

“Both of my parents, maternal grandmother, uncle & cousin passed away from cancer. Both my brother and sister were diagnosed with colon cancer. Knowingly, I chose to not do my annual mammograms because as a single parent, I put my family 1st. Women need to remember that if you do not love yourself enough to take care of yourself first, how can they expect to be there for their children. On December 12, 2011, I froze when my surgeon told me I had cancer. I did 6 months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiation & 1 year of once a week of a targeted therapy called Herceptin. “ says, Dolores. Now at age 63, and almost 9 years later, she is still cancer free.

Today, I challenge YOU to also take the pledge. Don't wait to feel a lump to act on it. Life is a blessing so DON’T TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED, schedule your mammogram.

Anyone in need of an application, may contact Dolores Ornelas by email to, website: or by calling at her at (956) 854-0127.

For donations, you can donate through our website or mail a check to: Faithful Warriors Breast Cancer Support Group, P.O. Box 1105, Edcouch, TX 78538. Together we can make a difference in someone else’s life.

Let Us Fight This Fight Together.

Legislation to Prevent Elder Abuse

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) cosponsored H.R. 8169, the Elder Abuse Protection Act, important legislation to prevent elder abuse and improve law enforcement’s ability to interact with and respond to senior citizens who may have been victims of fraud and financial exploitation. 

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center 2019 Internet Crime Report, the Center received over 68,000 complaints from victims over the age of 60 with adjusted losses in excess of $835 million. This is especially important in the wake of COVID-19, which many experts have found has led to a significant increase in the number elder abuse cases. 

“A society is judged by how it treats its elders,” said Congressman Gonzalez. “Unfortunately the data shows that seniors in nursing homes and care facilities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and abuse during the pandemic. I am proud to cosponsor the Elder Abuse Protection Act because we must take care of our senior citizens and give law enforcement the tools to identify and react to elder abuse when it happens.”

The Elder Abuse Protection Act of 2020 would: