Kelly Sweeney McShane: Improving Maternal and Infant Health in DC

For this edition of #MembershipMonday, we are shining the FC2 spotlight on Trustee Kelly Sweeney McShane, who is the President and CEO of the Community of Hope—a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping low-income DC residents, particularly those experiencing homelessness, and improving their health outcomes. The Community of Hope runs three healthcare facilities across the city, including the city’s only freestanding birth center. Maternal and child health is one of their core areas of focus.

It couldn’t be a more critical role. The District’s maternal and infant mortality rates are twice the national average, and it is a tragedy mostly among low-income African American women and children.

“Healthcare can be a great equalizer,” Kelly says. Plus maternal care should be a relatively easy public health problem to solve. Pregnancy lasts a very predictable nine months, which should be enough time for services to kick into gear for prenatal care, birth and postnatal care. “Maternity care is also a litmus test,” she adds, “of how we treat people with fewer resources.”

DC maternal and infant health will be the focus of the FC2’s upcoming Spring Board meeting over lunch on May 8. Guest panelists will include Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, who is the Director of DC Health and Ebony Marcelle, who runs the Community of Hope’s midwifery program. The moderator will be Maria Tildon, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Communications and External Affairs for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.

Kelly believes that the business community can push the city to do more on maternal health. “There is real power in thinking about how businesses, nonprofits and the government can work together to improve the city,” she says. “The more divided we are, the less likely we are to get to the right solution.”

Kelly understands how business acumen combined with civic passion can do great things. She learned early on that there are plenty of nonprofits with inspiring missions, but that those missions cannot be achieved without effectively managing the financial and human resources of an organization.

Kelly has been a member of the Federal City Council for over two years. She is a great example of how the Federal City Council operates, by being a force-multiplier of talented influencers who are passionate about the city. Kelly is a leader committed to the betterment of the District and we are grateful that she is bringing her passion to the Federal City Council.

Please read Kelly’s bio to get to know her more.