Celeste Phillips and the Velvet Underground: Does Maternity and Rock and Role have anything in common?

True revolutions happen over time – lots of time. They also have a starting place –some kind of specific event and key players. For example, The Velvet Underground is credited as one of the most influential bands of the 1960s in the United States, but before rising to critical acclaim, the band endured a launching phase that was anything but impressive. In fact, the Velvet Underground may have sold as little as 30,000 copies in its early years; however, many have said that each one of its albums led to a new band being formed. Today, much of what we call rock and roll can be traced back and attributed to this revolutionary group.

It seems realistic to say that every space has a “Velvet Underground” – a pioneer who paved the way for the state of the industry as a whole. In labor and delivery leadership and maternity, that individual is Celeste Phillips. At this moment it is fair to say that millions of mothers and babies have been touched by Celeste’s pioneering work.

Phillips – a well-known figure throughout the maternity care community has been recognized for her contributions and her body of work during her lifetime, a body of work which is still growing, by AWHONN, which is the largest association of obstetric nurses in the nation, and the Snowmass Institute, a strategic women’s health business conference devoted to the business of women’s health. These groups and others have pointed to the unique contribution which essentially is about delivering care to the mother and baby as a couplet to assure exceptional care both clinical and emotional which leads to an optimum experience.

Celeste dedicated a huge portion of her life toward creating and popularizing what is now known as mother/baby care in obstetrics. She conceived the concept of single room maternity (LDRP) and what is now called family-centered care in maternity – a concept that grew out of this model. Phillips is the single most influential person in maternity care delivery in modern obstetrics and has influenced the lives of more moms and babies than any other person in the 20th century. Those who have heard her speak have witnessed her unquestionable passion about the process and the experience of the new mom and baby, which is paramount. We are pleased to share an article in our library written by Celeste Phillips.

We are looking for more “Velvet Underground” thought leaders to join Phillips. It’s true that you never know what will catch on; however, one thing is abundantly clear: for an idea to catch on, it needs to have a format and it needs to have a stage. Whether it’s an article, a poster, a slide show or a video/Youtube presentation, we need your content to continue the revolution and feed other unique, innovative thought leaders in labor and delivery leadership and the Moms who carry the baby for 40 weeks, deliver the child, and then manage the care for long haul.

Celeste is an icon and a standard. She took the medical delivery of a child and refocused attention on the couplet, the mother and baby, and really became the first chief experience officer for maternity. I’m searching for the rest of the revolution that Celeste started.

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