Jadah (Parks) Chatterjee ADN ’11 is on a mission to improve and save the lives of mothers and babies, one family at a time.
A practicing lactation consultant since 2015, Chatterjee formed her own business, Nurse Chatterjee, in 2016 so she could impact more families beyond her role as a maternal child health nurse at Kaiser Permanente. Also specializing in pregnancy and parenting education, Chatterjee has appeared as a guest expert on the show “The Doctor.”
“Ninety percent of people want to try to feed their babies human milk,” she says. “But not everyone is parenting as a woman. I call myself an infant feeding consultant, because I want to be inclusive of all parents, especially nontraditional families, like singles, adoptive parents and alternative couples. My goal is to see babies transferring milk to successfully aid in their first year of life.”
In addition to her regular job and running her own business, Chatterjee also serves on the board for hiBobbie, a woman-owned startup focused on infant feeding. She partnered with the startup company Loom, which initially provided birth and sex education in Los Angeles but has recently secured $3 million to move its services fully online. “Now I’ll be able to support families around the world!” she says.
In 2017, Chatterjee was an assistant manager of maternal child health at Kaiser, overseeing the department more than interacting with patients. But a serious look at the rates of Black maternal and infant mortality in California changed the trajectory of her life.
“If you look at statistics here in California across the socioeconomic and ethnic spectrum,” she says, “for every 1,000 Black babies born, 11 of them will die before their first birthday.” And the rate of maternal mortality, at three times that of all other races, is particularly dire for African Americans. Alarmed by this information, Chatterjee became an organizer and speaker at the Los Angeles county March for Moms for maternal health, which was held in conjunction with the Washington, D.C.-based organization's event (the latter has become an annual fundraiser, although no longer held in multiple cities). Shockingly, the United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality of any industrialized nation.
That same year, Chatterjee transferred out of her managerial role at Kaiser so she could be “in the trenches” as a staff nurse. And she has made a commitment to never leave a mother’s room without a baby-feeding strategy in place.
“Last week I had a mother who was COVID positive,” Chatterjee says. “The next day, I asked to continue her care, even though I had to wear extensive PPE (personal protective equipment), because I learned at the Mount that continuity of care matters. By implementing Sister Callista Roy’s Adaptation Model, I enhanced my patient’s experience of giving birth during the ongoing pandemic.”
Chatterjee knows she has found her calling. “My birthday is on World Breastfeeding Day,” she says with a smile. “If that is not divinity, I don’t know what is.”
NOTE: Chatterjee shared the following articles covering the topic of maternal and infant health in the United States:
Let’s Get Healthy California website: “California’s infant mortality rate is lower than the nation’s and has reached a record low”
Center for Health Journalism website: “How one California county slashed its black infant death rate — and then lost it all”
New York Times website: What’s Missing in the Effort to Stop Maternal Deaths