As Founder and Executive Director of The Skye Foundation, Nicole Alston’s mission is as heartfelt as it is hard-won. The New Jersey-based nonprofit organization was established in memory of Nicole’s firstborn daughter, Skye, in 2005. Skye’s sudden death deluged Nicole in grief. In seeking a new “normal,” her life’s work was revealed. Drawing on experiential knowledge, Nicole has spoken to audiences internationally about providing comprehensive psychosocial support for families who are grieving the death of a baby. Nicole’s story has been shared in Essence and Parents magazines, the Amsterdam News, on radio, Hallmark television’s New Morning Show, and a host of local venues. In 2006, she produced a video about bereaved parents and their grief experience, interspersed with commentary from the medical community. Nicole serves on various state and national boards, focusing on improving birth outcomes and providing compassionate care to families experiencing reproductive loss: the Northern New Jersey Maternal Child Health Consortium, the Black Infant Mortality Reduction Resource Center Advisory Board, and on the national expert panel of the African American Faith-Based Initiative. Passionately driven, Nicole addresses standards of care for bereaved women and families coping with reproductive loss. “Physicians, nurses and the health care system at-large play a vitally important role. What is done and said in moments of acute grief can either set families in motion toward healing, or make an already arduous journey much more difficult,” Nicole explains. Currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Columbia University, Nicole hopes to continue to explore her twin research interests, reproductive loss and suicide, particularly among those who are disproportionately affected by adverse birth outcomes. Reach Nicole at [email protected] or through one of her website -- http://www.theskyefoundation.org or www.complicatedgrief.org.
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