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Featured Mochapreneur

Janell Mayo Duncan, Founder of Living Well Black, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

 


Most of us came to Mocha Moms after careers in fields that might not have made being an at-home Mom an obvious choice. Mocha Janell Mayo Duncan is not different, but this mother of two teenagers is using her professional experience to make real change and help all of us do the same.

While serving as Senior Counsel to the nonprofit group that publishes Consumer Reports magazine, Janell Mayo Duncan began to collect information on racial and ethnic disparities for issues ranging from chronic diseases to housing discrimination and predatory lending. Of particular concern to her was the increased likelihood of harm to minority children -- particularly African American children -- from unintentional injury (including product-related injuries).  In 2007, she read an article in an issue of Pediatrics titled, “Twenty-Year Trends in Fatal Injuries to Very Young Children: The Persistence of Racial Disparities.”  In addition to other harms, the article stated that minority children had higher injury risk from falls, residential fires, suffocation, drowning and poisoning.  The article gave no concrete reasons for the disparities, nor did it clarify where and how these incidents were taking place.  

The disparities were disturbing, and Janell worked with her colleagues and Congressional staff to advocate for a better understanding of the scope of these harms.  She also reached out to the media to inform them of our concerns.  Those efforts resulted in Section 107 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, a provision requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess disparities in the risks and incidence of preventable injuries and deaths among certain minority children.  The GAO released its report in August 2009.  The CPSC issued a response, and increased its outreach to minority community gatherings and media outlets.

About a year after President Obama first took office, she joined the Consumer Product Safety Commission as a political appointee to serve as Counsel and then Senior Counsel to the Chairman of the Commission.  It was a great experience, however, she knew she wanted to start an organization to advocate on behalf of African Americans to address the disparities -- and narrow the gap.  With that goal in mind, she left the Commission and has been working since 2012 to grow Living Well Black, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to bring important consumer health and safety information to the African-American community.  The initial focus of the website, http://www.livingwellblack.org, is on issues affecting women and children.  


In addition to the website, she has been working to educate local groups of expecting and new moms on ways to keep their babies healthy and safe by presenting to them product safety, choking prevention, car safety, and other health and safety information.  In addition, she recently started a project to create “starter baskets” for 200 expectant and new moms participating in local programs designed to decrease infant mortality among African American infants.  The baskets will contain products including baby proofing equipment, and a thermometer to ensure a safe bathwater temperature to prevent scalding.

Thank you, Mocha Janell, for all you do. Your work is inspiring!

If you know of a fabulous Mocha who is doing great things at home and beyond, please send us a write-up and a picture at mochapreneurs@mochamoms.org and look for her to be highlighted in upcoming Mocha Mondays. Be sure to put MOCHAPRENEUR in the subject line!

No solicitations, please! This is not for advertising purposes! We are not looking to bombard our Moms with solicitations. It is solely for the purposes of highlighting and supporting our Mochapreneurs and inspiring those Mochas who are interested in similar endeavors. 


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