Joy Burkhard: California Mother of Achievement
// By Jacqueline Brennan
As founder and executive director of 2020 Mom, Joy Burkhard’s work to increase and improve maternal mental health awareness, diagnosis, and treatment is well known. In 2016, Independent Sector highlighted Joy’s work and organization in a story about strong champions for women and children.
As an early registrant for our inaugural Upswell In Los Angeles last year, we learned even more about Joy and her organization’s work to engage stakeholders and thought leaders in driving change in public policy, communities, and states to support expecting and new moms.
So it goes without saying that we were thrilled, but not at all surprised to learn that Joy was recently recognized by American Mothers as a California Mother of Achievement. American Mothers highlights the impact moms make in their communities and around the world; serves as a platform for education and idea-sharing at their annual convention in Washington, DC; and seeds philanthropic efforts that benefit mothers and children in communities around the country.
We checked in with Joy to get her thoughts on this wonderful honor and catch up on 2020 Mom’s latest efforts.
Q: What does it mean to you to be recognized by American Mothers as a California Mother of Achievement who is making an impact outside of your own family?
JB: It’s a true honor to be recognized American Mothers. The organization was founded by several pioneering women, including Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman who continues to be an inspiration to so many of us.
Q: 2020 Mom held a Mom Congress in May in Washington, DC Can you talk about the important role of advocacy in helping you achieve your mission?
JB: It is critical that each of us understand that government is here to serve us, and to feel comfortable getting engaged in government. Most of us have no idea where to begin or are concerned that we might seem like novices. On the heels of such a powerful year for women being heard, I knew 2020 Mom had to build a wider coalition of nonprofit partners and bring the voices of mothers to Washington, DC.
Q: As an attendee of the inaugural Upswell in Los Angeles in November, were there activities or interactions with other changemakers that impacted how you approach your work?
JB: I was interviewed by David Brooks of The New York Times about community. It struck a chord with me – in a very good way. This year I want to help build community in a more powerful way. Not just at a convening (which we have been doing and doing pretty well), but in a more meaningful way for all of our stakeholders. We serve both moms through TheBlueDotProject and Mom Congress platforms, and also health systems and providers through 2020 Mom. We’re also exploring how to build community through tech and live solutions for both of these communities (and how to fund it).
Q: If you could wave a wand, what one change would you make that would have the greatest impact on how we think about maternal mental health care?
JB: The crisis we are facing with women dying surrounding childbirth in the U.S. should cause us all to pause and realize this is insight into our health care system and the health of our society. This insight shouldn’t be taken lightly.