What we do | Who we are
Maternl©, a division of Hygeia Health Systems LLC1, provides unique software programs developed specifically to offer opportunities and advantages to improve gaps and disparities in prenatal health care for women and their families, world-wide.
Maternl© addresses access to maternal and child healthcare and is particularly focused on disparities to early entry into prenatal healthcare services, in an effort to reduce associated prematurity, neonatal and infant mortality. Maternl© provides important tools to monitor each pregnancy's progress, better understand the providers' care, and offers assistance to access maternal and child healthcare services and resources. Maternl© comforts and supports all pregnancy and newborn related concerns, particularly should one have a miscarriage or very complicated pregnancy that might end with a pregnancy loss, stillbirth or neonatal death. Unique to Maternl© is the opportunity to re-dedicate an original poem to honor their child (or for someone else's child ) and download this personalized, signed poem. One may select a poem written and rededicated for the loss of a pregnancy or newborn or a poem for other occasions to honor, eulogize or celebrate occasions that might be appropriate for the user or for their friends, family or colleagues. This is a free service of Maternl©but contributions can be made through GoFundMe to help sustain the mission of Maternl©. Maternl© strives to improve maternal and fetal health, experiences and outcomes, in a milieu of empathy, compassion, advocacy and trust by addressing gaps, disparities and unmet needs in care by promoting the universal adoption of one standard of maternal care for all.
Maternl© is founded on the premise that the use of new technologies that advance science and innovation in maternal and child healthcare can also address age-old human values and lessons necessary for healing and well-being. The programs of Maternl© provide a platform to inform, educate and monitor the progress of the user's pregnancy through its Personal Prenatal Health Record while embracing language, communication and the vital tenets of 'humanism' to offer unique resources to improve the dimension of caring for all mothers. Maternl© provides original content and applications, authored, designed and monitored by the founder, an Obstetrician with a career-long committment to and practice in obstetrics, maternal and women's health and contributions from the Maternl© advisory board, selected for their life's work, expertise and values inherent in our mission.
1 Hygeia Health Systems, LLC, symbolic of the Greek mythological goddess of health and healing for which it is named, represents a concern for the human dimension of healthcare and medicine, the use of new technologies to share age-old lessons, the development of software programs to improve quality, safety, empathy, compassion and physician-patient engagement and a concern to address disparities in access to and outcomes of care, domestically and internationally.
To Address pregnancy care and well-being with empathy, trust, and social justice by addressing disparities and unmet needs in care for vulnerable and underserved families and communities including the:
"The physicians of the Hippocratic era called medicine 'The Art'. They knew that the care of their fellows was an act of creativity. They also recognized that each patient and his or her physician form a bond that is unique unto itself. That bond is the foundation upon which healing takes place." 1
Moses Maimonides, "the most important Jewish philosopher of the Middle Ages" wrote "The eternal providence has appointed me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures... my lofty aim of doing good to Thy children...may I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain" 2
Both citations above speak of patients as "fellows" and "human[sic] creatures and children...". This must commit us who have taken the "Oath" to practice our sacred profession of medicine with an imperative to respect the sanctity of life and health for all those we treat-with a sense of high privilege- for they are the flesh and blood and souls of all humanity - past, present and future-and we, by our choice, their guardians.
There is no place for bias or prejudice or disparate care in our healthcare systems. I have tried in my half-century of caring for patients to follow this philosophy. Now, no longer in clinical practice, I have turned my passion and energies to creating this platform, Maternl©.
A brief personal thought:
"I am first a physician, a distant disciple of Aesculapius and Hippocrates3; a clinician, a teacher, and a student. I am an Obstetrician. I stand before my patients4 and facilitate their births. I share their joys; I feel their pains. Yet, caring for the well-being and the illnesses of patients and their families is to accept that medical science in all its depth and possibilities is not precise and that the human mind and flesh are perishable. We are today steeped in myriad medical technologies that in themselves bring hope to previously hopeless conditions and pathologies. Yet there remains inexorable suffering which accompanies failures and tribulations not only of these new medical technologies but of pervasive disparities which exist to deny access to and recipient of one standard of care for all, disparities defined by the social determinants of health:5 the paradox of our societies to both cure and cause pain which is real and evident.
I believe that we as practitioners and guardians of humanity's health, have been granted by oath and by ethic the privilege to examine and treat, to counsel and advise our fellow human beings and we must never abandon the souls of all patients seeking our care. It is my hope that Maternl© will propagate and preserve these tenets. "
Going forward (l)
Today are times of much despair
Yet times of great hope
To affirm our oath
As unfiltered reason and purpose
Rush in our blood
Every pulse a wave
Approaching distant shores
To leave our prejudice behind
To fade into vapors
As common as fog
And guide us to plant
Roots to bond our humanhood and
Vines to grow our brotherhood
As we go forth into tomorrow.
Michael R Berman, MD, MBI, FACOG
1 Sherwin Nuland, MD. From Preface, Parenthood Lost. Berman, 2001.
2 Excerpted from Dalhousie University Libraries: https://dal.ca.libguides.com/c.php?g=256990&p=1717827
3In Greek mythology, "Aesculapius, son of Apollo, the god of healing, was a famous physician. Hippocrates, was a member of the Asclepiadae- priest physicians whose origins may be traced to the mythical personage, Aesculapius"
4Obstare from the Latin meaning "To Stand before"; the root word of Obstetrics
5 "The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries." https://www.who.int/social_determinants/sdh_definition/en/
6 A poem defined by our times, September, 2020.
We believe in the values of social justice
As previoulsy stated we are concerned with and address disparities and unmet needs in maternal and child health care for vulnerable and underserved families and communities, world-wide and specifically pregnancy-related social injustice concerns: racial disparities, unconscious bias, the disenfranchised and vulnerable, hunger, homelessness / lack of shelter and access to ( pre-natal) health care.
A personal pregnancy health record (PPHR) with each and every entry stored at Maternl© and sent to the user by email to archive in your private email account including your prenatal health information, your visits with your provider, your daily baby kick counts and entries to personal diary. Users whose entries contain abnormal findings or concerning symptoms will be alerted to suggest follow-up with your provider. Users who identify their need for essential social services such as sheter / housing, food, transportation and utilities will be directed to appropriate resources.
You will be able to print a personalized letter of introduction to a center for pre-natal care and women's health with our "Get Care: Get The Healthcare You Deserve" program (currently on in the United States). Maternl© believes that all families must be able to enter and be embraced by a healthcare system. Through its 'GetCare' program, Maternl© can provide not only help with finding and access to pre-natal care centers and resources, but Maternl© fosters advocacy and personalized direction to these centers by providing a letter of introduction to the center so dignity and respect can be realized and essential pre-natal care services be obtained.
A place for comfort, empathy, support and hope if you should experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death including original writings, poems, sharing and bereavement resources and excerpts from Dr. Berman's book: Parenthood Lost.
"Though strangers we may be, we are all connected by the loss of a child,
and that makes us all soulmates..."
( from a Maternl / Hygeia user )
Here you may read, request and receive a personalized, original poem of birth, loss, hope and other themes of human thoughts and feelings.
This program enables the user to rededicate an original, personalized poem written by Dr. Berman, a physician-poet, to a loved one or friend or a poem to keep for oneself as a remembrance or celebration and the ability to select the poem to download and print which is personalized, signed and rededicated for you to have and share.
"Poetry enables me to ask why even when we already understand how. It permits me as a Doctor of Medicine, witness to the frailties of our humanity, to abet healing through the very core of what makes us human, our language and our personal emotions."
( M.Berman )
This program offers a private space for the registered user to memorialize thoughts and reflections and a public space, moderated by the Maternl© team. Here, you - including but not limited to healthcare professionals, students and patients - will find a place to document and share personal reflections, essays, stories and commentaries that reflect perspectives on maternal and child healthcare, including humanism, ethics and the importance of trust: the hallmark of the doctor-patient relationship as well as thoughts and teachings about our patients when they die or are incurable: the ultimate challenge to the bond of patient with doctor. Each entry is also emailed to the registered user.
It is our hope Maternl© will join the strivings and sucesses of other highly respected, in-kind organizations devoted to the health and well-being of all mothers and families, complementing each's humanistic values and missions to improve the healthcare of those at-risk, vulnerable and disadvantaged families, world-wide. Complementary organizations include:
Michael R. Berman, MD, MBI, FACOG
Founder, President and CEO
A division of Hygeia Health Systems, LLC
P.O Box 3674
Woodbridge, Connecticut 06525
to help support our mission at