October is Safe Sleep Awareness Month and Pregnancy & Infant Loss Month. In today’s episode, I have the pleasure of interviewing Alison Jacobson, the CEO of First Candle, an organization whose mission is to educate about safe sleep and also support those who have lost a child & she is amazing.

 Alison Jacobson has been involved with First Candle for over 20 years following the loss of her first son to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death in 1997. For six years she served on the Board of Directors and continued to play a role as spokesperson and consultant. 

Ms. Jacobson assumed the role of Executive Director/ CEO in 2016 and has since guided the organization through a rebranding and renewed focus on addressing the racial disparities in the rates of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths and how implicit bias and social determinants of health factor into these deaths. This led to the development of First Candle’s safe sleep and implicit bias training program for care providers, Straight Talk for Infant Safe Sleep, and their community-based parent education program Let’s Talk Chats for safe sleep and breastfeeding. Her collaborative work with organizations and agencies including the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association, Center for Black Women’s Wellness, the March of Dimes, the NICHD, HRSA, CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics has helped her forward the organization’s mission to get every baby to their first birthday. 

As a SIDS mom herself, providing bereavement support services to families who have experienced a loss is also a top priority for her. She personally works with families and oversees First Candle’s online support groups. 

Prior to her role in the child safety area, Ms. Jacobson was SVP at Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s largest PR firms, where she led business development initiatives for Fortune 500 companies and developed rebranding campaigns and launch programs for numerous consumer brands. 

Ms. Jacobson is the mom of four children, stepmom to another two, and caregiver for her husband with Multiple Sclerosis and son with intellectual disabilities. She also serves on the Board of STAR Inc., a not-for-profit organization serving individuals of all ages who have developmental disabilities. 


Episode Highlights:

  • What is SIDS & SUID?
  • Can it happen to you?….Yes.
  • How to set up a safe sleep environment
  • Resources & Support for new and grieving parents through First Candle
  • New Safe Sleep Resource Center
    • A Safer Sleep Resource Center provides families with easy-to-understand and practical tips on safe sleep.  There is also an area where families can ask questions of doulas, lactation consultants, and safe sleep experts.
  • How to become a Safe Sleep Guardian

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Podcast Episode Transcripts: