Nsedu Obot Whitherspoon is our July 2014 Mom on a Mission Finalist!
July 8, 2014
Nsedu Obot Witherspoon is Healthy Child Healthy World’s July finalist for our 2014 Mom on a Mission® award. As the Executive Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Network, she has dedicated her life’s work to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to experience healthy and safer childhoods. Read her first-person story below on how she became an advocate for children’s health.
By Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Executive Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Network
On June 4, 2012, my dear Uncle, Professor Emmanuel Obot, was killed along with all other passengers in the Dana Airlines crash in Lagos, Nigeria. That tragedy has had a huge impact on our family and my view of my purpose in life. My uncle ran all of the six nature conservatories in Nigeria and was an internationally recognized environmental health leader, researcher, and advocate. His passing has provided me with an even stronger passion and desire to do all that I can to protect children from harm and uplift them to their full potential.
Coming from a multicultural family with a strong emphasis on community service, I have always been taught to care and nurture those around me. My passion for providing care and assistance for children has always been a part of how I was raised. Although interested in medicine originally, I decided to focus on public health and started a career in maternal and child health. My passions and energy to provide science-based education, tools, resources, and support to communities in making informed decisions for their health and safety only grew stronger.
I could not have picked a more fitting organization to obtain my first job after earning my MPH in Maternal and Child Health than the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN). The mission of CEHN is to promote safe and healthy environments for all children. CEHN promotes this mission by supporting pediatric health research, and translating that science into our education and training programs while promoting child-safe policies. There was no doubt in my mind that I was where I should be. I began doing education outreach and communications. I spent four years as Deputy Director and have had the honor of serving as Executive Director for the last 10 years. I was quite humbled to receive the William K. Reilly Award this year from American University. During this journey, I was married and gave birth to 3 amazing children. Between my passion for providing a healthy and safe start in life for all children and watching first hand the benefits that those aspects have in the lives of my own children, I am driven each and every day to do all I can to support those around me in making a true difference.