We had the good fortune of connecting with Whitney Stuard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Whitney, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?

Cradled With Love is a nonprofit I created after working at Parkland Hospital as an undergraduate student. I learned about kangaroo care, a method of holding a child allowing increased skin-to-skin contact. This method has been shown to have health benefits for both the child and the mother. I also learned about baby wraps that create a baby carrier for kangaroo care and allow mothers to hold their children’s hands free. Unfortunately, these wraps are exceptionally expensive ranging from 50-200 dollars in stores. Many of the patients I was seeing could not afford a baby wrap and were therefore not able to enjoy the luxury and health benefits it provides. As a student I knew I wanted to help, I have been taught all my life to support and provide for others the best way I can. So, I invented Cradled With Love, a nonprofit organization working with volunteer high school students to create baby wraps, which are then donated to clinics and hospitals in DFW. At this point, we have donated over 1000+ baby wraps to mothers in DFW and hope to continue our mission. The passionate, diligent work of our members and volunteers will help provide health benefits to hundreds of new families.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I am a MD/PhD student at UT Southwestern Medical Center here in Dallas. While fostering my passion for volunteering and service throughout my high school and undergraduate career, I also developed a fervor for discovery as I have progressed through my scientific graduate school training. I found that STEM was another way to help affect positive, long-term change in the world. The Medical Scientist Training Program at UTSW has allowed me not only to pursue my interest in medicine but also my interest in scholarship as well. This past year, I was awarded three grants and the “Tylenol Healthy Futures Scholarship” national award, published multiple papers, and was honored with the opportunity to present my research at various conferences. 

Nevertheless, I am always on the search for new ways to tie my ambitions in science to my involvement in the greater community. One of my biggest recent accomplishments was winning the Texas Medical Association student of the year award for 2021, which recognizes my advocacy work in medicine. Furthermore, this year with the pandemic, I was able to kickstart novel projects that catered to virtual learning gaps created by a mass transition to online systems. The Schweitzer Fellowship and mini-grant I received helped me fund a 20-week virtual STEM Empowerment and Education Course, which promotes STEM to 250 female and minority students in DFW.

Throughout my academic career, I have been an advocate in my university to improve medicine for both doctors and their patients. Simply put, my mantra is productivity, and this is what I exemplify in all my work.

Overall, I am energetic; I have enormous determination, dedication, and decisiveness to each of my projects and am constantly striving to move forward. I reiterate to my mentee students who I try to empower that my career path is not easy but is incredibly rewarding. I always try to fill my day with a mix of activities to keep myself motivated and prevent burn-out. For example, I make sure to work-out each day to clear my mind, complete my research and experiments, and do fun activities such as checking baby wraps or teaching another virtual STEM session for my students. If I were to give a student advice, I would say that you can do anything you set your mind to, and that there are always ways you can help your community if you listen and watch.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

For food, Trinity Groves is my go-to spot! At Beto and Sons, they make a Liquid Nitrogen Margarita that is always a lot of fun to see being created. In addition, walking around Trinity Trail is always enjoyable permitting the weather is cool. Finally, picnicking at the Arboretum in Dallas is a beautiful time. Late at night, I always crave Fuel City Tacos and the Elote they have outside!

One of my favorite activities is being able to run or bike on White Rock Lake. I do most of my marathon training there! Kellers’ burgers near there is also where I grab a bite after a long run.

My favorite spot in the entire city is Reunion Tower. the view is spectacular and is always a wonderful dining experience.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

National Charity League – This group has continued to support me throughout my volunteering endeavors. As a past Ticktocker, this group showed me how rewarding volunteering and helping your community can be. I am forever grateful to my mother involving me in this group back in high school. The volunteers who work with us from NCL are always exceptional and do a fantastic job. I would never have been able to provide the large number of baby wraps that we have without their support.

UT Southwestern Medical Center – Without my shadowing experience at UT Southwestern as a undergraduate, I would never have learned about kangaroo care and all of its outstanding benefits. In addition, as a medical student at UT Southwestern, the school has always been supportive of my volunteering endeavors and actively encourage all their students to be involved within the community.

My family – I always must ensure to thank my family. I check each wrap individually prior to donation and they have been patient during the times I have taken over the majority of the house with boxes of wraps. Both my mother and my sisters have continually helped me to successfully organize, pick-up, and pack wraps for donation.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/whitneystuard/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/whitney-stuard-81338791

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stuardwhitney?lang=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cradledwithlove/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIemvNXdr5RkP17L1ce7Rfg

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