Make Preeclampsia History

A visual approach to understand patient experiences from the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine & Preeclampsia Foundation

Last Updated on January 04, 2024

We cannot make a meaningful impact on improving care without engaging and listening to the individuals and communities affected by preeclampsia.


In 2021, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) partnered with the Preeclampsia Foundation (PF) for the SMFM President’s Workshop on Preeclampsia led by Dr. Judette Louis. In addition to talking about the state of preeclampsia research and clinical care practices, the workshop integrated lived patient experiences through a series of four videos featuring the voices of real patients.

From that workshop, three joint SMFM and PF task forces were convened to explore various ways to move preeclampsia research and healthcare practices forward – with the involvement of patients at the center.

One of these work groups, led by Jacqueline Parchem, MD, of UTHealth Houston, focused on understanding research priorities.

“We did a ton of brainstorming about how to really transform research and improve the way that preeclampsia is diagnosed, treated, and managed,” said Dr. Parchem. “Our team proposed that we launch a social media campaign to curate feedback from the patients, researchers, and clinicians who have a stake in changing preeclampsia outcomes.”

In March 2022 for Women’s History Month, the work group launched a social media campaign called #MakePreeclampsiaHistory. The campaign asked providers and patients provocative questions about the state of preeclampsia research and care practices to generate discussion.

One of the questions posted during the campaign asked patients: “What do you wish your doctor or OB told you about preeclampsia?” The patient community's answers were powerful – so powerful that Dr. Parchem and the work group knew the output had to be something innovative.

What-do-you-wish_MakePreeclampsiaHistory-question.jpg (126 KB)

“As a patient advocacy organization, the Foundation's team often reflect that patients are the only ones always in the room where care is experienced,” said Preeclampsia Foundation Director of Communications Laney Poye. “The community responses that our teams received to this specific social media question reflected the fears and uncertainties, but also triumphs, that patients felt during their preeclampsia experience.”

The work group contracted with artist Ashanti Gardner, a visual practitioner and design thinker, who was know for her ability to capture and sketch complex ideas and narratives through visual storytelling. She created a vision of these patient statements that reflected the complexity of what preeclampsia patients wish they had known.

The results were powerful.

Ashanti_Graphic_1.png (424 KB)

Ashanti also visualized answers from patients about what they experience in terms of signs and symptoms of preeclampsia.

Ashanti_Graphic_2.png (416 KB)

The goal was to create something that captured the voices of the patients in a visual way that could be shared and made available to all.

The public is welcomed and encouraged to grab and share the visual resources on their own social media channels to help educate others about preeclampsia and the patient experience: Social Media Graphics

About the Artist:

Ashanti-headshot.jpg (620 KB)Ashanti Gardner ( is a visual practitioner, design thinker, and illustrator, known for her ability to capture complex ideas and narratives through visual storytelling. As a visionary, Ashanti has developed a generative style for transforming data and concepts, discussions, and presentations into engaging and memorable visual representations. Whether she is capturing the voices and stories of community conversations, conferences, or creative brainstorming sessions, her visuals become a powerful tool for sense making, communication, and comprehension.

Ashanti’s collaboration with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Preeclampsia Foundation marks a significant milestone in the realm of visual storytelling and medical advocacy. Through their joint efforts, they have crafted poignant illustrations that amplify the patient voice and shed light on the preeclampsia journey.

By incorporating data collected from patient voices, Ashanti illustrates a narrative that captures the experiences, challenges, and emotions faced by individuals impacted by preeclampsia. Her artistic talent makes these illustrations a powerful means of raising awareness and fostering empathy.


Thanks and acknowledgements


Our gratitude to Dr. Judette Louis, SMFM President (2020-2021) and Preeclampsia Foundation CEO Eleni Z. Tsigas for their leadership and vision for this project, and for the many contributions of the 2021 SMFM President’s Workshop Research Work Group members, including Dr. Layan Alrahmani, Dr. Sarah Rae Easter, Anna Hall, Dr. Jasmine Johnson, Dr. Jacqueline Parchem, Laney Poye, Dr. Amber Samuel, Dr. Amir Shamshirsaz, Dr. Lauren Theilen, Dr. Arthur “Jason” Vaught, Kerri Wade, and Dr. Tenisha Wilson to the success of this project. Our largest thanks go to the Preeclampsia Foundation patient community for whom we do this work – you are the inspiration and the drive for researchers to solve this preeclampsia puzzle. Thank you!

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