About the Hygeia Foundation

Our Mission

The Hygeia Foundation is a community of women and men who grieve the loss of a pregnancy or infant. Through peer support, burial assistance, education, and awareness initiatives, we provide connections, comfort, and care to those who have experienced the loss of a baby.

Our Vision

The Hygeia Foundation supports women and men who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant. Guided by our values of compassion, acceptance, empathy, respect, and inclusion, we are committed to ensuring that no one who has lost a baby must grieve alone.

Losing a much-wanted baby can feel like being plunged into darkness. Finding your way out of that darkness is no simple task, but it is made easier when others extend their hands to help. As bereaved women and men ourselves, we reach out our hands to all those who grieve the loss of a baby, and we walk out of the darkness together. Honoring and remembering our babies all the while, we can help each other through our grief, and we can find light and hope in our lives once more.

Our Programs

We work to achieve our mission through three programs:

  • Bereavement Support of women and men who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant. We provide free monthly peer-led support groups in various locations in Connecticut, one-on-one support via e-mail and phone, online support, a bereavement resource lending library, and many other services. More information about these services can be found on our Support page.
  • Burial Assistance to low-income Connecticut parents who have lost a baby but cannot afford the cost of a burial or cremation. Referrals for this program come to us from local hospitals. Please contact us for more information.
  • Outreach and Educational Programs for Professionals to raise awareness among medical and other professionals of the effects of pregnancy and infant loss on families. By fostering discussion between bereaved patients/clients and professionals, we help professionals gain insight into the experiences of those who have lost a baby. For more information about our educational programming, please visit our Professionals page.

2014-2016 Strategic Plan

The Hygeia Foundation has grown rapidly in recent years, from a handful of volunteers and one monthly peer-led support group meeting in New Haven, Connecticut, to an organization now working to meet the needs of bereaved women and men, and their caregivers, in locations across Connecticut. Even more growth is just in front of us. To ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our community as we grow, and to ensure that we move forward in a deliberate and thoughtful fashion, we embarked on a strategic planning process in 2013.

Over the course of this planning process, we mapped out a three-year strategic plan, covering the years 2014-2016. We identified five strategic priorities that will guide our work for these three years, ensuring that we are able to provide high-quality services to more and more people every year, for years to come:

  • Program Development and Expansion: Expand the depth and breadth of our programming for women and men in Connecticut who grieve the loss of a pregnancy or infant.
  • Public Awareness: Improve the community’s awareness of our programs and of the impact of pregnancy and infant loss on families.
  • Volunteer Development: Strengthen our volunteer corps through recruitment, training, team-building, and recognition.
  • Board Development: Ensure high-quality governance throughout our future.
  • Fundraising: Support our programs through long-term financial planning.

You may read our strategic plan here. If you would like to learn more about our strategic plan, please contact our Executive Director, Gillian Eversman, at gillian.eversman@hygeiafoundation.org. We welcome your interest, advice, and assistance as we work toward achieving the goals in our plan. Together, we can help all families who have experienced the terrible loss of a pregnancy or infant.

Our History

The Hygeia Foundation, named for Hygeia (high-JEE-uh), the Greek goddess of health and healing, was founded in 1995 by Michael R. Berman, MD. For several years, we offered our services primarily online through message boards and other resources available on our website. In 2007, we began providing in-person support services when we initiated our Bereavement Support program in New Haven, Connecticut. This program began with one monthly peer-led support group for parents who had lost a pregnancy or infant; we also began providing one-on-one, peer-to-peer support via e-mail and phone. Since then, we have expanded our support services to include support groups in several locations in Connecticut, widespread one-on-one support, a bereavement resource lending library, and many other services. As we expanded our Bereavement Support program, we also established our Burial Assistance program and our Outreach and Educational Programs for Professionals. Today, these three programs – Bereavement Support, Burial Assistance, and Outreach and Educational Programs for Professionals – form the core of our organization.

Board of Directors

Helen L. Bartek, President
Claudia Esposito, Vice-President
Kimberly Nelly, Secretary
Christina Martin, RN, Treasurer
Keri Arpino
Kathleen Brady, RN
Brooke Hopkins, MSW
Steven Jacob, DOM
Emma Ludwin
Angela M. Montgomery, MD
Gillian Eversman, ex officio


Gillian Eversman, Executive Director

Melissa Kish, Program Director

Founder and President Emeritus

Michael R. Berman, MD