A champion of the underdog
By Alex Branch
She cared about the low-income women and children afflicted with HIV or AIDS who she helped as a social worker in the 1990s, when life-saving drug cocktails were only emerging.
She cared for the vulnerable families she served at health clinics as a member of Volunteers in Service to America, a government program that fights poverty in communities nationwide.
And for the last 15 years, Dr. Raines Milenkov has cared for the many families, mothers and immigrants whose lives she strives to improve at UNT Health Science, by focusing on maternal health, preconception health, birth outcomes, and system and social contributors to adverse outcomes.
The Fort Worth Business Press is recognizing Dr. Raines Milenkov on Nov. 14 as a 2017 Great Woman of Texas recipient. The annual honors recognize outstanding women for significant accomplishments in business, civic and social contributions.
UNTHSC President Dr. Michael R. Williams nominated her for the award.
“Dr. Raines Milenkov’s work and dedication continue to create lasting solutions to very difficult problems,” Dr. Williams said. “She is dramatically improving the lives of women, mothers, babies and families across Texas.”
Dr. Raines Milenkov, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, is involved in a broad array of initiatives, research programs and hands-on practices for women and children.
She leads the Building Bridges Initiative, a community-based project funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas that provides culturally and linguistically appropriate lay health educator outreach, education and cancer screening services to refugee women.
In 2013, she was appointed to a five-year term as a member of the Texas Department of State Health Services Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force. The next year, she was awarded a five-year grant from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services for the Healthy Start: Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health program.
Dr. Raines Milenkov also serves as chair of the Tarrant County MHMR Early Childhood Wellness Council, was past-chair and founding member of the Tarrant County Infant Health Network, and is a member of the Texas Refugee and Immigrant Women’s Association.
“I learned during my career that far too many families lack the important heath resources to start their children with a fair shot in life,” Dr. Raines Milenkov said. “I always saw that as unjust. My hope is that our community can continue to find ways to intervene during the earliest stages – starting even before pregnancy – and create better outcomes for children and their entire families.”