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Barbara Collura, President and CEO, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
I feel very proud that we are the voice for people with infertility, whether that’s with media, legislators at the federal or state level, or whether that’s with policy makers. When people want expertise, or someone speaking on behalf of the infertility community, they come to RESOLVE. I’m very, very proud that everything we’ve done - from Board Members, to Volunteers to staff - has resulted in that reputation and that brand awareness that we’re the voice of the infertility community. -- Barbara Collura
This monthly column has historically been a spotlight on a fertility doctor for his or her contributions to the field of infertility. But on the heels of RESOLVE’s 40th anniversary, and its very successful Night of Hope Gala, FertilityAuthority would like to honor Barbara Collura, RESOLVE President and CEO.
Collura’s relationship with RESOLVE began in 1999, a consumer of the non-profit’s programs and services as she and her husband went through their infertility journey. “Thank goodness RESOLVE was there for me. It made a huge, huge difference in my life, in my husband’s life,” she says.
The following year she became a RESOLVE volunteer. “I’m a serial volunteer; I have been my whole life. I was at a place where I thought, ‘they’re a great organization and maybe I can help out.’” That led to a staff position in 2004 as Director, Chapter and Constituent Services and in early 2007 she was promoted to lead the organization. Today RESOLVE has a staff of 11 and a nationwide volunteer force of 400.
There are number of accomplishments that Collura is particularly proud of as RESOLVE celebrates its 40th year. And while she has clearly brought the organization to new heights, she’s humble and quick to say that they are not all things she had a hand in and for those that she did, she couldn’t have done it without a dedicated Board, staff and team of volunteers. At the top of her list are the establishment of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), the only federally recognized health observance for infertility, and state mandates for infertility insurance coverage. “I’m very proud of how we’ve re-energized NIAW and made it this nationwide community focus. This year we had the NIH, CDC and HHS very actively participating and it’s just so gratifying to see the progress of that health observance,” she says. “The state mandates for infertility are a huge testament to volunteers in those states [MA, CT, NJ, MD, RI and IL] who made that happen. For the most part those were done by state-based RESOLVE volunteers,” Collura adds.
“In terms of last few years, I’ve been really proud of how the community has come together around state legislative issues that have been a threat to family building options.” (Collura is referring to “Personhood” initiatives.) “RESOLVE has been in many cases the leading voice in speaking up and fighting for the rights for people to build their family however they choose,” she adds. “And I think lastly I’m really proud that we continue to have  volunteer-run support groups across the country.”
Collura refers to herself as a “steward” for the organization for the amount of time she leads it. She has the attitude that she when the time comes, she wants to leave RESOLVE in a better position than she received it in. And that’s been the legacy of the organization.
“People came before me, and whatever they did allowed me to benefit and to connect and to learn and to get through this horrible experience,” she says. “I know that today somebody’s being told that their tubes are blocked, that they don’t have sperm or that they’re going to have a lot of problems getting pregnant. I hope they go online and they hear from their doctor that there’s an organization that can help them.”
At this year’s Night of Hope Gala, RESOLVE’s founder, Barbara Eck, was in attendance. Following the event she wrote a letter to RESOLVE; here’s an excerpt: “I could never have dreamed that RESOLVE would be so vigorous and successful in 2014 when I left as president in 1982. My nine years with RESOLVE remain the most meaningful work I’ve ever done. We are so fortunate to have had a series of excellent leaders from that point to the present to carry on the mission.”