Author Archives: Nancy Reese

FAIR:PLAY Drives Advocacy, Equal Opportunities for Female Athletes

Too many Pennsylvania schools get a poor grade when it comes to providing equitable athletic opportunities for female students. Is your school one of them? Just a few minutes on FAIR:PLAY, a new website from the Women’s Law Project and the FISA Foundation, will help you find out.

Developed by students and volunteer mentors in a February 2017 hackathon sponsored by Akoya, FAIR:PLAY crunches millions of data points reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Education through a simple-to-use tool, designed to help parents, students, and communities advocate for a fair share of health-enhancing, leadership-developing sports opportunities for girls. 

Akoya partner Nancy Reese introduced the web site at a launch party at Google’s Pittsburgh office on September 27.

Supporting Midwives, Fostering Healthier Communities

midwifereportThanks to a successful capital campaign and facility expansion, Pittsburgh is now home to the largest freestanding birth center in the United States, The Midwife Center for Birth & Women’s Health. Akoya proudly supported this effort—and had the honor to help publicize the results by designing this end-of-campaign report.

By raising $3.9 million, The Midwife Center (TMC) is now positioned to meet growing demand for its person-centered care in its LEED-certified facility, serving a large, diverse clientele. By strengthening its outreach to underserved communities, TMC also is better able to reduce barriers to care and improve health outcomes for women and infants in the Pittsburgh region.

The quality of outcomes achieved by TMC is evident in a few key statistics. Compared to national averages, TMC has three times fewer cesarean deliveries, four times fewer preterm births, and an astonishing 800 times fewer incidents of low birth weight—a serious condition closely associated with inhibited growth and cognitive development, as well as chronic diseases later in life. With this track record, it is no wonder than TMC is emerging as a national leader in safe, personalized birth center care and is dedicated to educating future generations of midwives.

Schlepping the Southside Slopes

U.S. cities with the most public stairways
(100 steps or more each):

1. Pittsburgh, PA (117)
2. Los Angeles, CA (89)
3. Seattle, WA (83)
4. San Francisco, CA (79)

Pittsburgh’s neighborhood boundaries might well have been scribbled out by a toddler, tracing meandering rivers, rail lines, cliff sides, and rolling hills. No wonder most early immigrants dug in deep and stayed put – until they had to get to work. Now tourist attractions, Pittsburgh’s two remaining inclined railways (at least fifteen operated circa 1900) once shuttled steelworkers from their homes on the hillsides to the mills below during the era of Big Steel. Many workers walked when possible, resorting to the steep public stairways – over 700 in all – dotting the city’s slopes.

Nineteen sets of steps used by steelworkers are within walking distance of Akoya’s offices on the Southside, so what could be a better lunch break in autumn than a brisk climb to a new vista? We plan to take on a different set of Southside steps as often as possible, until we’ve conquered all, using the maps at

Here are a few of our first photos.