Our Inspiration

In 2001 Yamile Jackson (PhD in ergonomics and human factors engineering) developed severe pre-eclamsia, and to save her life Zachary was born prematurely weighing less than two pounds.

Three weeks after his birth he survived the deluge of Tropical Storm Allison that flooded Houston and shut-down all power to his Hospital and his life-support equipment. His parents and the NICU staff kept him alive "by hand" for 9 hours until he was evacuated: Yamile kept him on kangaroo care while her husband Larry and nurses took turns "bagging" him. The doctors were working really hard finding hospitals where to evacuate the 79 babies in the NICU. It was then when Yamile prayed for the opportunity to help babies on Zachary's "behalf". She promised Zachary that his pain and struggle to survive were not going to be in vain.

For each and every one of the 155 nights that Zachary was hospitalized, his mother's goal was to use her knowledge in ergonomics not only to save his life but alsoto provide him with the best environment possible for healing and maturation. Every day she joined the staff in providing proper intervention strategies, individualized care and family involvement.  She quickly recognized the importance and effectiveness of neonatal developmental care practices in comforting, nurturing and healing critically ill, premature and low birth weight infants.

She experienced first-hand how important the hands were in properly performing developmental care intervention strategies that she knows contributed to the healing of her critically ill son, Zachary. She learned by the neonatal nurses early on, how to effectively use her own hands to comfort her son; by placing her hands gently over her son to provide containment and boundaries.

She was with Zachary 10-12 hours a day but her agony was leaving her son every night. She wished she could leave her scent and loving touch so her baby would not feel in solitude. That is how The Zaky was born.  

Upon Zachary’s departure from the hospital, Yamile made it her mission to leverage her personal experience and her education and training to redesign The Zaky to make it the most comprehensive, useful and effective neonatal developmental care device that would make it easier for neonatal nurses and family member to help properly manage the developmental care needs of the infants. 

After three years of research and onsite testing, leveraging the help of local neonatal healthcare professionals, Yamile launched The Zaky as it is today. The first and only commercial and evidence-based developmental care device designed to mimic a human hand and forearm, adding a level of functionality that outweighs and replaces virtually every developmental care devices on the market today.

More than products, Zachary inspires his mother to design ergonomic devices that effectively facilitate evidence-based developmental care around the clock while engaging the parents' natural instincts to nurture and heal. The Zaky and the Kangaroo Zak are the most comprehensive neonatal developmental care devices designed to make it easier for neonatal healthcare providers to properly perform multiple evidence-based neonatal developmental intervention strategies that have been proven to comfort, soothe and heal critically ill, premature and low birth weight infants in the NICU.

To date, The Zaky and Kangaroo Zaks are used by hundreds of neonatal healthcare professionals in over 300 hospitals in the US and around the world, and Zachary is a healthy and smart boy that keeps inspiring her mother and others to work to help the most vulnerable of our society.

His story not only inspires all of us at Nurtured by Design, but he also has inspired articles, documentaries, and even the made-for-TV movie called "14:Hours" aired on TNT.