Jasmyne Cain is a ROSE Community Transformer Peer Counselor and a Volunteer at the CHAMPS Delta Hills Baby Café in Greenville, Mississippi. She was nominated as CHEER Champion of the Week for the wonderful job she is doing as a volunteer and for her own success in breastfeeding her son, Carsen!
Jasmyne says before she was pregnant, she “never really thought about” breastfeeding. “You don’t really hear about it or see it where I come from,” she says.
Then, when she was 6 months pregnant, she met with a nutritionist at the Washington County Health Department and saw a note about breastfeeding on the wall. She decided she would try it. She asked the nutritionist about it, who told Jasmyne about the CHAMPS Delta Hills Baby Café. She also put Jasmyne in touch with Maggie Allen, IBCLC, the Lactation Consultant at the Baby Café. The very next day, Jasmyne went to the Café, and she has been going ever since. Maggie visited Jasmyne in the hospital when she delivered Carsen, and at first, breastfeeding was difficult. But once Jasmyne brought Carsen home, he latched right on and breastfeeding became a success. Jasmyne exclusively breastfed Carsen for 6 months when she started to give him some baby food. Carsen is now 10 months old, and Jasmyne’s goal is to breastfeed for a year.
“He’s the happiest baby,” Jasyme shares. “He has hardly been sick, and if he has caught a cold it has only lasted for 2 or 3 days.”
Once Jasmyne started breastfeeding and getting support at the Baby Café, she decided this is the kind of work she would like to do. She looked for opportunities to increase her knowledge and pursued training to become a Community Transformer Peer Counselor through ROSE (Reaching our Sisters Everywhere) in March 2017. Since then, she has been volunteering at the Baby Café and passing on her knowledge to other moms. She participates in group discussions and encourages other moms to breastfeed. Some moms also ask her questions through Facebook or over the phone.
“Other moms see me breastfeeding and say, ‘you make it look so easy,’” shares Jasmyne. “I love sharing my thoughts and knowledge because a lot of women don’t know the benefits of breastfeeding. It excites me and I enjoy giving them information. I tell them it’s the best thing ever.”
Jasmyne’s plan is to pursue more training to become a Baby Café Breastfeeding Counselor. She is also interested in opening either a new Baby Café or a similar kind of center that would be open more days out of the week.
“I’d like for Baby Cafés and/or similar centers to be everywhere,” Jasmyne says. “Breastfeeding is not really normalized as much here. People don’t know much about it and for that reason, I want to encourage other mothers to breastfeed. This is what our bodies were made for, so why not do it.”
Congratulations, Jasmyne, and thank you for sharing your time and knowledge with other mothers!
Nora Hayes, BSN, Public Health Nurse, and LaVonne Little Owl, RN, BSN, Case Manager, work at the Crow Indian Health Service (IHS) in southern Montana. They are CHEER Champions of the Week for the stellar job they are doing on the IHS “Healthy Mothers, Healthy Tribe” project out of the Billings Area IHS. CHEER is the Billings Area contractor on this project, which is funded by an Inter-Agency Agreement between the Office on Women’s Health and IHS. The project aims to improve prenatal care and drug use prevention and treatment within the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribes and the facilities that serve them.
Nora and LaVonne are working to help improve care at the Crow Service Unit by gathering and analyzing data, coordinating calls, and reporting out. Nora and LaVonne have tackled this work one goal at a time. For example, they obtained a complete list of prenatal patients at local delivery hospitals with a positive pregnancy test as well as a complete list of postpartum discharges.
“This experience was an eye opener,” says Nora, “It was the beginning of a gap analysis process and, boy, did we identify some major gaps.” Nora then produced a current “map” of prenatal patients’ entries into the Crow IHS with the gaps noted, as well as an ideal “map,” how it would ideally look for a prenatal patient to enter the Crow IHS and receive the appropriate care up through postpartum discharge. With these gaps and vision identified, Nora and LaVonne invited key stakeholders from various Crow Tribal programs and Big Horn County programs to help create a more inviting prenatal service program. They also spoke with the discharge managers at their local delivery hospitals to improve the referral system to Public Health Nursing.
“Healthy Mothers, Healthy Tribe” is just one aspect of Nora and LaVonne’s work at Crow IHS. As a Public Health Nurse, Nora says she does “a little bit of everything from communicable disease, prevention of diseases, healthy pregnancies, healthy families, control of chronic diseases with a little bit of case management thrown in for good measure.” She created sessions called “Birds and Bees” to educate mothers about maturity, sex and relationships. She is also Parents as Teachers (PAT) certified and conducts home visits using the evidence-based PAT Model approach. She is hoping to start elderly fall prevention and safe sleep soon.
As a Case Manager, LaVonne works closely with patients and families to provide necessary resources. She reviews patients in contract hospitals in Billings, MT and monitors them for the appropriateness of medical admissions, continued stays, intensity of services and severity of illness, as well as allocation and utilization of resources for patient care. She works closely with other case managers in contract hospitals to assist patients and their families in transitioning back into the community after hospital discharge.
Nora is an enrolled member of the Chippewa-Little Shell of Montana Tribe and LaVonne is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Both women feel personally motivated to promote health within Indian communities.
LaVonne shares, “What motivates me to do my job is to go above and beyond for the Indian people, to advocate for them, to be their voice when they think they don't have one, to make sure they get the best outcomes in their healthcare as possible.”
Congratulations, Nora and LaVonne! Keep up the good work!
This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health and Director of the Global Health Concentration and of the Office of Public Health Practice at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut. Rafael is an outstanding advocate for breastfeeding, and has dedicated his career to advancing nutrition and breastfeeding practices around the world!
As a researcher, Rafael has focused on public health nutrition and food security, and his research has led to improvements in breastfeeding; iron deficiency anemia among infants (by delaying the clamping of the umbilical cord after birth); household food security measurement and outcomes; and maternal, infant and young child community nutrition education/counseling programs worldwide. He is a world authority on the evidence-base behind the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and community-based breastfeeding peer counseling models. His current global breastfeeding research focuses on the development of evidence-based models for the successful scaling-up of comprehensive breastfeeding programs at the national level.
Rafael is Past President of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML). He has published 200 research articles and over 350 conference abstracts, book chapters, and technical reports. He has been an advisor to maternal-child health and nutrition programs funded by numerous UN Agencies, USA Government Agencies, philanthropic foundations, The World Bank, and governments. He was awarded ISRHML’s Ehrlich-Koldovsky Early Career Investigator award in 1999; was a co-recipient of the 2012 Research and Surveillance Award from the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition; received the Journal of Human Lactation Patricia Martens Award for Excellence in Breastfeeding Research in 2015; and received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico in 2016. He obtained his BS in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and his MS in Food Science and his PhD in Nutrition from the University of California at Davis.
Check out Rafael’s most recent work: The Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) Toolbox, a guide for countries to assess their readiness to scale-up breastfeeding practices!
Kimberly “Kim” Moore-Salas, IBCLC, an enrolled citizen of the Navajo Nation, is a rising star in the field of human lactation and a dedicated advocate for Indigenous mothers, babies and families. She works as a full-time Lactation Consultant at Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) in Phoenix, Arizona and in private practice at Arizona Breastfeeding Center. Kim works with tribal communities across the United States and advocates for them on a local and national stage in collaboration with a cohort of Indigenous midwives and lactation consultants.
Kim shares, “During my journey to obtain my [IBCLC] certification I realized my mentors were all non-Native, and they were all great mentors and supporters, especially Sue Murphy whom I miss dearly. What wasn't taught to me via my mentors was the history of Indigenous people, the importance of culture, and the integration of our cultural and traditional values in breastfeeding. I have seen how western colonialism has changed and continues to change the landscape for our Indigenous Mothers via the impact of historical trauma through industrialization, broken treaties, and forced/coerced assimilation policies. My primary heartfelt motive is to reinstitute our values in raising healthy babies and families. Many of our communities which have fallen to social ills need healing, and one of the best places to start is with the women of the community and the youth, in this case very early childhood development.”
Kim is a leading promoter of breastfeeding with a focus on Indigenous mothers and babies. She is an active participant in the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), a nonprofit coalition of more than 50 professional, educational and government organizations supporting breastfeeding across the United States. Her roles with them have included Tribal Trailblazer Scholarship recipient, through which she helped USBC increase their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; conference planning committee member; and currently Tribal Liaison, through which she provides feedback and recommendations to the committee regarding Indigenous breastfeeding. “This [summer] was the 7th conference and the 1st time [USBC] opened the conference with a Native American drum group acknowledging our Native women awardees for their work in Native communities,” Kim proudly shares. She was elected to be next year’s co-Chair for the conference planning committee.
Additionally, Kim serves as Vice President for Central Arizona Lactation Consultants Association; serves as co-Chair for the MIHS Lactation Committee; is becoming involved with the birth center lactation program at Changing Woman Initiative; participates with the Indigenous Birth Workers Network; collaborates with Mewinzha Ondaadiziike Wiigaming; and will be co-facilitating a workshop on “Building Community Support for Breastfeeding” at the First Things First Early Childhood Summit in Phoenix on August 29, 2017. All this in addition to Kim’s job at MIHS, a Level I hospital, Level 3B NICU with an average of 2,500 deliveries per year!
CHEER Champion of the week
Each week, we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the work they have done for CHEER (Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research)/CHAMPS (Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices).