This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Kate Mitchell, CNM, a Midwife at Indian Health Service’s Blackfeet Community Hospital (BCH) in Browning, Montana. She was nominated for the great work she is doing as a midwife and in improving substance use screening and referrals for the patients at BCH.
“I LOVE being a midwife and I LOVE working with women!” Kate enthusiastically shares. “Women hold up half the sky. I serve women so they can continue their own important work in their communities.”
Kate is one of two providers who specialize in women’s health at BCH. A typical day for her includes one on one patient visits for prenatal care, menstruation issues, birth control, menopause management, and cervical cancer screenings; hospital triage visits for obstetrical concerns; and hospital visits for labor and birth.
Over the past year, Kate and her colleagues in the Women’s Health Clinic (Alison Taranto, CNM, FNP-BC, Dr. Kendall Flint, MD and Katie Boggs, RN) worked alongside CHEER to improve substance use screenings and referrals in BCH’s Women’s Health Clinic. Clinic staff have done that by implementing validated screening tools, such as the 4Ps and CRAFFT, for all new prenatal and non-prenatal visits. Once they identify a substance use disorder, they then check in about a patient’s goals regarding substance use at each prenatal or follow-up visit by engaging them in motivational interviewing. One of their main goals is to connect these patients with appropriate local resources, such as BCH’s Behavioral Health Department, Crystal Creek Lodge Treatment Center, local Medication-Assisted Treatment programs for opioid use disorders, or inpatient rehabilitation centers in Montana/the Pacific Northwest.
This past May 2018, Kate helped CHEER with the coordination to bring the evidence-based SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) training to Browning. Hospital staff and diverse, local organizations attended this successful training, which exponentially increased the level of substance use education among providers and community organization leaders. The SBIRT Training was conducted by the National Council for Behavioral Health and largely funded by the Montana Healthcare Foundation.
“The SBIRT training was excellent!” says Kate. “Folks were engaged in the material and really benefited from the interactive aspects of the training such as role playing and storytelling.”
Kate also helped secure the Thacher Community Grant from The American College of Nurse-Midwives to support the BCH midwives to implement universal substance use disorder screening and ongoing SBIRT training. This grant is supporting the clinic to implement a universal screening protocol and provide appropriate, evidence-based follow-up care.
Congratulations, Kate! We wish you the best!
This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is G. Wesley Bugg, Esq., LLM, Operations Officer for Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) and Deputy Director for Reaching Our Brothers Everywhere (ROBE). Wesley is doing great work with both ROSE and ROBE, a program of ROSE dedicated to educating, equipping and empowering men on a national scale to positively impact African-American breastfeeding rates and infant mortality. Based in Decatur, Georgia, ROBE also operates in Mississippi, Florida, Ohio, Texas, and California. They coordinate fatherhood forums and conference presentations; connect with national projects and programs to share resources; and work with Healthy Start male initiatives in several states.
“Our goal is to promote health equity,” Wesley says. “It is vital that communities have the needed resources, information and support to make informed choices on infant feeding. We know that our communities are ‘resource deprived’ due to many reasons including systemic racism. African-American men have not been included in the gathering and dissemination of breastfeeding and safe sleep knowledge, and therefore, pregnant women and babies of color are disproportionately ill and dying. We plan to rectify that disparity.”
As Deputy Director of ROBE, Wesley communicates with ROBE’s National Wisdom Council members on a weekly basis; organizes and conducts monthly video conferences; and communicates with ROSE leadership to establish and operate ROBE programs. ROBE will host a pre-summit conference, “Creating a Culture of Health Equity,” at ROSE’s 7th Annual Breastfeeding & Equity Summit on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta. Check out ROBE’s event page for a list of other upcoming events hosted by ROBE, including community forums in Miami and New Orleans.
“ROBE was inspired by the successful work of ROSE,” shares Wesley, who is a son to Kimarie Bugg, ROSE’s CEO & Change Leader and CHAMPS’ Community Engagement Director. “As ROSE sought to expand the circle of cultural competency, we identified a need for men to be engaged because of the value men have in our community.”
In 2014, ROBE became a program of ROSE, which seeks to eliminate breastfeeding disparities among African-American women and focuses on four pillars: programs, policy, peers and partners. ROBE targets two of those pillars, programs and partners.
Wesley and Kimarie are not the only family members who work alongside each other at ROSE and ROBE. In fact, there are four Buggs who do this work: Wesley, Kimarie, Dr. George Bugg Jr. (Wesley’s father), Chief of Neonatology at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, and Caleb Bugg (Wesley’s younger brother), a first-year graduate student in Operations Research at the University of California, Berkeley.
Wesley is a 2016 graduate of the University of Miami’s School of Law (JD, LLM) and a 2013 graduate of Emory University (BA). Prior to his work at ROSE and ROBE, Wesley worked as the Deputy Director of Court Vision International, Inc., a nonprofit that promotes youth advocacy and conflict resolution.
Congratulations, Wesley, and thank you for all you do!
Dr. Maria Adamantia Malliarou is a pediatrician and Director of one of the four clinics at the First Pediatric Clinic of the University of Athens, Agias Sofias Children’s Hospitals, in Athens, Greece. She is a practicing pediatrician, and trains residents and students in her position. She began working to improve breastfeeding rates in Greece 15 years ago when “Greece had nothing in place to support breastfeeding,” says Adamantia.
In 2005, Adamantia advocated for the reinstitution of the National Breastfeeding Committee of Greece, which has backed many important initiatives over the past two decades. The Committee has helped four Athens hospitals to gain Baby-Friendly designation since 2011; performed national studies in 2007 and 2017 assessing national breastfeeding rates and practices in Greece; and created the ALKYONI project under the Child Health Institute of Greece, to lead breastfeeding initiatives.
Adamantia also engineered the translation of the Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes into Greek, and the distribution of 20,000 copies. In June 2017, she successfully shepherded a national law through the Greek government to require that all hospitals and maternity hospitals in Greece obtain written consent from mothers who decided not to breastfeed and give formula.
Adamantia’s hard work, and that of her colleagues, was rewarded when the results of the 2017 Greek National Study showed that any breastfeeding at 6 months in Greece had doubled since 2007 (from 20% to 40%), and that exclusive breastfeeding at 4 months had also doubled.
Right now, she has her sights set on increasing breastfeeding rates at 6 months, and on working with the Roma, a minority in Greece with a breastfeeding rate of 0%. Adamantia is also working with and assisting the CHEER team to further their goal of expanding into the international arena. Her breastfeeding-based website can be found at www.mothereducation.gr
CHAMPS congratulates Adamantia on her advocacy, leadership, and ongoing hard work on behalf of mothers and babies in Greece!
Congratulations to CHAMPS hospital Merit Health River Region in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for becoming a milk depot for the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Mississippi! The hospital and milk bank celebrated the depot’s opening with a festive ribbon-cutting event at Merit Health River Region on June 20, 2018. The event was a success and well attended by hospital staff and administration, the Mother’s Milk Bank staff and board, WIC, and community members!
“Becoming a milk depot is incredibly exciting for me and the team here at Merit Health River Region,” says CHAMPS Team Lead & Director of Women’s Services Lacey Griffith, RN. “This is an important step for us because as we move closer to Baby-Friendly Designation we have noticed that more and more moms are breastfeeding and becoming educated about human milk donation. We continue to educate ourselves on the importance of human milk and breastfeeding and realize the impact of having the resources and support available for lactating moms within our community. We are very proud to be able to provide this service.”
Mothers in Vicksburg and the surrounding areas who meet donor requirements will now be able to deliver donated milk to Merit Health River Region, who will store the milk in a deep freezer before shipping it to the Mothers’ Milk Bank in Flowood. The Mothers’ Milk Bank will then pasteurize the milk, analyze it for calorie count and protein levels, and culture the milk to insure sterility. If all these tests are passed, it is dispensed by purchase order to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) in Mississippi which the Mothers’ Milk Bank serves.
“I am thrilled that Merit Health River Region is partnering with us to make milk donation easier for our donor mothers in Vicksburg and surrounding areas,” says Rebecca Saenz, MD, IBCLC, FABM, Medical Co-Director and Board President of the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Mississippi. “I would love to have depots in every town or city in the state! Depot sites make donating milk much more convenient for the moms who are so generous to share their extra milk with us. Hopefully, this will increase the amount of milk that is donated, as it has in our other depot communities. The presence of a depot site in a community also raises awareness of milk donation, and underscores the importance of breastfeeding in general.”
Including Merit Health River Region, there are now 8 milk depots in Mississippi: North MS Medical Center (Tupelo), Mom 2 Be (Columbus), the Lactation Station (Oxford), Anderson Regional Medical Center (Meridian), Forrest General Hospital (Hattiesburg), Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, the Gulf Coast Breastfeeding Center (Pass Christian), and Merit Health River Region (Vicksburg). In addition, donor mothers in the Jackson area can drop their milk off at the Mothers’ Milk Bank’s main location in Flowood.
To become a milk depot is not difficult. A site must simply have a deep freezer and the ability to secure it, and personnel who agree to be responsible for recording the temperature, logging in milk that is brought in, then shipping it to the Mothers’ Milk Bank.
Why is donated human milk important especially for Mississippi?
“Mississippi continues to have one of the highest prematurity rates in the nation, at 17% (2016, MSDH website),” says Saenz. “Many of these babies' mothers are unable to pump enough of their own milk for medical reasons, so donated human milk fills that gap. Having a human milk diet has been shown to reduce infections in the NICUs, particularly the devastating ones such as necrotizing enterocolitis. Babies being fed human milk also tolerate feedings better, due to easier digestability, so advance feedings faster. Ultimately, they are often able to go home sooner.”
Well done, Merit Health River Region; CHAMPS is excited for you!
Interested in donating milk or becoming a depot site? Visit the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Mississippi’s website or call them at 601-939-5504.
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).