This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Shavonda Quinn, MSc, Peer Counselor 2 for the Mississippi Department of Health’s WIC program. Shavonda serves 3 counties, Clay, Chickasaw, and Webster. She was nominated for her wonderful participation at a recent CHAMPS site visit at North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC)-West Point and for her new role at WIC.
As a Peer Counselor 2, Shavonda provides specialized breastfeeding support and assistance to WIC participants. She conducts home and hospital visits, hosts support group meetings, and issues breastfeeding devices as needed. She also collaborates with the hospitals in her area of service, and lets them know about the breastfeeding services WIC provides.
Shavonda’s participation at the CHAMPS site visit at NMMC-West Point was personal and helpful. She shared about her birthing experience at another Mississippi hospital, which helped the team leaders to see their practices from the perspective of a patient. She also shared that she encourages all family members to attend all her prenatal appointments so that she can counsel them on how to best support mom and baby, an inspiring idea for prenatal education.
Like many breastfeeding advocates, Shavonda’s motivation to do the work she does comes from her personal experience.
“I started researching breast milk when I was pregnant, for my own personal reasons and for my college studies,” Shavonda shares. “As I learned how beneficial it was for mom and baby, I became a big advocate for breastfeeding. My baby was 4lbs and 13oz when she was born, and I breastfed her for one and a half years. I think the more families that choose breastfeeding, the healthier babies and adults we will have.”
In the future, Shavonda plans to incorporate more community outreach into her work at WIC. She also hopes to get involved with the Northeast Mississippi Birthing Project, a local group of Birthing Project USA which seeks to improve maternal outcomes and reduce infant mortality through peer support and community education.
Congratulations, Shavonda, and best wishes for the important work you are doing!
This week’s CHEER Champions of the Week are Camie Goldhammer, LICSW, MSW, IBCLC, Kimberly (“Kim”) Moore-Salas, IBCLC, and Andrea Serano, CLC, IBCLC. These ladies, who have all worked for the CHEER team, were recently elected as Board Directors to the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)! USBC “is an independent nonprofit coalition of more than 50 nationally influential professional, educational, and governmental organizations that share a common mission to drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States” (http://www.usbreastfeeding.org). For Camie, Kim and Andrea to be elected as Board Directors is a wonderful recognition of their leadership in the field of breastfeeding in the United States!
Camie (Sisseton-Wahpeton), a social worker and lactation consultant, has worked as a consultant for CHEER for 5 years. She has worked for both our American Indian/Alaska Native CHAMPS and Mississippi CHAMPS programs, helping hospitals become Baby-Friendly and training health care providers in breastfeeding clinical skills. In 2017, she designed and taught the first-ever Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor (IBC) training, and has now taught it in various Native communities in Alaska, Minnesota and Wisconsin. To read more about Camie and her interesting career, check out her 2017 CHEER Champion of the Week post!
Kim (Navajo) is a full-time lactation consultant at Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix, Arizona and has done private practice at Arizona Breastfeeding Center. Over the years, she has contributed to CHEER’s work by co-teaching the IBC course alongside Camie. She has also been active in USBC and other breastfeeding and advocacy organizations in various capacities. Kim shared with CHEER that this year, the USBC board elected just over 60% women of color, more than they ever have.
"I'm very honored and excited to be elected," Kim shared. "I think it's important that a good representation is at the table to talk about positive change. Over the course of 4 or 5 years there has been an evolution within USBC to address issues of equity. We need to include and sustain those voices that historically have not been heard at the table. I look forward to collaborating with other board members to create equity and inclusion for unrepresented people of color."
To read more about Kim, check out her 2017 CHEER Champion of the Week post!
Andrea is Program Director for Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, Inc. (ROSE) in Atlanta, Georgia. In her role, Andrea serves on the coordinating team for ROSE events, trainings, and program-related activities. Since the beginning of CHAMPS in 2014, ROSE has been our key partner, and Andrea’s work for ROSE has impacted CHAMPS in positive ways. She has also been a speaker at CHAMPS conferences. In addition to her work for ROSE and USBC, Andrea is also a Co-Founder and Treasurer for the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color; board member for the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition; Stakeholder Advisory Board Member of the Emory Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, the Microbiome and Metabolomics; and a member of the Center for Social Inclusion National First Food Racial Equity cohort, where she co-facilitates trainings for communities and organizations. To read more about Andrea, please visit the ROSE staff webpage!
Congratulations, Camie, Kim and Andrea, and best wishes for your term as USBC Board Directors! Thank you also to Felisha Floyd, BS, CLC, IBCLC, former CHEER Consultant, for her service to USBC!
Congratulations to SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka, Alaska, the first Native hospital in Alaska to become Baby-Friendly designated! SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe was part of our American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) CHAMPS program from 2015-2018. The hospital is part of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, a Native nonprofit health consortium that provides high-quality healthcare services for the residents of the Southeast Alaska region.
Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital performs approximately 80-100 births per year and serves Sitka as well as all of Southeast Alaska. Mothers from remote villages come to Sitka when they are 36 weeks pregnant and stay through delivery. SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital offers prenatal classes, education on breastfeeding, and education on Baby-Friendly via InJoy online. If the villages request, they are also able to offer classes remotely through Vidyo.
“We are very excited and happy to be the first Native hospital in the state of Alaska to have this designation,” share Susan Ward, RN, Manager of Labor Delivery and Diane Linn, RN, MSN, Nursing Education and Baby-Friendly Team Leader.
The Baby-Friendly journey at SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe began around three years ago, and they became officially designated in December 2018. Both Susan and Diane were involved from the beginning, eventually leading the project and seeing it through to completion. Susan and Diane say the greatest challenge was “getting everyone on the same page.” To accomplish this, they did a lot of education with both staff and patients. They changed their education plan several times until they had a workable process. They say the sweetest success is their breastfeeding rate, and that 98-100% of their mothers now want to breastfeed. They are currently in the process of tracking patients after they leave the facility, to follow their breastfeeding status at 2 weeks, 1 month, and 2 months. They are also developing a better breastfeeding support group for them.
“We have come together as a team to help patients be successful,” say Susan and Diane about the impact Baby-Friendly has made on maternity services at their hospital.
Susan and Diane would especially like to thank all the physicians, OB nursing staff, outpatient department staff and OB case manager Alycia Miller, RN, who helped make Baby-Friendly successful. They are also grateful to Martha Pearson, MA, MPA, Health Promotion Division Director, who was instrumental in getting the Baby-Friendly journey started.
What is their advice to other hospitals seeking to become Baby-Friendly?
“Have a good support from administration and physicians,” they say. “Have a good education process in place for staff and patients. Have a policy that is appropriate but not too complicated.”
Well done, SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital! We are very excited for you!
CHEER is thrilled to announce the recipient of our 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award: Kimarie Bugg, DNP, RN, MPH, IBCLC, CLC, for her long-standing dedication to breastfeeding and maternal child health equity! Kimarie is the Co-Founder, President/CEO, and Change Leader for Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE), a nonprofit developed in 2011 to address breastfeeding inequities in the African-American community. CHEER’s Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices (CHAMPS) program has partnered with ROSE since its incipiency in 2014, and has the pleasure to host Kimarie as our Community Engagement Director. Throughout her career, Kimarie has tirelessly served families, trained health care providers, managed programs, advised national efforts, and led the charge for breastfeeding health equity amongst typically underserved communities in the United States. In this, her life exemplifies exactly the kind of work CHEER seeks to uphold!
Regarding her professional vision, Kimarie states that, on the basis of the equity-focused work of Dr. Gail Christopher, “I believe that Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation can take place in marginalized communities, starting with Breastfeeding.”
Kimarie’s passion for her work springs from seeds planted in her youth and early motherhood. As a 12-year-old, Kimarie helped her grandmother, a lay midwife in Arkansas, in the fulfillment of her own life calling. It was that experience, says Kimarie, that gravitated her life’s work towards the support of mothers and infants. Years later, in 1978, after finishing a nursing degree in Texas, Kimarie gave birth to her first children, a set of twins. Despite her commitment towards the natural first-food lifestyle, she struggled to get breastfeeding support from her local hospital and struggled to breastfeed. She “failed miserably” she says, and became determined to learn everything she could about breastfeeding. She didn’t want other mothers to experience the disillusionment with lactation that she had.
“I took a year and I read everything I could get my hands on about breastfeeding. Nurses and doctors I worked with started to call me the breast nurse,” she says.
Early in her career, Kimarie moved to Atlanta, where she has spent the past 30 years promoting breastfeeding support and education, especially amongst African-Americans. She has worked in a pediatric emergency clinic and special care nursery, has been a bedside breastfeeding counselor in a large metropolitan hospital, and has managed perinatal and breastfeeding programs at the state level. Kimarie has served as a technical advisor to Best Start, the US Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, and the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality’s Best Fed Beginnings program. She was a founding member and officer of the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition and the Southeastern Lactation Consultant Association. Kimarie received additional training at Wellstart International, and has traveled throughout the United States and several foreign countries training health care professionals to manage lactation. She combined all these skills and passions during her tenure at Emory University’s School of Medicine as a nurse practitioner.
In 2011, when a budget cut left her without work, Kimarie took the advice of her pastor who said, “you were released for increase,” and founded ROSE, alongside two other women. Since then, not only has Kimarie’s work increased, but the work of ROSE itself has increased from a regional to a national scale. In 2017, ROSE was awarded a $1.1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which has allowed them to look at breastfeeding disparities at a national level and spread the blueprint of ROSE’s work across the country.
ROSE’s vision is for 82% of African-American babies to receive breast milk at birth by 2020, a goal set forth by the Surgeon General of United States. ROSE’s mission is to “address breastfeeding disparities to improve health equity among people of color nationwide through culturally competent training, education, advocacy, and support.” Kimarie and her staff seek to fulfill this vision and mission through a number of strategies and programs, including: their staple “Community Transformers (CTs)” program, which trains mothers with positive breastfeeding experiences to provide peer support to other mothers in their community; participating in health care leadership and policy-making; providing technical assistance to agencies regarding Steps 3 (prenatal breastfeeding education) and 10 (postpartum breastfeeding community support) of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative; creating regional and national initiatives to strengthen community breastfeeding programs, such as breastfeeding clubs and Reaching Our Brothers Everywhere for men; and serving as a resource for health care providers and agencies through interactions and events such as the ROSE Annual Breastfeeding Summit.
When CHAMPS began in 2014, Kimarie and ROSE were the ideal partners for our efforts to increase breastfeeding rates in the Southern United Sates. With Kimarie as our Community Engagement Director, CHAMPS has had great success in fulfilling the community portion of our mission as stated in our name: “Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices.” ROSE works to develop a broad community network by engaging grassroots breastfeeding supporters, counselors, and community members as part of CHAMPS. Since 2014, ROSE has trained 20-40 CTs per year in locations central to CHAMPS’ work, and they have provided continuing education to some of these CTs. Many of these CTs have started breastfeeding clubs in their communities, and mothers are receiving prenatal and postpartum breastfeeding education and support. ROSE also developed a data collection tool to capture data from ROSE CTs and the work being done in the field. In the past year, to support our Mississippi CHAMPS initiative, ROSE established a ROSE-affiliated chapter in Mississippi and identified a CT Leader in the state. ROSE and CHAMPS have also co-hosted breastfeeding and breastfeeding equity summits for CHAMPS hospital staff.
In addition to her work for ROSE and CHAMPS, Kimarie is currently chair of the nominating committee of the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC). She provides training for WIC breastfeeding staff and peer counselors throughout the southeastern states, a position she has proudly held since 2005. Kimarie recently completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree through Troy University, where she received the “Best Graduate Research Scholar” award in 2017. Prior to that, she completed a 3-month Community Health Leadership Program fellowship within the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse School of Medicine that stressed the best practices to provide for global health equity, and provided the network and understanding to eliminate health disparities through action-oriented projects. In 2016, Kimarie received a Legacy Award from USBC for her 38 years of work in the breastfeeding arena. Kimarie is married to Dr. George W. Bugg, Jr., a neonatologist, and they are the parents of 5 adult children.
Congratulations, Kimarie! CHEER applauds your wonderful career and the impact you have had on countless lives!
ROSE website: Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, Inc.
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).