This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Jackie Berger, MS, a CHEER Consultant and Project Manager for the Rocky Boy’s Community Health Assessment (CHA) Project. She was nominated for her outstanding work, collaboration, and leadership on the recently completed CHA.
“My favorite part of the CHA was tracking down community data” Jackie says. “It was like a puzzle and I enjoyed the process of creating a product for the community that they and CHAMPS can be proud of.” Jackie is an anthropologist who does research on historic health and inequalities. She began working with CHEER during her Master’s program at Boston University. Through this involvement, she was able to look at the lived experiences of marginalized populations and how that intersects with health.
Over the years, Jackie has worked on various CHEER projects, mainly CHAs for Blackfeet, Northern Cheyenne and other American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities in Montana. In her role as project lead for Rocky Boy’s Community Health Assessment, she coordinated the survey, collaborated with the community to collect data, conducted data analysis, and wrote the CHA. Prior to that, she was a Research Assistant on the Blackfeet CHA, where she organized existing data on the tribe and developed the CHEER approach for conducting CHAs with AI/AN tribes. In addition, Jackie currently maintains the database of all CHA sources and results.
When asked what motivates her work with CHEER, Jackie replied “I am motivated by the idea of honing my skills and contributing to the health of living communities for a change.” She is glad to have had the opportunity for collaboration and research with historically disadvantaged Native communities. Outside of her involvement with CHEER, Jackie is a doctoral student at the University of South Florida, where she’s a bioarchaeologist. She also enjoys fitness, reading, gardening, and baking in her spare time.
Congratulations Jackie! Thank you for all your hard work and best wishes on your doctoral program.
Read about the big push to have your child counted in the 2020 Census at https://www.census.gov/
Breanna Pennington, CLC, BD, is a doula who works full time as a Community Care Coordinator at Tougaloo Delta Health partners/United Health Care Greenville MS, a home visiting program for pregnant women. She was nominated for her contributions as a volunteer for the Delta Baby Café in Greenville.
“I started going to the Delta Baby Café after my second daughter was a year old,” Breanna shares. “I was an exclusive pumper for 18 months and I knew women needed to know that there was another way to give your baby breast milk.” In the past, she would go to the Delta Baby Café after her night shift on Wednesdays to talk to moms and share her experience of working and pumping.
In her role as Community Care Coordinator, Breanna assists mothers from the time they find out about their pregnancy until the baby is two years old. She covers the areas of Bolivar, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, and Washington County. As a Community Care Coordinator, Breanna provides resources in the client’s area. She makes sure each of her clients have as much knowledge on their pregnancy and breastfeeding as she is able to provide.
Breanna absolutely loves when the women she has worked with send her a message or stop her in person, to explain how she has helped them to continue with their breastfeeding journey. “That is the best thing ever. It gives you, as the CLC, so much joy”, she says.
What motivates Breanna to do this work? She is motivated by her mom who passed 2-3 weeks before she found out Breanna had passed her CLC exam. She has two daughters and dreams of having a private practice.
Congratulations, Breanna, and thank you for the work you do!
This week, we would like to recognize the East Mississippi Breastfeeding Coalition (EMSBFC), an organization that strives to promote awareness and correct misconceptions around breastfeeding in Golden Triangle and surrounding counties. Established in 2017, “EMSBFC’s mission is the advancement of breastfeeding as the cultural norm and advocacy in the communities we serve,” shares Christina Chunn, CHES, IBCLC, CLC and EMSBFC President.
Originally part of the North Mississippi Breastfeeding Coalition, the members of EMSBFC decided to create a new coalition, so each group could better focus their efforts and serve their respective areas. Since it became a stand-alone organization, EMSBFC has sought to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding in the Golden Triangle and surrounding counties through coalition building, parent education and support, securing provider support, increasing workplace and child care center support, and translating breastfeeding research and recommendations into action and policy respectively.
EMSBSFC is very active on Facebook where they share research articles, information, and local breastfeeding resources for parents or health care providers. They also speak regularly at health fairs, parenting classes, and local colleges about breastfeeding. “We have a goal to educate more local businesses about the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law and post resources related to that on FB,” says Christina. Currently, they are working on connecting with local Chambers of Commerce and attending an employer's health fair to promote awareness about the law.
Furthermore, EMSBFC partners with local hospitals and seeks to make community connections through their meetings. In the past, these meetings have featured OBGYNs, a midwife, a doula, a licensed trauma counselor, and a NICU mom who shared their experiences and resources for parents. They also periodically provide CERP (Continuing Education Recognition Points) opportunities where they invite professionals to train people on various breastfeeding issues.
Thank you EMSBFC for championing breastfeeding in the Golden Triangle and surrounding counties!
To learn more about the East Mississippi Breastfeeding Coalition and community resources, visit their Facebook page.
Our CHEER Champion of the Week is T’amentanefer (TaNefer) Lumukanda Camara, BS, MS-HCA, IBCLC, and Certified Doula. TaNefer is a maternal health strategist, healer, and lactation/breastfeeding expert with 13 years’ experience as a doula, lactation consultant, and infant feeding specialist. She currently works as a Lactation Consultant at a safety net Baby Friendly Hospital in Oakland, CA and provides education to community and professionals on breastfeeding and lactation.
“I enjoy witnessing moms tap into their innate ability to care for and nurture their babies,” she shares. “I love to see families grow and thrive.”
TaNefer is renowned for her popular music video “Teach Me How to Breastfeed”, a song that was inspired by the moms she met at WIC as a Peer Counselor. “I felt the information was vital but not written for young urban moms,” she says, “people needed clear, concise information that was straight to the point yet left a memorable impression.” The video not only challenged the notion of breasts as sexual objects, but also dispelled the myth that black women do not breastfeed. It was a social statement that portrayed a Black IBCLC educating families of all races and sexual orientation on breastfeeding.
TaNefer has a diverse background with experience in Qualitative Research, counseling foster youth, social work and family advocacy. In 2014, she started The Lactation Café (TLC) in collaboration with Room to Bloom, a local early education program in East Oakland. The organization provided families with a safe place to receive the support they needed to breastfeed their babies and thrive as parents. Through the support provided, the rates and duration of breastfeeding in the community increased, with many of the moms breastfeeding for over 1.5 years.
When asked what motivates her to do this work? TaNefer described how she was inspired by an article she read in 2003 about Black Midwives in the South and the alarming infant mortality and morbidity rates she discovered in her neighborhood. “At that moment, I realized the rich legacy that we as Black people had in this country,” she shares. “From then on I began my journey to birth work, breastfeeding, and health education as a means to save myself and liberate my people.” She was further motivated by her difficult experience with breastfeeding after the birth of her son in 2006. This experience helped her to realize that moms would need practical and hands on support to overcome the challenges.
In addition to all her accomplishments, TaNefer is a Health Connect One-Birth Equity Leader. She is also involved in cutting edge research as part of the USCF Preterm Birth Initiative and co-founding the B.L.A.C.K course, a comprehensive African-American/diaspora centered lactation educator course designed by Black Lactation specialists. In her spare time, TaNefer loves to travel! She recently visited Morocco where she learned ancient post-partum traditions for restoring health and dignity to women after birth.
Congratulations TaNefer, and thanks for the excellent work you do in providing hands on breastfeeding support to families!
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).