This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Julie Ware, MD MPH, IBCLC, an experienced board-certified pediatrician who specializes in breastfeeding medicine. Dr. Ware was nominated for her long work in the breastfeeding field, for her recent paper on the associations between breastfeeding initiation and infant mortality, and also for doing the CHAMPS Wednesday Webinar in October!
“With the birth of my own sons, I quickly realized that I had not been trained well enough to help my patients with breastfeeding, so I sought to learn how to help other moms and babies, through the mentorship of Mary Rose Tully,” shares Dr. Ware.
In 1996, Dr. Ware became an IBCLC and started working in the larger community to support breastfeeding. Upon moving to Memphis in 2004, she was overwhelmed by the racial disparities in breastfeeding, and so she became the Chair of the Shelby County Breastfeeding Coalition to highlight the importance of breastfeeding and combat many adverse maternal and child health outcomes. Since she began her career as a General Pediatrician almost 35 years ago, Dr. Ware has obtained a Masters in Public Health and shifted her personal medical practice to focus on the breastfeeding dyad. From 2014, she has worked exclusively with breastfeeding mothers and babies at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Center for Breastfeeding Medicine.
Motivated by the knowledge that breastfeeding saves lives, Dr. Ware believes that babies and families need all the support they can get. She is encouraged by seeing other groups incorporating breastfeeding promotion into their work. “It makes me feel like we can win the battle,” she says.
Dr. Ware is also involved in breastfeeding promotion at various levels. Her community efforts include breastfeeding promotion and the development of a model peer-to-peer effort called AMEN (“All Moms Empowered to Nurse”) to improve breastfeeding support for those least likely to breastfeed.
In addition to spearheading breastfeeding outreach events and education for community members, she also focuses on resident physician education, with a special interest in training pediatricians to help mothers and babies be successful in breastfeeding. “Every baby deserves this best start in life to reach his or her potential and it is not always easy, especially for mothers facing obstacles of race and poverty.”
When asked what she enjoys the most about her work, Dr. Ware said she loves hearing that her patients met their breastfeeding goals. “I love being with the local AMEN Champion moms and seeing them help and encourage other neighborhood mothers and families,” she shares excitedly. “I get very excited when initially reluctant moms are promoting and supporting breastfeeding!”
Dr. Ware was the first AAP National Chief Chapter Breastfeeding Coordinator. She just completed 6 years of service on the board of Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) and is a member of the AAP Executive Committee (Section on Breastfeeding) where she works on policy development and educational endeavors.
Congratulations Dr. Ware! Thank you for your long service in the field of breastfeeding medicine.
Congratulations to AI/AN CHAMPS Hospital, Norton Sound Regional Hospital, on their Baby-Friendly designation. They received designation on December 13, 2019, four years after they joined the pathway. Norton Sound, located in Nome, Alaska, is a small facility with about 800-100 births per year.
“Being Baby-Friendly feels like a huge accomplishment!” expressed Carol Hobbs, CLC, and Health Educator at Norton Sound Health Corporation (NSHC).
Norton Sound began its process towards designation in 2016, although there had been conversations about pursuing designation for several years prior. “One of the biggest challenges was the high rate of trained staff turnover we experienced, but recently our staff census has been more stable making trainings easier to accomplish,” shares Carol. She further explained that they have experienced an increased number of moms choosing to breastfeed, thus reducing the need for formula on the L&D unit, since they began their Baby-Friendly journey. “The sweetest successes are when an expectant moms’ face lights up as she processes new information about breastfeeding or when a postpartum mom says, “Thank you for the breastfeeding support—I wish I would have known that with my first baby.”” Carol stated.
As a tribal hospital, NSHC serves primarily Alaska Native people who have practiced breastfeeding for millennia. Carol reported that achieving Baby-Friendly designation is a way of supporting moms and babies in a practice that has kept them healthy since time immemorial. “We were already doing many of the ten steps, but going through the process of becoming a Baby-Friendly hospital made us more aware of the details, like documenting baby’s movements out of the room, making sure there is a medical need for formula, or finding alternative ways to get colostrum into baby,” she shared.
Carol would like to thank staff members: Kelly Keyes Zweifel, RD, Stephanie Stang, RD, and Carol Hobbs, CLC; Anne Gollan, RN, IBCLC and Elizabeth Coler, RN, IBCLC; the wonderful team of OB RNs including Chelsea Hubert, RN and Kallie Hoogendorn, RN; and the supportive team of Family Practice physicians who deliver babies at NSHC.
Following their designation, the team plans to continue auditing the prenatal and postnatal care provided, in order to ensure compliance with Baby-Friendly standards. “We will continue to find new ways to provide education to our prenatal moms in a group setting. We hope to see moms breastfeeding for longer, and with more confidence” Carol stated.
Congratulations to Norton Sound Regional Hospital! Thank you for all your efforts to support Alaska Native mothers in breastfeeding.
Congratulations to Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center (SMRMC) on their Baby-Friendly designation! This accomplishment was announced on December 12, 2019, approximately 3 years after they joined the pathway to designation in 2016. Located in McComb MS, SMRMC oversees a Level II NICU and about 813 births per year.
“To be Baby-Friendly is extremely rewarding! Labor and Delivery (L&D) has completely been transformed in the way we practice maternity and infant care, providing a “Family Centered” environment for the mother and baby couplets that deliver on our unit,” states Angela Ferguson-Parker, CLC, and Lactation Team Lead.
When asked about the challenges faced and victories accomplished throughout the process, Angela shared that the culture, work flow, and logistical changes required for their facility to achieve designation was no easy task. She further mentioned that while the slow progression in their data made it tough to remain motivated sometimes, it mostly pushed them to work even harder towards the goal of designation. Angela is proud that they are the 18th hospital in MS and amongst the first 600 hospitals in the U.S. to be Baby-Friendly designated. She is happy that the team faced little to no resistance from moms to the new changes, which made the process easier. She also noted that the increase in staff knowledge about breastfeeding and their desire to assist moms through challenges was a high point.
Since joining the pathway in 2016, the staff approach to providing maternity services has changed. According to Angela, every staff personnel is providing evidence-based education to every mother about the benefits of breastfeeding, risks of formula feeding, the importance of skin to skin and rooming in, and the proper preparation and handling of breastmilk substitutes. They also provide resources for post-discharge assistance and follow up. “All patients are now well-informed and supported to make decisions as to how they choose to feed and care for their babies,” Angela reports.
Furthermore, Angela would like to specially recognize the entire L&D unit, the amazing Breastfeeding Task Force including the CEO, COO, CNO’s, Physician champions -Dr. Richardson, Dr. Artigues and Dr. Nobles-, 4th Floor Gyn. & Peds. unit, Quality Improvement, Public Relations, Education Department, Accounting, Purchasing Department, WIC Representatives, and CHAMPS. She would also like to thank Kim Pace, Nurse Manager of LDRP, for the support, encouragement, motivation, and hard work she put into the entire process.
SMRMC first celebrated their achievement on December 30th. Going forward, they intend to stay up to date on trainings and updated materials to best serve and educate their patients, and take steps to increase the exclusive breastfeeding rates. They will promote, protect, and support breastfeeding while working hard to implement the Ten Steps to successful breastfeeding and uphold the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
Congratulations on your designation SMRMC, thank you for your service to mothers and babies in McComb and surrounding areas!
Congratulations to Methodist Olive Branch Hospital in Olive Branch, MS for becoming Baby-Friendly designated on December 12, 2019! Olive Branch has a level II NICU and approximately 650 deliveries per year.
“Becoming a Baby-Friendly Hospital is such a huge accomplishment for our facility! Given the many challenges with our small labor pool and the gravity of this culture change, I am so very proud for our team to have accomplished this goal,” expressed Linda Tuggle, MSN, RNC-OB, and Clinical Director of Maternity Services.
According to Linda, the greatest challenge was the meshing of the prenatal clinics with the hospital’s vision of becoming Baby-Friendly. However, this challenge became their biggest accomplishment, as it facilitated collaboration among all involved entities, towards the goal of becoming designated. In addition, Nicole Jeans, BSN, RN, IBCLC, shared that although they struggled in the beginning with physician and associate buy-in, one of their sweetest successes has been watching those practitioners and associates transform into some of the team’s biggest cheerleaders.
At Methodist Olive Branch, delivering high quality, evidence-based care has always been a priority; this priority is right in line with the Baby-Friendly hospital initiative. Linda shared that the team is very proud to ensure that mothers and babies in their community receive the highest level of care. Nicole reported that it has been very empowering to see the hospital’s breastfeeding exclusivity and initiation rates rise significantly, and to witness the associates advocating for mothers and their breastfeeding goals. “Breastfeeding has become a new norm on the unit, and that is truly a culture change. It is wonderful,” she stated.
Linda and Nicole would like to recognize the entire team for staying the course and doing all the hard work it took to get designated. “It was truly a labor of love for the entire team,” Linda shared. She further expressed an appreciation for Nicole’s investment, time, and efforts, as well as the Baby-Friendly task force members: Pam Young, Tiffany Everett, Brittany Smith, Mari Canizaro, and Catherine Claire Hill.
Now that they are designated, the team looks forward to sustaining their efforts, closely monitoring their data, and growing with Baby-Friendly. “This designation serves as a reminder of the investment we have, not only in our community, but also in the improvement of healthcare for every life we touch,” says Linda. The team hopes to maintain the positive culture change created at Methodist Olive Branch Hospital.
Congratulations Olive Branch! Thank you for your commitment to delivering quality, evidence-based care to mothers and babies in your community.
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).