Congratulations to CHAMPS Hospital Merit Health Wesley in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for becoming Baby-Friendly designated on December 4, 2018! Merit Health Wesley, with approximately 1,100 births per year and a level III NICU, is the third Merit Health hospital in Mississippi to become Baby-Friendly.
“It was a very exciting day for us when we received that call that we were designated Baby Friendly,” shares Vicki Walters, RN, BSN, Director of Women’s Services/NICU/Pediatrics and CHAMPS Assistant Team Lead at Merit Health Wesley. “It is rewarding to have all our staff’s efforts acknowledged. But even more rewarding is the knowledge that we are doing things the right way for our moms and babies.”
Merit Health Wesley’s Baby-Friendly journey began 3 years ago. Vicki shares that one of their challenges was the fact that their unit originated as a true Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum model with patient-centered couplet care, and because of that, they did not think they had a lot of obstacles to overcome. However, they soon realized that changes had to be made regarding policy, procedure, timing of tasks, and what they had perceived as “convenience” to staff. They also invested time in redesigning their patient education.
According to Vicki, the biggest difference Baby-Friendly has made for maternity services at Merit Health Wesley is the improved way they now educate their patients and families. She says they are now very involved in the community, and that they utilize existing resources in the community to reinforce the teaching they give to families. They also now include the extended family in the education process.
Vicki would like to thank her entire staff for their contributions, and especially Penne Satcher, RN, CLC, CHAMPS Team Lead, for her invaluable leadership. Penne coordinated all the audits and teaching, and helped everyone stay on track with her organizational skills.
What is Vicki’s advice to other hospitals seeking to become Baby-Friendly?
“Start your journey today,” she says. “Utilizing the Ten Steps will ensure your success. Rely on others’ experiences to assist you along the way. Network with any of us that have been through the process. Select a team leader with great organizational skills, and no, you may not have Penne. Keep your audit results out there in front of the staff, and don’t just assume everything is being retained by your patients.”
We applaud Merit Health Wesley’s accomplishments and the excellent care they are providing to mothers and babies!
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 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).