Dr. Susan Karol, MD, is Chief Medical Officer of the Indian Health Service (IHS). She was nominated as CHAMPion of the week because of her work on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) at IHS. Under Dr. Karol’s leadership, 100% of IHS federal birthing hospitals became Baby-Friendly designated by December 2014. We salute Dr. Karol for her incredible leadership in this unique initiative!
Dr. Karol has served as Chief Medical Officer of IHS since 2008. IHS is the principal federal health care provider for American Indians and Alaska Natives. A member of the Tuscarora Indian Nation, Dr. Karol has served as Medical Director of The Hunt Breast Center, Hunt Hospital, Danvers, Massachusetts, and, from 1996 to 2008, as Chief of Surgery at Beverly Hospital, Massachusetts. She is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
To read more about the BFHI at IHS, visit this page.
This week’s CHAMPions are 2 stalwart leaders from Chickasaw National Medical Center (CNMC) in Ada, Oklahoma. Kathy Gilchrist, BS, RNC-OB, IBCLC, is Lactation Counselor and Educator and has been with CNMC for 16+ years. Lisa Eddings, BSN, RN, is Assistant OB Nurse Manager/Nurse Educator and has been with CNMC for 23+ years. Both Kathy and Lisa are on the Baby-Friendly task force at their hospital, which has worked for the past 4 years towards Baby-Friendly designation. They are about to enter the last phase of the 4-D pathway, Designation, and we applaud them on their hard work and perseverance towards this goal!
When Kathy and Lisa compare maternity practices at their hospital now to 4 years ago, the changes they see are dramatic. For example, 4 years ago, mothers and babies were separated for 2 to 3 hours in the first 4 to 6 hours after birth for the admission process and routine care. Babies were also routinely supplemented with formula simply for the sake of convenience. “Looking back now it seems so barbaric to have denied our families this most precious and most important time in their lives,” write Kathy and Lisa. Now, as much care as possible is provided at the bedside and involving the family in every step. Well-term babies are placed skin-to-skin immediately following vaginal delivery and as soon as possible for C-sections, which has impacted breastfeeding initiation rates very positively. Nurses also care for the entire dyad instead of having separate nurses for mothers and babies, providing more consistency.
Patient satisfaction has also improved, report Kathy and Lisa: “Families that have had a baby with us in years prior to starting the Baby-Friendly process and that have had a baby with us today have expressed that they are much happier with the care they receive now compared to before. The most exciting change we have seen is the number of patients who choose our facility from all over Oklahoma and many other states. We recently had a mother tell us she moved here from California just to have her baby here because she had heard ‘this is the place to have your baby.’”
Kathy and Lisa worked as a team on these changes, one taking the lead in a certain area and the other supporting her. They are grateful for the help and support they have received from The Trailblazers, Anne Merewood, Becky Mannel, Ingrid Dixon and Kirsten Krane.
Note: This post has been transferred from CHAMPSbreastfeed.org. There were originally 5 comments. You can view them in this document.
Antoinette M. Kleiner, RN, MSN, IBCLC, is a Nurse Educator-Lactation Consultant at Indian Health Service (IHS) hospital Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico. She led her hospital’s successful breastfeeding journey when they became designated in 2014, and has been a leader in sustaining the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) not only at Shiprock, but across Navajo Nation. She currently serves as facilitator for the Navajo Nation Breastfeeding Coalition’s “Community Conversations,” which are being conducted around Navajo Nation to gather people’s thoughts and needs around the question: "What can IHS and Navajo Nation do to help support breastfeeding?"
Antoinette has been extremely generous with her time and experience by going beyond her hospital to help other IHS hospitals on their Baby-Friendly journeys. Antoinette says, “I was thankful for the shared expertise from my colleagues around IHS that led the BFHI journey before us, and I was happy to be considered a content resource for those facilities needing additional help.” Ways she has offered such help include her participation in: IHS BFHI conference calls and webinar presentations, the formula purchasing and data collection workgroups with IHS Headquarters, and the Navajo Area’s IHS BFHI’s creation of common documentation templates, patient education handouts and an online SharePoint file library of their work. She has also answered questions by phone calls and emails, and has traveled to Gallup and Crownpoint to assist them in preparing for their BFHI assessments. She has helped numerous other facilities remotely.
When asked what differences she sees in Navajo Nation now that the IHS hospitals are Baby-Friendly, Antoinette said: “I see more moms continuing to breastfeed for longer durations, we have more moms [openly] tandem breastfeeding, more requests for lactation consults, more engorgement and yeast infections than we used to see—because moms are breastfeeding long enough to experience these. I see more moms confident in their right to work and breastfeed, and expect their employer to support them, and I have moms asking for my signature on their jury duty forms to postpone this civil duty due to exclusive breastfeeding. These are ‘problems’ we never used to see :).”
Desta Reff, JD is the Delta Clinical Fellow, a joint appointment between Harvard Law School and the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University. She is also the Director of Delta Directions, an interdisciplinary group of individuals from academic institutions and foundations working for change in the MS Delta. In this position, Desta engages in a number of public health and economic development issues, focusing specifically on early childhood interventions and increasing breastfeeding rates in MS through policy.
The breastfeeding legislation currently underway in MS is SB 2070. “Your legislators need to hear from you,” Desta says, “Many of them have little direct experience or knowledge on the subject of breastfeeding so they don't know to make this a policy priority. The message is simple, breastfeeding is free and its health benefits would directly address all of the state’s chronic and costly health issues, like obesity, diabetes, and infant mortality, and save the state millions. It's a win-win. But they don't know this. They need to be educated and they need to know that this bill (SB 2070) is important…The more people they hear from, the more likely they are to support it.”
SB 2070 would allow for 4 provisions: 1. All employers would be required to provide break time and a private space to pump for all mothers; this is federal law under the Affordable Care Act for certain employees but it does not cover everyone. 2. All hospitals would be required to have an infant feeding policy that supports breastfeeding that all relevant staff are trained on to implement. 3. All places that provide maternal care would be required to display the "Breast-feeding in Mississippi Guidelines" which outline the basic benefits and rights of breastfeeding and breastfeeding mothers. 4. It would amend the public breastfeeding law to include a small fine, $25-250, for anyone who violates a mother’s right to breastfeed.
Desta encourages everybody to find out who your local legislators are, and to call or email them to tell them why breastfeeding is important to you and MS, and why you want them to support SB 2070. You can find your local legislators’ contact information on this website.
Note: This post has been transferred from CHAMPSbreastfeed.org. There were originally 2 comments. You can view them in this document.
CHEER Champion of the week
Each Monday (besides public holidays), 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).