Our CHEER Champion this week is Lisa Spring, RN, Certified in Inpatient Obstetrics, and OB Charge Nurse at King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC). She was nominated for being an amazing supporter of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative at her facility.
“I enjoy working on the unit because it is very family oriented and community supported. The Baby-Friendly initiative and our 3 year journey to designation really helped establish an even stronger bond that I am happy to be a part of,” shares Lisa.
Lisa first joined the Labor, Delivery, Recovery, and Postpartum unit of KDMC in 1998. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in a geriatric-psychiatric setting, but she always knew L&D was the goal. In her 20 years at the facility, she has enjoyed being able to contribute in various ways to the birthing experience of moms. As the OB Charge Nurse, she works closely with all the nurses to assist in educating moms on the benefits of breastfeeding and implementing immediate STS following all types of deliveries. “I tour expecting mothers through our department as part of the prenatal education class, to give them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the department and know what to expect during their delivery,” states Lisa.
Lisa reports that the BFHI was initiated at KDMC by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mississippi, and their push for maternal quality improvement. “When it was first introduced, I was reluctant to accept the change because it meant work process changes and I was uncertain about how the community would receive such changes,” she expressed. Over time, she was able to overcome those uncertainties once she witnessed the benefits of skin to skin and other baby-friendly practices. She declared that Baby-Friendly practices are now well supported within the facility and the community at large.
When asked what motivates her work, Lisa expressed that she is inspired to do this work because she loves mamas, families, communities, and enjoys witnessing the miracle of birth. “I feel happy to be able to bring calmness, reassurance, and comfort to first time moms who are afraid and do not know what to expect,” she shares.
In her spare time, Lisa enjoys traveling and spending time with her grandchildren.
Congratulations Lisa, thank you for your commitment to improving the birthing experiences of mothers at your facility!
This week’s CHEER Champion of the week is Yildiz Gumustekin. Yildiz works as a Protection Assistant for the Danish Refugee Council’s Greek Protection Monitoring Team in Skaramagas refugee camp, and volunteers for CHEER in Greece (CHEERing). With a Bachelor of Social Work, and an expertise in Psychosocial Support and Conflict Transformation, Yildiz supports the implementation of many general protection activities in the camp, which houses around 3,000 refugees. These include providing support and referrals for vulnerable individuals and groups, conducting assessments and focus group discussions, monitoring community-based protection networks, and more.
“None of us can change the world, but at least we can be a part of the solution to support people to gain new resiliency. I am willing and trying to encourage people to explore their capacity to access services and be more independent,” says Yildiz, who previously worked as a social worker on the Syrian/Turkish border.
As a volunteer for CHEERing, Yildiz promotes and supports breastfeeding in Skaramagas camp, conducts outreach and publicity to connect more volunteers to CHEERing, and serves as our Kurmanji interpreter. When asked how she helps refugees with breastfeeding, Yildiz said, “You just need to encourage women to explore their capacity and be aware of their super motherhood skills, and raise importance of breastfeeding for self-confidence.”
Yildiz is extraordinarily passionate about her work, the residents of Skaramagas camp, and her coworkers, but also described the desperation she feels when her tireless efforts to secure access to resources or services are stymied due to a lack of supplies and unfair policies. These challenges have become even more prevalent in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. “We have even more to do nowadays like giving correct information about COVID-19 and enlightening any misunderstandings about it,” explained Yildiz. Of these particularly challenging circumstances, Yildiz said, “lt is important to continue our work in the camp because people need to know that they are not alone, and they have someone to raise their issues with when they need services onsite. We are all passing through tough times, but we must make it easy for each other and cooperate more than other days. Otherwise, we cannot overcome this situation.” “We need to be more supportive and NOT leave anyone behind,” Yildiz added.
Yildiz spoke of a documentary she saw years ago that inspires her work to this day, which illustrated the capacity of human beings as a bonsai tree—“If you give them a pot to grow in, they will grow like a plant, but if you give them space, they will grow like a tree.”
Congratulations, Yildiz! Thank you for all the incredible work you do to empower those around you with the knowledge, resources, kindness, and confidence to grow into trees!
The recipient of the CHEER 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award is Riccardo Davanzo, MD, PhD. He is a neonatologist from Trieste in Italy, who has performed outstanding service for breastfeeding throughout his long career.
Dr. Davanzo is a well-published researcher, physician, teacher, and the Chair of the Task Force on Breastfeeding of the Italian Ministry of Health. He also currently serves as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Maternal and Child Health, IRCCS “Burlo Garofolo”, in Trieste Italy. Prior to this, he was the Director of Pediatrics and Neonatology Division, Matera Hospital (South Italy) for three years and a Neonatology Consultant at Children’s Hospital, Trieste, for 24 years, Most recently, he spearheaded the creation and communication of “Breastfeeding and SARS-CoV-2 Infection,” a document that provides guidance on breastfeeding for the COVID-19 epidemic in Europe, and published a research paper detailing the implications and importance of maintaining breastfeeding practices during the pandemic. These guidelines were created on behalf of the Italian Society of Neonatology (SIN) and endorsed by the Union of European Neonatal and Perinatal Societies (UENPS).
“My greatest achievement is the scientific dignity that breastfeeding and its promotion have gained within the Italian and global health and academic communities, during the last decades. While pursuing this goal, my main strategies have been academic involvement, empathetic respect of different positions toward breastfeeding, and science based advocacy.” – Riccardo Davanzo, MD, PHD
Dr. Davanzo comes from a family of Italian refugees from Istria during World War II. He entered Medicine in pursuit of a challenging career, but from the very beginning he developed an increasing passion to care for neonates and children. He focused on the theoretical basis of breastfeeding after completing a degree thesis on the factors influencing breastfeeding.
Since he began his medical career in 1980, Dr. Davanzo has contributed to the field of maternal and child health through practice, research, and education. His main areas of research are breastfeeding, skin to skin, use of appropriate technology in neonatal care, neonatal infections, and prevention of sudden unexpected postnatal collapse (SUPC) in newborns.
Furthermore, Dr. Davanzo developed a method of meta-analysis for the evaluation of lactation risk of various drug groups. In the past, he has focused on reducing technical barriers around breastfeeding in the hospital, assessing the safety of medications and contrast media agent for breastfeeding mothers, alleviating controversies in breastfeeding, and the epidemiology of breastfeeding the NICUs, among others. He was also a professor and taught courses in breastfeeding and trained medical students, and pediatric, obstetrics and gynecology residents at the University of Trieste for 27 years.
In addition to his vast experience with maternal and child health in Italy, Dr. Davanzo served as a consulting physician at Central Hospital Maputo, Mozambique from 1987-1990, and then took a position as the Director of Pediatric Health Services at Mavalane Hospital and Health Area, Maputo until 1991. He also taught a course on Neonatology at the University of Maputo, Mozambique during this period, and contributed to the National Guidelines on Kangaroo Care (KMC) of Mozambique.
Throughout his career, Dr. Davanzo has collaborated with multilateral, international, and domestic agencies to promote breastfeeding, kangaroo mother care, and other essential newborn care. He has contributed to the preparation of WHO documents on these subjects and served as a consultant on other maternal and child related issues.
Dr. Davanzo is an active member of the Italian Society of Neonatology, International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) and coordinator of the Italian Network of Trainers on Breastfeeding (RIFAM). He has been married for 35 years and has 2 sons. He is an exceptional physician scientist, a passionate educator, and an unrelenting breastfeeding advocate.
Congratulations to North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC) Gilmore-Amory on becoming Baby-Friendly designated on March 12, 2020! Located in Amory, MS this facility has 582 births per year and operates a level III NICU. They began their Baby-Friendly journey in April 2016 and enrolled as a CHAMPS Hospital in February 2018.
“It feels awesome to be Baby-Friendly! We worked so very hard for this accomplishment. We are a small facility, and everyone wore many hats during the process, but we pulled together and made it happen” – Kimberly Moore, Director of Women’s Center, NMMC Gilmore-Amory
When NMMC Gilmore-Amory started implementing skin to skin in 2016, it was an adjustment for the staff because it required changes in the way they assessed and provided routine infant care. However, with extensive staff education and experience, the staff became more comfortable with the implementation of BFHI practices. When asked about their greatest challenge and sweetest success, Kimberly described the multiple administrative changes the facility faced throughout the process. “We changed ownership three different times. Implementing such a culture change like BFHI, when we were adjusting to so many different changes from supplies, policies, and hospital rules was a challenge,” Kimberly stated. She further mentioned that although the staff were overwhelmed with all these changes going on at once, they rose to the occasion and overcame the challenges in “true Gilmore fashion.”
The NMMC Gilmore-Amory team believes their BFHI journey was worth it and are very happy about the positive feedback they have received from moms who delivered early in their Baby-Friendly journey and then at the end. Since the implementation of Baby-Friendly, the team has noticed that mothers are more comfortable taking their babies home because they learn the feeding cues, and how to feed, change, and dress their babies while in the hospital. The staff has also become more confident in caring for newborns and assisting mothers with breastfeeding and routine infant care. They are very proud of the wonderful feedback they received from CHAMPS and the Baby-Friendly USA team; they felt validated with the knowledge that their hard work was not unnoticed.
The Baby-Friendly team would like to appreciate the entire hospital, from environmental services to administration, who helped bring the Baby-Friendly goal to fruition. They would like to specially recognize Tula Swinney, CLC and Transition Nurse, who was very instrumental in the process. Tula assisted moms with breastfeeding issues, taught prenatal classes, gathered much of the data, and took the extra time to help educate the staff. Going forward, the Gilmore-Amory team will continue to polish and improve their processes, they will continue to audit their practices and strive to improve their breast feeding exclusivity rate.
Congratulations NMMC Gilmore-Amory, thank you for your determination, diligence, and collaboration towards achieving Baby-Friendly designation!
CHEER Champion of the week
Each Monday (besides public holidays), we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the support they have provided for CHEER, CHAMPS, or the general public.