Cindy Greene, RN is Nurse Manager, CHAMPS Team Lead, and Chair of the Baby-Friendly Steering Committee at SEARHC, Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka, Alaska. She is doing a great job leading her team in their Baby-Friendly journey!
Mt. Edgecumbe is a tribal hospital serving mostly Tlingit tribal members as well as the general population, and delivering 2-3 babies each month. Mt. Edgecumbe is currently in the Development phase of the 4D pathway, and the staff and administration are highly motivated to become Baby-Friendly. Cindy shares that both nurses and physicians “are embracing this concept [of Baby-Friendly] and integrating the ten steps into birthing plans and nursing policies.” They are also in the process of integrating a new computer system, which will ensure that Baby-Friendly practices are properly documented. “My committee members are an awesome group,” Cindy says, “We are working together to build a strong breastfeeding culture.”
Cindy’s dreams for breastfeeding at Mt. Edgecumbe and in Sitka “are that we have enough community support to assist breastfeeding mothers [and] that these mothers know they can rely on current information and positive feedback from our staff as we work towards achieving Baby-Friendly status…I would love to see this hospital and community foster a strong culture of support for all our breastfeeding mothers!”
Wonderful work, Cindy and team! We are excited to be on this journey with you!
Vicki Walters RN, BS is Director of Women's Services, NICU and Pediatrics, and CHAMPS Lactation Team Lead at CHAMPS hospital Merit Health Wesley in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She has 36 years of nursing experience. Previously, Vicki worked as Director of Women's and Children's Services at CHAMPS hospital Merit Health River Region in Vicksburg, MS. She has done an incredible leadership job at both hospitals by helping them to get on track for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative! In addition, she has been mentoring other MS hospitals in Baby-Friendly practices.
Merit Health Wesley moved into the Development phase of the 4-D pathway on March 30, 2016, and are preparing to move into Dissemination in July. They have been offering continuing education for community and medical professionals on breastfeeding skills and techniques, and on July 18-20 will be hosting a 3-day CHAMPS workshop for clinicians to obtain the 15 hours of didactic training required by Baby-Friendly USA™.
Vicki shares: “I am personally blessed to work with such a dedicated staff here at Merit Health Wesley that has already made great strides in encouraging rooming-in, support for the breastfeeding mom, and a family-centered approach to care of newborns for a healthier start in life. They have been on the forefront of this journey for a healthier Mississippi starting with newborn care. We have opened our doors to share with other health care providers in the state to come and observe our rooming-in success and encouragement of breastfeeding. We appreciate the support we receive from CHAMPS on our road to success.”
While at Merit Health River Region, Vicki worked closely with Kim Barnes, RN, CCE, IBCLC, Kathy Juve, RN, MSN, CCE, IBCLC and others. Together, they increased rooming-in time, expanded staff breastfeeding education, improved skin-to-skin practices, and collaborated with the new Mother’s Milk Bank of MS by offering to become a milk depot site.
In her free time, Vicki volunteers for March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Previously, she served as President of the Mississippi Hospital Association - Mississippi Organization of Nurse Executives.
Merit Health operates 11 birthing hospitals across Mississippi, and all 11 are now on track to become Baby-Friendly designated, per Merit Health’s requirement. All 11 have entered the 4D pathway. Three are CHAMPS hospitals—Merit Health Wesley, Merit Health River Region, and Merit Health Woman's Hospital. We applaud Merit Health Systems on prioritizing breastfeeding and the BFHI for the health of their patients!
Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) in Anchorage, Alaska was the first hospital in Alaska to enroll in the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) CHAMPS program. Staff members at ANMC have been working towards Baby-Friendly designation for 10+ years but have faced challenges. Now they are ready to forge ahead, and on March 22, 2016 they entered the Development phase of the 4-D Pathway!
“A year ago I really did not think we would be at this point. The obstacles we had to overcome were so seemingly insurmountable. But here we are!” says Michelle Tschida, CNM, IBCLC, CHAMPS Team Lead and Lactation & Infant Feeding Specialist at ANMC.
ANMC delivers approximately 1,600 babies a year, and about 50% of their patients travel from Alaska’s sparsely populated rural communities. All babies born at ANMC are of Alaska Native or American Indian heritage. The rural hospitals refer high-risk births to ANMC. If mothers are at risk for preterm birth, they fly to Anchorage 36 weeks into their pregnancies or 4 weeks before their previous delivery dates. Most women stay in hotels waiting for their baby’s birth. Some women are able to bring a family member, but many of them are not and may feel isolated and alone in an unfamiliar, big city. Mothers may have to leave their older children in their villages to stay at home with a relative while they are away. In the larger rural communities there are hospitals, but in the more remote areas families receive healthcare through village clinics. Women in these communities receive most of their care from Community Health Aides. These are individuals who reside in the community and obtain specialized training in healthcare. They work closely with doctors and midwives to coordinate prenatal care.
Michelle coordinates a committee at ANMC that is working on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, with sub-committees for each of the Ten Steps. ANMC has 21 midwives, and midwives have been delivering babies at ANMC for 30+ years. They routinely use skin-to-skin care and have breastfeeding initiation rates of around 90%. Longer-term, Michelle and her team are hoping to reduce ANMC’s formula supplementation rate through nurse and patient education.
Congratulations, ANMC, and best wishes on the Baby-Friendly journey!
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).