This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is John Micka, RD, Nutritionist Senior for the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH). He has worked for MSDH for 19 years with both the WIC program and the PHRM (Perinatal High Risk Management) program. In recent years, his focus has been on WIC. He was nominated for the valuable work he does to encourage his clients in WIC to breastfeed, and to educate them on the benefits of breastfeeding.
As Nutritionist Senior, John’s duties include providing nutrition counseling and WIC services for prenatal clients, breastfeeding clients, non-breastfeeding clients, infants, and children up to age 5. He works closely with WIC breastfeeding staff and directs clients to them for breastfeeding support. The fact that he is a man puts him in a unique position to encourage breastfeeding from a male perspective.
“John presents himself as a male influence in favor of breastfeeding, and he encourages the women to do this for their babies,” says Peggy Disbrow, CLC, Peer Counselor 3 for MSDH. “This seems to really give the women more confidence in their ability to breastfeed their children.”
John shares: “I certainly believe that nutrition is the main component of any healthy lifestyle and that breastfeeding is the very best start that a mother can give her baby. I always try to encourage our clients to breastfeed. I think that it can be helpful for my clients to hear about breastfeeding from a man because very often the only ones talking about breastfeeding are women. I try to approach the subject with the focus on what is very best for the baby.”
In addition to his career with MSDH, John owns a fitness center, Revolution Fitness in Hattiesburg, MS, which has the reputation of being a “hardcore” training facility with many powerlifters and other types of strength athletes. John enjoys competing in powerlifting, strongman, and Scottish highland games, where events such as the stone throw, hammer throw, and the caber toss take place. His commitment to a healthy lifestyle unifies his career and personal interests.
“I know that I was breastfed and I’m sure that I am better off because of it,” says John. “I am always excited when our breastfeeding mothers are doing well with healthy, happy babies.”
Congratulations, John, and thank you for all that you do!
Congratulations to Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, Louisiana, for achieving Baby-Friendly designation on July 12, 2018! Touro was part of the first wave of the CHAMPS South program, during 2014-2017. It is a large, academic and private practice, level III obstetric facility with a level III NICU, and it performs approximately 3,300 deliveries annually. It is one of only two birthing hospitals in the city of New Orleans. The other birthing hospital, Ochsner Baptist, with approximately 2,997 births per year, was also part of CHAMPS and received Baby-Friendly designation on October 31, 2017. The fact that all births in New Orleans will now take place under the Baby-Friendly model of care is truly something to celebrate!
“Receiving Baby-Friendly designation is a well-deserved honor and accomplishment for the Touro Family Birthing Center team,” says Kim Faught, RN BSN, Director of Women’s Services at Touro Infirmary. “This recognizes our dedication to high quality maternal and newborn care. Even though Baby Friendly centers around breastfeeding, it represents a change in the way in which care to the mother and baby is delivered. As a leader in maternity care in New Orleans, it is important for Touro to lead the way in providing comprehensive care to our patients. The care supported by the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (the Ten Steps) allows us to do that.”
“The Baby-Friendly journey was a long one for Touro,” Kim shares honestly.
They officially began their Baby-Friendly journey in February 2015 when they entered the Discovery phase. Then, they reorganized their team and approach in December 2016 and re-launched their Baby-Friendly journey in January 2017. One of their biggest changes, Kim says, was the provision of consistent and standardized patient education. Shannon Grosch, RN, BSN, IBCLC, Lactation Consultant and CHAMPS Team Lead at Touro, led the charge on devising a very successful, creative and organized prenatal education system.
Kim shares that their senior administrative team was very supportive from the onset, but getting nurse and physician commitment and buy-in was one of their greatest challenges. However, once the staff embraced Touro’s commitment to the Ten Steps as “the model for care delivery, [their] forward progress became steady.” Meeting the criteria for the Ten Steps also earned Touro “Gift” designation from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Bureau of Family Health, which provided additional evidence-based breastfeeding resources to assist in their journey towards Baby Friendly.
What is Kim’s advice to other hospitals seeking Baby-Friendly designation?
“Stay the course…it is a marathon, not a sprint,” Kim says. “Celebrate even the smallest victories (and celebrate often) with the team and staff. Hold each member of the team and staff accountable. Formulation of a clear infant feeding policy is the foundation to success. Educate…educate…educate….if you think the staff has been educated, do it again! Touro could not have moved through the Designation phase in one year without the guidance from the CHAMPS staff. They provided us with useful and practical advice that led us to a successful survey. The audit tools provided by CHAMPS were invaluable as was the mock on-site Baby-Friendly survey.”
“It’s a long journey and receiving our designation is something for which we are extremely proud,” Kim says. “Our success represents the dedication of our staff and the support of our administration and physician champions.”
Well done, Touro! We celebrate this extraordinary accomplishment with you!
This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Kate Mitchell, CNM, a Midwife at Indian Health Service’s Blackfeet Community Hospital (BCH) in Browning, Montana. She was nominated for the great work she is doing as a midwife and in improving substance use screening and referrals for the patients at BCH.
“I LOVE being a midwife and I LOVE working with women!” Kate enthusiastically shares. “Women hold up half the sky. I serve women so they can continue their own important work in their communities.”
Kate is one of two providers who specialize in women’s health at BCH. A typical day for her includes one on one patient visits for prenatal care, menstruation issues, birth control, menopause management, and cervical cancer screenings; hospital triage visits for obstetrical concerns; and hospital visits for labor and birth.
Over the past year, Kate and her colleagues in the Women’s Health Clinic (Alison Taranto, CNM, FNP-BC, Dr. Kendall Flint, MD and Katie Boggs, RN) worked alongside CHEER to improve substance use screenings and referrals in BCH’s Women’s Health Clinic. Clinic staff have done that by implementing validated screening tools, such as the 4Ps and CRAFFT, for all new prenatal and non-prenatal visits. Once they identify a substance use disorder, they then check in about a patient’s goals regarding substance use at each prenatal or follow-up visit by engaging them in motivational interviewing. One of their main goals is to connect these patients with appropriate local resources, such as BCH’s Behavioral Health Department, Crystal Creek Lodge Treatment Center, local Medication-Assisted Treatment programs for opioid use disorders, or inpatient rehabilitation centers in Montana/the Pacific Northwest.
This past May 2018, Kate helped CHEER with the coordination to bring the evidence-based SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) training to Browning. Hospital staff and diverse, local organizations attended this successful training, which exponentially increased the level of substance use education among providers and community organization leaders. The SBIRT Training was conducted by the National Council for Behavioral Health and largely funded by the Montana Healthcare Foundation.
“The SBIRT training was excellent!” says Kate. “Folks were engaged in the material and really benefited from the interactive aspects of the training such as role playing and storytelling.”
Kate also helped secure the Thacher Community Grant from The American College of Nurse-Midwives to support the BCH midwives to implement universal substance use disorder screening and ongoing SBIRT training. This grant is supporting the clinic to implement a universal screening protocol and provide appropriate, evidence-based follow-up care.
Congratulations, Kate! We wish you the best!
This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is G. Wesley Bugg, Esq., LLM, Operations Officer for Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) and Deputy Director for Reaching Our Brothers Everywhere (ROBE). Wesley is doing great work with both ROSE and ROBE, a program of ROSE dedicated to educating, equipping and empowering men on a national scale to positively impact African-American breastfeeding rates and infant mortality. Based in Decatur, Georgia, ROBE also operates in Mississippi, Florida, Ohio, Texas, and California. They coordinate fatherhood forums and conference presentations; connect with national projects and programs to share resources; and work with Healthy Start male initiatives in several states.
“Our goal is to promote health equity,” Wesley says. “It is vital that communities have the needed resources, information and support to make informed choices on infant feeding. We know that our communities are ‘resource deprived’ due to many reasons including systemic racism. African-American men have not been included in the gathering and dissemination of breastfeeding and safe sleep knowledge, and therefore, pregnant women and babies of color are disproportionately ill and dying. We plan to rectify that disparity.”
As Deputy Director of ROBE, Wesley communicates with ROBE’s National Wisdom Council members on a weekly basis; organizes and conducts monthly video conferences; and communicates with ROSE leadership to establish and operate ROBE programs. ROBE will host a pre-summit conference, “Creating a Culture of Health Equity,” at ROSE’s 7th Annual Breastfeeding & Equity Summit on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta. Check out ROBE’s event page for a list of other upcoming events hosted by ROBE, including community forums in Miami and New Orleans.
“ROBE was inspired by the successful work of ROSE,” shares Wesley, who is a son to Kimarie Bugg, ROSE’s CEO & Change Leader and CHAMPS’ Community Engagement Director. “As ROSE sought to expand the circle of cultural competency, we identified a need for men to be engaged because of the value men have in our community.”
In 2014, ROBE became a program of ROSE, which seeks to eliminate breastfeeding disparities among African-American women and focuses on four pillars: programs, policy, peers and partners. ROBE targets two of those pillars, programs and partners.
Wesley and Kimarie are not the only family members who work alongside each other at ROSE and ROBE. In fact, there are four Buggs who do this work: Wesley, Kimarie, Dr. George Bugg Jr. (Wesley’s father), Chief of Neonatology at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, and Caleb Bugg (Wesley’s younger brother), a first-year graduate student in Operations Research at the University of California, Berkeley.
Wesley is a 2016 graduate of the University of Miami’s School of Law (JD, LLM) and a 2013 graduate of Emory University (BA). Prior to his work at ROSE and ROBE, Wesley worked as the Deputy Director of Court Vision International, Inc., a nonprofit that promotes youth advocacy and conflict resolution.
Congratulations, Wesley, and thank you for all you do!
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).