Congratulations to CHEER Champion of the Week, Anita S. Henderson MD, FAAP. Dr. Henderson is a pediatrician at The Pediatric Clinic -a division of the Hattiesburg Clinic-, a medical staff member at Forrest General Hospital, and President-Elect for the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). She was nominated for her leadership as the physician director of Forrest General’s lactation department and her excellent presentation during the CHAMPS COVID Response Webinar- Changes and Challenges to Newborn Care: COVID and Beyond.
“I have seen our hospital and the state of Mississippi make great strides in the last few years but we still have so much work to do! I believe that lactation support and training is key to changing the culture and improving the long term success of breastfeeding in our state.” – Anita S. Henderson, MD.
As a pediatric resident 25 years ago, Dr. Henderson received many hours of training in the hospital on newborn diseases and illnesses, but very little on breastfeeding. Now she helps to educate others about BFHI and breastfeeding. “I am glad to help train family practice residents at Forrest General on the benefits of breastfeeding and on the basics of Baby-Friendly,” she shares. “I believe that all physicians in all specialties should understand and support moms on their breastfeeding journey.”
Following Forrest General’s 2015 Baby-Friendly designation, Dr. Henderson has helped several hospitals in South MS with their BFHI journey. She continues to encourage and advocate for nursing staff breastfeeding education and certification. She has also worked closely with hospital physicians and outpatient clinics to disseminate information and develop protocols to keep moms and babies safe during COVID-19.
When asked about her motivation to do this work, Dr. Henderson expressed a commitment to improving the breastfeeding rates in Mississippi, which are traditionally some of the lowest in the nation. She enjoys being able to support moms, new and seasoned, to overcome their challenges. Her husband, Randy, is a neonatologist at Forrest General and so she has a particular interest in getting NICU moms pumping for their babies. “I have been particularly encouraged over the last few months that our new moms are getting more teaching in the hospital and more rest with our limited visitor policy,” she said.
Dr. Henderson is on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Mother’s Milk Bank. She is also a member of the Breastfeeding Section for the AAP. Dr. Henderson appreciates all the other breastfeeding advocates in MS, especially Drs. Cris Click and Becky Saenz, who have worked tirelessly for moms and babies, and have served as wonderful mentors to Dr. Henderson. She would also like to recognize Dr. Sarah Broome, along with the Bower and Kellogg Foundations who have helped to support the training of CLCs throughout Mississippi.
Congratulations to Dr. Anita Henderson, thank you for being such an amazing leader, breastfeeding advocate and source of support for your nurses and patients!
Congratulations to CHEER Champion of the Week, Waetie-Sanaa Cooper Burnette, B.A, Th.M., CLC. She is also a maternal health blogger, co-facilitator of the Baby Cafe at Codman Square, and co-founder of BreastPowered.org; a platform where art and stories are used to expand conversations about breastfeeding and the needs of BIPOC families and lactation professionals.
Born and raised in Cambridge MA , Waetie-Sanaa comes from a family of Liberian immigrants and she learned about service from a very young age, as her family helped family members from Liberia to seek asylum and resettle in the U.S. Waetie-Sanaa’s passion to understand cooperative leadership models led her to study Anthropology while at Wellesley, where she won a Chinese studies scholarship to study Gender and Development at the University of West Indies in Jamaica. Throughout her career, she has worked in a variety of roles in educational and health advancement services such as: Assistant Admissions Director, Dorm Parent, Caterer, Writing tutor for Wellesley students, and 10 years as a teacher recruiter and math and English tutor to Boston’s elementary school students at The Bell Foundation. Most recently, in response to her desire to share her learnings as a parent navigating both the gifts and challenges of ADHD, she has also founded Burst of Light Coaching, where leadership development, health transformation, and parenting liberation are integrated. BurstofLightCoaching.com has been a wonderful opportunity to bring all of her passion for attachment based parenting, education, and creativity into one endeavor.
Waetie-Sanaa was first exposed to breastfeeding through the moms who visited the Episcopal church nursery where she served for 10 years prior to heading to college. Given her additional observations of breastfeeding mothers in Jamaica and how this bond could support maternal and baby wellness, Waetie-Sanaa focused her graduate thesis on ways black women can center themselves in their understanding of health and healing within the Church. Her experience learning to breastfeed as the only woman of color attending many La Leche League meetings was as equally inspiring, as it was isolating and led her to search out organizations that focused on early parenting support for parents of color. This resulted in her choice to work as a federal home visitor for Early Headstart families where she became the go to coach for parents of all types, but especially new mothers. During this time, she connected with Vital Village where she was named a Community Transformer, was the catalyst for Boston’s first Black Breastfeeding Week, won a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, and was sponsored to become a CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) by Vital Village.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Waetie-Sanaa has been named a Community Champion for her leadership as a part of the Boston Breastfeeding Coalition team that launched the Breastfeeding Warm Line, (857) 301- 8259, a resource for parents in the Metro Boston area to receive free peer support. Waetie-Sanaa looks forward to deepening her commitment and understanding of how to help mothers heal and lead as she enters Boston School of Social Work in fall of 2021.
Congratulations Waetie-Sanaa, thank you for your commitment to breastfeeding and helping other parents do it successfully regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances!
This week’s CHAMPions are the three Navajo area Indian Health Service (IHS) federally operated hospitals, Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility (CCHCF), Northern Navajo Medical Center (NNMC) Shiprock, and Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC). All three have been successfully re-designated as Baby-Friendly hospitals.
The Baby-Friendly re-designation process requires data collection, monitoring of practices, and quality improvement activities that are vital to ensuring the Baby-Friendly standards are maintained. These facilities have successfully demonstrated an ongoing commitment to delivering the best standard of maternity care. CHAMPS team members were proud to be involved with the sites’ original designation in 2012. (1,2)
Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility, Chinle AZ
CCHCF is a 60 bed hospital which serves as the healthcare hub for the Northeast Arizona region. Chinle’s maternity department oversees an average of 550 births per year and the facility became the 9th IHS hospital to be designated Baby-Friendly in May 2014. They have since continued to provide exceptional maternity services to their patients and were able to achieve re-designation in 2019 through 2024.
Gallup Indian Medical Center, Gallup NM
GIMC is a 99-bed hospital, located on the border of the Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico. The hospital has one of the largest patient loads in the Indian Health Service, with 250,000 outpatient and 5,800 inpatient admissions per year. Their maternity staff attend about 650 births per year. GIMC was first designated Baby-Friendly in November 2014 and have since become re-designated in 2019 through 2024.
Northern Navajo Medical Center, Shiprock NM
Located at the meeting point of New Mexico with Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, NMMC caters to approximately 80,837 Native Americans. The medical center has an impatient load of 29 per day and the outpatient volume averages 600 per day. NNMC’s maternity team facilitates up to 700 births per year. The women’s health department first received designation in October 2014 and have since become re-designated in 2019 through 2024.
Congratulations to Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility, Northern Navajo Medical Center Shiprock, and Gallup Indian Medical Center! Thank you for your diligence and commitment to ensuring quality maternity care for your patients.
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.