Congratulations to CHEER Champion of the Week, Theresa Landau, MS, RDN, CDN, CLC. Theresa is the Senior Associate Director of Morrisania/Gotham Health and WIC Director of the Morrisania WIC Program. She was nominated for her amazing leadership of Morrisania, especially during the recent COVID-19 outbreak in NYC, and her wonderful presentation on the CHAMPS COVID-19 Webinar: Community Support (Re)Structures during COVID-19, From New York and Boston .
Theresa joined the Morrisania WIC program over 41 years ago and she has served as the Director for 39 of those years. She joined the WIC program as the Chief Nutritionist after earning her Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition from Columbia. “I practically grew up in WIC!” Theresa expressed. “The WIC Program has had such a positive impact on families, society and the health and well-being of our nation. It is such an easy program to latch on to.”
During the massive COVID-19 outbreak in New York, Theresa reports having to be extremely adaptable, innovative, and responsible in leading her team through the tragedy. Having received many conflicting directives from various agencies, Theresa made the decision to close all sites besides the one at the health center by the end of March and immediately implemented Tele-WIC. They also improved their virtual WIC presence to ensure accessibility to clients. “One of the blessings that arose from having to be innovative was the creation of our Virtual Baby Cafes in both English and Spanish and our daily Virtual Breastfeeding Chats,” she shares.
“We learned from the NY COVID-19 pandemic that communication is fundamental to success. It is important to listen empathetically, never expect more from your staff than you’re willing to give, and place emphasis on quality improvement while designing systems. I am inspired by my staff and the families we serve every day, I am a better person because of them.”- Theresa Landau
Theresa considers breastfeeding to be an important part of her work. She has spearheaded many fun activities to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding in NYC, including the Annual Breastfeeding Night at Yankee Stadium, which usually involves about 60 actively breastfeeding moms, wearing hot pink “The Bronx Breastfeeds” shirts among the more than 300 breastfeeding professionals, advocates and supporters attending the Yankee game together.
In the early 1980s, Theresa was the co-founder and Chair of the NYC WIC Association and chaired The WIC Association of NYS, Inc for 12 years. Having been involved with the National WIC Association since its inception, she was honored to be elected as NWA Chair.
Baby-Friendly USA holds a special place in her heart. As the current Chair, she is extremely proud not only of the organizational achievements, but of all the hospitals and birthing facilities who have worked indefatigably and collaboratively to earn the distinguished Baby-Friendly designation.
Through her WIC, community, and national advocacy work, she has been named “NY Daily News Hero of the Month”, “Godmother of Babies” and received the National WIC Association Leadership Award and the Sloan Public Service Award, which is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Public Service”.
Theresa loves hiking and being present in nature. She also enjoys the sunrises and sunsets by the ocean in Long Island and spending time with family.
Congratulations Theresa, thank you for being such an amazing champion for breastfeeding and maternal child health!
Congratulations to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport (MHG) on their July 2020 Baby-Friendly designation! This metro hospital records an average of 1400 births per year and operates a level III NICU. MHG joined CHAMPS in 2015 and began to pursue Baby-Friendly designation in January 2017. Since then, the staff has worked tirelessly towards accomplishing this award.
“We feel so much pride in achieving the Baby Friendly Designation. We are excited and more confident in our care of moms and babies.” – Amy Haulsee, RN, BSN, Director of Women & Children’s Services at MHG.
The MHG team began working on improving some of their practices, like skin-to-skin, soon after they joined CHAMPS. However, they did not officially begin the Baby-Friendly journey until 2017. When asked about their journey to designation, Amy shared that their greatest success was the positive feedback from patients, who had previously delivered at MHG, about how much better they liked the Baby-Friendly practices. Furthermore, Amy shared that becoming baby-friendly has impacted their patient care positively. “Patients have more of a voice and express their satisfaction. It has given our patients confidence as well as our staff having a better understanding of how to help moms and babies, “she said. She also discussed their challenges with documentation and stated that it was a learning process. “We did learn so much, and had to make changes in the electronic record as we learned how we needed to document practices.”
Amy would like to recognize the entire MHG team for working so well together and getting things done. She also wants to thank Laura Burnham from CHAMPS, whom she said was with them all the way and “really gave great support and guidance”. Now that they are designated, the MHG team plans to refresh staff education and train new employees upon hire. They hope to stay current on the Baby-Friendly practices and resume their audits in 2021.
Congratulations to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, thank you for your commitment to learning and to providing the best care for your patients!
Our CHEER Champions of the Week are Deidra Wesley (MA), and her baby, Miles. Deidra and Miles were nominated for their excellent work on the IPE filming which took place earlier this year in Jackson, Mississippi. Deidra is a producer, fitness model, and actress who played the role of a new mom along with her 4 week-old star, Miles, who executed a perfect crawl to the breast.
“Shooting the IPE was a great experience. The cast, crew and client were all so nice; they really took care of me and my baby boy Miles! As a first time mom, I was a little nervous about traveling and working with my newborn, but we were in great hands,” Deidra shared.
In addition to being a producer for Warner Media, Deidra has done fitness modeling for Nike, Gatorade, AT&T, and other brands. When she saw the online casting announcement for the IPE, Deidra submitted her headshot, a self-taped audition, and a photo of Miles after he was born. They were both casted for the project and then drove down to Mississippi from Georgia for the shoot. She really enjoyed the experience, “everything worked out so well. I'm so proud of Miles; he was great on set and handled the long drive like a champ!” she said.
Deidra auditioned for the IPE because she wanted to help spread the word about how great breastfeeding is. “I always knew breastfeeding was a good thing, but becoming a mom gave me a new appreciation for how important it is,” she shared. Her son, Miles, is exclusively breastfed and nursed on demand.
When asked what motivates her work, Deidra expressed that she is motivated by storytelling and a love for sports. As a producer, she enjoys the thrill of putting a live show on the air. “You never know what might happen!” she said. As a fitness model, she loves traveling for work and using her athleticism to represent some of her favorite brands.
Deidra is an alumna of the University of North Texas, where she had a track and field scholarship, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in television production. She also earned a Masters degree in Journalism from the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism. In addition, Deidra is a certified track and field, and gymnastics coach who has worked with students from ages 6 weeks to 30 years.
Deidra really loves to travel. She visits a new country every year for her birthday and is looking forward to getting Miles a passport, so they can travel together after COVID. Miles on the other hand, has a very healthy appetite and loves nursing with his mom.
CHEER Director, Dr. Anne Merewood and CHAMPS Physician Lead, Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, are launching the completed Interprofessional Education (IPE) Modules with UMMC Faculty this week. We are thankful to Deidra and Miles for their talent and execution of the IPE scenes!
Congratulations to our CHEER Champion of the Week, Charlene C. Fraser, B.S (Human Services), CLC, Newborn Care Specialist and Birth Doula. Charlene is an affiliate of the Vital Village Network and Boston Breastfeeding Coalition, she was nominated for her lactation support services to families and her excellent presentation during the CHAMPS COVID-19 Webinar: Community Support (Re)Structures during COVID-19, From New York and Boston .
“I sought membership of the Boston Breastfeeding Coalition to further engage myself within the breastfeeding community with hopes to push advocacy and awareness in MA. Through this, I met many amazing members of Vital Village who have taken me under their wing and provided the spaces for our work and passion to reach the masses.” – Charlene Fraser
For six years, Charlene has worked with Boston Baby Nurse and Nanny, as well as, independently through referrals. In these capacities, she provides newborn care and lactation services to families of the greater Boston community via home visits. Charlene has worked in childcare since 2002, and it was during one of her home visits that she first came in contact with a lactation consultant. “I was instantly intrigued and decided to research what this position entailed. From there I found a training program and I was certified in May 2011 as a Lactation Counselor.” Since becoming a CLC, she has provided lactation support to friends, family, and her community both in a personal and professional capacity.
When asked about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed her work, Charlene stated that her role has not really changed. “I still have permission to enter homes and work closely with families and newborns, but I am very cautious with my health and that of those who I work closely with,” she shared. Charlene mentioned that her volunteer role as a vital village Baby Café facilitator has transitioned from in-person to zoom meetings and that she helps support the Boston breastfeeding warm line -a resource for moms and families to directly contact counselors with their breastfeeding questions and concerns. “It’s all been extremely heartwarming to know I can still help and serve my community virtually during this pandemic,” she said.
Charlene really values her ability to teach and support mothers through breastfeeding. She appreciates the almost familial bond created when she is invited into warm homes and present with parents during their vulnerable and intimate moments. “I love teaching and learning with parents as much as they love having me in their presence to learn from me,” she says.
In her spare time, Charlene enjoys traveling the world, especially to warm climates such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where her family is originally from. She also enjoys traveling within the U.S. and getting together to share love with her friends through food, drinks, and great conversation.
Congratulations Charlene, thank you for your lactation support work and your passion for the families and communities you serve!
LinkedIn: Charlene Fraser
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.