Jeannette Yazzie, eMBA, BSN, RN, is the Nurse Consultant / Chief Nurse for the Indian Health Service (IHS) - Navajo Area, Chair of the Navajo Area Baby-Friendly Task Force, and a member of the Navajo tribe. Jeannette worked with all Navajo Area federal IHS and tribal hospitals (Chinle, Gallup, Shiprock, Crownpoint, Tuba City, and Tsehootsooi) to achieve Baby-Friendly status, as well as with Zuni and Hopi IHS hospitals. All sites successfully gained Baby-Friendly designation!
Jeannette oversees all nurses in the Navajo area. This includes public health nurses and nurses in hospitals, ambulatory clinics and outpatient departments. She provides guidance, resources, references, support and recommendations; conducts nursing program reviews; recruits nurses; coordinates tribal health initiatives, serves as a tribal liaison; and oversees projects such as the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. She is part of the executive staff at the IHS regional office; whenever nursing consultation is needed, she is the person contacted for her region.
The Navajo Area Baby-Friendly Task Force meets monthly to support each other and share accomplishments, challenges, resources and data. They networked with other Areas (regions) and continue to meet to discuss and strategize regarding the Area Sustainability Plan for maintaining Baby-Friendly status. Jeannette also visited hospitals to meet with staff, review progress, be a cheerleader, participate in mock reviews, be present for the Baby-Friendly reviews, and offer support as needed.
“It was exciting to see everyone within the Area and within hospitals come together and work as a unit toward a goal,” says Jeannette. The Navajo Area Baby-Friendly Task Force received recognition by the IHS Area Director for outstanding group performance.
When asked to share her advice with other hospitals seeking to become Baby-Friendly, Jeannette says: “Becoming a Baby-Friendly hospital does not happen overnight and it does require a dedicated group of people who are committed, enthused, and willing to do what needs to be done. Be prepared to hang in there for the long haul! The reward at the end though is just marvelous and very exciting!!”
CHEER Champion of the week
Each week, 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).