Lieutenant Commander Carrie Rigsby, BSN, RN is a nurse at Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, a 58-bed facility serving the Cherokee Nation. In 2013, Carrie became the Baby-Friendly Project Lead for her hospital, and forged the path for its designation as the first tribal Baby-Friendly hospital in Oklahoma in July 2015!
Carrie was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is Native American and belongs to the Cherokee tribe. She has been a nurse for 18 years and her passion has always been obstetrics. Working as Baby-Friendly Project Lead, says Carrie, allowed her to bring her interests of education and health promotion together, and to address health disparities specific to Native Americans:
"I am Native American and belong to the Cherokee tribe and know the struggles we have to fight against diabetes, heart disease and obesity just to name a few. My goal is to provide every family with the education and resources they need to succeed in their breastfeeding goals. I am passionate about breastfeeding because I know that this is the one thing that we can advocate to our moms and babies, giving them a fighting chance against the things that we are up against."
Leading a hospital through the steps to become Baby-Friendly involves major change, which can be difficult for an individual or institution to navigate alone. Carrie wants to thank CHAMPS for recognizing this work that individuals and hospitals are doing, and for supporting them through the process. Carrie hopes to now help other facilities as they seek to become Baby-Friendly. The goal with all this work? As Carrie says, “It really is about our future and promoting healthy lifestyles for generations to come.”
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).