Tiffani Grant, MS, RDN, LD is Director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO) for the Mississippi State Department of Health’s (MSDH) Office of Preventive Health. She directs all programs, policies, systems, and environmental changes within schools, worksites, childcare settings, and farmers’ markets as they relate to nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. Her mission is to reduce obesity in the state of MS, and breastfeeding is one of the areas that falls within her domain.
With the help of CDC funding, Tiffani and her Division sponsor and participate in several breastfeeding initiatives. Tiffani’s team consists of her Division staff and Lydia West, MPH, RDN, LD, a consultant from the Mississippi Public Health Institute. Under Tiffani’s leadership, they put on the biannual “Breastfeeding in Mississippi: Empowering Communities and Hospitals” workshop. For more information about the upcoming May 24, 2017 workshop, email Tiffani at Tiffani.Grant@msdh.ms.gov. They also help worksites establish lactation rooms; participate in MS Breastfeeding Coalition’s breastfeeding lunches; work with state agencies on policies for mothers returning to work; ensure that professional meetings have lactation rooms available; and participate in monthly statewide breastfeeding calls. One of the exciting and new initiatives DNPAO is currently developing is a breastfeeding support referral system between hospitals and communities. It will be an online resource guide, possibly an app, for all women to access breastfeeding support.
Tiffani has partnered with CHAMPS by facilitating the continuing education units (CEUs) for all CHAMPS competency-based trainings in the state of MS. Tiffani saves hospitals the time it takes to facilitate CEUs, and the CEU fees are absorbed through MSDH. We appreciate MSDH and Tiffani for all they have done; it is a great gift and benefit to the hospitals!
Tiffani has also attended many CHAMPS training events and conferences held in MS. Tiffani says, “What I enjoy most about [these events] is that they are very hands-on. They are an opportunity to network and for people to really connect with their peers and hear from their peers...People leave wanting to hear more, do more; they leave energized about breastfeeding.”
Breastfeeding culture in MS, Tiffani believes, is changing for the better. “I really like how all the communities across the state are really collaborating,” she says. State-based initiatives such as the MS Perinatal Quality Collaborative, WIC, La Leche League, MSDH, and CHAMPS talk together on monthly statewide calls and see how they can partner together. Tiffani says it is “heartwarming” to see this collaboration and that “support is now expanded.” She is also seeing more breastfeeding among the general public, another example of positive change in the culture.
Tiffani’s dream is that one day, breastfeeding will be “the norm” in MS, and not the “abnorm.” She wants people to say, ‘That’s what’s you're supposed to do’ versus, ‘why are you doing that?’”
Congratulations, Tiffani! Keep up the good work!
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).