CHEER is honored to announce Jeannette M. Yazzie, EMBA, BSN, RN as our 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient. Originally from Lukachukai, AZ, Jeannette is the recently retired Nurse Consultant/Chief Nurse for the Indian Health Service (IHS) - Navajo Area and a member of the Navajo Tribe. We celebrate her for dedicating 37 years of service to improving the health of tribal communities.
Jeannette’s wealth of knowledge and experience working in the hospital, outpatient clinic, and the community settings, as well as support from her colleagues, led to her 2006 selection as the Nurse Consultant for the Navajo Area. In her capacity as the Area Nurse Consultant, she spearheaded the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the Navajo Area, oversaw all the nurses on the Navajo Nation, and served as the Public Health Nurse Liaison, the Area Office Coordinator for the Community Health Representatives and workers, and Area Nurse Recruiter.
”In the past, breastfeeding was the traditional norm for the Navajo infants,” says Jeannette. “There was no question that infants would be breastfed, then formula was introduced. Formula was freely dispersed, advertised as the "food of choice" for newborns and convenient. This greatly decreased the need for mothers to breastfeed. When Baby-Friendly was introduced on the Navajo Nation, it was a "gift" reintroduced to those who desired to breastfeed along with the support. Once I learned what Baby-Friendly was about, and that breastfeeding was a means of decreasing diabetes and obesity, I knew I had to make a commitment to getting this message to the mothers-to-be along with the healthcare staff. Diabetes and obesity are chronic diseases that affect many people here on the Navajo Nation.”
The Indian Health Service began implementing the BFHI in 2011 as part of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move! In Indian Country” Initiative. This resulted in all 13 federally operated IHS birthing hospitals (including all the hospitals on Navajo) becoming Baby-Friendly designated, as well as three of the four tribally managed hospitals, including two on Navajo. In addition to spearheading the initiative in her role as the Area Nurse Consultant, Jeannette chaired the Navajo Area Baby-Friendly Task Force, which included members of the Zuni and Hopi tribes.
Even though the Baby-Friendly process took a lot of time and effort initially, Jeannette found the outcome fulfilling. “Along with the education and engaging of healthcare staff, there were numerous assessments, reviews, teachings, meetings, etc., during the initial introduction and Baby-Friendly certification,” she reflects. “What an honor to know that many more babies on the Navajo Nation today have a better start in life because mothers are enabled to breastfeed their babies!” She described her role in the IHS Baby-Friendly Initiative as “the most rewarding achievement” of her career.
Jeannette graduated from Loma Linda University in 1995 with her baccalaureate degree in Nursing (BSN) and obtained her Master of Business Administration (Executive) degree from Grand Canyon University in 2010. She was a practicing nurse for 40 years and spent 37 of those years working for the IHS. During this time, she acquired a diverse range of professional skills and experiences, which all culminated in her 14 years of work on Navajo.
Jeannette started her IHS career in Tuba City, AZ after which she accepted a position in Yakima, Washington, working with the Yakima Indians. From there, she became the Assistant Director of Nursing at Whiteriver IHS hospital on the White Mountain Apache reservation, where she worked for a few years before taking a the Nursing Management and Program Analyst position at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ. She also worked at the Phoenix Area office as the Regional Nurse Recruiter. After Phoenix, Jeannette went on to work for the Aberdeen Area office in South Dakota for a couple of years, before returning to the Navajo Nation to serve as the Area Nurse consultant in 2006.
When asked what she enjoyed most about her work with the IHS, Jeannette described that she took great joy in interacting with the nursing staff, individually and collectively, and in witnessing their commitment and dedication to the patients they served. She is glad to have been available to encourage, support, and inform others of the immense rewards of a nursing career.
“I would hope that one day, the Navajo people would be less affected by the disease of diabetes and obesity, especially the babies and moms that choose to breastfeed. My vision is to have more Navajos enter into the nursing profession or even to choose a healthcare profession so they can serve and care for our people.” – Jeannette Yazzie, eMBA, BSN, RN
According to Jeannette, some of her other memorable accomplishments include reorganizing the outpatient clinic in Tuba City to enable more efficient and faster patient flow, assisting the clinic staff at the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital in Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska, on a short term assignment as they prepared for their hospital accreditation survey, helping out at the Tsehootsooi Medical Center (formerly Fort Defiance Indian Hospital) during the Hantavirus outbreak, promoting IHS nursing across the country as a recruiter, and assisting the Aberdeen Area, several IHS hospitals in the Phoenix and Navajo Area to become engaged in the Vermont Nursing Internship Program (VNIP) and to provide career advancement opportunities for nurses.
Congratulations Jeannette, we thank you for your lifelong dedication to the health of tribal communities!
The recipient of the CHEER 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award is Riccardo Davanzo, MD, PhD. He is a neonatologist from Trieste in Italy, who has performed outstanding service for breastfeeding throughout his long career.
Dr. Davanzo is a well-published researcher, physician, teacher, and the Chair of the Task Force on Breastfeeding of the Italian Ministry of Health. He also currently serves as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Maternal and Child Health, IRCCS “Burlo Garofolo”, in Trieste Italy. Prior to this, he was the Director of Pediatrics and Neonatology Division, Matera Hospital (South Italy) for three years and a Neonatology Consultant at Children’s Hospital, Trieste, for 24 years, Most recently, he spearheaded the creation and communication of “Breastfeeding and SARS-CoV-2 Infection,” a document that provides guidance on breastfeeding for the COVID-19 epidemic in Europe, and published a research paper detailing the implications and importance of maintaining breastfeeding practices during the pandemic. These guidelines were created on behalf of the Italian Society of Neonatology (SIN) and endorsed by the Union of European Neonatal and Perinatal Societies (UENPS).
“My greatest achievement is the scientific dignity that breastfeeding and its promotion have gained within the Italian and global health and academic communities, during the last decades. While pursuing this goal, my main strategies have been academic involvement, empathetic respect of different positions toward breastfeeding, and science based advocacy.” – Riccardo Davanzo, MD, PHD
Dr. Davanzo comes from a family of Italian refugees from Istria during World War II. He entered Medicine in pursuit of a challenging career, but from the very beginning he developed an increasing passion to care for neonates and children. He focused on the theoretical basis of breastfeeding after completing a degree thesis on the factors influencing breastfeeding.
Since he began his medical career in 1980, Dr. Davanzo has contributed to the field of maternal and child health through practice, research, and education. His main areas of research are breastfeeding, skin to skin, use of appropriate technology in neonatal care, neonatal infections, and prevention of sudden unexpected postnatal collapse (SUPC) in newborns.
Furthermore, Dr. Davanzo developed a method of meta-analysis for the evaluation of lactation risk of various drug groups. In the past, he has focused on reducing technical barriers around breastfeeding in the hospital, assessing the safety of medications and contrast media agent for breastfeeding mothers, alleviating controversies in breastfeeding, and the epidemiology of breastfeeding the NICUs, among others. He was also a professor and taught courses in breastfeeding and trained medical students, and pediatric, obstetrics and gynecology residents at the University of Trieste for 27 years.
In addition to his vast experience with maternal and child health in Italy, Dr. Davanzo served as a consulting physician at Central Hospital Maputo, Mozambique from 1987-1990, and then took a position as the Director of Pediatric Health Services at Mavalane Hospital and Health Area, Maputo until 1991. He also taught a course on Neonatology at the University of Maputo, Mozambique during this period, and contributed to the National Guidelines on Kangaroo Care (KMC) of Mozambique.
Throughout his career, Dr. Davanzo has collaborated with multilateral, international, and domestic agencies to promote breastfeeding, kangaroo mother care, and other essential newborn care. He has contributed to the preparation of WHO documents on these subjects and served as a consultant on other maternal and child related issues.
Dr. Davanzo is an active member of the Italian Society of Neonatology, International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) and coordinator of the Italian Network of Trainers on Breastfeeding (RIFAM). He has been married for 35 years and has 2 sons. He is an exceptional physician scientist, a passionate educator, and an unrelenting breastfeeding advocate.
CHEER is thrilled to announce the recipient of our 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award: Kimarie Bugg, DNP, RN, MPH, IBCLC, CLC, for her long-standing dedication to breastfeeding and maternal child health equity! Kimarie is the Co-Founder, President/CEO, and Change Leader for Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE), a nonprofit developed in 2011 to address breastfeeding inequities in the African-American community. CHEER’s Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices (CHAMPS) program has partnered with ROSE since its incipiency in 2014, and has the pleasure to host Kimarie as our Community Engagement Director. Throughout her career, Kimarie has tirelessly served families, trained health care providers, managed programs, advised national efforts, and led the charge for breastfeeding health equity amongst typically underserved communities in the United States. In this, her life exemplifies exactly the kind of work CHEER seeks to uphold!
Regarding her professional vision, Kimarie states that, on the basis of the equity-focused work of Dr. Gail Christopher, “I believe that Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation can take place in marginalized communities, starting with Breastfeeding.”
Kimarie’s passion for her work springs from seeds planted in her youth and early motherhood. As a 12-year-old, Kimarie helped her grandmother, a lay midwife in Arkansas, in the fulfillment of her own life calling. It was that experience, says Kimarie, that gravitated her life’s work towards the support of mothers and infants. Years later, in 1978, after finishing a nursing degree in Texas, Kimarie gave birth to her first children, a set of twins. Despite her commitment towards the natural first-food lifestyle, she struggled to get breastfeeding support from her local hospital and struggled to breastfeed. She “failed miserably” she says, and became determined to learn everything she could about breastfeeding. She didn’t want other mothers to experience the disillusionment with lactation that she had.
“I took a year and I read everything I could get my hands on about breastfeeding. Nurses and doctors I worked with started to call me the breast nurse,” she says.
Early in her career, Kimarie moved to Atlanta, where she has spent the past 30 years promoting breastfeeding support and education, especially amongst African-Americans. She has worked in a pediatric emergency clinic and special care nursery, has been a bedside breastfeeding counselor in a large metropolitan hospital, and has managed perinatal and breastfeeding programs at the state level. Kimarie has served as a technical advisor to Best Start, the US Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, and the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality’s Best Fed Beginnings program. She was a founding member and officer of the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition and the Southeastern Lactation Consultant Association. Kimarie received additional training at Wellstart International, and has traveled throughout the United States and several foreign countries training health care professionals to manage lactation. She combined all these skills and passions during her tenure at Emory University’s School of Medicine as a nurse practitioner.
In 2011, when a budget cut left her without work, Kimarie took the advice of her pastor who said, “you were released for increase,” and founded ROSE, alongside two other women. Since then, not only has Kimarie’s work increased, but the work of ROSE itself has increased from a regional to a national scale. In 2017, ROSE was awarded a $1.1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which has allowed them to look at breastfeeding disparities at a national level and spread the blueprint of ROSE’s work across the country.
ROSE’s vision is for 82% of African-American babies to receive breast milk at birth by 2020, a goal set forth by the Surgeon General of United States. ROSE’s mission is to “address breastfeeding disparities to improve health equity among people of color nationwide through culturally competent training, education, advocacy, and support.” Kimarie and her staff seek to fulfill this vision and mission through a number of strategies and programs, including: their staple “Community Transformers (CTs)” program, which trains mothers with positive breastfeeding experiences to provide peer support to other mothers in their community; participating in health care leadership and policy-making; providing technical assistance to agencies regarding Steps 3 (prenatal breastfeeding education) and 10 (postpartum breastfeeding community support) of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative; creating regional and national initiatives to strengthen community breastfeeding programs, such as breastfeeding clubs and Reaching Our Brothers Everywhere for men; and serving as a resource for health care providers and agencies through interactions and events such as the ROSE Annual Breastfeeding Summit.
When CHAMPS began in 2014, Kimarie and ROSE were the ideal partners for our efforts to increase breastfeeding rates in the Southern United Sates. With Kimarie as our Community Engagement Director, CHAMPS has had great success in fulfilling the community portion of our mission as stated in our name: “Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices.” ROSE works to develop a broad community network by engaging grassroots breastfeeding supporters, counselors, and community members as part of CHAMPS. Since 2014, ROSE has trained 20-40 CTs per year in locations central to CHAMPS’ work, and they have provided continuing education to some of these CTs. Many of these CTs have started breastfeeding clubs in their communities, and mothers are receiving prenatal and postpartum breastfeeding education and support. ROSE also developed a data collection tool to capture data from ROSE CTs and the work being done in the field. In the past year, to support our Mississippi CHAMPS initiative, ROSE established a ROSE-affiliated chapter in Mississippi and identified a CT Leader in the state. ROSE and CHAMPS have also co-hosted breastfeeding and breastfeeding equity summits for CHAMPS hospital staff.
In addition to her work for ROSE and CHAMPS, Kimarie is currently chair of the nominating committee of the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC). She provides training for WIC breastfeeding staff and peer counselors throughout the southeastern states, a position she has proudly held since 2005. Kimarie recently completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree through Troy University, where she received the “Best Graduate Research Scholar” award in 2017. Prior to that, she completed a 3-month Community Health Leadership Program fellowship within the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse School of Medicine that stressed the best practices to provide for global health equity, and provided the network and understanding to eliminate health disparities through action-oriented projects. In 2016, Kimarie received a Legacy Award from USBC for her 38 years of work in the breastfeeding arena. Kimarie is married to Dr. George W. Bugg, Jr., a neonatologist, and they are the parents of 5 adult children.
Congratulations, Kimarie! CHEER applauds your wonderful career and the impact you have had on countless lives!
ROSE website: Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, Inc.
CHEER is delighted to announce the recipient of its 2017 Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award: Suzanne Haynes, PhD, for her outstanding service to women and families! Suzanne retired from her position as Senior Science Advisor to the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) at the end of December 2017. In her 23 years at OWH, Suzanne tirelessly promoted and researched issues such as heart disease prevention, breast cancer screening, breastfeeding, the effect of the environment on women and children’s health, adverse childhood experiences and their effect on obesity in women, and opioid use among Native Americans.
Suzanne held several key breastfeeding leadership roles at the request of the Assistant Secretary of Health during her tenure at OWH. Perhaps one of her most exciting projects was the 2003- 2006 National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign. Suzanne believes it was this that started the national conversation going and changed the tide for breastfeeding in the United States. People and groups joined the Campaign from all over the country. 10-15 local organizations went to their news sources to promote the ads, and groups like USDA, WIC, and CDC started doing more to research and promote breastfeeding. Boston Medical Center, where CHEER is housed, led by Dr. Anne Merewood, CHEER’s Director, was one of about 20 implementation sites for the Campaign. We have been honored to work closely with Suzanne on many more occasions over the years.
Suzanne received an award from Women’s Day for her work on the Heart Truth Campaign, and during the Clinton Administration, she worked on the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer. In recognition and appreciation of her tremendous efforts to promote breastfeeding in the United States, Suzanne received the Assistant Secretary for Health’s Award for Superior Service in June 2010.
CHEER will honor Suzanne in person at its Mississippi CHAMPS conference in April. To learn more about Suzanne and her inspiring career, check out her CHEER Champion of the Week post!