Office on Women’s Health Honors Breastfeeding Innovation Challenge Finalists
The HHS Office on Women’s Health recently unveiled the first round of winners for its Reducing Disparities in Breastfeeding Innovation Challenge. The 15 winners demonstrated how their programs increased breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates and decreased disparities among new mothers in the United States.
A total of 79 programs from across the country submitted applications as part of the national competition. The 15 programs selected for Phase 1 prize awards demonstrated evidence-based interventions to target gaps in breastfeeding education, instruction, and/or support for breastfeeding mothers. Each of the winners (listed below) receives a prize award of $15,000 and moves forward to Phase 2 of the competition.
Reducing Disparities in Breastfeeding Innovation Challenge Phase 1 Winners:
- African American Breastfeeding Network, Inc (AABN): Since 2008, AABN has reached more than 2,000 Black/African American families in the Milwaukee area and helped them reach their breastfeeding goals. Certified lactation consultants lead community breastfeeding gatherings. Father peer advocates lead separate sessions for men.
- AMEN (All Moms Empowered to Nurse): A peer-to-peer breastfeeding support group launched in 2017, AMEN reaches women in Cincinnati neighborhoods with high poverty and low breastfeeding rates. AMEN empowers mothers of color to attain skills and become visible leaders and supporters of breastfeeding in their communities.
- Baby Café USA: This Massachusetts-based nonprofit has developed Baby Cafés, free-of-charge, weekly drop-in community breastfeeding support centers located in public spaces in 32 states. Open to all, the Baby Cafés target underserved families in areas with low breastfeeding rates.
- Breastfeeding Awareness and Empowerment (BAE): This organization increased breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates among Black women living in Philadelphia through community-based lactation support groups, training curriculums, consultative services, and an annual family-centered cookout.
- Central Hillsborough Healthy Start Project: This community-based doula support program in Tampa, Florida, increased breastfeeding initiation rates across all races and ethnicities in 2019. Trained certified lactation counselors provide prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum services.
- Community Health Center of Richmond, Inc. (CHCR): Since 2017, the CHCR Breastfeeding Support Program has increased breastfeeding initiation and 6-month continuation rates by 151% and 93%, respectively, among vulnerable populations in the Staten Island borough of New York, N.Y.
- District of Columbia Breastfeeding Coalition (DCBFC):This nonprofit organization improved breastfeeding rates among low-income African American families in Washington, D.C., by increasing the number of Baby-Friendly certified birthing facilities, improving diversity among lactation professionals, and creating a center to provide lactation education and support.
- El Rio Santa Cruz Neighborhood Health Center, Inc: Since launching its breastfeeding program in 2019, the Center has served more than 850 patients in Southern Arizona. Forty-nine percent of program participants, the majority Hispanic/Latina, exclusively breastfeed at 3 months, which exceeds the Healthy People 2020 target rate.
- Healthy Start, Inc. Pittsburgh: Founded in 2018, the Healthy Start Center for Urban Breastfeeding closes the breastfeeding disparity gap between mothers residing in Allegheny County. In the first two years, program participants still breastfeeding after 6 months increased from 8% to 36%.
- Mississippi CHAMPS Program: Thirty-nine of 43 birthing hospitals in Mississippi have joined the Program to integrate and expand breastfeeding support. Breastfeeding initiation at MS CHAMPS hospitals increased by 10%, with racial/ethnic disparities decreasing by nearly 20% since 2015.
- MOMS Orange County: This organization offers free one-on-one lactation consultation in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese to low-income pregnant women and new mothers in Orange County, California. In fiscal year 2020, 95% of women who gave birth while enrolled in the program started breastfeeding, and 37% continued to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months.
- Nest for Families: Provides peer and professional breastfeeding support to underserved families throughout the Hawaiian Islands. During the past three years, Nest participants exhibited significantly higher breastfeeding duration rates at 6 and 12 months than the state average.
- New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force: The task force increased breastfeeding initiation rates by providing tools and team members to implement the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative across the state. Today, nearly 80% of babies delivered in urban, rural, and Indian Health Services hospitals are designated or on the path to becoming, Baby-Friendly.
- Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital: Significantly increased one-month postpartum breastfeeding rates among African American women in Cleveland through curricular modules delivered by community health workers and postpartum program-initiated lactation visits.
- University of Maryland, Baltimore: By providing breastfeeding support and supplies, the B’more for Healthy Babies program increased breastfeeding initiation rates in two Baltimore city communities, Upton/Druid Heights and Mondawmin, with high infant mortality rates.
For breastfeeding information and helpful resources, visit: https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding