FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 5, 2012
Washington, DC—The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is pleased to announce receipt of a $694,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The three-year award will fund a two-part initiative to build and sustain national and state coalitions to generate collective action to implement policy, systems, and environmental changes needed to increase breastfeeding rates and eliminate disparities.
“With 75% of mothers initiating breastfeeding, we know that most mothers want to breastfeed, but they encounter several barriers along the way that make it difficult to reach their personal breastfeeding goals,” said USBC Chair Jeanne Blankenship. “As the national focus on breastfeeding continues to grow, we applaud the commitment of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to building the infrastructure to support the cross-sector collaboration necessary to tackle the complexity of this issue.”
The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, released in January 2011, identifies the USBC and its affiliated state coalitions as the primary partners in the implementation of its 20 recommended actions, along with the federal interagency work group on breastfeeding. Therefore, Part 1 of the grant initiative will focus on support for state breastfeeding coalitions, beginning with a comprehensive assessment to inform the design of customized technical assistance and enhanced training and networking opportunities for coalition leaders.
On the national level, Part 2 of the initiative will apply the “Collective Impact” model with a specific focus on increasing access to and continuity of skilled support for breastfeeding between hospitals and community health settings. Collective Impact Initiatives, as defined by John Kania & Mark Kramer in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, are “…long-term commitments by a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem. Their actions are supported by a shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, and ongoing communication, and are staffed by an independent backbone organization.”
Upon discharge from the hospital, many new mothers are unable to find or access skilled breastfeeding support. Hospitals, health care providers, and community organizations often lack systems to connect mothers to this skilled support. To address this gap, Action 8 of the Call to Action calls for the development of “systems to guarantee continuity of skilled support.” The responsibility for building such systems is shared between hospitals, providers, and community organizations, making collaboration an imperative. As the national, multi-sectoral breastfeeding coalition, the USBC is uniquely qualified to lead this collective approach to systemic change to “help make breastfeeding easier,” in the words of U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.
According to Blankenship, “the Call to Action truly paints the landscape of breastfeeding support in the United States, demonstrating a society-wide approach to removing the barriers to breastfeeding success. The USBC looks forward to working with members and partners, public and private, at the national, state, and community levels, so that mothers throughout the country receive the care and support they need and deserve.”
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, established in 1930, supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern Africa. For further information on the foundation, please visit www.wkkf.org.
The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is an independent nonprofit coalition of more than 40 nationally influential professional, educational, and governmental organizations. Representing over one million concerned professionals and the families they serve, USBC and its member organizations share a common mission to improve the Nation’s health by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. For more information on the USBC, visit www.usbreastfeeding.org.
United States Breastfeeding Committee: Advancing breastfeeding on our Nation’s agenda.
The USBC is an organization of organizations. Opinions expressed by the USBC are not necessarily the position of all member organizations and opinions expressed by USBC member organization representatives are not necessarily the position of the USBC.