Mini-Grants Support Breastfeeding Coalitions Across the U.S.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 18, 2009

Washington, DC—The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) recently announced the recipients of their first mini-grants for state, territory, and tribal breastfeeding coalitions. The USBC Coalitions Mini-Grant Program reviewed 29 applications before choosing seven coalitions from across the country to receive the grants, ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 each. The funded coalition projects include:

Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition will produce a role-play video to help working mothers ask their employers for lactation accommodation, and initiate a pilot program to partner with Colorado employers to help them establish a workplace lactation policy and program.

Michigan Breastfeeding Network will develop a standardized, evidence-based toolkit for obstetric offices/clinics to motivate and educate their clients about breastfeeding and provide consistency in prenatal information.

Navajo Nation Breastfeeding Task Force/Coalition will launch an initiative to make all seven hospitals in Navajo Nation Baby-Friendly. Baby-Friendly hospitals offer an optimal level of care for lactation by following the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO.

Breastfeeding Task Force of Nevada will provide evidence-based educational opportunities for health care professionals by conducting one-hour workshops at all Nevada hospitals regarding medical ethics and breastfeeding.

New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition will augment its project to implement The Business Case for Breastfeeding (funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration) with local media campaigns to raise awareness of the 2007 New York State Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Law and recognize workplaces that support breastfeeding mothers.

North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition will build enhanced communications capability to better implement its goals, serve as a resource for members, support regional coalitions, and provide access to breastfeeding resources statewide.

West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance will create a Media Outreach Kit and Local Coalition Building Kit, to increase awareness of the statewide coalition, build membership, increase the number of local coalitions in the state, and increase collaboration with media outlets.

With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USBC launched the Coalitions Mini-Grant Program in October 2008 to provide $18,000 in support for state, territory, and tribal breastfeeding coalitions. These grassroots organizations are multisectoral, including representatives from relevant government departments, non-governmental organizations including consumer (parents) groups, and health professional associations. Breastfeeding coalitions have formed independently in all 50 states and in several U.S. territories and tribal organizations. A directory of the coalitions can be found on the USBC Web site.

The Coalitions Mini-Grant program is intended to enhance the coalitions’ capacity while ensuring that efforts are not duplicated needlessly. Whether developing innovative strategies or refining previously successful strategies, USBC encourages the coalitions to focus on sustainable activities that build statewide capacity and strengthen the coalition. Project results will be shared widely to facilitate replication, allowing all breastfeeding coalitions to benefit from the program and build on the work of others to enhance protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding across the United States.

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