The Staying Abreast: Weekly Wire e-Newsletter is a compendium of news, actions, and resources considered to be of interest or relevance to the breastfeeding field. The newsletter aims to support the USBC’s mission "To drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States." Included items are submitted for consideration or identified by the USBC e-news team via extensive online review. Whenever possible, the newsletter utilizes language directly from the primary source of an item without additional analysis or edits. In some cases, the USBC offers additional perspectives through the "USBC Insights," media and partner highlights, and the "News & Views" section. Inclusion of an item in the e-newsletter does not imply endorsement or support by the USBC of an item or organization, unless specifically noted.
New USBC Board of Directors Announced
On behalf of the USBC's Nominating Committee, we are pleased to share the results of the 2018 Board of Directors election. Please join us in congratulating our newly-elected Board members:
- Secretary – Brenda Reyes (re-elected in a new position)
- Elected Directors – Camie Goldhammer, Scott Hartman, Nekisha Killings, Kimberly Moore-Salas, and Andrea Serano
We would also like to thank the dedicated Board members whose terms have completed:
- Past Chair – Jeannette Crenshaw
- Secretary – Felisha Floyd
- Director – Pauline Sakamoto and Catherine Sullivan
Organizational Sign-On Letter Opportunities
USBC-affiliated Constellations have launched several organizational sign on letters:
- The Paid Leave Constellation has invited organizations to sign on to a letter to Members of Congress highlighting how increased access to paid family leave can increase breastfeeding rates and improve health outcomes. The letter states that signing organizations stand ready to work with policymakers to establish at least 12 weeks of job-protected, paid family & medical leave as a self-funded insurance program that is affordable and cost-effective for workers, employers and the government, and is accessible to all workers, regardless of gender/marital status, and including military servicemembers. The deadline to sign on is Friday, November 16.
- The Paid Leave Constellation has invited organizations to sign on to a letter urging legislators to seek correction for gaps in the Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP), established by the Department of Defense (DOD) in May 2018. When Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 they included language specifically instructing the DOD to establish a new parental leave program with the goal of creating a universal benefit applied equally to all members of the active armed services. The deadline to sign on is Friday, November 16.
- The Workplace Support Constellation has invited organizations to sign on to a letter to the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Office on Women's Health (OWH) on the recent revision of the OWH Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions resource. The letter requests an explanation on why critical content was removed as part of the revision of the OWH resource; urges OWH to immediately reinstate the original resource with content in both English and Spanish; and to take swift steps to develop a dissemination plan to ensure employers are aware of this valuable resource. The deadline to sign on is Friday, November 16.
Breastfeeding Policy Toolkit Updated
The USBC has published an updated edition of the "Breastfeeding Legislation and Policy Update." The toolkit provides advocates across the First Food field with information, talking points, and action opportunities on a variety of policy topics that impact breastfeeding families. The toolkit features background information, status updates, key messages, sample tweets, and individual and organizational action opportunities. Complete the short form to download the policy toolkit.
Special Section on 40th Anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act
This week marks the 40th Anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Passed in 1978, the PDA amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. Because lactation is a pregnancy-related medical condition, less favorable treatment of a lactating employee may raise an inference of unlawful discrimination under the PDA.
Partner highlights include:
- A Better Balance: ABB has published a statement marking the 40th anniversary of the PDA and highlighting the work that still needs to be done.
- National Partnership for Women & Families: NPWF has released an individual petition to urge the incoming 116th Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to work with pregnant employees to make reasonable temporary accommodations to their job duties. This petition will stay open until January, when it will be delivered to all Members of Congress.
- Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Coalition: The PWFA Coalition has released an organizational sign on letter to urge the current Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act before the end of the 115th Congressional session. For a copy of the letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- U.S. Breastfeeding Committee: USBC has published a series of state-by-state Guides to the Rights of Breastfeeding Employees. Each guide includes information about state and federal workplace breastfeeding laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended by the PDA.
mPINC Survey Update, summarized from CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that the 2018 national survey of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) will launch in early November! The updated and redesigned 2018 mPINC survey will include hospitals that provide maternity care services and will be completed online only. Although free-standing birth centers were previously included, the 2018 mPINC survey will only include hospitals. Similar to how past surveys worked, screening phone calls will be conducted in alphabetical order by state/territory abbreviation and facilities will be contacted on a rolling basis. Screening will begin in the following states/territories beginning in November: Alaska (AK), Alabama (AL), Arkansas (AR), and Arizona (AZ). Please feel free to share this information with your partners who may wish to reach out to hospitals in their communities to encourage participation in the mPINC survey. To learn more about the mPINC survey, please visit the Web site: www.cdc.gov/mpinc. Periodic updates on the screening process will be available on the mPINC Web site and through the Weekly Wire.
Latina Maternal and Child Health Webinar, summarized from HealthConnect One
Join HealthConnect One's Birth Equity Leadership Academy (BELA) and Urban Strategies on Wednesday, November 7, from 1:30-3 p.m. ET for a webinar titled "2018 Latina Maternal and Child Health Review." Speakers from Urban Strategies will discuss lessons learned while creating the "2018 Latina Maternal and Child Health Review," the benefits of such a publication to improving health equity, and the Call to Action included in the publication.
2016 Feeding Infants and Toddler Study Webinar, summarized from NWA
Join the National WIC Association on Tuesday, November 13, from 3-4 p.m. ET for a webinar titled "New Research Unveils What WIC Infant and Young Children are Eating: 2016 Feeding Infants and Toddler Study (FITS)." Speakers will discuss how some noteworthy success has been achieved in dietary patterns since 2008, while additional progress is needed to ensure infants and young children are receiving optimal nutrition for growth and development. Participants will learn how this new FITS data offers evidence on the impact of the revised WIC food packages and is particularly relevant for the WIC Staff who are on the front line engaging and inspiring families to make healthy eating choices.
New Data on Youth Obesity Rates, summarized from TFAH/RWJF
Trust for America's Health, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has released new data showing that nearly one in six youth ages 10 to 17 have obesity. The data was released as part of "The State of Obesity 2018: Better Policies for a Healthier America" report. Mississippi has the highest youth obesity rate, at 26.1 percent, while Utah has the lowest, at 8.7 percent. The new data also confirm that racial and ethnic disparities persist: Black and Hispanic youth continue to be at a greater risk for obesity than their white and Asian peers.
News from the Field
Paid Family and Medical Leave Research Report, summarized from WCEG
The Washington Center for Equitable Growth has published "Paid Family and Medical Leave in the United States: A Research Agenda." The report provides an overview of current research on paid leave, including its effects on individual health and employment outcomes, business and employee outcomes, and the economy as a whole. It also identifies key outstanding questions that future research could address to help inform public policy.
Resources on Permissible Voter Engagement Activities for 501(c)(3) Organizations, summarized from AFJ
The Alliance for Justice, through their Bolder Advocacy initiative, has published a collection of training materials about permissible voter engagement activities for 501(c)(3) organizations:
- "Election Checklist for 501(c)(3) Public Charities: Ensuring Election Year Advocacy Efforts Remain Nonpartisan"
- "Comparison of 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) Permissible Activities"
- "Commenting on Candidates and Campaigns: How 501(c)(3)s Can Respond During an Election Year"
- "Praising and Criticizing Incumbents: How 501(c)(3)s Can Hold Elected Officials Accountable for Official Actions"
- "Election Activities of Individuals Associated with 501(c)(3) Organizations"
- "Sample 501(c)(3) Organizational Policy for Election Season"
State and Community News
Report on California Maternal Mortality Rate and Prevention Efforts, summarized from California
Pew Trusts has published a report as part of their Stateline series titled, "More U.S. Women Dying From Childbirth. How One State Bucks the Trend." Experts in maternal health blame the high U.S. maternal mortality rate on poverty, untreated chronic conditions and a lack of access to health care, especially in rural areas where hospitals and maternity units have closed in the past few years. But California has made a difference in part by focusing narrowly on problems that arise during labor and delivery, using data collection to quickly identify deficiencies (such as failing to have the right supplies on hand or performing unnecessary C-sections) and training nurses and doctors to overcome them.
Lactation Accommodation Legislation Passed by City Council, summarized from New York City
The New York City Council has passed two pieces of legislation related to lactation accommodations. Intro. 879-A, "Requiring certain employers to provide lactation rooms," requires employers in the City with 15 or more employees to provide lactation rooms, as well as refrigerators, in reasonable proximity to work areas for the purposes of expressing and storing breast milk. Intro. 905-A, "Requiring employers to implement a lactation accommodation policy," requires employers in the City to establish, and distribute to all new employees, policies describing lactation room accommodations, including the process by which an employee can request such accommodation. The bill would also require the New York City Commission on Human Rights to establish and make available a model lactation room accommodation policy.
Collective Impact Connection
Philanthropic Leadership, summarized from SSIR
The Stanford Social Innovation Review has published a blog post titled "Philanthropic Leadership Means Following the Frontlines." In the article, the author discusses a funder's role in building individual and institutional skills to receive and incorporate the insight leaders and communities can provide.
Webinar on Resiliency in Public Health Collaboration, summarized from Region IV PHTC
Join the Region IV Public Health Training Center on Monday, November 5, from 12-1:30 p.m. ET for a webinar titled, "Change, Challenge, Adversity, and Resilience: Ideas and Tools for a Turbulent World." Speakers will discuss ideas and tools that can support individual effectiveness and well-being and the relationship between change, challenge, and personal energy. Participants will learn about four key roles in the change process and the most important skills needed for each of them and review the building blocks of resilience that they can use to help themselves and those around them deal with challenges.
Family Story Project Website Launched, summarized from Family Story Project
The Family Story Project has launched a new website, FamilyStoryProject.org. Family Story is a project of New Venture Fund, with the mission to support and defend the dignity, value, and well-being of all families through research and fresh analysis on changing family structures and modern family life; to correct false and deceptive information; and to set the stage for family policy that reflects the realities and needs of all families. The website features original research, storybooks, videos, a blog and other resources about diverse family structures.
USBC Insights: These resources may be especially helpful for breastfeeding advocates making the case for expanded and inclusive family definitions in paid sick days, paid family and medical leave policies, and other breastfeeding policy issues.
Report on Family Reunification Efforts, summarized from GAO
The Government Accountability Office has published a report to the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce titled "UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN: Agency Efforts to Reunify Children Separated from Parents at the Border." GAO was asked to examine processes for tracking and reunifying separated families. This report discusses Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (1) planning efforts related to the Attorney General's April 2018 memo, (2) systems for indicating children were separated from parents, and (3) actions to reunify families in response to the June 2018 court order. GAO reviewed agency policies and procedures, filings in the relevant court case as of August 23, 2018, and interviewed DHS and HHS officials. GAO also visited four ORR shelters in July 2018 to interview staff responsible for the separated children.
USBC Insights: National, state, and local organizations are invited to sign on to USBC's joint statement on unlawful family separation. The USBC has released a statement expressing strong opposition to the zero-tolerance policy and also to the separation of children and caregivers.
News & Views
The New York Times: "Breast-Feeding Is Good for the Mother, and Not Just the Baby"