Contact: Nikia Sankofa
Phone: 773-359-1549 x 32
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 29, 2021
The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) has been awarded funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Strengthening Breastfeeding Support by Coordinating National Efforts and Building Capacity of Breastfeeding Coalitions funding opportunity.
Over the grant period, the CDC will provide up to $5M to the USBC to coordinate stakeholders in developing and implementing a five-year plan to advance policy, systems, and environmental change solutions that will:
- address inequities in human milk feeding;
- increase access to lactation support;
- enhance opportunities for collaboration and capacity building amongst breastfeeding coalitions and critical stakeholders.
"The USBC brings together an extensive network of more than 100 national, state, tribal, territorial, and local organizations. This funding award will support the USBC to expand our ongoing efforts to work collaboratively with stakeholders across the lactation field,” says Nikia Sankofa, USBC Executive Director, "but we know that additional representation from organizations led by and for Black and Indigenous families is needed to ensure we are identifying and addressing blind spots in our collective efforts. This funding will create an opportunity for up to 20 organizations to become members of the USBC at no cost."
In the first year of this five-year project, the USBC will host a set of listening sessions to gather insights from stakeholders in the First Food field to define strategic population-level strategies to dismantle structural and systemic barriers at the root of human milk feeding disparities. "By intentionally growing our membership and working in partnership with the field, this award will allow USBC to look even more deeply at the steps needed to anchor First Food Equity," says Sankofa.
The USBC and the CDC have a long-standing history of working together to advance systems-level interventions and providing technical assistance to help states, tribes, and communities implement upstream changes that support breastfeeding families and positively impact the health of communities.
The timing of this announcement falls just ahead of National Breastfeeding Month, celebrated each August. The 2021 theme, Every Step of the Way, envisions a world in which every family is supported at every step along the infant feeding journey. Continuity of care in breastfeeding support is achieved by consistent, collaborative, and seamless delivery of high-quality services for families throughout the first 1,000 days, from pregnancy through the child's second birthday.
This award is the latest demonstration of the critical partnership between the CDC and the USBC and their mutual, ongoing support, every step of the way.
"The USBC gives us access to national organizations as well as to state, tribal, territorial, and cultural breastfeeding coalitions all in one place. The USBC has been doing cutting-edge work for many years now and has provided leadership in the efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. The USBC has served as a role model in these efforts and has influenced how we approach our work at CDC," says Carol MacGowan, Deputy Branch Chief, Nutrition Branch, at the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. "We are going to stay the course in terms of addressing racial and ethnic disparities in breastfeeding through funding to the field, through research, and through monitoring of progress. This is our guiding star."
Organizations and coalitions interested in joining these efforts are invited to explore the USBC membership categories and learn more about exclusive opportunities for organizations to influence policy priorities, participate in action-focused workgroups, and improve the infant feeding landscape as a part of the USBC membership network.
"Leaning into our vision of thriving families and communities requires that we advance equity in 'Lactasia' by listening to and ensuring that we have impactful representation by organizations serving communities with low breastfeeding rates. This is why the USBC is seeking to expand membership. We hope you will join us," says Sankofa.