271339 We shall overcome: Building an African-American breastfeeding coalition

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Faro Jones, RD, MPH , Women Infant Children, Alameda County Department of Public Health, Oakland, CA
According to the most recent national data, 75% of new mothers initiate breastfeeding in the early postpartum period and 44.3% are continuing to do some breastfeeding at six months. Though these percentages are an improvement from past years and meet the Healthy People 2010 guidelines, they do not tell the whole story; even when controlling for income or educational level, breastfeeding rates for African-American new mothers are 50 percent lower than white mothers during the first post-partum year. The benefits of breastfeeding and the role of breastfeeding in reducing health disparities are well documented. In an attempt to help African American mothers increase their breastfeeding rates and improve their health outcomes, an African American Breastfeeding Coalition and Outreach Taskforce (AABCOT) was established in Alameda County California in 2011. Utilizing staff from four different Women Infant Children (WIC) agencies, AABCOT worked to develop a broad-based coalition to effect behavioral and social change. Establishing this multicultural coalition has had its challenges, however. These include, identifying suitable members and sustaining their commitment; aligning AABCOT's broader goals with the goals of individual members; efficiently engaging non-African American allies within the coalition; establishing organizational autonomy and developing measures to evaluate effectiveness and measure success. These dilemmas have provided AABCOT with valuable learning experiences as they focus on their mission of helping African American mothers pass on the benefits of breastfeeding to their children.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Describe four common barriers to building an effective coalition. Identify four potential solutions to building an effective coalition.

Keywords: Breast Feeding, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a member of the African American Breastfeeding Coalition Task Force. I am also a registered dietitian and certified lactation educator and have worked at Women Infant Children for the past three years to improve breastfeeding rates among that population.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.