Online Program

Translating community-based breastfeeding research into action

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:48 a.m.

Meg Henning, MA, PhD, Takemi Program in International Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Rudolph Fedrizzi, MD, Community Health Department, Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene, Keene, NH
Heidi Rinehart, MD, FACOG, Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, Keene, NH, NH
Disparities in breastfeeding are well recognized for a variety of social, economic, educational, institutional, and political reasons. Breastfeeding rates do not approach the levels recommended by major health authorities in the United States. Variations in breastfeeding initiation and continuation at the national, regional, and state level have important policy implications for breastfeeding promotion. Issues of health equity regarding breastfeeding need to be addressed in order to support personal change in the context of a larger environment.

The proposed session will focus on the process of conducting community based research, and original preliminary data will be presented focusing on factors that are associated with the decision to breastfeed among a sample of Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) participants. A survey was administered in interview format to 296 WIC mothers throughout southern and southwestern New Hampshire. Survey development involved a focus group process, community coalition, and a review of the literature regarding barriers and positive contributors to breastfeeding initiation and continuation. Results are being used to inform the translation of research to breastfeeding practice, policy, community and education interventions to adequately support low-income breastfeeding mothers.

The session will focus on outlining a community-based process used to research, understand, and address the factors that influence breastfeeding initiation and continuation among a socio-economically disadvantaged population (sample of WIC participants), identify opportunities and approaches to use knowledge gained, and take relevant action in community settings. This work aims to a) open the dialogue around the multidimensional contributors to breastfeeding disparities, b) bring together agencies and individuals whose mission aligns with the effort, and c) identify best practice models for community engagement, systems and policies that will impact breastfeeding, especially among low-income women.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify the multidimensional contributors to breastfeeding disparities for low-income women. Create an opportunity for collaboration, research and advocacy. Identify intervention opportunities that support social change for breastfeeding. List and identify best practice models of community engagement to address breastfeeding disparities.

Keyword(s): Maternal and Child Health, Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor, Health Sciences, Keene State College and a Takemi Fellow, Takemi Program in International Health, Harvard School of Public Health. My training and research has focused on health disparities, both locally and globally. This project is research that I have been involved with throughout the process.
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.