Online Program

Exploring the Role of State Health Agencies in Supporting Breastfeeding in the Workplace

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 10:54 a.m. - 11:06 a.m.

Katie Potestio, MPH, RD, Health Improvement, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA
Ellen Pliska, MHS, CPH, Family and Community Health, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA

Elizabeth Walker Romero, MS, ASTHO, Arlington, VA
background: Mothers make up a considerable percentage of the work force and working outside of the home decreases duration of breastfeeding. There is a strong need to establish lactation support in the workplace to benefit both families and employers.

objective: To present findings from states focused on innovative strategies to improve workplace compliance with the federal lactation accommodation law and establish breastfeeding friendly employer recognition programs.

methods: In November 2014, ASTHO started a learning community with 17 states and District of Columbia to explore the role of state health agencies in developing and implementing breastfeeding policies and programs.

results: Project outcomes from New Mexico and Vermont will include increased numbers of employer breastfeeding policies developed and formalized, new spaces designated in workplaces, and employers that provide space and time for nursing mothers. New Mexico’s activities include hiring regional breastfeeding workplace liaisons to provide technical assistance to employers and advocacy for employees, and developing media and education campaigns. Vermont is awarding sub-grants to employers to help them develop workplace breastfeeding policies and establish a designated lactation space. Both states and several others in the learning community are establishing or growing breastfeeding friendly employer recognition programs. ASTHO will present key components of successful employer recognition programs and lessons learned from program implementation and evaluation.   

conclusions: State work on breastfeeding policies in the workplace will continue to build the evidence for the importance of and best-practices for breastfeeding support in the workplace. State, Tribal, and Local health departments and their partners can learn from presented case studies on breastfeeding friendly employer recognition programs to engage and inspire employers to advance breastfeeding programs and policies.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the breastfeeding accommodation requirements and eligible employers outlined in the Affordable Care Act. Identify strategies state health agencies are using to help employers come into compliance with the federal lactation law. Discuss at least two state examples of how state health agencies have supported breastfeeding in the workplace.

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Occupational Health and Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of Family and Child Health, a lead on this project.
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.