Online Program

Using digital narrative and social media to reduce breastfeeding disparities in the African American community

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Elizabeth Bayne, MPH, MFA, graybayne film/media, Los Angeles, CA
Breastfeeding rates have improved among all women in the U.S., yet disparities persist among African American women. Evidence suggests this can largely be attributed to lack of equity in healthcare and lack of diversity in breastfeeding outreach materials.

Following hospital deliveries, many black mothers experience bias from healthcare providers who assume they are not interested in breastfeeding, resulting in delayed breastfeeding, formula feeding, or lack of guidance and support. Additionlly, most educational material targeting African American women consists of images of black women alongside re-purposed content developed for a general audience. While African American women face challenges similar to other women in regards to sustained breastfeeding, there are also culturally specific issues that must be addressed in order to develop meaningful outreach. Another major barrier is poor support for breastfeeding in the African American community.

To promote sustained exclusive breastfeeding for six months with continued breastfeeding for two years, we are developing an online outreach project designed to build self-efficacy among black mothers and encourage community support. The African American Breastfeeding Project is a multi-media digital storytelling project that shares the unique breastfeeding experiences of African American mothers as a resource for new mothers, their families and communities to show 1) it can be done successfully and 2) how we can better support them. The goal of making these stories available online is to establish breastfeeding as a social norm in the African American community. Success will be gauged using social media analytics to track site visitors, views and shares.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the unique cultural barriers to breastfeeding that African American mothers face.
 Describe how community support, in addition to a mother’s desire to breastfeed, is integral in sustaining breastfeeding for at least six months. Identify how health communication and outreach can utilize individual differences and diffusion of innovation theory to establish breastfeeding as a social norm in the African American community.

Keyword(s): African American, Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the producer or collaborator on multiple national and regional public service announcement and health education campaigns focusing on issues ranging from mental illness, domestic abuse, childhood asthma, radon, food insecurity and HIV prevention among Latino women. My scientific interests include the development of culturally appropriate health promotion materials that utilize the principles of social marketing and entertainment education to yield quantifiable results regarding audience impression and behavior change.
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.