Four innovators who are addressing health inequities within the African-American breastfeeding community
The Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association
The Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) is based in Detroit, Michigan.
BMBFA’s goal is to have a national impact on the reduction of racial disparities in breastfeeding success for Black families.
BMBFA’s mission is to reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding support for Black families.
BMBFA’s value proposition is to optimize the first food experience for Black families through direct service, education, and advocacy.
BMBFA envisions positive cultural sentiments about breastfeeding, multi-generational breastfeeding support and encouragement within Black families and neighborhoods.
BMBFA aims to build foundational networks of support and strengthen systems to overcome historical, societal and social barriers to breastfeeding success.
BMBFA’s objective is to provide education, valuable resources and ongoing support to Black families and public/private agencies that service these families.
Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE)
Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) Inc. was founded in July 2011 by three Atlanta-based women who have worked in the field of maternal and child health (MCH) for more than 25 years. Kimarie Bugg, MSN, FNP-BC, MPH, CLC observed how the prenatal health care system not only failed to teach and encourage breastfeeding, but often impeded it. ROSE’s initiatives include:
- Improving access to breastfeeding in the African-American community
- Reclaiming their breastfeeding experience
- Reforming health care through breastfeeding.
Since its founding, ROSE has grown to a network that includes physicians, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, peer counselors, and parents. ROSE seeks to enhance, encourage, support, promote, and protect breastfeeding throughout the U.S., by working to reduce the breastfeeding disparities among African-American women, and to strengthen the health of their babies and families through, mentoring, training, breastfeeding support groups, social support, outreach, education, legislation, health policies, and social marketing.
ROSE’s primary goal is to increase the percentage of African-American women who breastfeed, and thereby reach the target breastfeeding goal outlined in Healthy People 2020. In order to achieve the 81% increase of African-American women who breastfeed by 2020, there will need to be nationally focused programs that involve a range of stakeholders: breastfeeding women, individuals, family, health providers, community and public policymakers.
A More Excellent Way
Monique Sims-Harper, DrPH, MPH, RD, CLE is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of A More Excellent Way Health Improvement Organization (MEW). This project came about as part Dr. Sims’ dissertation project at the University of California at Berkeley. Her dissertation title was, Engaging the Faith Community to Improve the Breastfeeding Rates of African American Women. MEW was formed in 2005 and incorporated in 2007. Dr. Sims partnered with her church, Revival Center Ministries, in pioneering the MEW Breastfeeding Project, which consisted of conducting focus groups that informed a church-placed infant feeding and parenting training and intervention.
The first MEW peer counselor training and baby shower was successful in training 14 breastfeeding peer counselors in the art and practice of breastfeeding support, and ministering to over 100 men and women. The training and baby shower have been repeated at several churches in Solano County, including True Love Baptist Church and Tabernacle of David Missionary Baptist Church. The plan is to continue to train leaders in the community to improve Solano County’s breastfeeding rates, particularly among African-Americans. This project intends to improve the health and survival of African- American infants.
MEW aims to promote wellness and reduce health disparities. It engages the community, and particularly churches, to provide health education, information and resources.
Since our organization began, the rates of African-American breastfeeding have increased significantly. However, the African-American and White gap in breastfeeding rates still persists. Our goal is to eliminate this disparity in breastfeeding and that 75% of African-American women in Solano County & Contra Costa County breastfeed their babies for at least one year.
Dr. Sims is the proud mother of two breastfed sons, one foster daughter and guardian to her three nephews. She is also a Registered Dietitian, who has a passion for improving the nutrition and health of her family and community. You can contact Monique by email: email@example.com
Elita Kalma, CLC is the Founder of the popular blog Blacktating. She hoped online to find answers to her questions about breastfeeding. She wanted to find another mother out there at four o’clock in the morning who was also breastfeeding and perhaps had questions of her own. But she noticed that she never heard from other mothers of color, even when she specifically looked for them. She wanted to know where the other Black breastfeeding moms were and how she could connect with them. When her son was four months old, she start Blacktating. The blog has given her a way to reach other mothers of color and it has caught the eye of the professional community who want to know more about the breastfeeding experiences of African-American women.
My goal used to be to just get people outside of my family to read my blog, but now my dream is to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and write a parenting book for moms of color who are interested in natural and attachment parenting.
- The Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA)
- Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) Inc.
- A More Excellent Way Health Improvement Organization (MEW)