Investing in Mississippi by promoting breastfeeding support in Delta and Coast communities 

February 23, 2021

Contact: Tennille Collins, Mississippi Public Health Institute,

tcollins@msphi.org,

(601) 398-4406

 

Jackson, Miss. — To help increase breastfeeding support, the Mississippi Public Health Institute (MSPHI) is investing a new grant into Gulf Coast and Delta communities to increase awareness and direct support for breastfeeding programs — two evidence-based interventions shown to help increase breastfeeding uptake.

In partnership with the Mississippi Breastfeeding Coalition and the state’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Making an Impact in the Lactation Community, or MILC, project will provide direct monetary support for breastfeeding professionals’ continuing education through a $150,000 one-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“In Mississippi, the mentality around breastfeeding has evolved to be more supportive, but we still have a long way to go. We continue to see women that do not have the support from family members and the society in general,” said Eliana Glass,CLC, Mississippi Breastfeeding Coalition manager.

Despite public health consensus of its benefit, Mississippi has the lowest breastfeeding rate in the nation. Breastfeeding helps both mother and child by supporting bonding, transferring nutrients not found in formula and reducing likelihood of allergies and diabetes, but barriers to and disparities within breastfeeding persist. Investing in breastfeeding and newborns’ health can correlate to a lifetime of better health outcomes and save billions of dollars in healthcare spending.

“While working as a WIC Peer Counselor I was able to witness this firsthand — there is still a stigma about breastfeeding. We want to start by supporting the health professionals who are already doing this work to help mothers realize the health and financial benefits of breastfeeding, and helping connect women with breastfeeding resources,” Glass said. “This grant will help support breastfeeding professionals to advance their training and bring stakeholders together.”

Black women are less likely to breastfeed — in a state with already-low uptake rates and the largest share of Black births, more support is needed to help connect new mothers with breastfeeding support. Part of MSPHI’s community-based intervention efforts involve further identifying barriers to breastfeeding for Black women, such as misconceptions of breastfeeding, lack of support at home or workplace, and gaps between clinical-based patient education and community resources.

 

MSPHI has identified the following areas to foster increased rates for breastfeeding on the Gulf Coast as well as throughout other regions of the state, such as the Mississippi Delta:

  • Develop a sustainable system for continuing education for lactation professionals in Mississippi
  • Support policy education surrounding licensure for lactation professionals
  • Develop a sustainable system for breastfeeding support for mothers and families by providing stipends to 20 WIC peer counselors throughout the state that will allow them to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs)

 

MILC builds off MSPHI’s current Gulf Coast investments, the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program, which is one of only 31 awards from CDC’s REACH umbrella. REACH supports collaborative efforts to improve the health and well-being of Black families, mothers and babies in Jackson, Hancock, and Harrison Counties. These partnerships help increase support and use of systems and services for chronic disease prevention, strengthen community support for breastfeeding and tobacco cessation. For additional information on the MILC project or REACH, contact Tennille Collins at tcollins@msphi.org or (601) 398-4406. For more information on MSPHI, visit www.msphi.org.

About the Mississippi Public Health Institute: MSPHI is a nonprofit entity established in 2011 to protect and improve the health and well-being of Mississippians, serving as a partner and convener to promote health, improve outcomes and encourage innovations in health systems. We cultivate partnerships aimed at program innovation, health resources, education, applied research, and policy development.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

Mississippi Public Health Institute Awarded Five-Year Grant to Improve Health of African-American Families on the Gulf Coast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts:
Elaina Jackson, Fahrenheit Creative Group, LLC, elaina@fcgworks.com, (601) 371-8003
Tennille Collins, Mississippi Public Health Institute, tcollins@msphi.org, (601) 398-4406
Mississippi Public Health Institute Awarded Five-Year Grant to Improve Health of African-American Families on the Gulf Coast
Collaborative Effort to Focus on Improving Healthy Behaviors among Minority Populations
JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Public Health Institute (MSPHI), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage in partnerships and activities that improve Mississippi’s health, was recently awarded a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The grant, one of only 31 awards from CDC’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program, will support collaborative efforts to improve the health and well-being of African American families, mothers, and babies in Jackson, Hancock, and Harrison Counties.
“We believe this is a tremendous opportunity to make a positive long-term impact on the health of thousands of families on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and demonstrate the impact of building stronger relationships between public health organizations, health care providers, and community-based organizations,” said Roy Hart, MSPHI chief executive officer. “Everything we learn over the next five years will benefit every Mississippi community, and we are excited about sharing the insights we gain and new information we learn that will ultimately help improve health across the state.”
The collaborative project will focus on increasing community support for breastfeeding and educating the community on the health effects of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. MSPHI has engaged several local and state partners to support these efforts, including the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) Office of Women Infants and Children (WIC) and Office of Tobacco Control (OTC), Mississippi State University Social Science Research Center (SSRC), Coastal Family Health Center, Gulf Coast Healthy Communities Collaborative (GCHCC), Gulf Coast Breastfeeding Center, Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE), and several hospital primary care systems along the Gulf Coast.
Funding from the grant will support community-based activities that will directly involve coastal residents and connect African American mothers and families to resources that support and promote healthy lifestyles. The project’s multi-sector coalition of local community stakeholders will focus on advancing population health in the three counties. A full-time community resource coordinator, housed at Coastal Family Health Center, will link individuals with a range of services, including Baby Cafés and tobacco cessation resources.
“As a safety net health care provider in a state challenged by many health disparities, Coastal Family Health Center is grateful to be a partner in this exciting initiative that focuses on the very core of where sustainable change occurs—the family, specifically mothers and babies,” said
Angel Greer, chief executive officer of Coastal Family Health Center. “This initiative is a stepping stone for partners across our Gulf Coast to create a network to strengthen and empower families and improve our health outcomes.”
The community-based coalition, coordinated by GCHCC, will be facilitated by a manager who will engage community members and stakeholders in program planning, implementation, and evaluation utilizing local data to ensure the project is responsive to the current and emerging needs of the community and African-American mothers, families, and babies.
“The Gulf Coast Healthy Communities Collaborative exists to bring together partners across multiple sectors to catalyze data-driven action at the intersection of community development and health,” said Tracy Wyman, healthy communities liaison for GCHCC. “We look forward to supporting the work of the Healthy Families Mothers & Babies Initiative through the Community ExCHANGE online data platform and working together to connect organizations and programs for a healthier Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
MSPHI and its partners expect this project to improve overall health along the Gulf Coast that can be sustained through the network of partnerships that are created. These partnerships will help increase support and use of systems and services for chronic disease prevention, strengthen community support for breastfeeding, and reduce tobacco use over the next five years. For more information on the REACH project, contact Tennille Collins at tcollins@msphi.org or (601) 398-4406. For more information on MSPHI, visit www.msphi.org.
About the Mississippi Public Health Institute MSPHI is a nonprofit entity established in 2011 to protect and improve the health and well-being of Mississippians, serving as a partner and convener to promote health, improve outcomes and encourage innovations in health systems. We cultivate partnerships aimed at program innovation, health resources, education, applied research, and policy development.

Survive 2 Thrive Project Improving Lung Cancer Screening in the Mississippi Delta

The Survive 2 Thrive Project has propelled Greenwood Leflore Hospital into the forefront of lung cancer screening/care for the Mississippi Delta.

Through the project’s funds, Greenwood Leflore Hospital has obtained a 12 passenger van to provide transportation for our patients, most of whom are in dire need of affordable transportation for proper access to care.
The project funded the purchase of a data software tracking program, Nurse Nav. Oncology, which allows us to track our patients and pull data in a most efficient manner.

The hospital has:

  • purchased new screening equipment for Low-Dose cancer screening for lung cancer.
  • purchased a Linear Accelerator for our Radiation Oncologist.
  • hired two pulmonologists.
  • implemented $99.00 low-dose lung cancer screening for the general public.

Survive 2 Thrive has made contact with 135 total patients. Two of the screening patients received a cancer diagnosis due to the screening process, and others are under monitoring for potential issues.