|UNC to lead national evaluation of W.K. Kellogg Foundation breastfeeding program|
|November 15, 2012|
Gillings School of Global Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been awarded $900,000 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to evaluate First Foods, the foundation's national breastfeeding initiative. The First Foods program aims to "give children a healthy start" by ensuring more babies receive breast milk as their first food experience rather than formula.
Vijaya K. Hogan, DrPH, clinical associate professor of maternal and child health at the School, is principal investigator for the study.
"The public health benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and baby are very clear, yet there are inequities in accessibility to breastfeeding promotion, education and ongoing support," Hogan said. "Because of this, many populations, especially African-American and low-income women, are less likely to initiate or be successful with long-term breastfeeding."
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is committed to a funding approach that addresses both structural barriers to breastfeeding and interventions at the individual level. The foundation supports a network of national, state and local organizations that expand community support systems for mothers and families, encouraging new social norms and behaviors related to breastfeeding and strengthening collaborations with other organizations to increase the number of mothers who breastfeed. Hogan's grant will enable researchers to assess the effectiveness of these approaches in promoting and sustaining breastfeeding in communities funded by the foundation.
"We essentially will be measuring the effectiveness of a multi-level approach in increasing breastfeeding rates and reducing inequities in historically underserved communities," Hogan said.
A key approach of the First Foods program is fostering systems-level changes more supportive of breastfeeding. These include development and promotion of "baby-friendly" practices in hospitals, practices that experts say will help accelerate a cultural shift in the acceptance of breastfeeding by making it the standard of care. The program also offers community-based doula programs, which provide ongoing support and education to new mothers.
The evaluation will focus its efforts on Mississippi, Michigan, Louisiana and New Mexico.
"We feel honored to be working on this important project to assess how various strategies and combinations of strategies are working in practice," said Hogan, who was invited by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to submit a proposal.
Hogan and her team, which includes Diane Rowley, MD, MPH, Professor of the Practice in maternal and child health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, are collecting data and developing a contextual analysis in select program areas supported by First Foods. In 2013, they will begin to systematically assess how breastfeeding outcomes are affected by these programs and provide guidance to W.K. Kellogg on future programming around breastfeeding and health inequities.
About the foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an opportunity to thrive, the foundation 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, Mich., and works throughout the U.S. 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, in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.
|Last updated November 16, 2012|