MHP Salud has begun a project to expand on successful breastfeeding and first foods practices among Hispanic women in migrant camps in Florida, Michigan, and Ohio.
The project is funded by a $660,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.
“Breastfeeding and the appropriate introduction of first foods are the foundation for a healthy life,” said Gayle Lawn-Day, Chief Executive Officer of MHP Salud.
“Moms who are migrant farmworkers face unique challenges to initiating breastfeeding and, in particular, exclusively breastfeeding their infants through at least six months of age. However, there are moms who find creative solutions, and our goal is to identify and learn from these moms, incorporate their best practices into our programming, and develop and disseminate resources that other organizations can use in their communities.”
Efforts will draw on two established public health approaches: the Community Health Worker (CHW) model and the Positive Deviance Inquiry approach.
CHWs will be trained to identify their communities’ “positive deviants” – in this case, women who have managed to successfully breastfeed and appropriately introduce first foods despite the challenges obstructing these behaviors. Once they have identified the positive deviants, the CHWs will delve deeper to gain insight into the specific factors that have enabled these individuals to succeed.
Results will be compiled and shared with the participating communities and will be used to develop and implement an intervention to promote breastfeeding outcomes that align with Healthy People 2020 targets.
Finally, MHP Salud will develop and disseminate tangible resources to organizations throughout the country to expand community-sourced best practices in feeding infants through the first year of life.