Over the last three years, BUILD awardees have been working toward addressing social determinants of health and advancing health equity in their communities. To commemorate the end of our third cohort and spotlight their impactful work, we will be sharing each of our 18 communities’ stories — highlighting the partners’ collaborative approach to creating meaningful change in their community, the challenges they faced, and the transformative impact of these efforts for residents.
Parents in the Delta region of Mississippi are like parents everywhere: When their babies are born, they do everything they can to keep them healthy. One of the most important decisions a family makes for their newborn’s health is how to feed them—early nutrition in infancy and childhood is a determinant of long-term health, after all. However, when it comes to feeding their babies, Black mothers in rural communities face challenges on a number of fronts. Financial instability, lack of access to essential health care and transportation to medical appointments, and food insecurity can complicate new moms’ efforts to provide breast milk to their babies. New parents in the rural community of Sunflower County, Mississippi, wanted to overcome these barriers in order to provide the optimal nutrition of breast milk to their infants. They were looking for a peer community of other breastfeeding moms, breastfeeding education and assistance, and ways to make changes in their environments.
Over the past three years, the collaborative has been able to:
- Create a virtual Let’s Talk Baby Café, increasing attendance to 600+ breastfeeding moms;
- Significantly increase the participation of supportive family members;
- And reached 275+ families with breastfeeding information via drive-through events and parent educators.
Breastfeeding protects against allergies, sickness, and obesity. It protects against diseases, like diabetes and cancer. It protects against infections, like ear infections. [Breastmilk] is easily digested. Breastfed babies even score higher on IQ tests.
—Dr. Deborah Moore, Community Partner