Women of color in New Orleans continue to face significant multi-level barriers to breastfeeding, contributing to large racial disparities in maternal and child health. The purpose of this project is to improve health outcomes among the predominantly low-income families of color residing in or attending an early childcare center in the Columbia Parc neighborhood by increasing breastfeeding support across parent, provider, and clinic levels. The New Orleans Breastfeeding Center (NOBC) will partner with the Bayou District Foundation to create supportive environments for breastfeeding families and establish community-clinical linkages through coordination with LCMC Health, a network of five large area hospitals.


BUILD and its communities apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD) approaches to improve health in communities that are adversely affected by upstream factors.


Our strategy modifies the “health in all policies” framework towards one of “health in all places” by taking breastfeeding support and services out of a siloed clinical context and embedding it within the community and early childcare spaces. Doing so reaches women where they are, critically important for already overburdened women who may not have the time, resources, or ability to seek support elsewhere.


Our efforts take a multi-level approach to advancing health equity across individual, interpersonal, community, and systems levels. We provide breastfeeding education and direct support services to individual parents, education and training for Educare teachers, staff, and community leaders within Columbia Parc, and coordinate with the local hospital/clinic system to improve referral to evidence-based, culturally-appropriate breastfeeding support for women of color.


Key to this project’s success are the established partnerships and history of collaboration between the entities involved. Each partner organization brings unique resources, expertise, and capacities to address the specific health priorities of focus in this community. Collaboration between partners enhances each partner’s ability to promote the health and well-being of the women and families that they serve.


Continuous involvement of neighborhood residents and community leaders is paramount to the success of the project. Meetings with key stakeholders at Educare and Columbia Parc and focus groups with parents and residents at the onset ensure the program design conveniently and adequately responds to their healthcare needs. Furthermore, this project fully embraces the clout of neighborhood residents by training them to become peer counselors.


Data will drive our ability to monitor our progress in meeting our goals of increasing access to breastfeeding support services for black women in New Orleans, and specifically at Educare and in Columbia Parc. Data will be regularly collected at NOBC-lead programs to ensure the intended audiences are being reached and their needs are being met. Real-time monitoring of program data by evaluators at MAC will facilitate internal processes for continuous quality improvement.