Breastfeeding is known to be the best source of infant nutrition and immunologic protection, and babies who are breastfed are less likely to become obese in later life and less likely to suffer from diabetes and asthma. Mothers, as well, receive benefits, with lower rates of breast and ovarian cancers. Although most mothers (75%) try to breastfeed, by three months post-partum, most have given up. Only about 17% of new mothers are breastfeeding by six months (Surgeon General, 2011).
In 2011, the Surgeon General issued A Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, describing specific steps that can be taken society-wide to support mothers and babies who are breastfeeding. This wider approach to breastfeeding support is believed to be effective in reducing disparities in breastfeeding rates among specific segments of the community. Community support can be crucial in: changing social norms to see breastfeeding as “normal;” overcoming embarrassment, lack of knowledge and lack of support from health care providers; and supporting lactating women who return to work. This program will highlight community-level actions to support successful lactation.
Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH
Commissioner, New York State Department of Health
Marcia J. Wilson, PhD, MBA
Deputy Director, Department of Health Policy, School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University
David Zingmond, MD, PhD
Associate Professor In-Residence, Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Related Services Research, The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Steven M. Safyer, MD
President and CEO, Montefiore Medical Center
President, Healthcare Association of New York State
Health disparities – from access to care to health outcomes – disproportionately affect a growing segment of our population. While recent reports show some progress in reducing health disparities, there is still much work to be done. As America becomes increasingly diverse, concrete strategies to address disparities are needed to prevent ever-widening gaps in healthcare and health outcomes. To improve the quality and equity of healthcare, there needs to be better, reliable and accurate disparity measures to assess the scope and types of disparities that exist. Improved collection of data will allow hospitals and facilities to improve their assessment and understanding of the problem at their hospital or facility, develop and implement quality improvement interventions targeted to specific patient populations, evaluate effectiveness of the interventions, and meet the challenge issued by the Institute of Medicine to reduce unequal healthcare. As such, it is imperative that hospital and facility leaders, providers and staff develop a system-wide strategy to improve and standardize the collection of racial, ethnic, and other disparities information.
This webcast will address the rationale for, and challenges and successes of these data collection efforts, explain why hospitals, emergency rooms, and surgery centers are logical places for data collection, and provide a roadmap for how to begin making the changes necessary to succeed.