live / 2016

Creating a First Food Friendly South Los Angeles

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by BreastfeedLA

Increasing food security in South Los Angeles by supporting breastfeeding in the community.

Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Breastfeeding Task force of Greater Los Angeles: BreastfeedLA (BFLA), Soul Food for Your Baby (SFYB), Public Health Foundation Enterprises WIC (PHFE WIC), Northeast Valley Health Corporation WIC (NEVHC), County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health, South Los Angeles Health Projects

Please describe your project proposal.

BreastfeedLA (BFLA) plans to increase its efforts to transform community clinics in South LA into Breastfeeding Friendly health centers affecting thousands of families. We will help implement comprehensive institutional changes that allow mothers to turn their breastfeeding goals into reality. In addition, BreastfeedLA and SFYB will work together to bring a dynamic culturally congruent breastfeeding education and support program to the underserved community of South LA.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Access to healthy food
  • Healthcare access
  • Obesity
  • Residents receiving coordinated healthcare services

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South LA

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

BFLA is positioned to effectively help address the immediate needs of the community with direct services, resources, and technical support that is beyond basic health care. A significant root cause of poor health is food insecurity within Los Angeles County, especially critically underserved areas in South LA. Food insecurity impairs growth and development among children, affects academic success and contributes to childhood obesity. BFLA can combat food insecurity and obesity with the promotion and protection of breastfeeding. The highest prevalence of food insecurity, poverty, and obesity is found in South LA. The 2014 Los Angeles Mommy & Baby (LAMB) survey showed the lowest rates of breastfeeding were also found in South LA.

BFLA plans to make South LA the best place to live for moms, babies, and families through an innovative program supporting beginning families. We plan to do this by providing prenatal breastfeeding classes and support groups through a partnership with SFYB and providing technical assistance to clinics to achieve improvements in communities with low breastfeeding rates. We will use the newly developed guidelines released by the State of California, The Nine Steps to Breastfeeding Friendly Outpatient Settings: Guidelines and Criteria. These guidelines provide a framework for community medical facilities to support breastfeeding and early infant attachment through policy development, professional education, discharge follow-up, and evaluation.

By December 30, 2017, SFYB in partnership with BFLA will provide two series of culturally relevant breastfeeding classes and nine support groups for African American families led by a culturally congruent peer counselor and/or certified lactation educator (CLE) in South Los Angeles. The 6 hour course is taught over three weeks.

Using research and findings from focus groups, classes will link breastfeeding to the African American experience, history, and hope for better health outcomes. The program will address sociocultural concerns as well.

In addition to classes and support groups, by December 31, 2017, BFLA will assist two Community Health Centers (CHC) with enhancing, implementing, and adopting policies that promote breastfeeding initiation and continuation.

BreastfeedLA will support a minimum of two CHC’s in South LA to successfully implement practices and policies that protect, promote and support breastfeeding and create and sustain a community-based, universally accessible, support system for breastfeeding mothers and their families. BFLA will work with CHCs to implement evidence-based practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration. BFLA will provide guidance on ways to deliver high quality, culturally competent breastfeeding promotion, support and care services to mothers and their families within clinics. BFLA will assist CHCs with establishing written procedures that ensure a breastfeeding-friendly clinic environment.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

We aim to increase baseline exclusive breastfeeding rates by 3% over a one-year period in South Los Angeles. This measure along with process evaluation will help measure and define the success of our program.

We plan to:

  1. Identify champions to participate in this project – 2 community clinics. (Several clinics have already expressed interest in participating)

  2. Advocate for policy reform within community clinics to implement policy revision.

  3. Educate and train health care providers at the chosen clinics. This will be tracked through sign-in sheets.

  4. Assist clinics with implementation of the State’s Guidelines and Criteria. This will be tracked through MOUs with the clinics.

  5. Help facilities establish a follow-up support system for new mothers, including referring them to SFYB education and support groups.

  6. Assist SFYB to provide ongoing breastfeeding and education groups to African American families in SPA 6 and 8. To assess breastfeeding knowledge gained, a pre- and post-test survey will be administered at each session. Based on results in other programs, we estimate that participants will score an average of 5%-10% higher on the post-test compared to pre-test scores.

  7. We will evaluate baseline, midpoint and concluding breastfeeding rates in South LA.

  8. Ensure financial sustainability of programs. This will be measured through attendance of a financial sustainability workshop and pre/post surveys.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Technical infrastructure (computers
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research