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Janet Sevier Gilbreath Award 2014

Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition - Business Case for Breastfeeding

2014 Recipient
Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Project Recognition Award

The Business Case for Breastfeeding (BCBF) has been the answer for employers and employees alike in Kansas for the past several years in assisting the often difficult transition for breastfeeding mothers returning to work.  Based on a national initiative designed to train local community advocates on ways to support local businesses in adopting breastfeeding-friendly policies and practices for their employees, the BCBF program was expanded into Kansas in 2011 by the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition (KBC) with grant support from the Health Fund.  Although achieving early success, the effectiveness of the community advocate training strategy waned and the director of the Kansas BCBF project began making more direct contact with employers and providing direct assistance, while advocates trained through the program continued to provide local support and assist in employer outreach.

Presentation of the 2013 Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Project of the Year award to Compass Behavioral Health
Kim Moore, Health Fund President, and Brenda Bandy, Kansas Business Case for Breastfeeding Program Coordinator, reflect on the Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Project Recognition Award received by the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition at the May 5, 2015 presentation ceremony in Hutchinson.

With this shift to a “grassroots to treetops” approach, new marketing materials were developed with the assistance of supplemental grant funding, and the project director began reaching out to employers through presentations, exhibits, and one-on-one conversations. Presentations were made to regional chapters of the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), local Chambers of Commerce, WorkWell Kansas communities and at events hosted by county health departments.  The results of this shift in approach, as demonstrated by comparisons between 2013 and 2014 Kansas SHRM surveys, have shown an increase of 13.6% in the number of employers with a written lactation support policy and a 3% increase in the number of employers providing a clean and private space for milk expression. 

BCBF has also developed relationships with key state entities, partnering to provide education and resource referral to Kansas employers.  One result of these partnerships is a joint letter from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Labor which is now sent to new businesses across the state.  The letter provides details about BCBF and the importance of addressing breastfeeding support in the workplace, including information about federal laws pertaining to breastfeeding and resources to assist businesses in adopting current best practices.  BCBF staff also assisted in the development of a joint letter that was sent from the Kansas Insurance Commissioner and KDHE Secretary to the five private insurance companies in Kansas, encouraging them to adopt a policy identifying best practices for payers to appropriately meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and ensure adequate delivery of support for breastfeeding.

Additional examples of BCBF’s valuable role include technical assistance for a university that wanted to establish lactation rooms on campus for employees and students.  The university turned to BCBF for advice after learning that restrooms are not appropriate locations for lactation rooms.  A county commissioner heard a BCBF presentation and subsequently changed the policies and practices of a county courthouse and received the BCBF’s “Breastfeeding Employee Support Award”.   A child care provider was throwing away breast milk right after feeding the baby, based on the advice of a licensing representative. The child’s mother was becoming frustrated because she couldn’t pump enough milk and was ready to quit.  BCBF consulted with the child care provider and the licensing representative to clarify the safety measures needed for breast milk storage, which are different than those for formula.  The practice at that child care center (and others) changed as a result, and the mother continued to breastfeed successfully.

With these accomplishments and for leadership in supporting statewide breastfeeding efforts, the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition is presented the 2014 Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Recognition Award for its Business Case for Breastfeeding Program.

Representing the project at the awards ceremony were: Brenda Bandy, Business Case for Breastfeeding Program Coordinator, and Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition Board Members Paul Cesare, Libby Rosen, Michelle Sanders, Kathy Walker, and Gwen Whittit.

Awarded May 5, 2015

Learn more about the Janet Sevier Gilbreath award