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Using Quality Improvement to Promote Breast-feeding in a Local Health Department

Wright, Sarah S. MA; Lea, C. Suzanne PhD; Holloman, Roxanne MA; Cornett, Amanda MPH; Harrison, Lisa Macon MPH; Randolph, Greg D. MD, MPH

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e31822d2e3a
Original Articles
Abstract

In 2008, breast-feeding initiation and continuation rates in Beaufort County, North Carolina, were lower than statewide rates. A quality improvement (QI) project was initiated to increase breast-feeding rates by enhancing the overall environment that supports breast-feeding at the Beaufort County Health Department. This case study describes one of the first QI initiatives implemented through the North Carolina Center for Public Health Quality QI training program, conducted in 2009. The aim of this project was to improve the health and wellness of mothers and infants in Beaufort County by promoting breast-feeding among Beaufort County Health Department Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clients. Using QI tools, 4 new approaches to breast-feeding promotion were tested and implemented: creating a nurturing location to breast-feed while at the health department, actively telephoning new mothers to provide breast-feeding support, incentivizing adoption of educational messages by providing a breast-feeding tote bag, and promoting new WIC food packages. These enhancements involved staff in QI planning and implementation and correlated with improved breast-feeding initiation for WIC clients during the year following project completion.

In Brief

This case study describes one of the first quality improvement initiatives implemented through the North Carolina Center for Public Health Quality Improvement training program, conducted in 2009.

Author Information

Beaufort County Health Department, Washington, North Carolina (Ms Holloman); Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina (Dr Lea); NC Center for Public Health Quality, Raleigh (Mss Cornett and Harrison and Dr Randolph); and Department of Pediatrics, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Public Health Leadership Program, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill (Dr Randolph). Ms Wright is formarly with Beaufort County Health Department, Washington, North Carolina.

Correspondence: Greg D. Randolph, MD, MPH, NC Center for Public Health Quality, PO Box 18763, Raleigh, NC 27619 (randolph@unc.edu).

The authors thank the staff of the Beaufort County Health Department for participating in this quality improvement activity. The NC Center for Public Health Quality is funded through grants from the Duke Endowment, NC Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.