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April 03, 2014

Nursing Students Assist with EVMS Breastfeeding Program

A group of Old Dominion University nursing students has worked for more than a year in conjunction with Eastern Virginia Medical School's "Breastfeeding Welcome Here" project, which encourages businesses to support the practice at their establishments.

"Breastfeeding Welcome Here" was created in 2012 as a collaborative project of the EVMS-led Consortium for Infant and Child Health (CINCH), Healthy Norfolk and Healthy Portsmouth. It is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Health.

Through a collaboration between EVMS and Old Dominion, ODU College of Health Sciences nursing students Deborah Vance, Chad Del Rosario, Tera Stanistreet, Laura Cagle, Anna Maksimovich, Taj Johnson, Ebony Lindsay, Zack Hedrick and Amanda Frederick (see photo below) have worked on the project since last September as part of their community-health nursing rotation. They contacted potential participants, recruited 30 sites and helped evaluate program outcomes.

Rene Repofa, manager of Pasha Mezze in Norfolk, said participating in the "Breastfeeding Welcome Here" program was a natural fit for her restaurant. "We promote healthy eating here for adults," she said, "so of course we would want to promote the same for infants. Maybe if more infants were breastfed, we wouldn't have to do so much educating when they get to be adults."

As of late March, 53 area businesses, many of them restaurants, had signed up to display "Breastfeeding Welcome Here" posters, said Amy Paulson, CINCH director and an EVMS instructor of pediatrics. The program is needed, Paulson said, because according to national data, while 75 percent of mothers start out breastfeeding, only 13 percent of them breastfeed exclusively, and for African American mothers, that falls to 8 percent.

morenews3-lg01The ODU nursing students pictured here – Deborah Vance, Chad Del Rosario, Tera Stanistreet, Laura Cagle, Anna Maksimovich, Taj Johnson, Ebony Lindsay, Zack Hedrick and Amanda Frederick – are working with the EVMS “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” project during their community health rotation.