By: Anna-Maria Roache, Senior Program Manager CPHMC Project
On December 8th 2016, members of ACOG and the National WIC Association attended a lunch and learn presentation at the Virginia Department of Health, in Richmond, Virginia. The presentation, entitled “Bridging the Gaps in a Child's First Food System”, was given by Dr. Janine Rethy of Loudoun County and Dr. Sina Gallo of George Mason University to present the findings of their WIC survey. The Loudoun County Health Department has successfully partnered with Dr. Gallo, a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University, for the past several years. Previous work included a survey of physicians’ breastfeeding knowledge, the results of which helped guide the development of Loudoun County Health Department’s “Best Practice Breastfeeding Support Implementation Guide for the Outpatient Office Setting”.
This summer as part of the CPHMC project, the Loudoun County Health Department and George Mason University team conducted a survey of women who are participating in the WIC program to determine current breastfeeding practices, breastfeeding goals, timing and reasons for introduction of formula, and also vitamin D supplementation practices. The survey also assessed food shopping patterns and also chronic disease risk factors to determine conclusions and recommendations to help increase breastfeeding rates and retention within their county.
Dr. Rethy and Dr. Gallo also presented on the current efforts spearheaded by Loudoun County through the CPHMC grant, which included the creation of the Loudoun County Business Case for Breastfeeding Toolkit for local businesses and government agencies, as well as the installation of two permanent breastfeeding rooms in their County Government offices and the introduction of a comprehensive lactation support policy, the first of its kind in the state of Virginia. It was a great experience for the CPHMC team to see this local agency present their data and show their work to others and to see all the great initiatives that Loudoun County has implemented. After the presentation, there were several in depth discussions regarding this topic and how to further Loudoun County’s initiatives. We are excited to hear about more of their innovative work for the remainder of the project!