Weekly Wire: March 4, 2018

Please note: Inclusion of an item in this e-newsletter does NOT imply endorsement or support of such item by the United States Breastfeeding Committee, unless specifically noted.

Federal News

Dietary Guidelines Public Comment Opportunity, from USDA/HHS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have launched a public comment opportunity on the proposed priority topics and supporting scientific questions that will guide the development of the upcoming 2020-2025 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Since dietary intake during gestation and from birth through two years impacts health outcomes throughout the lifespan, the 2014 Farm Bill mandated that beginning with the 2020-2025 edition, the DGA expand to include for the first time, guidance for infants and toddlers (from birth to age 24 months), and women who are pregnant. Released every five years jointly by the USDA and DHHS, the multi-year DGA development process is based on an evidence-informed scientific report written by a distinguished panel of scientific experts (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) brought together by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. The deadline to submit comments is Friday, March 30. Read the press release

USBC Update: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans forms the basis for many federal, state, and local nutrition policies. The 2020 Dietary Guidelines could play a pivotal role in preventing the incidence of obesity and diet-related chronic disease, ensuring optimal child nutrition, and helping eliminate disparities in health. By providing comments, the maternal and child health field can do a great deal to inform the process of the advisory committee selection, and urge that the development of the DGAC scientific report, as well as the final Dietary Guidelines released by USDA and DHHS are based on the most recent, salient, evidence-based science, and free of industry bias. The USBC is working with stakeholders to develop model comments, to be shared in the coming weeks.

Issue Brief on Infant Mortality Rates by Urbanization, from CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics has published an issue brief titled "Differences Between Rural and Urban Areas in Mortality Rates for the Leading Causes of Infant Death: United States, 2013–2015." The report describes the mortality rates for the five leading causes of infant, neonatal, and postneonatal death in the United States across rural, small and medium urban, and large urban counties defined by maternal residence, as reported on the birth certificate for combined years 2013–2015.

Member News

#Marchis4Nutrition Campaign, from 1,000 Days

In honor of National Nutrition Month in March, 1,000 Days is kicking off its annual online #Marchis4Nutrition campaign to amplify the critical role the world's mothers play in nourishing the next generation. As part of the campaign, 1,000 Days is asking "What if…"— what if moms had the support they need to reach their breastfeeding goals? What if moms had access to quality and comprehensive health care? What if moms had access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods? What if moms had access to social supports, such as paid leave? 1,000 Days invites participants to join them in this month-long campaign by sharing stories and joining the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Response to Leaked Draft of Rule Targeting Immigrant Families, from NWA

The National WIC Association has published a response to a leaked draft of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that suggests the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will expand the definition of public charge to punish immigrants who are using nutrition assistance and public health programs that they are legally permitted to use. Programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) have never before been considered in immigration decisions. NWA seeks to clarify that the leaked documents do not as of yet hold legal weight. DHS has neither formally proposed this rule nor gone through necessary rulemaking procedures. The statement clarifies that there are no immediate consequences for WIC participants related to public charge.

Webinar on Continuing Resolutions' Impact on WIC, from NWA

Join the National WIC Association on Friday, March 23, from 3-4 p.m. ET, for a webinar titled "The Problem with Continuing Resolutions." Panelists on the webinar will address what Continuing Resolutions (CRs) are, why Congress uses them so often, and what CRs mean for programs like WIC.

Reclaiming, Improving, and Sustaining Equity Grant Award, from CGBI

The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute has been awarded a three-year, $1.3 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The grant project, Reclaiming, Improving and Sustaining Equity (RISE), aims to increase the representation of women and men of color employed and serving as certified lactation consultants in vulnerable communities. In the first year of the RISE program, CGBI will work with partners to establish lactation consultant training programs at two historically black universities in the Southeast and actively recruit two additional schools to the RISE program. During the second and third years, program leaders plan to work in additional institutions of higher education that serve African-American, Latinx and Tribal populations in the South and Southwest.

Partner News

Maternity Care Practices Webinar, from BPHP

Join the Breastfeeding Public Health Partners and the Louisiana Department of Health on Monday, March 12, from 2-3 p.m. ET, for a webinar titled "Charting the Course Together: Maternity Care Practices at the Nexus of Hospitals, Providers, States and Communities." The webinar will share how public health organizations contribute to advancing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates by working together with hospitals. Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute will kick off the webinar by presenting major outcomes of the EMPower Breastfeeding initiative that provided technical assistance to 93 hospitals on their journey to becoming Baby-Friendly. Attendees will hear about the Association of State and Territorial Health Official's learning communities of state level agencies supporting the work of hospitals within their state as well as how the American Academy of Pediatrics is engaging physicians to promote implementation of evidence-based breastfeeding practices in maternity care facilities.

Report on Medicaid Coverage of Pregnancy and Perinatal Benefits, from KFF

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a report titled "Medicaid Coverage of Pregnancy and Perinatal Benefits: Results from a State Survey." The publication presents findings from a survey of states about the status of Medicaid benefit policies for perinatal and family planning services. The report includes responses from 40 states and Washington, DC about benefits in place as of July 2015 for women enrolled in fee-for-service Medicaid through different eligibility pathways, including traditional pre-ACA Medicaid pathways, expansion, and pregnancy-related eligibility for the following services: basic prenatal care, counseling and support services, delivery and postpartum care, and breastfeeding supports.

News from the Field

State by State Analysis on Integration of Midwives, from PLOS ONE

The journal PLOS ONE has published a study titled "Mapping integration of midwives across the United States: Impact on access, equity, and outcomes." The research team examined published regulatory data to inform a 50-state database describing the environment for midwifery practice and inter-professional collaboration. Researchers selected key items to include in a weighted, composite Midwifery Integration Scoring (MISS) system. Higher scores indicate greater integration of midwives across all settings. Researchers calculated correlation coefficients between MISS scores and maternal-newborn outcomes by state, as well as state density of midwives and place of birth. MISS scores ranged from lowest at 17 (North Carolina) to highest at 61 (Washington), out of 100 points. Higher MISS scores were associated with significantly higher rates of spontaneous vaginal delivery, vaginal birth after cesarean, and breastfeeding, and significantly lower rates of cesarean, preterm birth, low birth weight infants, and neonatal death. Member highlights included:

Healthy Equity Task Force Launch, from Families USA

Families USA, together with partner health equity, civil rights, and consumer health organizations, has announced the creation of the Health Equity Task Force for Delivery and Payment Transformation. The Task Force brings together leading experts and organizations with the goal of developing a policy agenda and recommendations to address persistent racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities and advance health equity in delivery and payment reform efforts at the state and national levels.

Worldwide Newborn Mortality Rates Report, from UNICEF

UNICEF has published a report titled "Every child alive: The urgent need to end newborn deaths," ranking newborn mortality rates for 2016 by country and outlining the key factors that influence these rates. Pakistan had the highest rate at about one in 22 infant deaths before age one-month, and Japan had the lowest, with one death for every 1,111 births. The United States tied with Serbia for 143rd place, with one infant death for every 270 births. The report identifies supporting early initiation of breastfeeding as one of the ways health-care workers can help protect the lives of newborns. 

Population Health and Performance Improvement Competencies Public Comment Opportunities, from PHF

The Public Health Foundation has launched two sets of draft Competencies that are now open for public comment. The draft Priority Competencies for Population Health Professionals are designed to support non-clinical hospital, health system, public health, or healthcare professionals engaged in population health programs, services, and practice. Join PHF on Monday, March 19, from 2-3 p.m. ET for a virtual Population Health Competencies Listening Session to discuss the draft competencies and share feedback. In addition, feedback is being accepted on the draft, Competencies for Performance Improvement Professionals in Public Health (PI Competencies), developed to offer additional guidance in performance improvement (PI) for public health professionals with responsibilities related to developing or implementing plans and activities in the areas of quality improvement, performance management, workforce development, accreditation readiness, or community health assessment and improvement planning. Join PHF on Monday, March 12, from 3-4 p.m. ET for the virtual PI Competencies Listening SessionThe deadline to submit comments for both drafts is Saturday, March 31. 

Collective Impact Connection

Engagement Continuum Tool, from Tamarack

Tamarack Institute has published a tool called the "Engagement Continuum" to help groups describe their current level of engagement and generate discussion around current and future engagement levels. The tool outlines five levels of engagement: inform, consult, involve, collaborate, and empower. It notes that when considering these five levels, it is important that time is spent clarifying the appropriate level of engagement required for each potential group and/or for each project.

Community Engagement Article, from Tamarack

Tamarack Institute has released an article titled "Trust: An Essential Ingredient in Authentic Community Engagement." The article outlines common themes of community engagement challenges, including: finding adequate resources for engagement; needing to address diverse audiences and/or span vast geographies; retaining engagement once it had been initiated; and, a need for more capacity-building in this area. The article discusses trust as foundational to the work of community change and shares the following five recommendations for how to authentically engage and build trust with communities: be clear about the intent of your engagement; recognize that community engagement isn't solely about getting input; "closing the loop" is essential for building relationships and trust; value the wisdom of both content and context experts; and make your community engagement creative and fun.

USBC Update: The Center for Social Inclusion's First Food Racial Equity Cohort has published the following recommendations that are specific to breastfeeding initiatives: engage diverse stakeholders (especially target populations) in conducting a community-based assessment; collect both quantitative and qualitative data to identify the problems and solutions; use a racial equity framework in the development and implementation of interventions; and conduct an evaluation of interventions and policies being considered. 

News & Views

The Glow Up (The Root blog): "The Gap Gets It: In Its New Campaign, the Retailer Takes the Taboo Out of Breast-Feeding

Public Health News (APHA blog): "Watch: Healthy People 2030 wants to hear from you!"

The Salt (NPR blog): "Toddler Milks: Filling A Nutritional Need Or A Marketing Niche?

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