Pilot Project

Lawrence Noble
Lawrence Noble, MD
Associate Professor Pediatrics
Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Application of CBPR to Increase Exclusive Breastfeeding in Diverse Communities

The message that "Breastfeeding is Best" is well known. Despite that knowledge, only 12.3 percent of women in the US breastfeed exclusively for a full six months1. Rates are even lower in certain population groups such as African-Americans (7.4%), and participants in WIC (8.8%) and unmarried mothers (8.0%). The fact that relatively few women breastfeed exclusively for the recommended 6-month time period is a real health concern. A lack of exclusive breast feeding is associated with an increase in otitis media, hospitalizations for lower respiratory tract infection and type 1 diabetes.

The proposed study will conduct a series of focus groups or structured interviews in order to develop a culturally appropriate intervention to increase exclusive breastfeeding rates in full partnership with community members. Community engagement is one method of ensuring that samples reflect the growing diversity of the population and the need for culturally specific interventions. The data from the focus groups will be used to develop the intervention(s) that will be piloted in Elmhurst.

Successful realization of these aims will achieve three significant outcomes. First, data gathered through community engaged data gathering will fill a gap in the research literature regarding interventions to support exclusive breastfeeding in underserved communities. This data will improve the scientific community‚Äüs understanding of cultural influences on breastfeeding. Second, the research will empower the communities involved to become advocates and participants in their health care. Third, it will improve the current rates of exclusive breastfeeding both in and out of hospital to meet or exceed the goals of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and Healthy People 2020