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J Public Health Manag Pract. 2012 Jan-Feb;18(1):36-42. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e31822d2e3a.

Using quality improvement to promote breast-feeding in a local health department.

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Beaufort County Health Department, Washington, North Carolina, USA.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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