DeKalb County Board of Health Celebrates Motherhood and Infant Health for Baby Week 2014

November 17, 2014

Last week, the DeKalb County Board of Health (DCBOH) hosted a week-long celebration in honor of mothers and babies entitled “Baby Love: Keeping Babies Happy, Healthy and Safe.”  Coordinated by the DCBOH’s Health Assessment and Prevention Department, the event was made possible through partnerships with the Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Health Protection and Injury Prevention section and the DeKalb Medical Center. 

Through three mini-seminars, the event addressed health equity and how socioeconomic status and race impact birth outcomes.  In addition, participants learned about proper breastfeeding techniques and how to maintain a safe sleep environment for infants. 

The two marquee events during last week’s celebration included a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new lactation room and a Mother’s Day event hosted by the Mother’s Offering Resources and Education (M.O.R.E.) program, a resource initiative that pairs new mothers with community mentors to support them during and after their pregnancy.

The lactation room ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the Richardson’s Health Center located at 445 Winn Way in Decatur, Georgia.  The newly furnished mother-friendly room provides a relaxing, private and convenient space for mothers to breastfeed or express milk.  The room is part of a comprehensive breastfeeding program managed by DCBOH which focuses on increasing the number of women who nurse for six to 12 months.  Through efforts such as this, the agency has created a comprehensive support system that promotes breastfeeding for both DCBOH staff members and their clients.

The week of maternal and child health activities concluded with a festive event to support young pregnant mothers participating in the M.O.R.E. program.  Held at the East DeKalb Health Center in Lithonia, Georgia, the M.O.R.E. Mother’s Day event celebrated mothers while sharing key tools related to the responsibilities of new motherhood. 

Exhibitor’s included local organizations and collaborative agencies who shared information with moms-to-be on child development, nutrition, breastfeeding, immunization, safe sleep and child safety seats.  S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., district health director of DCBOH, presented the M.O.R.E. program with gently-used and new baby items generously donated by employees throughout the DeKalb county health district.

More than 200 participants joined in last week’s events, including DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, M.P.H., as well community leaders, public health advocates and local mothers.  The Baby Love event was such a success it gained local attention through a social media campaign that garnered more than 20,000 impressions from people who viewed, opened or liked the Baby Love campaign materials.

In future years, Baby Love will become a yearly public health education and community awareness campaign for mothers and children in DeKalb County.  It will also serve as an integral component to the agency’s 2014-2017 strategic priority plan aimed at creating systems, programs and environments that promote healthy, thriving children in DeKalb County.

For more information about the Baby Love program, contact Brandi Whitney or Cheryl Desbordes from DeKalb County’s Health Assessment and Promotion team at (404) 508-7847 or visit http://www.dekalbhealth.net/

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