Media Alert: “Business Champions for Babies” Recognition Reception & Ceremony, Nov. 17th at 2:30

Councilman Scott Benson to Honor “Business Champions for Babies” at Press Conference on November 17th

Dozens of Osborn Businesses To Be Recognized for Taking Pledge to Support Breastfeeding

Move Puts Osborn on Mark to Become Nation’s 1st “First Food Friendly” Community

Thursday, November 17th at 2:30 pm at Matrix Human Services, Room 203

Photo Credit: Robert Deane

Photo Credit: Robert Deane

Councilman Scott Benson will honor over a dozen local businesses that took a pledge to support healthier babies and moms in the Osborn neighborhood by welcoming breastfeeding moms in their establishments including posting “Breastfeeding is Welcome Here” signs. Various national studies show that concerns that breastfeeding in public is unwelcome in their community is a key barrier in achieving the six months of exclusive breastfeeding recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Exclusive breastfeeding provides unparalleled immunological benefits, reduces incidences of ear infections and the risk of Type 2 diabetes and has been linked to reduced childhood obesity. Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of certain cancers. “When mothers stop breastfeeding because of fears of shaming or lack of support in the places they frequent every day, their infants miss out on important health benefits. No infant should lose access to the healthiest first food in life because of fears of nursing in public,” says Kimberly Seals Allers, a nationally recognized infant health advocate and director of the First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI).



“We want the 3rd District to be a place for healthier mothers and babies, and supporting breastfeeding is an integral part of that goal,” says Councilman Scott Benson, who also took the pledge of support and signage for both his downtown and District offices. “Making the 3rd District First Food Friendly helps ensure healthy infants and supports my ongoing healthy breast initiative. I hope other districts will join us.”



The work of engaging Osborn businesses, including restaurants, child care centers, recreation centers, libraries and schools was conducted by seven passionate Detroit residents during a three-week, part-time, paid internship that is part of the 3FCI pilot project, which is creating a national accreditation process for breastfeeding supportive communities and is funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. The innovative initiative, which was also piloted in Philadelphia, first assessed community sentiment, then developed a proprietary curriculum and training that uses the experiential knowledge of local residents to help them develop local strategies to improve infant health. “We believe that community residents have the best knowledge and experiences to determine what will work best locally” says Kiddada Green, founding executive director of Detroit-based, Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association. “We use a BUFU approach—By Us, For Us,” says Green, who designed and created the 3FCI curriculum and training process used to prepare the interns for their community engagement work.

The Community Transformation Interns, recruited in partnership with the Neighborhood Service Organization’s (NSO) YouthLink program at the Harper-Gratiot Multi-Service Center, contacted over 100 establishments in the Osborn area during their internship, and secured nearly 50 various commitments. Councilman Benson will present their certificates following the presentation to businesses. To conclude the day, the interns are hosting a Community Baby Shower for eight local moms at 4:30.


Who: Councilman Scott Benson

What: Presents “Business Champions for Babies” Awards to local businesses and honors seven Detroit residents for their work to improve the Osborn neighborhood for mothers and babies.

When: Thursday, November 17, at 2:30

Where: Matrix Human Services, 13560 East McNichols, Detroit, Room 203


2:30 Reception (Interview Opps with Community Interns, local business leaders, 3FCI team members)

3:00 Business Champions for Babies Awards Presentation

3:30 Community Transformation Certificate Presentation

4:30 Community Baby Shower for Eight Local Moms


The First Food Friendly Community Initiative. Learn what it means for mothers and babies in your neighborhood!

First-Food-DFiendly-logo (1)

The First Food Friendly Initiative. Learn what it means for mothers and babies in your neighborhood!



The First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI) explores the role of “place” in breastfeeding duration and success by implementing community-generated interventions to thereby improve infant and maternal health outcomes in vulnerable communities. Breast milk is the optimal first food and is one of life’s earliest preventative health measures with unparalleled immunological benefits to infants and proven health benefits to mothers. Increasing breastfeeding rates in communities of color has a powerful potential to shift the life-long health trajectory from as early as infancy and to reduce health disparities among infants and mothers.

3FCI utilizes a high-impact research model that combines a proprietary community assessment tool, with community-partnered curriculum development and job skills training to reduce local social stressors and ultimately to create more breastfeeding supportive communities. The primary objective of the project, currently being piloted in targeted communities in Detroit and Philadelphia, is to create a nationally replicable model of community accreditation for breastfeeding supportive communities, that moves from “checklist” to community-sourced solutions. The innovative accreditation process is based on a four-step community engagement strategy that includes community-led information gathering followed by educating and empowering residents to execute the needed interventions in their own community by means of a paid work experience.

3FCI also uniquely recognizes that infant and maternal health and family economic security are inextricably linked. A mother’s decision to breastfeed and ability to successfully breastfeed for any meaningful duration is greatly influenced by her financial security and her hierarchy of needs. In addition, job insecurity and low wages are a chronic social stressor that contribute to poor maternal and child health outcomes, particularly among low-income families, and are often reported as a key barrier to breastfeeding specifically, and to improved community health, writ large. As such, a key component of 3FCI process is developing the model for a community-driven curriculum and a job skills/work training component that provides demand-driven job skills training along with a paid internship conducting community health related activities that increase social support and shift cultural norms for breastfeeding at the local level. At the same time, program participants, with a priority given to pre- and postnatal mothers and fathers, are given an opportunity to receive job skills that improve their income generating ability.


The 3FCI Process


Step 1:  What can we learn about this community? This pilot views the community as a source of rich knowledge and insights that simply need to be effectively leveraged to activate a community’s innate ability to save itself. Community Assessment: Recruit, train and engage community residents to conduct an environmental scan using a propriety surveying tool and provides a unique understanding of local cultural norms, key decision making influences and the specific community “touch points” that may be unsupportive to breastfeeding. A data scientist will be engaged to develop an algorithm that translates survey results into easy-to-understand community data that is reported back to the community via a local gathering.

Step 2:  How do we “re-educate” the community? The pilot views the community as a critical peer in the breastfeeding ecosystem. Just as there are renewed efforts to educate physicians, other health professionals and mothers, the community itself must be re-educated on the critical importance of breastfeeding and the role of infant health in community resiliency and success. To achieve this goal, a curriculum is currently under development that uses a framework that is inclusive of dialogical and experiential learning techniques. The 3FCI community curriculum, is locally adaptable, and provides program participants with the knowledge and tools to promote infant and maternal health in their communities and provides the personal assessments and self-awareness needed for ongoing job success. The model leverages individual experiences and connections to the community into personal and community level action plans.

Step 3:  Recruit and train community residents to execute community organizing and community health activities in their neighborhood via a paid work experience. Interns will attend the 2-3day community curriculum training and then begin a 4-6 week part-time, paid internship as “Community Change Agents” to execute the necessary interventions in the community, focusing on important community touch points, such as faith-based organizations, businesses, local restaurants, laundromats, fitness centers, shopping malls, public parks and public transportation authorities, to ensure breastfeeding is supported wherever mothers eat, live, play or worship. While providing education, motivation, tools and practical strategies to these community “touch points”, participants also receive additional job skills training and certifications via a local workforce development partner organization.

Step 4: Reward community with accreditation: After activities are completed and sustained, the community becomes eligible to become accredited as a First Food Friendly Community. This reward system gives communities typically operating under negative perceptions and low achievement, an opportunity to develop a new sense of pride in their community and to be recognized for their strengths instead of being identified by any weaknesses.


See our Work: Community Surveying in Detroit!!

Just as “place” has been examined as a social determinant of health in various areas, the First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI) explores the role of “place” in breastfeeding duration and success by implementing community-generated interventions to thereby improve infant and maternal health outcomes in vulnerable communities. The “We Love Osborn Babies” campaign Launched in Detroit’s Osborn neighborhood.

Osborn Group

Teams of volunteers, including public health officials, community groups and students from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Wayne State University will take over the streets of the Osborn neighborhood to help fight high infant mortality rates and give Osborn bragging rights as the nation’s first official First Food Friendly Community!


The 3FCI team kicked-off  community surveying partnering with interns from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and Wayne State University, along with volunteers from Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association, Black Family Development and other local volunteers, the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance. The kick-off included an presentation overview of the 3FCI project by Project Director, Kimberly Seals-Allers, survey training and face-to-face surveying in the community.  Survey activities were followed by comprehensive focus group discussions held with Osborn moms and dads to gain further insight into the community’s perspectives, attitudes and opinions related to lifestyles and health in their neighborhood.



Please stay tuned for continuous updates on the project!

Meet the 3FCI Team!

Leadership Team


 Kimberly Seals Allers- Project Director

Kimberly Seals Allers is an award-winning journalist, author and a nationally recognized media commentator, consultant and advocate for breastfeeding and infant health. A former writer at FORTUNE and senior editor at Essence magazine, Kimberly is widely considered a leading voice in the counterculture movement in infant feeding. Last year, her online commentaries on the social, structural and racial complexities of maternal and child health issues received over 10 million page views. Kimberly’s fifth book, a groundbreaking analysis of the social, political and economic influences on the American breastfeeding landscape will be published by St. Martin’s Press next year.

As a consultant, Kimberly has led innovative community-based projects in the southeast and Philadelphia that explore the impact of “first food deserts”—communities that severely lack or have inaccessible resources to support mothers who choose to breastfeed—and examining how to transform these areas into more breastfeeding supportive environments.  Kimberly is currently the project director of the First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI), an innovative pilot project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, designed to create multi-pronged community support for breastfeeding in communities of need.  Her advocacy work has also centered on connecting breast milk as the most healthful first food to the broader “good food” movement and rethinking childhood nutrition and preventative health as beginning at birth.

In addition, Kimberly specializes in issues related to African American motherhood and breastfeeding and is the former editorial director of The Black Maternal Health Project of Women’s eNews. In 2011, Kimberly was named an IATP Food and Community Fellow, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and works to increase awareness of the first food—breast milk, in vulnerable communities. She currently leads nationwide workshops for health care professionals on cultural competency and breastfeeding and is a prominent speaker on community-based strategies to reduce the racial disparities in breastfeeding and infant mortality rates.

Kimberly has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Anderson Cooper, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Fox News and featured in various international and national media outlets, including The Guardian (U.K.), U.S. News & World Report, Essence, Black Enterprise, Pregnancy and in various online media properties.

Kimberly is a graduate of New York University and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. A divorced mother of two, she lives in Queens, New York, with her children and two turtles. Follow her on Twitter @iamKSealsAllers.

 Kiddada headshot 2016

Kiddada Green, MAT- Lead Consultant, Curriculum and Training Development 

is the founding executive director of Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA), co-founder of Black Breastfeeding Week, founding member of the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color, and lead consultant for the First Food Friendly Community Initiative. Ms. Green is also an esteemed member of the inaugural class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network Fellowship Program. She is committed to supporting families, and training maternal child health professionals on culturally appropriate breastfeeding support. In her travels throughout the United States, she has led countless discussions and trainings. As an expert in community-centered approaches, she put forth recommendations for The U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, has been featured in Ebony Magazine, and is a program reviewer for the American Public Health Association. She is a published journal writer for Breastfeeding Medicine and an avid learner, who successfully completed a business accelerator fellowship with Enterprising Health, a subsidiary of Ascension Health.  Kiddada holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching from Oakland University. Kiddada Green is a proud and devoted wife, mother and educator.


Robert Carmona, Lead Consultant, Workforce Development 

Mr. Robert Carmona is the Co-Founder of STRIVE International. Under his stewardship, the organization has grown from a community-based organization in 1984 to an international network of service providers with 18 sites throughout the United States as well as 6 sites abroad. Prior to his tenure at STRIVE, Mr. Carmona was the Assistant Director/Agency Services for Greater New York Fund/United Way. He also worked as a Senior Planner for City Volunteer Corp. and as the Director of Marketing and Employee Assistance Program for Wildcat Service Corporation. He has extensive experience advocating for adolescents having served as a Counselor for adolescents in the Court Employment Project and as an Adolescent Caseworker for Downstate Medical Center’s Family Youth Center. Mr. Carmona is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Social Work, where he was awarded an MSSW in 1982 and a 1979 graduate of the College of New Rochelle.

Project Staff


Angela Headshot

Angela Stevenson, MPH- Community Coordinator

Angela Stevenson has a distinguished career in nursing, with an emphasis on her true passion — public health.  Having served in the field for more than two decades, Angela has been a consultant to several local public health agencies coordinating community and school-based healthy living programs, chronic disease prevention projects and health disparity reduction efforts.   An alumna of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Ms. Stevenson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, as well as a Master of Public Health degree from Capella University. Working with the Wayne County Department of Public Health in southeast Michigan, and in collaboration with Human Impact Partners, Angela led a team and coauthored a report that examines the potential impact of gender pay equity policies on health outcomes.  The result was a detailed report entitled, “Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of Gender Pay Inequity,” which shows that the adoption of pay equity legislation can have a dramatic improvement on women’s and children’s health statuses and outcomes.  She has presented the results of this study to diverse audiences at multiple local, state and national forums including to lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.  Angela is especially passionate about encouraging young African American women to choose healthy lifestyles, for themselves and their children.  

Jason Forney , MA – Program Evaluator

Jason Forney is a senior evaluator at the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI).  Mr. Forney has bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oakland University and a master’s degree in Community Psychology from Michigan State University. His training has focused on community-based research/evaluation methods, statistics, qualitative methods and analysis, and theories of change.  Over the past 10 years, Jason has led a variety of community-based evaluation and research projects in the areas of early childhood development, parenting, breastfeeding, HIV prevention, and patient-centered medical homes. Mr. Forney serves as the program evaluator for 3FCI

Academic Advisory Council 


Christiaan Morssink, PhD, MPH

Born in The Netherlands in 1947, Dr. Morssink was exposed to a childhood full of stories of war and occupation —stories that imprinted a deep recognition of human dignity and social justice into his social value system. While studying cultural anthropology and non-Western sociology at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, he engaged in many activities related to the independence movements in countries like Suriname, Angola, and Mozambique. During that time he became involved also in activism around the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and came to understand the value of the United Nations system, about as young as himself. He spent a decade in Suriname, a small country on the northwest coast of South America, next to Guyana, where he was head of the planning department of the Ministry of Population Health. In 1986, Christiaan came permanently to the USA, to Baltimore, where he married Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika, then a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. He received a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins in 1988, and in 2001 a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health. Since 1999 Christiaan and Shiriki have resided in Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, Christiaan became involved with the creation and implementation of the MPH program at Penn where he is an adjunct faculty member in the school of medicine. In that role he has become active with several organizations in the city. In 2009 he finished his round on the executive committee of the Public Health section of the Philadelphia College of Physicians. He is a founding member of the Philadelphia Global Water Initiative, a network of professionals and volunteers joined to make progress on the UN Development Goal #7, which focuses mostly on water availability and sanitation. He was also treasurer of the local Adopt-a-Minefield campaign, a program of the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia. This last role brought him to the board of the UNA-GP in 2006, initially as Vice President for membership, and in June 2008 he was elected President. He now serves the UNA-GP as executive director. In 2008 Christiaan was elected to the governing council of the American Public Health Association. In March 2009 he was invited to join the board of the Philadelphia based Project for Nuclear Awareness and became president of the board in January 2013. In March 2010 the Global Philadelphia Association was formed officially, with Christiaan one of the founding members.

In addition to wanting to rid the world of landmines and cluster bombs, Christiaan is interested in the elimination of social inequities and the related consequences for health, nationally and globally. From a development and sustainability perspective, Christiaan is focusing much energy on the need to rethink and restructure the global food production systems by promoting urban, well organized local food systems, with low carbon footprint, and high reliance on organic, holistic production methods.


Angela Johnson, PhD

Dr, Angela Johnson is an applied social scientist whose expertise and training in women’s and maternal health reflects significant experience as an academic scholar, practitioner, health advocate, and published author.  Originally from Philadelphia, Pa, Dr. Johnson’s professional and community efforts around maternal health stem from her personal experience as a child growing up in a South Philadelphia low-income housing community of predominantly poor African American women without adequate social and economic support.  Her deep desire to dispel persistently low morbidity and mortality rates among African American mothers and children drives her passion for her professional and community work. Dr. Johnson recently completed a postdoctoral translational research fellowship for which she won a $100,000 two-year NIH award through the Michigan Institute for Clinical Health Research at the University of Michigan Health System.  She used this award to conduct a study of psychosocial risk factors associated with disparate breastfeeding behavior among African American women. Her qualitative study established that breastfeeding interventions often fail to effectively address the unique socio-historical context of African American mothers breastfeeding experience (Johnson, 2014 Journal Medicine).  Furthermore, multi-systems, multi-level interventions that consider social, physical, and psychological barriers unique to African American` mothers are needed to close the gap in breastfeeding outcomes. (Johnson, In press, Journal Human Lactation) While serving as a practitioner with the State of Michigan, Dr. Johnson developed and coordinated programs and services to support families in Michigan, first as a Governor’s Management intern in the Office of Juvenile Justice, then as a direct care provider and policy writer with Children’s Protective Services, and later as State Coordinator in the Office of Workforce Development at the Department of Labor and Economic Growth.   During her state government tenure, Dr. Johnson streamlined program processes and pushed for improved services to better serve agency families. As a graduate assistant at Michigan State University’s Center for Community and Economic Development, Dr. Johnson co-founded the Michigan Resident Leadership Network (MRLN), a community-based and university-supported statewide organization designed to support the predominantly African American public housing residents and their interest in home ownership, small business development, and leadership skills development.  More than 500 residents were participating in MRLN by 2000. She currently serves as Program Manager for the Program for Multicultural Health (PMCH) at the University of Michigan Health System, Department of Community Programs and Services where she is actively involved in advancing PMCH’s mission to use evidence-based practices to engage the community by developing resources that improve knowledge and enhance access care. Dr. Johnson enjoys serving as a member of the Board of Directors for Detroit-based Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA), a non-profit organization fighting to reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding support for African Americans by building foundational networks of support, and strengthening systems to overcome historical, societal and social barriers to breastfeeding success. She is co-investigator (PI: Carolyn Dayton, Wayne State University) of a Detroit community based study, “Father’s Support of Breastfeeding in an Urban African American Sample: Investigating Psychosocial and Supportive Factors”, funded in part by a grant from the International Lactation Association (ILCA). When not working, Dr. Johnson enjoys time with her husband and three children.  She also loves reading, dance exercise, shopping, and relaxation in warm destinations.

Fiscal Oversight/Grantee

Metro Solutions

Metro Solutions is a non-profit organization located in Detroit. Metro Solution’s mission is to serve as a fiscal intermediary that enables diverse community service providers to acquire funds and maximize resources. With trust and integrity, Metro Solutions supports its clients’ contributions to communities and helps to advance community well being.

Metro Solutions has expanded its scope of services beyond health care to serve and support foundations, universities, social service agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, and municipalities. Metro Solutions has made it possible for clients to capitalize on available funding in order to provide programs and services. Metro Solutions also has a history of administering “Mini-Grants” to qualifying Wayne County entities and through their client’s efforts – have helped thousands of members of the community reach out for available care.

CDC Report: Breastfed Babies Become Healthier Eaters by Age 6

A new report from researchers at the U.S Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows that children who were breastfed for longer periods as infants tend to eat more healthier by the age of 6.

The research provides insight into reducing childhood obesity rates, which have more than doubled in the last 30 years.

According to ABC News, researchers surveyed more than 1,500 mothers and concluded that parents who exclusively breastfed for longer periods and introduced nutritiously rich foods  between 6 months and a year of age tend to enjoy healthier eating habits—water, fruits and vegetables.

Seeing these relationships between early feeding and later health really emphasizes the importance of following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics,” states Kelly Scanlon, a CDC researcher who authored the study. The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to six months, and continuously breastfeeding until a year of age, introducing healthy foods at 6 months.

Scanlon also states that studies have shown t that breastfeeding exposed children to a variety of flavors. Making them more accepting to different foods over formula-fed children. 

Click here for full article

New Philly Law Mandates More Employer Support for Breastfeeding Moms

A new law in Philadelphia helps create more supportive workplace environments for mothers who choose to breastfed.

On September 3rd, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter passed a city council bill, amending Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance and making it illegal “for any employer to fail to reasonably accommodate an individual’s need to express breast milk.” The bill became effective immediately. 

Under City Council Bill 130992, the amendment, covers all employers with employees in the City of Philadelphia. 

The Mayor’s announcement follows other recent efforts to improve breastfeeding support and therefore infant health outcomes in the Philadelphia area. For example, The First Food, Good Food Project by Common Market in Philadelphia, set out to better understand the influences of decision making for infant feeding options and personal eating habits. The pilot project, based in the Strawberry Mansion used on-the-ground community surveying and focus groups to better understand community influences and sentiment toward infant feeding and adult feeding options. Watch this video about the First Food/Good Food Project.  

Click here for full report

Breastfeeding Helps Obese Women Lose More Post Pregnancy

Losing weight can be challenging for most women, especially after giving birth. But, new research shows that obese mothers tend to lose more weight post-pregnancy when they breastfeed

In the new study, led by Andrea Sharma from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found that obese women who breastfed for at least 4 months were more likely to lose the pregnancy weight than women who didn’t at all when they followed the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) breastfeeding recommendations of six months of exclusive breastfeeding. The participants weighed 18 pounds less then obese mothers who did not nurse.

According to Medical Daily, the study involved data from 726 women, taken between 2007 and 2007. Researchers compared data from their last trimester until six years after giving birth. The AAP recommends that women exclusively breastfeed for six months and continue breastfeeding for up to 12 months while feeding other baby food.

Out of all the participants, only 29 percent breastfed for the four months, and eighteen percent didn’t at all. While 20 percent breastfed up to a year.

Researchers wrote “This study suggest that improving adherence to breastfeeding may help reduce long-term weight retention among obese mothers. “

Black families “Step into the Booth” in celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week 2014

Black Breastfeeding Week (August 25-31) is kicking off its second year with the launch of #BlackFamsRock, a unique social media experience designed to celebrate the power and beauty of black families and raise awareness about breastfeeding.


Created in partnership with Lowekey Media’s SongBooth App, the #BlackFamsRock Experience invites families to upload a 30-second video of their family “rocking out” to their favorite family song, and then share it with their social networks, using the hash tag #BlackFamsRock. A fan favorite video will be highlighted every day during Black Breastfeeding Week.


“Breastfeeding is definitely social. We’re asking families, including fathers, grandmothers, aunties and uncles, to ‘step into the booth’ and show support for breastfeeding in their communities,” said Black Breastfeeding Week co-founder Kimberly Seals Allers. “Ensuring all communities have the opportunity to breastfeed is a matter of health equity, and has the power to transform the lives of moms and babies.”


According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the racial disparity in breastfeeding rates between black and white communities is very real, with only 58.9 percent of black women reporting to have ever breastfed their babies versus 75 percent of white women.


“We now know that increasing breastfeeding rates among black moms could decrease infant mortality rates by as much as 50 percent. This makes breastfeeding a health imperative, not just a life-style choice,” said Allers, who is also the director of the First Food Friendly Community Initiative, a pilot project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


The #BlackFamsRock Experience will also feature a series of educational videos that encourage black families to learn about breastfeeding.


“We’re delighted to support Black Breastfeeding Week in a way that brings family and music together” said Gregory Lowe, CEO of LoweKey Media, which also owns mobile properties MuMento, Zold and Trckle. “The #BlackFamsRock Experience keeps things fun, while getting black families to talk about breastfeeding.”



About Black Breastfeeding Week:

August 25-31 is Black Breastfeeding Week, coinciding with National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. In its second year Black Breastfeeding Week celebrates black families—their beauty, power, and ability to support healthier babies and healthier moms with breastfeeding. In short, Black Families Rock! Black Breastfeeding Week founding committee members include author, journalist and nationally recognized breastfeeding advocate, Kimberly Seals Allers, founding director of the Detroit-based Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association, Kiddada Green, and co-founder of the Free to Breastfeed project and Fellow Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka. Check out this year’s line up of activities by visiting

Pre-Existing Conditions Impact Breastfeeding: Study Shows Women Entering Pregnancy in Poor Health Less Likely to Nurse

While much focus has been given to increasing breastfeeding education during the prenatal period, a new study suggests that how women enter pregnancy may be a stronger influencing factor. A new study from the University of Minnesota  School of Public Health showed that one-third of women entering pregnancy are in poor health and thirty percent less like to breastfeeding than someone without pre-existing conditions. And if they do, they often prematurely discontinue.


This new study  looked at 2,400 women who had given birth between 2011 and 2012. A third of the women participating suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure or was obese.


Dr. Katy Kozhimannil, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the School of Public Health, states “We also looked at statistically who are these women, and we found they were likely to be non-white, more likely to be low-income, to have lower education, unmarried and without a partner, and receiving public health insurance.”


Kozhimannil says she hopes the study’s findings will encourage the medical community to work harder to support pregnant women with challenges and “simple counseling women to breastfeed is not enough.”


“Telling women that it’s good for them and their babies is not enough, without adequate support as well. There might be special support that women with complex pregnancies need,”  says Kozhimannil.