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!

Surveying

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.

 Team

 

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.

 Rob

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.

 3578466

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.

3FCI Goes to Philly!

 

The First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI) team went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to celebrate World Food Day 2014 and to talk about the role of the first food, breast milk, and community engagement in global health and to set the stage for upcoming work in the city of Brotherly Love. Philly, is one of the three pilot cities selected for 3FCI’s innovative project, which aims to create more supportive “first food friendly” community environments for mothers and babies and thereby improve infant and maternal health outcomes in cities across America.

 

 The Philly event was hosted by Christiaan Morssink, PhD, Executive Director of the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia, who also spoke on the importance of breastfeeding, vaccinations and good food. Dr. Morssink also sits on the 3FCI Academic Advisory Council, which spearheads the research protocols for the project.

 

 The audience was comprised of a diverse group of breastfeeding and maternal-infant health experts, including doulas, food advocates, students and community members.  The 3FCI team was given the opportunity to discuss the project’s goals and the needs of the Philadelphia community. During the trip, the 3FCI team also toured neighborhoods of North Philadelphia as part of its exploratory research to target a specific geographic area to pilot the project. In Detroit, 3FCI plans to target the Osborne community and the Racine County community in Racine, Wisconsin.

 

 The First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI) is funded by a $425,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to Metro Solutions, a Detroit-based fiscal intermediary. 3FCI is guided by the premise that the first food—breast milk—with its unparalleled immunological and preventative health properties, is the earliest and most optimal intervention point for improving the likelihood of healthier infants and children. The 2½-year project, which will include pilots in Detroit and Philadelphia, aims to create “first food friendly” communities for mothers and infants by identifying on-the-ground partners and targeting local agencies, establishments, faith-based institutions and residents for multi-pronged coordinated strategies. These strategies stretch beyond traditional health interventions and include economic and workforce development components. By eradicating “deserts” of support and removing common barriers to increased breastfeeding with comprehensive community-led interventions, infants and the families that care for them can have more healthful and empowered lives.

 

 3FCI brings together three nationally recognized infant health and community engagement experts. Kimberly Seals Allers, an renowned editor and journalist, and leading advocate and consultant on breastfeeding is the project director; Kiddada Green, founder of the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association and co-founder of Black Breastfeeding Week leads curriculum development and community training; and Robert Carmona, a workforce development consultant with decades of experience in  workforce development and leads this component of the project.

 

 Please stay tuned for continuous updates on the project as pilots launch, beginning with Detroit in the spring of 2015.