EMPower Hospital Spotlight: University Medical Center – Lubbock, TX

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EMPower Hospital Spotlight: University Medical Center – Lubbock, TX


UMC’s East Tower (home of the Family Birth Center and Family Care Unit)

Located in the northwestern region of Texas called the South Plains, Lubbock is fondly known as “Hub City” due to its intersection by five major highways. The accessibility of the city has contributed to its development as a center of bustling economic, cultural, educational, and healthcare opportunities. As the 11th largest city in Texas, Lubbock has a population of over 321,000 that is continuing to grow; Hispanics or Latinos represent about 17% of the population, while non-Hispanic Whites account for about 62%. The city’s deep agricultural roots are exemplified by a historical cotton industry that continues to thrive; farmers are currently producing two to three million bales of cotton every year! In addition, Lubbock is home to a rich arts and culture scene that has yielded musical legends such as Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings. Texas Tech University also attracts thousands of scholars and visitors every year, energizing the city through spirited sporting events and research discoveries. Through a partnership with Texas Tech University, University Medical Center (UMC) contributes to the groundbreaking research and innovative technology, which includes a number of nationally recognized clinical trials in breast and prostate cancers.

UMC’s Family Birth Center Lobby

UMC’s Family Birth Center Lobby

University Medical Center is not only a pioneer in the research field, but also a leader in comprehensive healthcare delivery in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. UMC is one of only two hospitals in Texas with both a Level 1 Trauma Center and a Regional Burn Center. The UMC Health System is comprised of a main campus and 23 regional health centers operated by UMC Physician Network Services, and together, more than 400,000 patients a year have come to expect UMC’s dedication to service. As a national leader in patient satisfaction, UMC is ranked among the top 10 percent in the nation by HealthGrades and is a winner of the Press Ganey Beacon of Excellence Award.


UMC hangs these Skin to Skin posters in every delivery room

As a facility that serves many clients with diverse needs, UMC plays an important part in improving the health of the community, especially mothers and infants. As an example of their extensive role in providing maternal-child care, UMC performed 3141 deliveries in 2015, which accounted for 56% of the new births in Lubbock. Furthermore, UMC has maintained a cesarean section rate of <20%, which is well below the national average. UMC caters to their patients, and their commitment to care can be further illustrated through their unwavering journey to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and achieve Baby-Friendly Designation.

In 2012, UMC embarked on Baby-Friendly’s 4-D Pathway to advance the level of care provided to breastfeeding mothers and their babies, and their Family Birth Center and Family Care Unit began to follow the Family Centered Maternity Care model and the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in order to educate and support patients. While UMC persisted in their efforts to enhance maternity care, they remained in the D3 Dissemination Phase of Baby-Friendly’s 4-D Pathway for longer than expected. In 2015, UMC learned about the EMPower initiative through their collaboration with the Texas 10 Step Star Achiever program and felt that participating in EMPower would lead to mutual benefits. After applying and becoming accepted into the EMPower initiative, the EMPower coaching dyad of Julia Bourg and Jill Winkler began to mentor the facility on breastfeeding and quality improvement procedures. As the facility moved into the D4 Designation phase and prepared for their assessment visit by Baby-Friendly USA, Julia and Jill conducted a coach visit to UMC to provide additional feedback to the hospital team. According to the UMC team, “the fresh eyes and outside perspective of our facility from Julia and Jill were invaluable in our preparatory efforts!”

A mother practicing rooming in with her baby

A mother practicing rooming in with her baby

UMC’s dedication to providing an optimal level of care to mothers and babies was recently recognized by Baby-Friendly USA – as of March 2016, University Medical Center has become a Baby-Friendly designated facility. Julia, the facility’s EMPower Breastfeeding Coach, reflected on her impression of UMC’s journey: “Their data driven, methodical approach to Ten Step implementation was evident when we visited. This team was a lot of fun, very persistent, and extremely well organized which contributed greatly to their success!” UMC is now the 16th designated facility in Texas and the 1st in the West Texas Panhandle.

UMC’s Employee Pump Room (for breastfeeding employees)

UMC’s Employee Pump Room (for breastfeeding employees)

As a newly designated facility, UMC’s focus has shifted to quality improvement. They are open to sharing all of their resources and tools with hospitals in the EMPower initiative and hope to gain new knowledge and ideas to further enhance their care delivery at UMC. In addition, UMC is serving as a mentor for other EMPower facilities, and they have shared the following: “Just keep striving! […] After implementing a process improvement plan and strengthening our prenatal education, we were able to achieve our designation! We encourage other facilities to COLLECT DATA and improve processes based on your results. The data speaks for itself, and really drives the improvement!”

Congratulations, University Medical Center! We are amazed by your dedication to mothers and infants and look forward to more remarkable contributions from your facility.

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EMPower Hospital Spotlight: Northwest Medical Center Bentonville

Bentonville_1Bentonville’s culture consists of the charming characteristics of a Southern city and small town, combined with influences from the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area and a status as a global business hub. Bentonville is located in one of the fastest growing regions in the country, and in the past 20 years, it has transformed from a small town to a bustling center of commerce and entrepreneurialism. According to a recent US Census survey, Bentonville and surrounding communities in Benton County are second in growth for Arkansas and among the 100 fastest-growing counties in the United States. While the Northwest Arkansas economy was historically based upon agriculture and poultry, in recent decades, there has been rapid growth and diversification of its economy and culture due to the three Fortune 500 companies based in the area: Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt. Both economic growth and wide cultural diversity can be attributed to over 1,250 Walmart suppliers that have established sales offices in the region. These satellite offices for companies of almost every industry mean that a large number of transplants from around the United States and the world can be found in Bentonville. Bentonville_2Within this evolving environment, Northwest Medical Center-Bentonville remains committed to providing exceptional care to the community. To achieve their goals to improve maternal-neonatal health and wellness, this comprehensive care facility applied and was accepted into the EMPower Breastfeeding initiative while in the D1 Discovery Phase of Baby-Friendly USA’s 4-D Pathway. The hospital has gained support in adopting the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as they have progressed along the journey to Baby-Friendly designation. Since joining the EMPower initiative, Northwest Medical Center-Bentonville has benefitted from the individualized coaching and technical assistance offered, in areas such as adherence to the Ten Steps. One of their most noteworthy accomplishments involves Step 4, helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth. By honoring the golden hour in implementation of skin-to-skin, the number of infants that were once “slow to transition” and required “extended monitoring” and “oxygen support” has significantly decreased to the point that it is rare to see an infant fit into those categories! The facility’s EMPower Breastfeeding Coach, Julia Bourg, remarked, “This team worked hard to ensure that foundational steps were in place as they worked towards implementation of other practice changes.” Bentonville_3This facility is close to Baby-Friendly USA designation! They recently had their site visit assessment from the Baby-Friendly representatives and are awaiting the results. Allison Godwin, the facility’s Quality Improvement Coach, noted, “What we appreciated most about this team is their attention to creating sustainable change. They really wanted to make sure that their staff and their organizational culture supported these efforts.” We applaud your wonderful work, Bentonville!

EMPower Hospital Spotlight: Susquehanna Health Williamsport Regional Medical Center

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As the largest city in Lycoming County in north central Pennsylvania, Williamsport is rich with community art and attractions, Victorian architecture, and a vibrant downtown. It is the only city located in the Pennsylvania Wilds, encompassing Williamsport and the surrounding geographic area with scenic mountains and forests that place them away from the state’s major metropolitan areas. Williamsport is best known as the birthplace of Little League Baseball® and welcomes the world every summer for the Little League Baseball® World Series. In 2014, the Williamsport population was 116,108 (50% female), with a majority of citizens between the ages of 18-44 years. Caucasians represent 92.5% of the population, and 4.7% are African American. In 2014, the poverty level was approximately 16%. The area offers higher education, with Lycoming College and Pennsylvania College of Technology attracting a variety of students and faculty every year. Also nearby is The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC®), an affiliate of Susquehanna Health. Susquehanna Health is one of the top employers in the county and consists of medical facilities across multiple areas. Prostate cancer, breast cancer, diabetes and mental health are recognized as mortality challenges for the county, but optimal breastfeeding practices can help improve the health of future generations in Northern Pennsylvania.

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Susquehanna Health Williamsport Regional Medical Center is located within the city of Williamsport and serves the urban population as well as the surrounding rural community. The hospital delivers approximately 1200-1500 births annually. Since joining the EMPower initiative while in the D3 Dissemination phase of Baby-Friendly USA’s 4-D Pathway, the facility has gained closer collaboration between all departments providing maternal and infant care. Providing evidence-based care for mothers and babies truly engages all providers, staff members, and departments. EMPower has also supported the Williamsport Regional Medical Center team to organize policies and documents and to develop effective, consistent performance improvement methods and efficient data collection. In addition, the EMPower initiative facilitates engagement between hospitals, and Williamsport Regional Medical Center has been able to network with other healthcare systems, sharing information and resources to help achieve the overall national goal of impacting public health. The facility has developed educational materials for the prenatal setting and for the postpartum period that they have disseminated to other hospitals in the EMPower initiative. The facility also offers services beyond discharge, including private consultations and casual mother-to-mother support groups. Gigi Lawless, the EMPower Breastfeeding Coach for this facility, adds, “Williamsport Regional Medical Center has truly engaged in the collaborative spirit by sharing resources with other facilities. They are currently in D4 and have quite a bit of insight to offer to the facilities that are not as far along in their implementation of the Ten Steps.”

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Throughout their Baby-Friendly journey, the Williamsport Regional Medical Center team has faced various challenges, but they have also celebrated many triumphs. It takes a steadfast commitment to develop and implement the changes needed to achieve an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. Being part of a nationwide initiative displays the value of their commitment to completing this journey. Their EMPower Quality Improvement Coach, Sue Butts-Dion, reflects on her impression of this facility: “The Williamsport Regional Medical Center team exemplifies what it requires to take on this type of organizational improvement effort and be successful. They have the motivation that an initiative of this scope requires, and they take advantage of every opportunity afforded them through EMPower to learn new things and to apply them in their organization.”

EMPower Hospital Spotlight: Northwest Health System – Willow Creek Women’s Hospital

Willow Creek Women's Hospital is located in Johnson, Arkansas, a town of approximately 3,500 residents just outside of Fayetteville in the far Northwest corner of the state. Nestled on a plateau in the Ozark Mountains, the community of Johnson is multi-ethnic, with a broad range of socioeconomic status levels. Committed to improving patients’ health, Willow Creek applied and was selected into the EMPower Breastfeeding initiative, which provides support and technical assistance to help hospitals adopt the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and ultimately achieve Baby-Friendly designation. The facility entered the initiative while in the D2 Development Phase of Baby-Friendly USA's 4-D Pathway, and since then, Willow Creek  has taken full advantage of the individualized coaching and mentoring offered throughout the initiative, and has benefited from the financial incentives as well. Through EMPower and the journey to Baby-Friendly, Willow Creek aims to improve health outcomes in their community through improving the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their baby. They also hope to succeed in raising awareness about breastfeeding in the community of Northwest Arkansas and increasing the support that breastfeeding women are able to receive.

Since starting the implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, Willow Creek has seen a significant rise in their exclusive breastfeeding rates (now at 84%) coupled with an amazing improvement in overall patient satisfaction. They work very closely with their local breastfeeding coalition and have made strides with community engagement. “Willow Creek continues to work collaboratively with community providers and organizations to ensure that mothers receive ongoing support and continuity of care” said Julia Bourg, the facility’s breastfeeding coach for the EMPower initiative. One achievement they have been able to share with other hospitals in the EMPower initiative is the educational slides they developed for all 15 categories outlined by the WHO/UNICEF 20-hour training program requirement. This facility is very close to becoming designated! They have recently had their site visit assessment from Baby-Friendly representatives and are anxiously awaiting to hear the results. Willow Creek hopes to be a trend setter for all Arkansas healthcare facilities, encouraging them to adapt best-practices for both the mother and infant. Great job, Willow Creek! We hope to celebrate with you very soon!

Breastfeeding in the News - Impact of BFHI Ten Steps

EMPower_BFHI Post A new narrative systematic review in Maternal and Child Nutrition found that adherence to the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Ten Steps has a positive impact on breastfeeding outcomes, with a dose–response relationship between the number of BFHI steps women are exposed to and the likelihood of improved breastfeeding outcomes. Read the full abstract and article here: "Impact of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative on breastfeeding and child health outcomes: a systematic review."