The Latino Best Start project is designed to provide the tools and resources that will support Hispanic serving community and faith-based grass-roots organizations’ efforts to promote, educate, and support the practice of exclusive breastfeeding in the Hispanic community.
Public health experts promote breastfeeding as the optimal way to promote and protect maternal and child health.
The first phase of this project involved research to inform project design. Activities included convening experts from across the country for a two-day forum where we obtained input on the needs, challenges, and opportunities for improving breastfeeding relative to the Surgeon Generals’ 2020 goals. We conducted a literature review; held 27 focus groups in California, Arizona, Texas, Chicago, Puerto Rico, New York City, and North Carolina (many in Spanish); and developed and analyzed quantitative surveys.
Through the themes and findings that emerged from this research phase, Latino Best Start focused on two strategies in Year 2. Urban Strategies developed and released an RFP inviting all local partners that had participated in Year 1 focus groups to develop culturally appropriate local responses to the needs in their communities to achieve Latino Best Start goals. A total of eight organizations were selected to serve as local implementation partners. They have directly served Latino families and strengthened systems’ capacity to support Latino breastfeeding. To support their
work, Urban Strategies developed curriculum for partner sites to pilot in response to the main findings of the research conducted in Year 1. This curriculum, “Leading for a Healthy Family”, addresses people’s need to advocate for their own and their families’ health, especially within the context of asking health care workers and employers for breastfeeding support.
In Year 3, Urban Strategies provided ongoing management support and technical assistance to local implementation partners as they conducting project activities. Most partner sites invested in training and support for volunteer health advocates who recruited participant families, taught breastfeeding classes, and provided practical breastfeeding education and support to families through house calls and telephone consultations. In response to their local community’s needs, some partners chose to use the full “Leading for a Healthy Family” curriculum, while others presented portions of the curriculum and augmented it with “Breastfeeding 101” or other breastfeeding support classes.
Project Goals and Objectives
- Provide increased accessibility to learnings, resources, and tools that promote breastfeeding in the Latino community;
- In targeted areas, close the gap between current breastfeeding rates and the goals of the Surgeon General’s Healthy People 2020;
- Build sustainable programming models from a variety of environments that promote breastfeeding in Hispanic communities; and,
- Disseminate learnings and discoveries on best practices that can improve breastfeeding and other areas of well-being in the Hispanic community.