Mississippi Background

In 2018, about 14.2% of babies in Mississippi were born premature (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Compared to a national average of about 10%, this places the state among the top five in the rate of premature births. About 2.3% of all live births in 2017 were born very preterm (<32weeks GA) and 11.2% moderately preterm (32weeks-36weeks) compared with the national average of 1.6% and 8.3% respectively. The problem is even greater for minorities, particularly African-American women, where the preterm birth rate is 44% higher than the rate among all other women. It is estimated that for Mississippi babies born in 2015, 63% were ever breastfed, and 35% were breastfed for 6 months. Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) duration was 24.3% at 4 weeks and 15.5% at 8 weeks. These are both low compared with the national average for exclusive breastfeeding. 

 

“Express Yourself”-Mississippi is a statewide quality improvement (QI) collaborative focused on the unique needs of the hospitalized very low birth weight infant population across the state of Mississippi. It has been adopted as an official Mississippi Perinatal Quality Collaborative (MSPQC) quality initiative, in partnership with UMMC and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. The project aims to: 

  1. Develop permanent systems change in the NICUs to ensure increase in breastfeeding initiation and breastfeeding at 1 month of life and at hospital discharge 

  2. Reduce racial/ethnic disparities in provision of mother’s milk

  3. Bring together clinicians and community stakeholders that provide breastfeeding support for mothers of preterm infants or are engaged in reduction in health disparities of mothers of preterm infants 

The Mississippi Coordinating Team

Alisia Hankins, MSN, NNP-BC
Alisia Hankins is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She is the Education Consultant for the Express Yourself Mississippi NICU Quality Improvement Project. Her interests include community outreach and healthcare disparities amongst minorities. 

Aurora Diaz, BS
Aurora Diaz is the Project Assistant/Data Entry Administrator. She is a recent graduate from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Aurora is bi-lingual and is looking forward to a career in Medicine. 

Jamie Ford, RNC-NIC, BSN, IBCLC
Jamie Ford is a certified neonatal Registered Nurse and IBCLC at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She is the Project Nurse/Coordinator and has been involved in implementation and management of projects using a community based participatory approach to increase knowledge and understanding barriers to breastfeeding in preterm and rural/minority populations. She works closely with families and is the staff facilitator for Neonatal Family Advisory and Support Team at UMMC.

Mobolaji Famuyide, MD, MPH, MA 
Dr. Famuyide is a Neonatologist and Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Her research is focused on using a community based participatory approach to understand barriers to breastfeeding in preterm and rural/minority populations and to integrate the knowledge gained with interventions for policy and social change benefiting these populations. Dr. Famuyide is co-Chair of the Family Engagement project of the Mississippi Perinatal Quality Collaborative and currently is the PI of the Express Yourself Mississippi NICU Quality Improvement Project. 

Express Yourself

Working to increase the use of mother’s own milk (MOM) in very low birth weight infants in Mississippi and New Orleans and reduce demographic and social disparities.

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The Express Yourself Project has been funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation from 2019-2022.

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