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Waterbury Hospital is the first Connecticut hospital to have been accepted into a national initiative to improve exclusive breastfeeding rates and decrease racial inequities in hospital breastfeeding rates.

CHAMPS National, a CDC-funded program out of the Center for Health Equity, Education and Research (CHEER) was started in September 2023. The work is part of a $6,000,000 Cooperative Agreement from the CDC. Waterbury Hospital is one of 100 hospitals nationwide selected to be part of this three-year program . The selection prioritizes areas of high need.

US breastfeeding rates are often lowest among Black infants due, in part, to institutional racism and lack of quality, evidence-based prenatal and postpartum care. Breastfeeding-supportive, evidence-based maternity practices equitably applied increase hospital breastfeeding rates, especially in populations at the highest risk of not breastfeeding.

"We are excited to be a part of such an important initiative. It is our mission to provide the best care for the babies and families we serve, and part of that is fully supporting feeding goals and optimizing multidisciplinary breastfeeding support through understanding and overcoming disparities. We embrace this opportunity and expect our engagement will translate to better health outcomes and improved equity in our communities,” said Dr. Brooke Redmond, Medical Director, Waterbury Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Well Baby Nursery and Waterbury Hospital Chair of Pediatrics.

The CHAMPS model has a track record of improving breastfeeding rates and significantly decreasing racial inequities in hospital breastfeeding rates in communities of need. Hospitals are enrolled on a rolling basis and will receive free custom-made training and support from  a diverse team of experts to safely implement the World Health Organization/UNICEF’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

Waterbury Hospital will be one of the hospitals enrolled in the March 2024 CHAMPS National Hospital Cohort, the only hospital in Connecticut to earn a spot in the program.

As part of this work, Waterbury Hospital will create a hospital-based quality improvement collaborative to improve maternity care practices supportive of breastfeeding, especially among African Americans. Part of the support from CHAMPS National includes data collection, technical assistance, and staff training, as well as support to create collaboration with the community in support of breastfeeding.



The Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research (CHEER) is dedicated to advancing health equity through collaboration with community-based partners and providing technical assistance, training, evaluation, and inspiration. https://cheerequity.org/

About CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to protect America’s health, safety, and security. The CDC uses grants and cooperative agreements to fund research and non-research public health programs that advance the agency’s public health mission domestically and abroad to keep Americans safe and healthy where they work, live, and play. https://www.cdc.gov/


About Waterbury HEALTH

Waterbury HEALTH, which includes Waterbury Hospital, Alliance Medical Group, Cardiology Associates of Greater Waterbury, VNA Health at Home and Access Rehab Centers, Greater Waterbury Imaging Center, offers comprehensive healthcare services including primary care, emergency and acute care, and home healthcare. Serving Waterbury and eleven surrounding communities in Western Connecticut, Waterbury HEALTH is a member of Prospect Medical Holdings, Inc., a national family of hospitals and healthcare networks. For more information about Waterbury HEALTH visit: https://www.wtbyhealth.org/.