Monday, November 10, 2008

Fourth Breastfeeding and Feminism Meeting -- Save the Date

Thursday and Friday, March 26 - 27, 2009

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Reduced-rate accommodations are available at the Greensboro Marriott Downtown
Hosted by:
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Center For Women's Health and Wellness,
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Breastfeeding Institute

Please email for more information.
Applying for Continuing education credits
Visit or

From Birthplace To Workplace will build on the following principles addressed at previous symposia:
· Breastfeeding is public health imperative and an important aspect of reproductive health, as well as a reproductive right and a social and biological process;
· Women must have the right of self-determination to breastfeed freely and without constraint;
· It is important to re-orient the paradigm in which breastfeeding is viewed as a “lifestyle choice” to a paradigm in which it is a “human right” and a “social justice issue” so as to ensure the social, economic and political conditions necessary to promote success; and
· Women’s decisions to breastfeed should not result in the loss of their economic security or any rights or privileges to which they are otherwise entitled.

The 2009 symposium brings a feminist lens to ensuring the social, economic and political conditions necessary to secure breastfeeding for all women from the birthplace to the workplace. Working together in a transdisciplinary manner, with social scientists, health workers, lactation and feminist advocates, employers, and policy makers, we will create a policy agenda for action.

Speakers to include:
· Sarah Amin, Co-director, WABA; Gender and Maternity Protection Action Kit
· Cathy Carothers, co-director of EVERY MOTHER, INC; The Business Case for Breastfeeding
· Deborah Cassidy, Human Development and Family Studies, UNCG; Child care accessibility and quality
· Miriam Labbok, Professor, UNC-CH; Evolutionary, biological and economic perspectives on mothering and maternity leave
· Jake Marcus, Public Interest Lawyer; Breastfeeding, Reproduction and the Law
· Beth Olson, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University; Work culture and breastfeeding
· Ana Parilla, University of Puerto Rico; Medicalization of Birth as Violence against Women
· Marian Ruderman, Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro; Emerging research on work-family balance
· Christina Smillie, creator of the “Mother-Baby Dance” materials
· Paige Hall Smith, Director, Center for Women’s Health and Wellness, UNCG; Women’s experiences with breastfeeding and work
· Emily Taylor, Carolina Breastfeeding Institute; Achieving Exclusive Breastfeeding
· Mary Rose Tully, Director, Lactation Services, UNC Hospital; 42 days of intimacy
· Alison Stuebe, Director MTM, UNC Healthcare; Transitioning home
· Penny Van Esterik, York University, Toronto (KEYNOTE); Global, feminist and anthropological perspectives on motherhood

Travels and thoughts for coming winter: Wherefore PUBLIC health?

The last few months I have been at meetings on top of meetings: Vermont WIC; U of VM; VELB; ABM/EURO Annual Symposium; ABM/EURO 'What every physician needs to know' meeting; WABA Breastfeeding 6-24+; Core Partners WABA, representing ABM as the physician's arm of WABA; WABA Steering Committee; ABM/International 'What every physician needs to know' meeting; ABM/I Board meeting; ABM/I Annual meeting; APHA Intersectional Council; APHA IH Section meetings, and; APHA.

One might ask - why?

I guess, at this stage of life and career, I see a vital need for demand creation for public support for public health.

Public health has become a buzz word for pushing products. Especially where some private sector sees a potential for profit. There certainly is a role for these products: immunizations, vitamins, bed nets, and essential drugs, such as antibiotics and HIV tx. These are public/private efforts because the private commercial sector has a vested interest. AND it is great when these interests collide.

Truly, public health must receive public funding. They "get" this in many countries outside of the US, where breastfeeding is fully supported, Code is law, and maternity leave is paid and of sufficient duration. Funny, but these same countries have much lower infant and maternal mortality than we have....

So what do to? I came home to the US just in time to vote and see my vote counted here in North Carolina. We have sweeping POTENTIAL for change in how our government views the public.

Now is the time to press for recognition of preventive health action with public funding....stay tuned!!

Transdisciplinarity makes International Health Special

I have not posted for a while due to unbelievable amount of travel since mid September. But now I'm back, and lots to report on...

As a lifelong international MCH professional, as a faculty member, and as citizen of the world, I am so excited about chairing IH Section these next 2 years. To me, what is so special about international health is that it is a transdisciplinary field. The term “transdisciplinary” may be new to some of you, so here’s the definition, developed by Piaget (yes, the same Piaget), translated by yours truly: “concerning interdisciplinary discourse, we hope to see a higher level emerge, “transdisciplinarity,” which would not settle for interactions or reciprocities between specializations, but which would internalize such interaction within an overall construct, and break down the walls between disciplines.”

While APHA International Health Section members present themselves with interests such as “community-based health” or “MCH” or “health systems,” as international health workers we all recognize that enabling health for all will demand comprehensive, multi-level, and transdisciplinary thinking.

My goals for the IH Section over the next few years are 1) to enhance our student-professional networking, 2) to continue to strengthen our voice in APHA advocacy for support and funding for our important work, and 3) to work with the committees and members to develop a simple but effective strategic plan to help ensure continuity of effort.

Please consider joining the APHA IH Section at: and don't forget to indicate IH as your primary or secondary Section!!