Director Cara M. Christ, MD, (center), along with WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Anne Whitmire, PHS Assistant Director Sheila Sjolander and Nutrition and Community Services Manager Linda Yee, present the award to Yavapai WIC Director Willa Miller (far right).

Congratulations to Yavapai County Community Health Services WIC Program. They will be recognized for their outstanding work in supporting breastfeeding mothers. The Yavapai County WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program is one of just 11 local WIC agencies in western part of the country to receive the Loving Support Gold Award of Excellence  from the United States Department of Agriculture, Western Region Office (USDA).

Their award will be given during World Breastfeeding Week  and Willa Miller, RDN, IBCLC, Yavapai County WIC Director, will accept the award on behalf of the county at the Arizona LATCH-AZ Meeting on August 7. Their Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program was selected for this award because they have consistently provided exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities using the USDA Loving Support Makes Breastfeeding Work model. Yavapai County uses peer counselors from the community to support WIC mothers during pregnancy and once their babies arrive, ensures peer counselors are available outside usual clinic hours, and builds partnerships throughout the county to support breastfeeding.

Dr. Nils Bergman from South Africa will be the featured speaker at the LATCH-AZ  meeting in Tucson on August 6 and Phoenix on August 7. He is the physician who developed “Kangaroo Mother Care” for premature infants, which has led to a dramatic improvement in the survival of premature babies. More than 450 people are expected to participate in the LATCH-AZ events during World Breastfeeding Week.

The Arizona Department of Health Services Breastfeeding Program also launched their new and improved website this week with breastfeeding information for moms, health care providers, hospitals, and employers.