One hundred invited health and policy leaders will meet again in Washington, D.C. on June 29–30 to identify targeted strategies for establishing a national breastfeeding agenda as part of our nation’s Health Reform, building on the essential recommendations and positive outcomes of the Second Annual Summit held last June.
With continued support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Third Annual Summit, “First Food: The Essential Role of Breastfeeding,” will feature presentations by foremost public officials, including Senator Tom Harkin (IA). A longstanding health advocate, Harkin championed the prevention and wellness measures that are integral to the Affordable Care Act, and more recently he sponsored the Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention America Act of 2011 (HeLP America Act) designed to improve the health of Americans and reduce healthcare costs. Recognizing the documented health benefits associated with breastfeeding, this Act would establish a federal taskforce for breastfeeding promotion among working mothers. He was also instrumental in the subsequent reversal of an IRS ruling that disallowed breastfeeding equipment as a covered health care expense.
Disparities in breastfeeding rates and their associated barriers, to be addressed by panelists and participants representing key stakeholders in maternal and child health — across sectors, including government, nonprofits, industry, academia, and local communities, and across disciplines, including medicine, nursing, public health, policy, research, and social marketing — will contribute to thought-provoking discussion and consensus-building to create an action agenda.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National WIC Association, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and U.S. Department of Labor, among other public agencies, will all be participating.
Keynote speakers will include: Gail Christopher, DN, Vice President for Program Strategy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Jonathan Fielding, MD, MPH, MBA, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Chair, Partnership for Prevention; and Rev. James Forbes, Jr., DMin, Founder and President, Healing of the Nations Foundation.
The proceedings of the Summit will again be published in the fall in Breastfeeding Medicine, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s official, peer-reviewed journal, and widely disseminated to more than 2,500 influential health policymakers and providers from the public and private sectors, including all Governors, Senators, and members of Congress. The significant accomplishments of the First Summit and the Second Summit are documented in special issues of Breastfeeding Medicine. Each year’s Summit serves as a benchmark to assess annual progress in breastfeeding policy and practice.
The Summit will again be presented by the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and Breastfeeding Medicine. The Academy is a global organization of physicians dedicated to the promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding through education, research, and advocacy.