August 17, 2015

33 Texas Hospitals Join Statewide Effort to Improve Breastfeeding Rates

Black Woman Breastfeeding BabyBreastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers. Despite the many benefits of breastfeeding, only 21.3 percent of Texas mothers exclusively breastfeed for six months—the AAP recommendation. To help reverse this trend, 33 hospitals in southern, central and western Texas have joined a five-year quality improvement project aimed at developing facility environments that support a mother’s choice to breastfeed.

The Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative aims to help birthing facilities create settings where a woman’s choice concerning breastfeeding can be best supported, with the goal of increasing exclusive breastfeeding.

“Although so many women want to breastfeed their infants, too few women succeed,” says NICHQ’s Senior Director of Perinatal Projects, Jennifer Ustianov, MS, BSN, RN, IBCLC. “This project has been helping hospitals give mothers and their infants a greater chance at success. With this new cohort, our reach will be greater and we couldn’t be more excited.”

The effort is being led by NICHQ and is funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). This is the last of three cohorts of the initiative, which in total includes 74 birthing facilities.

“We’ve seen incredible results in the first two cohorts and we’re looking forward to continuing that success and spreading evidence-based maternity care practices to even more hospitals and birthing centers throughout the state,” says DSHS State Breastfeeding Coordinator Julie Stagg. “The real winners at the end of the day are Texas mothers and babies.”

NICHQ has a track record of identifying, designing and implementing innovative and practical strategies to help healthcare systems improve the quality of care they provide. Facilities participating in the project will learn how to conduct small tests of change, collect data on progress, connect with community partners like local WIC agencies to ensure consistent breastfeeding messages and education, and ultimately make beneficial, sustainable improvements that support breastfeeding. NICHQ will also bring the teams together virtually and in-person to share lessons, promote collaboration and learn from improvement and breastfeeding experts. The project aligns with a statewide effort to improve maternal and infant health outcomes and increase rates of exclusive breastfeeding.

The 33 facilities participating in cohort C of the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative are:
  • Baptist Medical Center, San Antonio
  • Baylor Scott & White Hospital Temple
  • Brazosport Regional Health System
  • Christus Spohn Hospital Alice
  • Christus Spohn South
  • Christus St. Michael Health System
  • Dallas Medical Center
  • Edinburg Regional Medical Center
  • Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center
  • Harlingen Medical Center
  • Hill Country Memorial
  • Hopkins County Memorial Hospital
  • Houston Northwest Medical Center
  • Knapp Medical Center 
  • Lake Pointe Medical Center
  • Las Palmas Medical Center
  • McAllen Medical Center
  • Medical Center Hospital
  • Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital
  • Methodist Richardson Medical Center
  • Nacogdoches Medical Center 
  • Oakbend Medical Center
  • Parkland Health and Hospital System
  • Permian Regional Medical Center
  • Reeves County Hospital
  • Resolute Health- New Braunfels
  • Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital
  • San Angelo Community Medical Center
  • Shannon Medical Center
  • St. David's Round Rock Medical Center
  • St. David's South Austin Medical Center
  • UTMB Angleton Danbury Hospital
  • Women's Hospital at Renaissance
Learn more about the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative.


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NICHQ is an independent, nonprofit organization working for nearly two decades to improve children’s health. We help organizations and professionals who share this mission make breakthrough improvements so children and families live healthier lives. For more information about NICHQ, go to www.NICHQ.org/about.

If you’d like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please call or email Cindy Hutter at chutter@nichq.org or 617-391-2757.