Jefferson County, Colo. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded the Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program with the WIC Premiere Breastfeeding Award of Excellence for their superior support of breastfeeding. JCPH’s WIC program was among a select number of agencies in the nation, and the only local agency in the state, to receive this award this year.
Timed with National Breastfeeding Month, celebrated each year in August, the Breastfeeding Award of Excellence recognizes local WIC agencies that have provided exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities. The award is given to local WIC agencies at three levels of performance that build on one another: Gold, Premiere and Elite.
“WIC staff as well as the Breastfeeding Peer Counseling program provide timely, expert and relatable guidance for everyone who is breastfeeding,” said Heidi Hoffman, Colorado WIC Director. “This support can make a world of difference for increasing the initiation and duration of breastfeeding which, in turn, has great health benefits for Colorado babies.”
Only agencies that have operated a Breastfeeding Peer Counseling program for at least one year are eligible to apply – which considers their breastfeeding performance measures, effective peer counseling programs and community partnerships. Breastfeeding Awards of Excellence are valid for four years and JCPH’s WIC program also received a Gold award in 2017 and a Premiere award in 2019.
“Breastfeeding requires support from the community to create an environment that empowers families to breastfeed,” said Kelsey Rivera, WIC Lactation Program Supervisor at JCPH. “We work to create a space where every parent and child who comes through our doors is celebrated and they know that they’re safe and supported so that when they leave, they’ll be leaving with the tools and relationships to help make their breastfeeding journey successful.”
Breastfeeding significantly impacts the health and wellbeing of parents and babies. Human milk provides the ideal balance of nutrients for an infant's growth and development, reduces the risk of infectious and chronic disease, protects parents' and infants' health and may reduce the risk of childhood obesity. As a low-cost way of feeding babies, breastfeeding also has an impact on the health of the entire community and the world.
To learn more about the JCPH WIC program and the breastfeeding supports offered at JCPH, please visit our website.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH [external link], Instagram @JeffcoPH [external link] and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth [external link].