Sharing our Lessons Learned
At CHI, we’ve thought a lot about what our work on ABC has taught us about collaboration and impact. What are some of our greatest takeaways?
One is that ABC’s model — a backbone organization that supports other organizations working on the ground — has been highly effective. It allows everyone to leverage their best skillsets. CHI’s team uses our expertise in convening, facilitation, project management, and evaluation to free up time for local public health agencies, the experts in lactation support and work in their communities, to do what they do best without an added administrative burden.
Collaborators should be allowed to contribute in ways that play to their strengths. Each of CHI’s partner agencies has stepped up to lead in different ways. For example, staff at the Public Health Institute at Denver Health have spearheaded much of the team’s equity work; Boulder County Public Health has increased its capacity for Spanish-language outreach and translation; Jefferson County Public Health has convened useful learning sessions and supported a Community Lactation Access Program training; and Tri-County Health Department has led the way on worksite wellness initiatives. We have had the pleasure of seeing local partners develop into breastfeeding-friendly leaders.
In addition, dollar amounts and other types of support don’t always have to be big in order to make a big difference. This has been especially clear through ABC’s work outside of the Denver metro area, which has evolved and grown over the years. Partners around the state deeply value having spaces to come together with those from different regions (virtually or in person). Simply creating more of these spaces has been one of our biggest contributions in rural areas. Community members already know what they need; the best thing we can do is empower them.
The scope of public health efforts is so much broader than disease control, and ABC has provided a powerful learning experience and connection opportunities to improve the health of people across Colorado. Even though it’s just one piece of the public health pie, lactation support has far-reaching impacts in support of individuals, families, and communities. CHI has been honored to play a small part in the work.
Check out this article from our ABC colleagues at the Tri-County Health Department for more reflections on National Breastfeeding Month. It's not too late to get involved. If you’re interested in pursing recognition as a breastfeeding-friendly workplace, participating in a lactation training, or securing financial support or technical assistance for breastfeeding efforts in your community, contact Nina Bastian at CHI.