2nd Annual RVA Breastfeeding Symposium Announced

First Food: The Intersection of Health, Race, Policy, and Practice

Richmond, VA – The 2nd Annual RVA Breastfeeding Symposium will take place on August 4 at the Virginia Historical Society. The focus of this year’s symposium is First Food: The Intersection of Health, Race, Policy and Practice.

The morning session of this day-long event will bring together citizens, policymakers, healthcare and social service providers, and community advocates to examine the structural and cultural barriers that undermine women’s ability to reach their breastfeeding goals, and explore the connection between infant feeding and food access issues. The afternoon session is a workgroup reserved for area health and social service providers who come into contact with pregnant and postpartum families.

The keynote speaker is Kimberly Seals Allers, an award-winning journalist, author and nationally recognized advocate for breastfeeding and infant health who is the project director for The First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI), a W.K. Kellogg-funded pilot project in Detroit and Philadelphia to create a national accreditation process for breastfeeding-friendly communities. Elizabeth Gray Bayne, who holds a Masters of Public Health from Yale University and an MFA in film from the Art Center College of Design, will present excerpts from Chocolate Milk, her documentary exploring African-American women’s experiences with breastfeeding.

“It’s been estimated that if 90% of US women could achieve the American Pediatric Association recommendation of 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding followed by continued breastfeeding for 1 year, we could save $17.4 billion in maternal health care costs and an additional $13 billion in pediatric health costs each year,” says Leslie Lytle, Breastfeeding Coordinator for the City of Richmond. “Yet most women struggle to reach their breastfeeding goals and there are significant racial disparities in breastfeeding initiation and duration. Our goal with this year’s Symposium is to spark conversations among folks who might not think of breastfeeding as a foundational health equity issue.”

  • Where: The Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard, Richmond VA
  • What: The Second Annual RVA Breastfeeding Symposium: First Food: The Intersection of Health, Race, Policy, and Practice.
  • When: Friday, August 4, 2017: 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free and open to the public; however pre-registration is required. Register on-line here

The RVA Breastfeeding Symposium is sponsored by #RVAbreastfeeds (formerly Richmond Health Action Alliance), a coalition funded by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and administered by the Richmond Healthy Start Initiative, a division of Richmond Department of Social Services. #RVAbreastfeeds has sponsored a variety of events to raise community support for breastfeeding families over the last five years.

The #RVAbreastfeeds planning team consists of representatives from Richmond Healthy Start Initiative, Richmond City Health District, Richmond City WIC, Anthem Healthkeepers Plus, and the RVA community. The RVA Breastfeeding Symposium is made possible through funding and in-kind support from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, Richmond Healthy Start Initiative, and Richmond City WIC.

Please contact Leslie Lytle at Leslie.Lytle@Richmondgov.com or call 646-3612 for more information.