Focus Group is First Phase in Coalition's Promotion of Breastfeeding in Black Communities

Determining the best use of technology to educate African-American women about breastfeeding

The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition conducted eight focus groups to assess community health workers' knowledge of breastfeeding and lactation management and to learn how they perceived the value of using technology in their work.

From January 2002 through December 2002, the coalition collaborated with the Urban Institute, the African-American Breastfeeding Alliance and the International Lactation Association on the project.

In March 2002, project staff conducted eight focus groups with 74 community health workers in Atlanta, Baltimore and Chicago.

The project is the first phase of a broader initiative at the Coalition to promote breastfeeding in African-American communities.

Key Findings:

  • Virtually all focus group participants were familiar with cellular phones, pagers and computers and used them either at home or at work.
  • Some focus group participants used the Internet to find community resources for their clients, including information on housing, employment and other service providers.
  • Nearly all participants promoted breastfeeding as part of their jobs.

Key Recommendations:

  • Provide community health workers with additional training and up-to-date information on breastfeeding.
  • Provide culturally—and age-appropriate educational materials that community health workers can use with their clients.
  • Enhance access to pagers or cellular phones to facilitate communication between community health workers and mothers, hospitals, clinics and providers.

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