Recognition establishes TrueCare as the only FQHC in California to achieve status
SAN MARCOS – TrueCare, a nonprofit community-based health center serving San Diego and Riverside Counties, has been recognized as a Breastfeeding Friendly Health Center (BFHC) by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), California Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC), and California WIC Association. TrueCare is the only Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in California to achieve this recognition.
The organization has been a trailblazer in becoming a breastfeeding-friendly health center. Over the past four years, TrueCare teams in Women’s Health Services, Pediatrics and the Women, Infant & Children (WIC) program have worked diligently to implement the “9 Steps to Breastfeeding Friendly: Guidelines for Community Health Centers and Outpatient Care Settings.”
The guide outlines evidence-based best practices for supporting breastfeeding in the health care setting. The recognition as a Breastfeeding Friendly Health Center acknowledges TrueCare’s commitment to supporting breastfeeding for both patients and employees by making policy, operational, and environmental changes to remove barriers faced by breastfeeding parents.
“As California adopts historic health care reforms, including for birthing care, TrueCare’s commitment to lactation is an important part of addressing maternal mortality and improving infant birth outcomes, particularly for those at high risk,” said Executive Director Karen Farley of the California WIC Association. “We hope this level of care that includes tangible breastfeeding interventions will be adopted widely across the state by other health centers as well.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life, and up to two years or longer. Studies show breastfeeding provides health benefits for babies and mothers, including lower risks of asthma, obesity, diabetes, infections, SIDS, high blood pressure, and ovarian and breast cancers.
“TrueCare is proud to champion the invaluable health benefits of breastfeeding,” said Michelle D. Gonzalez, President and CEO of TrueCare. “This recognition reflects our mission to provide high-quality preventative care and health education to the families we serve. It takes a village, and at TrueCare, we stand together for the well-being of our patients and employees, empowering their choice to breastfeed.”
To achieve this prestigious status, TrueCare implemented comprehensive lactation policies and procedures across all organizational departments that provide services to pregnant and postpartum women and their infants. Employees also benefit from these lactation policies, which include flexible break times and private spaces for pumping, as well as a breast pump loan program and access to TrueCare’s international board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLC).
“We believe breastfeeding is vital to the health of the community we serve,” said Mary Sammer, Vice President of Nutrition Services at TrueCare. “We are committed to removing barriers for those who choose to breastfeed and to ultimately improve health equity while advocating for breastfeeding as the gold standard for infant nutrition.”
As a community health center, TrueCare provides an integrated approach to breastfeeding education and support. Beginning in pregnancy, mothers receive evidence-based education so they can make an informed decision about feeding their baby. Lactation support includes an infant feeding assessment at the first pediatric newborn visit and beyond, until lactation and infant growth is well established.
“Together, our providers and health staff have built a culture for comprehensive pediatric care that includes taking steps to establish appropriate infant feeding behaviors,” added TrueCare Pediatrician Dr. Maria Sebiane. “Early and ongoing nutrition support combined with our quality, culturally sensitive medical care provides our patients the education, assessments, interventions and referrals that they need, based on their individual situation, so we can truly be a full-service resource for families in our communities.”
TrueCare also has been honored with a Liquid Gold Gala Award for Best Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace and an IBCLC Care Award for its commitment to promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding and the lactation consultant profession by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®).
Additionally, TrueCare and the UC Health Milk Bank come together annually for a breast milk drive and health fair to share the benefits of human breast milk with those in need and help bring awareness to the importance of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding support is available at TrueCare locations in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside, Perris, Ramona, and San Marcos.
Submitted by TrueCare.