Breastfeeding has so many proven health benefits that the Kellogg Foundation wants to make sure that all new moms have the opportunity to practice it, including those on the very fringes of U.S. society. With Kellogg funding, MHP Salud plans to learn more about women who breastfeed in migrant worker communities and help replicate their practices.
The Migrant Health Promotion (MHP) began in 1983 as an association of Catholic nuns, religious leaders, and volunteers. The group created the original migrant health services directory through its early work. Among other things, MHP Salud provides training for peer counselors in breastfeeding as well as for doulas who support pregnant women through delivery and the post-partum period.
Now MHP Salud, as they are currently known, is receiving $660,000 in funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to expand on its success with teaching migrant mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding. The efforts will focus on reaching Hispanic women in migrant camps in Florida, Ohio, and Michigan.
MHP uses the Community Health Worker model of outreach. It calls the community health workers "promotores(as)" in the Spanish-speaking community. These are people within the served community who can help to guide health choices for others.
With this new grant, promotores will work with new mothers who are migrant farm workers, identifying what they call “positive deviants”—women who are able to practice breastfeeding and introducing first foods appropriately despite difficulties.
As they help to encourage healthy early feeding practices for all new moms in the communities they serve, promotores will also be gathering information on “positive deviants” to be compiled and shared with other communities to try to grow this pro-long-term health practice in this underserved community.