Jan 4, 2021

This week’s CHAMPion is Kimberly Rickard, MSN, CNM, a registered nurse with 24 years of experience working in women’s health. She was nominated for recently completing her Nursing Certification in Midwifery at Frontier Nursing University, for her many years of leading University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC)’s Baby-Friendly designation efforts, and for being among the first group of healthcare personnel to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“When a couple of the Lactation Specialists at UMMC told me about Baby-Friendly USA, I appreciated the way that the initiative supported evidence-based care for women and their newborns. With the support of the administrative team, we participated in NICHQ’s Best Fed Beginnings and then partnered with CHAMPS to work towards our Baby-Friendly designation. We started the journey with very low breastfeeding rates, no skin to skin care, no rooming-in, and many process and infrastructural barriers, but we gradually worked at it and ultimately created a mother-baby unit and provided couplet care! After I left UMMC 4 years ago, the phenomenal team continued the work to achieve Baby-Friendly designation in 2017.” -Kimberly Rickard, MSN, CNM

Kimberly now works at Baptist Memorial Hospital (BMH)-Desoto, where she was excited to be part of their team as the hospital became Baby-Friendly designated in 2018. Her BMH-Desoto team has also successfully implemented safety bundles surrounding obstetric hemorrhage and sever hypertension in pregnancy. In December 2020, Kimberly received her Advanced Practice Nursing Certification in Midwifery after undergoing both didactic and clinical training and successfully completing the American Midwifery Certification Board.

In addition, Kimberly recently became one of the first set of providers to receive the COVID vaccine at her hospital. “I was fortunate to be offered the COVID vaccine during the first round because I am a healthcare provider. I was apprehensive at first, but I trust the science and understand the importance of vaccination in battling disease. COVID has been difficult for everyone and it has been terrible for relationships. I want us all to be able to visit with family and friends, travel and be adventurous, or maybe just go to a movie! I want to be an example to others that the vaccine is safe.”

When asked what motivates her work, Kimberly expressed her passion for health equity. “I believe all women deserve access to quality healthcare. I once heard the phrase ‘Every person, whether man or woman, was born of a woman,’ which really stuck with me and motivates me. I truly love empowering women and showing them they have the strength and ability to care for themselves and their families.”

Congratulations Kimberly, we applaud your commitment to quality maternal health care and Baby-Friendly practices, your wonderful academic achievements, and your enthusiasm about getting vaccinated!