CHEER and Union of European Neonatal and Perinatal Societies (UENPS) have collaborated on a multi-national study to assess breastfeeding-supportive hospital practices in European hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the new open access publication here.

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CHEERing has launched a new resource “Feeding Infants in Emergencies: Breastfeeding Matters Now“. As humanitarian crises and natural disasters continue to increase in today’s world, this resource further emphasizes the importance of breastfeeding as a life-saving intervention, especially in emergency situations. This resource is available in English, Arabic, French, and Farsi.

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Mississippi CHAMPS has won a national award for reducing racial breastfeeding disparities in Mississippi. CHAMPS (Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices) is one of 15 US programs to receive the Reducing Disparities in Breastfeeding Innovation Challenge award, created by the Office of Women’s Health to reward programs with a track record in increasing breastfeeding rates and decreasing disparities. The challenge has three phases. CHAMPS received a prize of $15,000, and an opportunity to advance to the next phase.

CHEER Press Release OWH Spotlight

CHEERing for CHAMPions: Virtual Breastfeeding Conference 2021 session recordings on are now available on YouTube. Watch the keynote and breakout sessions and subscribe to our channel here.

Watch Recordings

CHEER was happy to disseminate our work at the USBC National Breastfeeding Conference & Convening (NBCC) 2021! Check out our breakout presentations via the Whova Platform. Presentation recordings are available to all conference attendees for up to six months. Post-event registration and access are available until July 8. Find more information here.

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Coahoma County Diaper Bank (a.k.a the Diaper Bank of the Delta) and Early Dawn Birthing Services have been awarded a $15,000 NACCHO grant, with CHEER as a partner, to assess the chest/breastfeeding environment in the northern Mississippi Delta! This funding will be used to evaluate community access to breastfeeding resources and individual breastfeeding support and education experiences. The grant will be executed by Coahoma County Diaper Bank, in partnership with CHEER (for research, data, and evaluation support), and Early Dawn Birthing Services (for community engagement and virtual listening sessions).

​Learn more about the NACCHO program here.

NACCHO program

Recently released from the CDC: Mississippi was ranked 4th in the U.S in 2020 for the percentage of births occurring at designated “Baby-Friendly” hospitals. Since CHAMPS began working in the state in 2014, the number of Baby-Friendly hospitals has increased dramatically from 0 to 22. Congratulations to all our Mississippi hospitals and partners on this noteworthy accomplishment!


CHEER Director, Dr. Anne Merewood, and her colleagues – Drs. Lars Bode, Riccardo Davanzo, and Rafael Perez-Escamilla- share their thoughts on England’s initial recommendation not to vaccinate lactating women in this recent publication from The Lancet.



Registration is now open for CHEER’s first-ever virtual conference, CHEERing for CHAMPions! CHEERing for CHAMPions: Virtual Breastfeeding Conference 2021, is free for all attendees. After registering, you will have access to the virtual conference platform, organized by SpotMe. Nursing CE credits available to Mississippi nursing staff at no cost; available to non-MS nursing staff for a requested donation.
Register soon to receive a gift pack, available to the first 100 registrants. Contact for questions!


CHAMPS had a wonderful virtual CHAMPS Breastfeeding Clinical Competencies Train-the-Trainer this morning! A huge thank you to Cathy Carothers for leading the session, and to all of our attendees – Who knew a Zoom training could be so engaging and informative!! We can’t wait for more trainings to come, and to hear about participants’ trainings at their own facilities!

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CHAMPS’ Mississippi Liaison and Trainer, Cathy Carothers (BLA, IBCLC, FILCA) presented the Techniques for Safe Implementation of Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices (CHAMPS) Training, a train-the-trainer for the course CHAMPS created and implemented to promote safe implementation of Baby-Friendly practices to support breastfeeding, at the recent International Lactation Consultants Association (ILCA) annual conference. This workshop provided an overview of the new curriculum, with a focus on safety approaches for skin-to-skin care, rooming in, and prevention of falls. The teaching platform employs principles of visual design and case-based participation to enhance learning.

During the workshop, qualified lactation educators learned strategies for conducting effective education, background to the unique visual-based learning approach, key content topics, and options for conducting ​engaging activities as part of the curriculum. The presentation was released on August 21 and will be available to conference registrants on the ILCA website until November 18. ILCA attendees can attend the training and then access the course materials by emailing CHAMPS at with a copy of their ILCA registration confirmation or receipt and certificate of attendance.

Ilca 2020

CHEER, the Center for Health Equity, Education, & Research, stands in solidarity with Black people and other POC experiencing the pervasive and devastating consequences of racism in our country. We are outraged by the ceaseless injustices, both physical and systemic, that affect Black communities daily.

CHEER was founded to “bring about health equity,” with a focus on underserved populations. The events of the past weeks, coupled with the disproportionate numbers of COVID-19 cases among people of color, have emphasized the continued necessity and urgency of our work.

As AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP said, “Racism harms children’s health, starting from before they are born.” Now and always, CHEER remains committed to fighting inequities, countering systemic racism, and increasing optimal access to health for all families.

Cheer Official Statement

The CHAMPS Team is launching a series of COVID-19 focused webinars in the coming weeks.
To access and download past webinars in the series, view the 2020 “Past Webinars” heading on the webinars page.


Rooming in means mothers and infants staying together in the hospital. This is one of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Also, when large scale infections like COVID-19 are in the air, the safest place for the healthy baby is the mother’s room in the hospital. This prevents babies from being exposed to other babies by sharing a common nursery space or spending time being pushed around the hospital corridors.

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We are happy to announce that NMMC Gilmore-Amory is Baby-Friendly designated! Mississippi now has 20 Baby-Friendly hospitals, with 60% of births taking place in designated hospitals. Congratulations to the NMMC Gilmore team, we appreciate their tenacity and commitment to providing mothers and newborns with the finest evidence-based care! We are also thankful for such wonderful news during these tough times.

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In light of the ongoing novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, CHAMPS has cancelled or postponed the Mississippi CHAMPS site visits and mock assessments scheduled for the week of March 23rd. We have also cancelled upcoming trainings to adhere to social distancing and other recommended preventive measures at this time. Please click on the button below for more information and resources.

*The CDC recommends breastfeeding even where women are COVID-19 positive.*


Our Sister Organization, CHEERING, has created a COVID-19 Breastfeeding presentation for refugee populations. This resource is free, evidence-based, and available (in English) on the CHEERING website.

COVID-19 presentation

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