Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation - Elmhurst Hospital Center

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

June 2014

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

November 2008–March 2013

Breast milk is a unique nutritional source that cannot adequately be replaced by any other food, even infant formula.

It provides an array of health advantages beginning at birth and continuing throughout a child’s life. Research indicates that a large number of the health problems today’s children face might be decreased—even prevented—by breast-feeding the infant exclusively for at least the first six months of life. The longer the mother breast-feeds, the more likely her child will get the health benefits of breast-feeding. While breast-feeding initiation rates have increased dramatically in recent years, duration and exclusivity have not. Studies also indicate that breast-feeding rates are consistently lower in poor urban areas. In 2008, NYHealth awarded Elmhurst Hospital Center a grant to support the development of its proposed lactation clinic.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Supported the certification of the director and full-time counselor as international board-certified lactation consultants;
  • Promoted its services through the distribution of flyers in the pediatric clinic, local WIC center, and hospital televisions in waiting rooms;
  • Organized social events, such as the hospital’s Mother’s Day gathering and World Breastfeeding Week events;
  • Held workshops and trainings for WIC nutrition counselors and pediatric staff members, including a new 20-hour course provided to all nurses on breast-feeding education;
  • Hosted a luncheon for local pharmacists on the topic of ineffective and unhygienic Medicaid breast pumps, in collaboration with the local WIC center and with a grant from the New York State Breastfeeding Coalition; and
  • Provided services to more than 450 women.

Although the lactation clinic’s primary goal was to provide services that would increase breast-feeding intensity and duration, it was unable to collect and analyze any formal data to demonstrate it achieved its objective. Staff members reported a decrease in breastfeeding-related illnesses and referrals from the women’s health department. It was unclear, however, whether these declines were a result of the lactation clinic’s services or other factors.

The lactation clinic has since been presented as a best practice model for replication at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and at grand rounds at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Clinical results of the lactation clinic’s program have also been presented at the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meetings.