JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson State University (JSU) has received a $50,000 donation from the Charles Schwab Foundation. The funds will be used to establish the Center of Excellence in Breastfeeding and Early Nutrition for Black Women in Mississippi.
The center will be housed in the Department of Behavioral and Environmental Health of JSU’s College of Health Sciences (CHS).
“Our goal in establishing this center is to focus on several areas that will support statewide maternal and child health initiatives aimed at improving child health. One is education and training. The other is breastfeeding advocacy, and the third is research that will make meaningful contributions to improving breastfeeding and early nutritional outcomes for infants in Mississippi and beyond. We hope to serve as a repository for research and best practices around breastfeeding and early nutrition in Mississippi,” said Mary Shaw, Ph.D., director of the department.
The purpose of the center is to provide valuable resources not only to those at JSU, but to the community. The center will support statewide maternal and child health initiatives to improve child health within the African American community.
After three years of research into the importance of early nutrition, leaders of JSU’s Department of Behavioral and Environmental Health said they were excited to accomplish the expansion of the center. They were also funded by the WK Kellogg Foundation.
Shaw said the university plans to bring many resources to black men and women.
“We are super excited about it. Just being able to bring more resources to the community as a whole, because it’s a national thing, is something to be happy about,” she said.
In a recent study conducted by the Mississippi Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices program, researchers found that in the United States, race and geography are two of the strongest predictors of breastfeeding outcomes.
Shaw shared that with African American women boasting the lowest breastfeeding rate nationally, innovative Mississippian-focused research will guide transdisciplinary efforts to address clinical, psychosocial, educational, economic, environmental and policies that impact breastfeeding and early nutritional outcomes for mothers and their children. infants.
Shaw said the university is looking forward to the next semester. The center should offer graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in projects.