Award for Breastfeeding Support Received by SEKMCHD

Becky Johnson. Submitted photo.

Submitted by Becky Johnson, Administrator/Director of the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department.

The Bourbon County office is located at 524 S. Lowman and can be reached at 620.223.4464 or [email protected]

Recently all four of the offices of SEK Multi-County Health Department (SEKMCHD) (Allen, Anderson, Bourbon and Woodson Counties) have received the Gold Level “Breastfeeding Employees Support Award” from the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition and its Business Case for Breastfeeding program.

We have worked very hard to get this award for our offices and are pleased with the continual growth we are having for employee support, recruitment and retention. It is the goal of SEK Multi-County Health Department to become and remain a family-forward workplace, to provide resources and education for our employees and to normalize breastfeeding, as it is a healthy and natural way to feed your baby and is essential to maintaining the workforce.

SEKMCHD benefits not only from staff retention but also from turnover costs, healthcare costs savings and reduction of absenteeism. Child care is difficult to find, as most parents know, so we allow new moms to bring their baby to work with them for the first 6 months. We also benefit from staff satisfaction and these days, that it not an easy thing to maintain. My motto is “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of you”. I am blessed with a great group of employees that want to work in public health and I spend a lot of time making sure their needs are met and finding new ways to retain them.

We have taken on several new services in the last couple of years, one being our Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program and have been able to hire new employees to provide this service to our communities. Our clientele has grown so much that we now have 2 Breastfeeding Peer Counselors (Holly Fritter, who covers Bourbon and Woodson Counties and Khloe Utley, who covers Allen and Anderson Counties) and a supervisor for this program (Brittany Frishman, who is our Designated Breastfeeding Expert and covers all 4 counties). This ties right in with the support we offer our employees. Also, our staff have taken several levels of courses on breastfeeding, we’ve remodeled/updated areas in each of our offices for lactation rooms and can offer professional lactation support to our communities.

I am so very proud of our team and the accomplishments we’ve made through the turmoil that has been faced in public health in recent years. It’s nice to see something positive take off so well!

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