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Bourbon and Woodson County Health Departments awarded for efforts to make working and breastfeeding easier for employees

The Bourbon and Woodson County Health Departments have received the Gold Level “Breastfeeding Employees Support Award” from the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition and its Business Case for Breastfeeding program.   

The award is based on proven and established standards to benefit employers and employees. It recognizes businesses that provide support services to their breastfeeding employees, to include education as well as the time and space for employees to nurse and/or pump breastmilk at their workplace.  The award, the top ranking of three sponsored by the Coalition, was presented by Brenda Bandy, Executive Director of the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition..

According to Bandy, the two health departments received the award for achieving a high level of support to their employees as outlined in the Coalition’s criteria.  She said they provide a “gold level” pumping room, allow flexible time to pump, and have a written policy of breastfeeding support.

Bourbon and Woodson Counties join the other two counties of the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department who previously received the award. Anderson and Allen counties received the award in April, 2023.

Pointing out that many breastfeeding mothers abandon breastfeeding when they return to work because they lack the support and appropriate facilities at their place of employment, Bandy said, “We want to help change that unfortunate situation”. She cited research showing that adequate support for breastfeeding employees benefits businesses through savings in health care expenses, reduced turnover rates, lower absenteeism, and increased employee loyalty. Employers that have established support services for breastfeeding employees have reported a $3 for $1 return on investment plus realizing a more productive working environment.

"Many Kansas employers recognize the benefits of supporting their breastfeeding employees.  We want to shine the spotlight on as many employers as we can for doing their part to make returning to work while breastfeeding easier in hopes that will encourage more businesses to follow suit," says Stephanne Rupnicki, Chair of the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition Board of Directors.

Businesses that provide support services for their breastfeeding employees can be considered for a “Breastfeeding Employees Support Award” at the bronze, silver and gold levels. Applications are available at http://www.kansasbusinesscase.com/for_employers/employer_awards .

The Business Case for Breastfeeding is a program to assist employers in developing or enhancing support services for their breastfeeding employees.  The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition is a non-profit 501(c) 3 with the mission of working collaboratively to promote and protect breastfeeding in order to improve the health of Kansas families.

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Our Story

In 1971, the Bi-County Health Department was started with Anderson County and Linn County. Kansas Department of Health and Environment worked with these two counties because of their low immunization rates. Several years later, Allen, Bourbon, and Woodson Counties joined to form the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department. In 2006, Linn County left the SEKMCHD leaving the four counties - Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, and Woodson.
 

In the beginning, Health Department Nurses went into all of the schools to give free immunizations to anyone who needed them. All the while working on educating the public about the importance of immunizations. We still provide immunization services, and other services have been added over the years to include WIC, Women's Health, Home Visitors, and Breastfeeding Support.
 

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