EMPower Coaches


Breastfeeding Coaches

Julia_Bourg Julia Bourg, BSN, RN, IBCLC is a clinical research specialist with the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) in the department of Maternal and Child Health at the Gillings School of Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill. She is an elected member of the steering committee of the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition and has previously served as co-leader of the statewide clinical task force for The Gift Breastfeeding Initiative for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals-Bureau of Family Health. Julia is a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She began her nursing career in maternity services specializing in Maternal-Newborn and Neonatal Intensive Care. In her former role as Lead Lactation Consultant at Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma, Louisiana, she and has led multiple change and quality improvement projects to progress breastfeeding awareness and outcomes in her hospital and community. After a 2 year journey led by Julia and her multidisciplinary team, Terrebonne General Medical Center officially became the one of the first hospitals in Louisiana to receive Baby-Friendly Designation in August of 2014. She has since served on various expert panels as well as participated in professional speaking engagements to provide education and motivation related to Ten Step implementation. Julia’s efforts have gained national recognition including being featured in the CDC’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card as well as being recognized professionally as Excellence as Nurse Educator by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Louisiana State University.


Gigi_Lawless Gigi Lawless, BSN, RN, IBCLC is a clinical research specialist at the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Gillings School of Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill. Previously, she served as a Lactation Team Coordinator and Project Lead on implementation of the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding that led to Baby-Friendly Designation at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. As a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), she has committed her career to focusing on maternal-child health and removing barriers to breastfeeding in the hospital and community settings. Gigi has been involved in state and national collaboratives and quality improvement efforts to promote, protect and increase exclusive breastfeeding rates. She utilizes LEAN methodology and small test of change cycles to adopt evidence based practices. Gigi has been asked to speak on panels related to her expertise and experience in implementing the Ten Steps. She is an active member on the NC Breastfeeding Coalition and NC Lactation Consultant Association. Gigi received her BS in Nursing from the University of Central Florida.


Catherine_Sullivan Catherine Sullivan, MPH, RD, LDN, IBCLC is a clinical instructor in the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Gillings School of Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently, she serves as Acting Director of CGBI and is the Director of Training. Catherine is the course coordinator for the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative and facilitates the National Collaborative for Advancing the Ten Steps. Catherine is a board member on the NC Breastfeeding Coalition and is the Co-chair of the NC Lactation Consultant Association. She also holds an affiliate clinical assistant professor rank in the Department of Family Medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University where she was previously a full time faculty member. Catherine is a registered and licensed dietitian and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. As a previous State Breastfeeding Coordinator in the NC Division of Public Health, she assisted NC hospitals in their efforts to implement breastfeeding friendly maternity practices through a state designation process. Catherine received her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from East Carolina University and received her MPH in Nutrition at UNC-Chapel Hill.


Quality Improvement Coaches

Kathy_Bradford Kathy Bradford, MD is a Pediatric Hospitalist with over 20 years of clinical and administrative experience with a specific interest and expertise in quality improvement and safety. She is currently serving as an inpatient medical director at UNC Children’s Hospital where she is able to focus on the delivery of efficient, high-quality care of children including those with complex and chronic health diseases. Dr. Bradford is previous director of the University of North Carolina Newborn Nursery and was instrumental in the hospital’s achievement of Baby-Friendly certification. She has specific interest in Baby-Friendly care, patient outcomes, coordination and communication of care, the hospital admission and discharge process, patient satisfaction, and patient safety. Her quality improvement training includes completion of the Cincinnati Children’s Advanced Improvement Methods year long course in 2012 and Yellow, Green and Blue and Belt Six Sigma training and LEAN training. She is a member of the recently formed University of North Carolina Institute for Quality Improvement. Her prior quality improvement work and publications in the inpatient setting demonstrates her interest and ability to contribute and complete projects that focus on quality and safety improvements. Dr. Bradford received her medical degree from the Pennsylvania State University and completed her residency in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and a fellowship in critical care at Stanford University. She began her career as a pediatric intensivist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Following that Dr. Bradford was a pediatric hospitalist, pediatric intensivist and the Associate Residency Director at the Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine/A. I. DuPont Hospital for Children. Dr. Bradford joined the UNC Chapel Hill Department of Pediatrics in 2004 and is currently a Professor of Pediatrics.


Sue_ButtsDion Sue Butts-Dion is a Quality Improvement Consultant who has provided consulting support and training to hospitals and primary care practices for over twenty five years. Currently, Sue consults as an Improvement Advisor on national primary care and hospital improvement projects for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and for the National Institute for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ). Additionally, Sue is an Improvement Advisor for several organizations including Maine Quality Counts’ pediatric improvement collaborative and patient centered medical home pilot and continues to consult independently with hospital and primary care practice clients. From 2011-2014, Sue worked with NICHQ and Baby-Friendly USA as Improvement Advisor for Best Fed Beginnings, a nationwide effort supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aimed at improving maternity care practices to support breastfeeding and to achieve Baby-Friendly designation. She is currently the Improvement Advisor to NICHQ’s Texas Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative also aimed at improving practices in support of breastfeeding. Sue resides in Maine and is President of Butts-Dion Consulting, Inc, a consulting firm focused on supporting clients in designing and managing their systems for improvement.


Cheryl_Courtlandt Cheryl Courtlandt, MD is the Co-Director, Center for Advancing Pediatric Excellence (CAPE) at the Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH) at Carolinas Medical Center, Faculty, Department of Pediatrics, General Academic Pediatrics Division, a member of the Children’s Hospital Inpatient Pediatric Service and Medical Director, Pediatric Asthma Program, Department of Pediatrics, at LCH. Dr. Courtlandt received her medical degree from Rutgers Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey and continued post-graduate training in research methodology, epidemiology and statistical analysis at New York University and Tufts University. She also has completed courses in advanced quality improvement methodology and data analysis at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Prior to joining the Carolinas Healthcare System in 1998, Dr. Courtlandt was a faculty attending from 1988-1996 in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics and Division of Emergency Medicine at Bellevue Hospital Center, New York, NY. During her tenure at NYU-Bellevue, Dr. Courtlandt championed several initiatives providing health care to homeless children as an officer in the United States Public Health Service. From 1990-1996 she served in several capacities to including , Course Director and Assistant Professor Pediatrics at the New York University School of Medicine and Assistant Director of Pediatric Outpatient Services at Bellevue Hospital Center. Dr. Courtlandt in her capacity as co-director of CAPE, directs and chairs numerous committee involved in process improvement and patient safety. She has served as physician champion and as a coach for several multidisciplinary improvement efforts, both internal and external to the Department of Pediatrics. She has led regional workshops on quality improvement and given national presentations showcasing efforts of team collaborations on quality improvement projects. She is passionate about asthma care for children and has championed numerous efforts to collaborate with care providers in the community. She has been a co-investigator for a funded research grant using shared decision making with patients and their families with asthma. She is a member of the National Medical Association, Ambulatory Pediatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Courtlandt is an active lecturer, workshop leader, and published author. Dr. Courtlandt’s areas of interest include health literacy, asthma, community medicine, school health, quality improvement initiatives and methodology, research methodology and data analysis.


Kori_Flower Kori Flower, MD, MPH is a Senior Improvement Advisor at Population Health Improvement Partners. She is also a pediatrician with Piedmont Health Services, and as of June 2014, a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. For eight years, she provided primary care to underserved families in a federally qualified health center. She has been involved in a wide range of quality improvement efforts, including providing measurement expertise for a collaborative to implement the Bright Futures toolkit, in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Flower received additional training in quality improvement methods through the Advanced Improvement Methods Workshops at the North Carolina Center for Children’s Healthcare Improvement and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Her published work addresses multiple public health issues for children, including breastfeeding, childhood obesity, and injury. Dr. Flower received her MS degree from the University of California, Berkeley, her MD degree from the University of California, San Francisco and her MPH degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She completed a general academic research fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Allison_Godwin Allison Godwin is a Lean Improvement Specialist and serves as a lean facilitator, coach and mentor for a variety of healthcare and government organizations. As an integral part of the NC State Industrial Extension Service healthcare team, she initiates and advances lean initiatives through her work with Population Health Improvement Partners and the Department of Public Health QI (quality improvement) teams in Raleigh. Allison also leads lean initiatives with government and non-profit service groups throughout the state. Allison has 12 years’ experience leading and facilitating performance improvements and advancing lean initiatives. In addition to coaching and mentoring, she also has experience coordinating and developing workforce training programs focused on managing for innovation, customer-focused excellence and creating a lean culture. Through her work with lean organizations, she has paired with change agents to improve problem solving skills, deploy lean thinking and create consistent repeatable results. Her specific focus areas include: streamlining onboarding and administrative processes; increasing throughput for service and support functions; value stream mapping; creating process protocols; minimizing process variation; and supporting standard work documentation for senior, mid-level and front line leadership. Godwin has a Bachelor of Science degree from NC State University and is a certified Six Sigma green belt. She is an experienced Lean engineer, Lean manager, and production manager. Additionally, she serves as a Baldrige examiner for the North Carolina Performance Excellence Program.


Carl_Seashore Carl Seashore, MD is a general academic pediatrician and Medical Director of the Newborn Service at North Carolina Women’s Hospital. He joined the UNC Faculty in General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in 2008. He has held the nursery leadership role since July, 2010 and during this time he was instrumental in achieving WHO Baby-Friendly Hospital recognition for the Maternity Care Center. He leads a team of three nurse practitioners and approximately 12 faculty members in not only providing care to the babies born at UNC but also continuously evaluating and improving the quality of care delivered. Dr. Seashore is Lean/Six Sigma trained in QI methodology and has achieved Yellow, Blue, and Green Belt certification. The Newborn Nursery leadership Triad engages in continuous quality improvement efforts using small tests of change and PDSA cycles covering topics such as local CCHD screening implementation, management of neonates at-risk for hypoglycemia, and secondary prevention of neonatal sepsis, among many others. Larger projects have focused on care of the Late Preterm Infant (Green Belt), Neonatal abstinence syndrome (in conjunction with the Horizon’s program and PQCNC), and state-level CCHD screening implementation and data collection (PQCNC). The UNC Nursery, under Dr. Seashore’s leadership, also contributed data to the first study conducted via BORN (Better Outcomes through Research for Newborns) network evaluating accuracy of transcutaneous bilirubinometry in assessing jaundice risk among term newborns. Dr. Seashore has demonstrated success in working collaboratively with nurses, nursing and hospital leadership, advanced practice providers, and educators to improve care for newborns, including improving breastfeeding outcomes.


Lou Anne Crawley-Stout MBA, CLSSBB, PMP is a lean improvement specialist with NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES).  She has 13 years of experience in public health, government, and hospital performance improvement, training and coaching leaders and staff in lean six sigma and Toyota Production System methodologies and tools to foster a continuous quality improvement culture.  She also is experienced with developing models and mentoring clients in return on investment analysis for population-based and public health quality improvement initiatives. Lou Anne earned a B.S. in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University and an MBA at the Indiana Institute of Technology.  She is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (CLSSBB), with master black belt training.

Publications:  Crawley-Stout, Ward, See & Randolph (2015).  “Lessons Learned from Measuring Return on Investment in Public Health Quality Improvement Initiatives,“ Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, online April 2015. http://journals.lww.com/jphmp/Abstract/publishahead/Lessons_Learned_From_Measuring_Return_on.99774.aspx

Reviews:  Review of “Highlights from the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey: The First Nationally-Representative Survey of State Health Agency Employees” by Dr. Jonathon P. Leider.  Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, May 2015.

Jill_Winkler Jill Winkler, RN, BSN, MA is a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) professional with 25 years of experience. Jill’s clinical skills and patient advocacy were the stepping stones to CQI and subsequent leadership positions including Director of CQI, Director of Operations, and Project Director. Jill has organized, led and participated in numerous Joint Commission Accreditation surveys in Homecare and Hospice and in Federally Qualified Health Centers. She held the position of Project Director at AccessCare responsible for organizational design, recruitment and training of remote nursing staff and recruitment of pediatric practices across the state of NC. During tenure at AccessCare she contributed to the implementation of first NC Pediatric Asthma Learning Collaborative. At UNC’s Children’s Primary Care Research Group, a pediatric arm of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Jill’s responsibilities included Senior Project Manager of Learning Collaboratives for Asthma, ADHD, Improvement of Healthcare for Children in Foster Care, and Improvement of Pediatric Practice Office Waiting Times. Jill received her BS in Nursing at Texas Woman’s University and MA in Organizational Development and Leadership from Fielding Graduate University. Currently, she is working toward her Lean Healthcare Certification in which she will help create and lead a culture of continuous improvement throughout healthcare organizations.
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EMPower Hospital Spotlight: Northwest Medical Center Bentonville

Bentonville_1Bentonville’s culture consists of the charming characteristics of a Southern city and small town, combined with influences from the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area and a status as a global business hub. Bentonville is located in one of the fastest growing regions in the country, and in the past 20 years, it has transformed from a small town to a bustling center of commerce and entrepreneurialism. According to a recent US Census survey, Bentonville and surrounding communities in Benton County are second in growth for Arkansas and among the 100 fastest-growing counties in the United States. While the Northwest Arkansas economy was historically based upon agriculture and poultry, in recent decades, there has been rapid growth and diversification of its economy and culture due to the three Fortune 500 companies based in the area: Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt. Both economic growth and wide cultural diversity can be attributed to over 1,250 Walmart suppliers that have established sales offices in the region. These satellite offices for companies of almost every industry mean that a large number of transplants from around the United States and the world can be found in Bentonville. Bentonville_2Within this evolving environment, Northwest Medical Center-Bentonville remains committed to providing exceptional care to the community. To achieve their goals to improve maternal-neonatal health and wellness, this comprehensive care facility applied and was accepted into the EMPower Breastfeeding initiative while in the D1 Discovery Phase of Baby-Friendly USA’s 4-D Pathway. The hospital has gained support in adopting the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as they have progressed along the journey to Baby-Friendly designation. Since joining the EMPower initiative, Northwest Medical Center-Bentonville has benefitted from the individualized coaching and technical assistance offered, in areas such as adherence to the Ten Steps. One of their most noteworthy accomplishments involves Step 4, helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth. By honoring the golden hour in implementation of skin-to-skin, the number of infants that were once “slow to transition” and required “extended monitoring” and “oxygen support” has significantly decreased to the point that it is rare to see an infant fit into those categories! The facility’s EMPower Breastfeeding Coach, Julia Bourg, remarked, “This team worked hard to ensure that foundational steps were in place as they worked towards implementation of other practice changes.” Bentonville_3This facility is close to Baby-Friendly USA designation! They recently had their site visit assessment from the Baby-Friendly representatives and are awaiting the results. Allison Godwin, the facility’s Quality Improvement Coach, noted, “What we appreciated most about this team is their attention to creating sustainable change. They really wanted to make sure that their staff and their organizational culture supported these efforts.” We applaud your wonderful work, Bentonville!

EMPower Hospital Spotlight: Susquehanna Health Williamsport Regional Medical Center

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As the largest city in Lycoming County in north central Pennsylvania, Williamsport is rich with community art and attractions, Victorian architecture, and a vibrant downtown. It is the only city located in the Pennsylvania Wilds, encompassing Williamsport and the surrounding geographic area with scenic mountains and forests that place them away from the state’s major metropolitan areas. Williamsport is best known as the birthplace of Little League Baseball® and welcomes the world every summer for the Little League Baseball® World Series. In 2014, the Williamsport population was 116,108 (50% female), with a majority of citizens between the ages of 18-44 years. Caucasians represent 92.5% of the population, and 4.7% are African American. In 2014, the poverty level was approximately 16%. The area offers higher education, with Lycoming College and Pennsylvania College of Technology attracting a variety of students and faculty every year. Also nearby is The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC®), an affiliate of Susquehanna Health. Susquehanna Health is one of the top employers in the county and consists of medical facilities across multiple areas. Prostate cancer, breast cancer, diabetes and mental health are recognized as mortality challenges for the county, but optimal breastfeeding practices can help improve the health of future generations in Northern Pennsylvania.

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Susquehanna Health Williamsport Regional Medical Center is located within the city of Williamsport and serves the urban population as well as the surrounding rural community. The hospital delivers approximately 1200-1500 births annually. Since joining the EMPower initiative while in the D3 Dissemination phase of Baby-Friendly USA’s 4-D Pathway, the facility has gained closer collaboration between all departments providing maternal and infant care. Providing evidence-based care for mothers and babies truly engages all providers, staff members, and departments. EMPower has also supported the Williamsport Regional Medical Center team to organize policies and documents and to develop effective, consistent performance improvement methods and efficient data collection. In addition, the EMPower initiative facilitates engagement between hospitals, and Williamsport Regional Medical Center has been able to network with other healthcare systems, sharing information and resources to help achieve the overall national goal of impacting public health. The facility has developed educational materials for the prenatal setting and for the postpartum period that they have disseminated to other hospitals in the EMPower initiative. The facility also offers services beyond discharge, including private consultations and casual mother-to-mother support groups. Gigi Lawless, the EMPower Breastfeeding Coach for this facility, adds, “Williamsport Regional Medical Center has truly engaged in the collaborative spirit by sharing resources with other facilities. They are currently in D4 and have quite a bit of insight to offer to the facilities that are not as far along in their implementation of the Ten Steps.”

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Throughout their Baby-Friendly journey, the Williamsport Regional Medical Center team has faced various challenges, but they have also celebrated many triumphs. It takes a steadfast commitment to develop and implement the changes needed to achieve an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. Being part of a nationwide initiative displays the value of their commitment to completing this journey. Their EMPower Quality Improvement Coach, Sue Butts-Dion, reflects on her impression of this facility: “The Williamsport Regional Medical Center team exemplifies what it requires to take on this type of organizational improvement effort and be successful. They have the motivation that an initiative of this scope requires, and they take advantage of every opportunity afforded them through EMPower to learn new things and to apply them in their organization.”

EMPower Hospital Spotlight: Northwest Health System – Willow Creek Women’s Hospital

Willow Creek Women's Hospital is located in Johnson, Arkansas, a town of approximately 3,500 residents just outside of Fayetteville in the far Northwest corner of the state. Nestled on a plateau in the Ozark Mountains, the community of Johnson is multi-ethnic, with a broad range of socioeconomic status levels. Committed to improving patients’ health, Willow Creek applied and was selected into the EMPower Breastfeeding initiative, which provides support and technical assistance to help hospitals adopt the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and ultimately achieve Baby-Friendly designation. The facility entered the initiative while in the D2 Development Phase of Baby-Friendly USA's 4-D Pathway, and since then, Willow Creek  has taken full advantage of the individualized coaching and mentoring offered throughout the initiative, and has benefited from the financial incentives as well. Through EMPower and the journey to Baby-Friendly, Willow Creek aims to improve health outcomes in their community through improving the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their baby. They also hope to succeed in raising awareness about breastfeeding in the community of Northwest Arkansas and increasing the support that breastfeeding women are able to receive.

Since starting the implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, Willow Creek has seen a significant rise in their exclusive breastfeeding rates (now at 84%) coupled with an amazing improvement in overall patient satisfaction. They work very closely with their local breastfeeding coalition and have made strides with community engagement. “Willow Creek continues to work collaboratively with community providers and organizations to ensure that mothers receive ongoing support and continuity of care” said Julia Bourg, the facility’s breastfeeding coach for the EMPower initiative. One achievement they have been able to share with other hospitals in the EMPower initiative is the educational slides they developed for all 15 categories outlined by the WHO/UNICEF 20-hour training program requirement. This facility is very close to becoming designated! They have recently had their site visit assessment from Baby-Friendly representatives and are anxiously awaiting to hear the results. Willow Creek hopes to be a trend setter for all Arkansas healthcare facilities, encouraging them to adapt best-practices for both the mother and infant. Great job, Willow Creek! We hope to celebrate with you very soon!

Breastfeeding in the News - Impact of BFHI Ten Steps

EMPower_BFHI Post A new narrative systematic review in Maternal and Child Nutrition found that adherence to the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Ten Steps has a positive impact on breastfeeding outcomes, with a dose–response relationship between the number of BFHI steps women are exposed to and the likelihood of improved breastfeeding outcomes. Read the full abstract and article here: "Impact of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative on breastfeeding and child health outcomes: a systematic review."