The Breastfeeding Support Program is an initiative managed by the Office of Work|Life at Columbia University. The purpose of this program is to help women focus on their academic and professional goals while managing their parental responsibilities. This program supports women by providing private lactation rooms equipped with hospital-grade breast pumps, which allow women to express, store, and collect breast milk in privacy while on campus. The Breastfeeding Support Program was created in 2008 to satisfy the New York State Labor Law § 206-C which requires employers to provide private lactation rooms and to allow women to use unpaid break time or paid meal time to nurse their babies.
Strategic Planning, Research, Evaluation
Using the CDC Program Evaluation Framework, I worked with a team of public health evaluators to solve for key process and outcomes evaluation pain points for the program, to ensure accuracy and veracity for evaluation measures. We successfully delivered and presented our evaluation to program stakeholders.
In the planning phase, my team and I actively followed a human-centered design process embedded with the CDC's framework for evaluation, which included: engage stakeholders, describe the program, focus evaluation design, gather credible evidence, justify conclusions, understand and share lessons learned.
Applied service design principles including service blueprinting to learn about the front and back stages impacting lactating mothers
Leveraged CDC's evaluation framework to create a theory of change and logic model for improved health outcomes
Relied on past employee records as historical data to inform on three themes for the Breastfeeding Support Program: 1) education, 2) privacy, and 3) breast pump accessories
Conducted process and outcomes evaluations
Employed digital tools for lactation pod schedule management, which is currently in use
I enjoyed working on this evaluation project. What was rewarding is being able to capture data at key touchpoints that women access the lactation pods in order to provide them meaningful services, which has been applied during Covid-19. This, in essence, is evidence-based program design.
What I found fascinating beyond health impact is that the program increased breastfeeding among the sample of women who traditionally didn't breastfeed, reducing the prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders among infants, and increased well-baby visits. I also found improvements in other health outcomes associated with breastfeeding such as women's reported levels of decreased shame and stigma of breastfeeding in the workplace.