SJRMC logo_2013Saint Joseph Health System Plymouth Medical Center has been selected to be among the first hospitals in the nation to join the EMPower Initiative to enhance maternity care practices and work toward achieving the Baby Friendly USA designation.

EMPower is a hospital-based quality improvement initiative focusing on maternity care practices that lead to Baby-Friendly designation. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EMPower is aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates throughout the United States and promoting and supporting optimal breastfeeding practices toward the ultimate goal of improving public health.

“We are honored to be selected to be part of the EMPower Initiative as we continue our Baby-Friendly journey,” said Loretta Schmidt, president, Plymouth Medical Center. “Promotion, encouragement and education are vital to making sure every new mom has the tools she needs to breastfeed her baby.”

As part of this effort, Plymouth Medical Center will receive ongoing support in breastfeeding practices from experienced coaches, as well as training and resource support in lactation education. The effort supports evidence-based practices for prenatal and maternity settings known as the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, an effort to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that complete the Ten Steps. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, launched in the United States in 1996, designates as “Baby-Friendly” hospitals that meet the criteria for women to initiate and continue with breastfeeding.

The New Beginnings Birthplace at Plymouth Medical Center provides a warm environment with all the amenities patients need to make their childbirth experience as comfortable as possible. Mom and newborn stay together privately, just like at home.

EMPower is led by Abt Associates, Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute and the Center for Public Health Quality.

About Saint Joseph Health System

Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) is a not-for-profit healthcare system located in North Central Indiana that offers acute-based hospital care and post-acute services including: community wellness, physical rehabilitation, home care, physician clinics, outpatient services, independent and assisted senior living, memory care and affordable senior apartments. SJHS includes: Mishawaka Medical Center; Plymouth Medical Center; Rehabilitation Institute; Outpatient services of the Elm Road Medical Campus; Health Insurance Services; Saint Joseph Physician Network; VNA Home Care; and the Sanctuary Senior Living Communities at St. Paul’s, Holy Cross and Trinity Tower. SJHS serves more than 200,000 members of the Michiana community annually. SJHS is a Regional Health Ministry of Trinity Health in Livonia, Mich.