USF’s College of Public Health epidemiology doctoral candidate Dr. Rema Ramakrishnan is the recipient of the 2016 Student Prize Paper Award from the Society of Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research. Dr. Ramakrishnan won the award for her manuscript, “Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative: Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (2009-2011)” and said that she is honored that her work was chosen. The manuscript explores the underlying factors of UNICEF and the World Health Organization’s Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which outlines exactly what hospitals should do to act as a Baby Friendly facility that encourages breastfeeding.
There are ten steps to the initiative, from making sure all mothers know how to efficiently breastfeed to making sure that infants only receive breast milk unless there is a medical reason not to, and Ramakrishnan’s study explored seven of these factors. Her research found that hospitals can do more at the organizational level than at the individual staff level to make sure that more mothers are breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding is the most natural thing,” Dr. Ramakrishnan said. “We are actually the only animals who feed their infants another animal’s milk.”