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Presbyterian Hospital of Allen Named Texas’ First 'Baby-Friendly Hospital'
10/09/2008

ALLEN, Texas — Presbyterian Hospital of Allen has been designated a “Baby-Friendly Hospital” by the World Health Organization, recognizing its comprehensive approach to supporting breastfeeding of newborns.

First Hospital in Texas to Earn
"Baby-Friendly" Designation

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Presbyterian Hospital of Allen (PHA) is the first hospital in Texas to receive this distinction and only the 68th in the nation.

An international program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is designed to encourage and acknowledge hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for lactation.

“We are honored to be the first hospital in Texas to earn this prestigious award,” said Dawn Nichols, M.S.N., R.N., director of The Family Birthplace at Presbyterian Hospital of Allen. “This designation means we have established a standard of excellence for assisting pregnant women and new mothers in one of the most rewarding experiences of motherhood: breastfeeding.

"It also is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees and the physicians on the medical staff to promote the health of moms and babies in Allen and our surrounding communities.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its recent Breastfeeding Report Card, lauds the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and lists the number of facilities in each state that have achieved the Baby-Friendly designation.

“Birth facility policies and practices significantly impact whether a woman chooses to start breastfeeding and how long she continues to breastfeed,” the report says. The CDC encourages breastfeeding because of its many known benefits for infants, children and breastfeeding women.

Representatives from Baby-Friendly USA, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States, conducted an intensive two-day site visit at Presbyterian Hospital of Allen in August to assess its breastfeeding program.

To achieve Baby-Friendly status, hospitals must successfully implement and follow 10 steps outlined by the program. These include starting breastfeeding in the first hour of life, extensive employee training, practicing “rooming in” for new moms and infants, and providing outpatient support after discharge.

“I am proud of all those associated with The Family Birthplace who have worked so hard in earning this important international recognition,” said PHA President Sheila McKinney. “The Baby-Friendly designation shows the community and the world that Presbyterian Hospital of Allen is committed to supporting new mothers by giving them the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding.”

About Presbyterian Hospital of Allen
Established in 2000, Presbyterian Hospital of Allen, soon to be Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital – Allen, is a member of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources. PHA is a 62-bed acute-care hospital serving the North Collin County area. Key services offered include comprehensive women’s services, obstetrics (including Level II neonatal services), orthopedics, pediatrics, gastroenterology, urology, cardiology, wound care and sleep medicine. PHA has more than 425 physicians on its medical staff, practicing in more than 25 specialties. For more information about PHA, visit www.texashealth.org/pha.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization. THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.

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