An open letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 07-02-2014, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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An open letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Background: On June 9, 2014, Sylvia Mathews Burwell was sworn in as the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dear Secretary Burwell,
Congratulations on your position as the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As you work to establish policies and priorities under your leadership, may I please offer a suggestion… send a message to the world that the U.S. is finally going to get serious about increasing the number of breastfeeding American women and infants.

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee is convening their fifth annual Coalitions Conference on August 2 through August 4, 2014. The conference will be in Arlington, VA. I checked the Google Map website and found that the location of the conference is a mere 3.6 miles from the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, DC where your office is located. According to Google Map it will only take you 7 minutes to travel to the conference from your office.

The Coalition Conference will include several “Special Interest Meetings” on Sunday August 3, 2014. One of those special meetings is for State Breastfeeding Coordinators. That meeting would be the perfect setting for you to make the point that you are personally committed to promoting breastfeeding in the U.S. Many of the State Breastfeeding Coordinators are affiliated with the state WIC Programs. Therefore, they haven’t provided much input in the past as far as what the federal government should be doing to help support breastfeeding. Quite frankly, the State Breastfeeding Coordinators fear that if their opinions are perceived in Washington, DC as criticism, they will face retribution in the form of funding cuts to their programs or even a loss of their job. That’s not exactly a shining example of democracy in action.

There probably won’t be enough time at the special interest meeting on August 3 to establish a meaningful dialogue between you and the State Breastfeeding Coordinators. Perhaps you could offer to host a follow-up meeting in Washington, DC for all of the State Breastfeeding Coordinators.

Providing the best possible nutrition for your baby should never have become such a difficult challenge. I hope you have the leadership capability to create an atmosphere in which every woman in America who wants to breastfeed will finally have the full support of her hospital, her insurance company, and her government.
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#2 of 2 Old 07-02-2014, 01:31 PM
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Well written! I hope the new Secretary can do some good.

Married to a wonderful woman since 2010. Baby boy C arrived in June 2013!

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