(SAVANNAH, Ga.)– A public health professor at Georgia Southern University has facilitated a Photovoice project to identify social, cultural, and physical barriers that discourage breastfeeding by African American mothers in Chatham County and to identify opportunities to remove those obstacles.

PhotoVoice Project - provided by Dr. Nandi Marshall.
PhotoVoice Project – provided by Dr. Nandi Marshall.

Nandi A. Marshall, DrPH, MPH, CHES, an associate professor and Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, has published a photo book, “Savannah H.O.P.E. Photovoice Project”, documenting personal experiences from local African-American mothers. Photovoice projects tell a story using a combination of photography and storytelling to amplify the participants’ voices by their experiences through their own lens.

The Photovoice Project book illustrates from a personal view what data from a 2019 Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration Among U.S. Infants Born in 2015 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates: among all infants, black infants had a significantly lower rate of any breastfeeding at age 3 months (58.0%) than did white infants (72.7%); at age 6 months, the rates were 44.7% among black infants and 62.0% among white infants.

“We want to see the statistics change and the number of African-American mothers breastfeeding to increase,” Marshall said. “When we know what prohibits a mother from nursing, we can dive in and address the local barriers to create a culture of breastfeeding support.”

As a result of the data collected from the participating mothers throughout the project, Marshall and community leaders have begun work to have Savannah/Chatham County recognized as a Breastfeeding Friendly Community.

In lieu of a traditional exhibition, Dr. Marshall and her team developed and published a photobook to showcase the data and images to tell the story of breastfeeding African-American mothers. Copies of the book will be shared with community partners and are available for viewing at the Healthy Savannah office, the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, and on the Armstrong Campus at Georgia Southern University. The photobook will be available to view digitally on the Healthy Savannah website later this fall.

This program is supported by the YMCA of Coastal Georgia and Healthy Savannah through grant funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program to close the gap in health disparities among priority populations in Savannah and Chatham County.

For more information, please contact Marshall by phone at 912-344-3307 or by email at nmarshall@georgiasouthern.edu.

ABOUT THE YMCA OF COASTAL GEORGIA/HEALTHY SAVANNAH GRANT FOR RACIAL AND ETHNIC APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY HEALTH:

In September 2018, Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia were awarded a five-year, $3.4 million grant called Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health. This funding, awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been deployed by the Savannah/Chatham County project team to reduce health inequities experienced by Black residents in low-wealth neighborhoods. The local project is called Healthy Opportunities Powering Equity, or HOPE. Its aim is to increase the availability to increase the availability of high-quality nutrition, increase physical activity by creating greater access to safe places to walk, run, bike and play, and foster stronger connections between people and the healthcare providers who serve them. Working with more than 200 community partners and organizations, the team’s work elevates the health and wellness of our community through policy, systems, and environmental change.

CONTACT
Nandi A. Marshall, DrPH, MPH, CHES ®
nmarshall@georgiasouthern.edu

CONTACT
Hillary Bradbury
Hillary.bradbury@ymcaofcoastalga.org
912.354.5480

MEDIA CONTACT
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations® Inc.
912.844.9990
www.carriagetradepr.com
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com