Healthy Active Arkansas partnered with Philander Smith College, the Arkansas Department of Health and Sisters United to open the college’s first Nursing Nook last week!

The Nursing Nook is the first free-standing room solely dedicated to nursing among Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the state. It is located within the college’s Health and Wellness Center in the M.L. Harris Building. This project was a student-led effort spearheaded by Miss Philander Smith College, Brittany Taylor, who also attended last year’s Healthy Active Arkansas Ambassador Training.

picture of a room with couches and comfortable lighting
The new nursing nook is located in Philander’s Health and Wellness Center in the M.L. Harris Building.

When it comes to providing babies with the best nutrition, breastfeeding is not only economical; it has positive health effects for both baby and mom. Yet, ADH Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Director Michelle R. Smith said Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey data shows there is a disparity in the breastfeeding rates between African-Americans and whites.

“For example in Arkansas, the 2015 PRAMS survey found that 83 percent of white mothers reported that they breastfed compared to only 57 percent of African-American mothers,” Smith said.

“This translates to fewer African-American babies receiving the nutrients needed for healthy brain development and biological milestones.”

Not only does breast milk offer a nutritionally balanced meal, it also reduces the risk for certain allergies, asthma and obesity in babies as well as Type 2 diabetes in moms. The lower rate of breastfeeding also contributes to a higher rate of infant mortality within the African-American community.

One way to reduce this disparity is to promote breastfeeding in the workplace and institutional settings, making it the norm.

Want to create a nursing nook in your workplace or organization? Check out these design plans.