We are so pleased and excited to welcome Dr. Julie Ware, MD, MPH, IBCLC to the Southwest Ohio
Breastfeeding Coalition! Julie, a board-certified pediatrician and lactation consultant, recently moved
to Cincinnati from Memphis, where she chaired the Shelby County Breastfeeding Coalition and was Co-Chapter Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Tennessee AAP. As a passionate advocate for breastfeeding, Julie spearheaded and participated in efforts that nearly doubled the breastfeeding rates in Shelby County, Tennessee. She strives to improve breastfeeding rates on a community level through education,
advocacy, and the distribution of breastfeeding resources. As a new coalition with similar goals, the Southwest Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition looks to Julie’s previous community work as inspiration for what we can achieve in the Greater Cincinnati area.
While in Memphis, Julie led focus groups that looked more in-depth at barriers to
breastfeeding for African American women in Shelby County. Women listed many
barriers to breastfeeding in their lives, including pain, embarrassment about
breastfeeding in public, work, the inability to drink while breastfeeding, and just not
wanting to breastfeed. Women in the focus groups brainstormed suggestions for
how to overcome these barriers, including widely distributing educational materials
where women of color would be able to access them.
As the Ohio Department of Health has noted, African American women in Cincinnati
are nearly 20% less likely to be breastfeeding upon hospital discharge than their
white counterparts. Julie plans to work with the Community Outreach Committee to
reduce this gap in breastfeeding success, which likely stems from a lack of
community support and resources. We hope to lead similar focus groups in
Cincinnati communities with the lowest breastfeeding rates and garner suggestions
from the very women who struggle with breastfeeding with the hope of improving
their access to breastfeeding resources and support.
Julie is co-leader of the SWOBC Physician Education Committee and is extremely
involved in the efforts of the SWOBC Community Outreach Committee.
-written by Stephanie Sieswerda 2015