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DeKalb Medical celebrates Baby Friendly designation and 5 STAR recognition

February 24, 2015

DeKalb Medical held a special luncheon on Monday at the Dr. M. Bobbie Bailey Tower to celebrate becoming the first hospital in Georgia to achieve international “Baby-Friendly” Hospital Initiative (BFHI) designation from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. In addition to the “Baby-Friendly” designation, the hospital was also awarded a 5-STAR Hospital Recognition from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

“We are very proud of this elite designation and it speaks volumes to what we stand for here at DeKalb Medical,” stated DeKalb Medical President & CEO John Shelton. “Our mission is to earn our patients’ trust every day, through our uncompromising commitment to quality. The “Baby-Friendly” designation and 5-STAR rating exemplifies the commitment of our physicians, nurses and staff to providing the best possible patient care which ensures a healthier community.”

Keynote speakers for the event included: Dr. Catherine M. Bonk, Physician and member of DeKalb Regional Health System Board of Directors; Leah Aldridge, President, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia Atlanta Breastfeeding Consultants, LLC; Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

“This was such an undertaking by our staff, physicians and administration,” stated Dr. Bonk. “I can’t express how excited and proud I am of DeKalb Medical – and to be a part of this hospital.”

The designation process began in June 2012, when DeKalb Medical was chosen as one of 90 hospitals in the United States to participate in the Best Fed Beginnings Collaborative. Best Fed Beginnings is a project for improving breastfeeding rates in the U.S. by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aligned with Baby-Friendly USA. The Best Fed Beginnings project is an active participant of DeKalb Medical achieving the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation.

“We are thrilled that DeKalb Medical is the first Five-Star “Baby Friendly” hospital in the state of Georgia,” explained Aldridge. “DeKalb Medical is leading the way and we expect other hospitals to follow their lead in the next several years.”

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps of Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 227 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

The Five-Star designation is awarded to hospitals that have accomplished all Ten Steps of the “Baby-Friendly” designation

“It so important to not only bring babies safely into the world, but also put them on the right trajectory for health throughout their life,” Dr. Fitzgerald added. “Being Baby Friendly, along with achieving the 5-STAR designation, does that. Congratulations to everyone at DeKalb Medical and great work.”


2701 North Decatur Road Decatur, GA 30033
Patient Inquiries: 404.501.5200

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