The Institute Inspires Teenage Girls while Developing Recommendations for Lactation Room Design

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mother_baby_after_workTo encourage better provisions for women to express breast milk in the workplace, the Institute is developing design recommendations for lactation rooms.

(SUMMERVILLE, SC – May 22, 2015) – The Institute for Patient-Centered Design, Inc. (The Institute) was awarded a 2014-2015 Community Action Grant by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which has provided funding for innovative programs that promote education and equality for women and girls since 1972, with special consideration given to projects that focus on girls’ and young women’s achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The Institute is utilizing these funds to proceed with its lactation room design recommendations in its new location in Summerville, South Carolina. This project seeks to provide high-school females with an interest in design and leadership an opportunity to learn more about the field through the design of “mom-friendly” lactation rooms. Additionally, lactation room design recommendations will be produced and available to the public online at the end of the project.

“We are thrilled to have received the Community Action Grant as it will enable us to fulfill our goal of developing a free resource that may be used by employers to inspire better lactation rooms in the workplace,” says Tammy Thompson, program director.

The Institute learned from a report by the CDC, that women who work outside the home do not breastfeed as long as stay-at-home mothers. The Institute’s team suspects that the lack of accommodations for breast milk expression contributes largely to a woman’s decision to wean her baby early or to avoid breastfeeding altogether. In 2010 the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act was amended to require break time and a private lactation space (not a restroom) for mothers who wish to express breast milk in the workplace; however, many facilities are not yet compliant.

“Our project is two-fold,” says Thompson who is a licensed architect and certified lactation counselor. “It’s an initiative to provide more ‘mom friendly’ lactation rooms for mothers who would like to express milk in the workplace, while also making strides to remedy the dearth of women in the field of architecture through the mentorship of teenage girls.”

With this program, high-school girls with an interest in the field will have the opportunity to partake in the step-by-step design of a model lactation room, gaining project experience and leadership skills. The project is expected to last two years and will involve the expertise of lactation specialists, employers and working mothers.

About the Institute for Patient-Centered Design

The Institute for Patient-Centered Design, Inc. is a 501 (c ) (3) nonprofit organization founded by patients and design professionals with the purpose of giving patients a voice in the development of the healing environment. The Institute provides education and resources to healthcare providers and health facility designers to address the needs of patients.

To learn more about the Institute’s initiatives, visit the Institute’s project website, or call (404) 890-5646.

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