Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center Selected to Join Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

Media Contact:
Lindsay Rew
Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler
Cell: (386) 847-2253

DAYTONA BEACH – Thanks in part to a new nationwide breastfeeding initiative, expecting mothers in Volusia County will give their children a healthier start in life.

Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center is the only hospital in the area selected to be among the first hospitals in the nation to join the EMPower Initiative, a hospital-based, quality improvement initiative focusing on maternity care practices leading to Baby-Friendly designation. This designation is awarded to hospitals that successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Created by a team of experts, these 10 steps include evidence-based practices to improve the start and continuation of breastfeeding.

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EMPower is aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates throughout the U.S. and encouraging optimal breastfeeding practices, with the ultimate goal of improving the public’s health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months.

“Mothers who choose to breastfeed decrease their children’s risk of infections, obesity, diabetes and cancer,” said Becky Vernon, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center director of women and children’s services. “Breastfeeding also benefits mothers by lowering their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, obesity and heart disease.”

As the only hospital in Volusia and Flagler counties selected to join the EMPower initiative, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center will receive ongoing support in breastfeeding practices from experienced coaches, as well as training and resource support in lactation education.

Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center is in the midst of building a Level II neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to care for sick and premature newborn infants. This $10 million construction project will add a 16-bed NICU with private rooms to the BirthCare Center’s current 10 Level 1 nursery beds. Additionally, neonatologists Dr. Mary Judith K. Allen, Dr. Winslade Bowen and Dr. Rene Santin already provide continuous neonatology coverage at the Daytona Beach hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


About Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center
Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 45 hospital campuses and nearly 8,300 licensed beds in 10 states. With more than 1,800 employees and employed physicians, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center is a nonprofit health-care organization committed to hope, health and healing. A recipient of the 2012 Florida Governor’s Sterling Award for performance excellence, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center is a national leader in patient experience. Our locations include Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center and Florida Hospital Cancer Institute in Daytona Beach, Florida Hospital Oceanside in Ormond Beach, an outpatient facility in Port Orange, and an imaging center in Ormond Beach. Additionally, Florida Hospital Oceanside is home to the area’s only inpatient rehabilitation facility with CARF accreditation for stroke care. For more information, call (386) 231-6000 or visit www.floridahospitalmemorial.org.

About the BirthCare Center
A lifetime of memories begins with the birth of your baby, and Florida Hospital is here to provide a smooth and safe experience, customized to the way you’ve always envisioned it. Along with national recognition and award-winning safety outcomes, the BirthCare Center offers all-private rooms — equipped to accommodate the entire birthing process from labor to delivery — and five-star amenities for your special day. Our state-of-the-art nursery and board-certified neonatologists are available 24/7, for newborns needing a critical-care level of attention. Our birth experience navigators stand ready to support you throughout your entire experience, from parent education classes and prenatal care, to labor and delivery and post-discharge support. For more information, call (386) 231-1400 or visit www.FloridaHospitalBabies.com.