Valley Presbyterian Hospital Wins Grant for Breastfeeding Support

First 5 LA Awards Funding from its Baby-Friendly Hospital Project

VAN NUYS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- First 5 LA announced today that it is awarding a grant of nearly $500,000 to Valley Presbyterian Hospital to improve the nutrition and health of the hospital’s youngest patients by developing and maintaining policies and procedures to encourage increased breastfeeding among mothers of newborns.

With studies showing breastfeeding provides significant health benefits for women and their children, the three-year grant will enable Valley Presbyterian Hospital to provide intensive training, new procedures and other changes aimed at encouraging more mothers of newborns to rely exclusively on breast milk to nourish their babies.

“We thank First 5 LA for its recognition of our leadership in this field and for this generous grant to improve breastfeeding rates among the hospital’s patients,” said Gustavo Valdespino, President and CEO of Valley Presbyterian Hospital. “With nearly 5,000 babies delivered at Valley Presbyterian Hospital every year, this initiative will help us make significant strides in improving the health of the community, reducing medical costs and strengthening the bonds between mother and child.”

A January 2011 report from the California Women, Infants, and Children program and the University of California, Davis Human Lactation Center found Los Angeles County ranks 43rd in the state for exclusive breastfeeding. Only about a third of women in Los Angeles County rely solely on breast milk to nourish their newborns, despite research showing significant health benefits for mother and child and reductions in healthcare costs.

Researchers have found breastfeeding improves health outcomes by reducing children’s risks for acute infections and sudden infant death syndrome, as well as chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes and obesity. Women who breastfeed may also have lower rates of diabetes and breast or ovarian cancers.

“For many women, the hospital is the only source of breastfeeding support and education, underscoring the importance of improving the way hospitals and birth centers provide assistance, encouragement and support for breastfeeding,” said Evelyn V. Martinez, Chief Executive Officer for First 5 LA. “Our goal is to help change the system so that hospitals and the general public work together to empower mothers to achieve the best infant feeding practices.”

In March 2009, the First 5 LA Commission approved $10.5 million in funding to support the Baby-Friendly Hospital program created by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund and administered by Baby-Friendly USA. Hospitals that have earned the designation are recognized for their work providing mothers of newborns with the information, confidence and skills they need to successfully initiate and continue nursing their babies.

Valley Presbyterian Hospital is one of nine hospitals First 5 LA selected for funding this year as part of this program. It will receive a grant of $470,966 over three years to enable it to attain the goal of receiving the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation.

To improve breastfeeding rates among its patients, Valley Presbyterian Hospital is planning several initiatives, including improved education for its staff and patients and postnatal breastfeeding help through a weekly support group, breastfeeding hotline and community resource list.

“We look forward to the important contribution Valley Presbyterian Hospital will be able to make to improving the health of women and their infants as this program moves forward,” said Mr. Valdespino. “Valley Presbyterian Hospital is a vital community asset with women’s and children’s services that are recognized as the leading provider of maternal and child health care in Northern Los Angeles County. This generous grant ensures the hospital will continue to play a leading role in improving health outcomes for patients throughout the San Fernando Valley.”

About First 5 LA

First 5 LA oversees the Los Angeles County allocation of funds from Proposition 10, which added a 50-cent tax on tobacco products sold in California. Funds raised help pay for health care, education and child development programs for children from the prenatal stage to age five and their families. First 5 LA’s mission is to increase the number of young children who are physically and emotionally healthy, safe, and ready to learn. For more information, please visit

About Valley Presbyterian Hospital

Founded in 1958, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, a non-profit and nonsectarian hospital, has remained focused on meeting the medical needs of the community for over 50 years. While VPH has grown to become one of the largest acute care hospitals in the San Fernando Valley, it continues to provide patient-centered care for a healthier community. The 350-bed facility offers leading-edge technology and a full range of medical services. With 500 physicians representing virtually every specialty and most sub-specialties, VPH provides the latest state-of-the-art treatments to improve and save lives. For more information, visit


Valley Presbyterian Hospital
Julie Reback, 818-902-5711
[email protected]
Norma O’Flaherty, 818-902-5213
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  California

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Hospitals  Baby/Maternity  Consumer