Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Making room: StFX nursing faculty win national poster award for research on implementing public breastfeeding spaces

October 13th, 2017
L-r, Rankin School of Nursing faculty Sionnach Lukeman and Jacqueline van Wiljen

Two faculty members from the Rankin School of Nursing at StFX have won the best poster award at a national conference. The poster they presented looked at implementing public breastfeeding spaces and highlighted the development of a family-friendly breastfeeding space at the Antigonish Market Square mall.

Nursing faculty Sionnach Lukeman and Jacqueline van Wiljen received the award at the Canadian Association of Perinatal and Women’s Health Nurses (CAPWHN) conference held in Halifax, NS. The poster was submitted through a peer-reviewed process, and was judged by the conference committee. 

Prof. Lukeman says the family-friendly breastfeeding space at the Antigonish mall, to be officially launched in November, was designed and developed after community consultations that highlighted a key barrier to breastfeeding in the region was a lack of public spaces. 

Local non-profit organization, “Building a Breastfeeding Environment,” or BaBE, received funding and worked closely with key partners in the space’s design and development. Prof. Lukeman is BaBE’s president, and vice-president is StFX psychology professor Dr. Erin Austen. Prof. van Wiljen is a BaBE board member. 

“The award is recognition for how important it was for BaBE to involve the community in early conversations about barriers and supports to breastfeeding in our region. These conversations are why we started BaBE, why we worked for two years with the Antigonish Market Square to design and “build” the Nurture Nook, and why we continue to work on research projects and community interventions focused on building supportive environments for breastfeeding,” she says.

“StFX students in nursing and psychology have played important roles in the design of the space, as well as the social media campaign. We would like to acknowledge funding from the Antigonish Town and County Community Health Board. In addition, the Antigonish Market Square took a significant leadership role in making the Nurture Nook a reality.”

The Antigonish mall is paying for the renovations and furniture in the space, while the Antigonish Community Health Board contributed to the funding for some supplies and equipment, she says.

This space was designed in part by fourth year nursing students during their community nursing clinical placement. 

BaBE has consistently involved StFX students in its work, both in research and in community initiatives and interventions, she says. Public Health and Kids First in Antigonish are also key partners with BaBE. 



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