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Public Health

Posted on: January 22, 2018

Rice County Public Health Department Receives Breastfeeding Friendly Award

Rice County Public Health has received a Breastfeeding Friendly Health Department Award from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for its contributions to the health of mothers and their babies.

The designation acknowledges a county health department’s commitment to acting as a model for the community by supporting healthy families and receiving the business benefits of supporting nursing mothers.

Rice County Public Health was recognized at the gold level.

MDH recognizes county health departments, workplaces, maternity centers and child care facilities that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting breastfeeding mothers.
Breastfeeding is a foundational way to ensure that babies receive optimal nutrition during the first formative years of life. Studies show that infants who are breastfed have better health outcomes as they grow.

“Part of our work included taking a comprehensive look at our own policies and practices supporting breastfeeding mothers in the workplace, as well as information and services we offer to the public,” said Public Health Director Deb Purfeerst. “Not only do we value the health benefits that breastfeeding offers such as lower healthcare costs, reduced chronic disease, and healthier mothers and babies but also the employer benefits of higher job satisfaction and lower staff turnover.”

Awards are designated at gold, silver and bronze levels, which correspond to the number of steps an organization met in a 10-step process.

MDH’s Breastfeeding Friendly recognition program is supported by the state Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).
To learn more about the application process for the Breastfeeding Friendly recognition program, visit

Deb Purfeerst, Rice County Public Health Director, (507) 332-6111
Sara Coulter, Rice County Public Health Supervisor, (507) 332-6111
Sara Folsted, Rice County Administrator, (507) 332-6121

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