Detroit’s First Birth and Breastfeeding “Hackathon” Brings Innovators, Tech Experts, Community Members Together to Tackle State’s Maternal and Infant Health Crisis

For Immediate Release:

August 6, 2019

Contact: Kimberly Seals Allers | | 347.671.7779


Detroit’s First Birth and Breastfeeding “Hackathon” Brings Innovators, Tech Experts, Community Members Together to Tackle State’s Maternal and Infant Health Crisis

Nationally Recognized MIT Media Lab Model Now Replicated With Community & Health Equity Focus

Detroit, Michigan— Innovators, designers, community members, birth advocates and

leading companies will convene in Detroit on August 24 and 25th for the city’s first ever

birth and breastfeeding hackathon, designed to bring creativity and innovation to the

maternal health space. The two days of events, activities and team designing, which will

conclude with a judging panel for the winning ideas, is a joint project of Detroit-based

Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA), Black Breastfeeding Week,

Harambee Care and the Make the Breast Pump Not Suck (MtBPNS) team, who led two

successful breastfeeding-related hackathons at the Massachusetts Institute of

Technology (MIT) Media Lab.


“After years of collaborative work to improve birth outcomes in Detroit, the community is

ripe and ready to create the radical innovations in maternal and infant health that

mothers, fathers and babies deserve,” says Kiddada Green, founder and executive

director of BMBFA, which also serves as the anchor organization for the Black

Breastfeeding Caucus,“We are excited about community-led transformation.”

The event kicks off on August 24th at 8:30am at WeWork Detroit, located at 19 Clifford

St., Detroit, MI, 48226.


In the U.S, roughly 6 out of every 1,000 babies die before their first birthday, according

to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Detroit, that number has been

closer to 14 in recent years. Similarly, black breastfeeding rates lag national averages,

with only 30% of black infants in Michigan being exclusively breastfed through three

months, compared to 47% nationally.


“Our experience in the community and years of data tell us that birth and breastfeeding

are in deep need of co-designed, community-led solutions and the application of tech

models to generate new ideas to address lingering racial disparities,” notes Green. “We

cannot wait any longer,” she added.


The hackathon will also feature three Family Innovation Teams from Detroit, led by

Harambee Care executive director, Anjanette Davenport Hatter. The FIT’s are

comprised of local community members affiliated with organizations such as Brilliant

Detroit and Focus: HOPE, and are bringing problems to be “hacked” and creative

solutions to further develop at the event.


“We believe in the power of creating supportive and joyful spaces for communities to

come together, innovate and “learn through making” to create equitable futures,”

says Jenn Roberts from the MtBPNS team, whose previous hackathons in 2014 and

2018 received international media attention and led to the launch of new businesses

and products.


The hackathon coincides with the 7th annual Black Breastfeeding Week international

celebration, which recently received an official proclamation by Governor Gretchen

Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. This year’s

theme is The World Is Yours: Imagine, Innovate & Liberate! The Detroit Birth and

Breastfeeding Hackathon is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


Get registration info, agenda and more at: Family

Innovation Team members are available for interview and photo opportunities.


About BMBFA:

(BMBFA) BMBFA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in 2007 whose

mission is to reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding support for black families. A

nationally recognized leader is the field, its signature work, Black Mothers’

Breastfeeding Club (BMBFC) is nationally replicated and has run without interruption for

over 10 years. BMBFA is also creator of the Black Infant Remembrance Memorial.

Learn more at:


About Make the Breast Pump Not Suck:

Make the Breast Pump Not Suck (MtBPNS) catalyzes equity-centered innovation in

postpartum healthcare. The project began with a 2014 hackathon, where 150 designers,

developers and parents converged to create better breastpumps, nursing environments,

and support systems for breastfeeding moms. The 2018 hackathon and policy summit

expanded the scope by calling on cultural and equitable systemic change. MtBPNS also

compiled nationwide research, produced an online documentary and wrote two peerreviewed

research papers. Learn more at:


About Harambee Care:

Harambee Care’s mission is to reduce the infant mortality and morbidity rate in children

living in the Metro Detroit area by providing high quality, evidence-based interventions

and services to Medicaid eligible mothers and their infants during the prenatal period

and through the first year of life. The goal of Harambee Care is to support Medicaid

beneficiaries in promoting healthy pregnancies, positive birth outcomes and infant

health. Learn more at:


About Black Breastfeeding Week:

Now in its seventh year, Black Breastfeeding Week (August 25-31) is an annual

international awareness celebration and narrative shifting initiative for black families.

BBW has registered more than 300 community events, trends annually on social media

with more than 1M impressions and has been featured on the nationally syndicated Tom

Joyner Morning Show, and in Ebony Magazine and The Huffington Post, among others.

Learn more at:

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