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Traveling FromNew York, USA
Kimberly Seals Allers is an award-winning journalist, author, international speaker, strategist, and advocate for maternal and infant health. A former senior editor at Essence and writer at Fortune magazine, Kimberly is a leading voice on the sociocultural and racial complexities of birth, breastfeeding, and motherhood. She is the director of the Maternal and Child Health Communication Collective, a national initiative to shift the narrative of maternal and infant health issues, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Kimberly was recently named one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” for 2018 by Women’s eNews for her media advocacy work. A frequent contributor to The New York Times and Washington Post, HuffPost, Slate and others, her online commentaries received over 10 million page views last year. Kimberly’s fifth book, The Big Let Down—How Medicine, Big Business and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding was published by St. Martin’s Press in January 2017.
As a consultant, Kimberly provides strategic communication services to corporations with an interest in mothers and babies as well as hospitals, non-profits, and other public health-related organizations, with expertise in engaging communities of color.
For over seven years, she has created and directed innovative community-based projects in New Orleans, Birmingham, Detroit and Philadelphia that explore the impact of “first food deserts”—communities that severely lack accessible resources to support mothers who choose to breastfeed—and designed community-partnered strategies to transform these areas into more breastfeeding supportive environments.
Kimberly serves on the advisory board of MIT’s “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” Hackathon and of 1000 Days, a non-profit focused on early nutrition founded by Hillary Clinton. In 2018, she founded Narrative Nation, a non-profit that creates community-centered media and technology to eradicate health disparities.
Kimberly is also the author of The Mocha Manual series of books, published by HarperCollins and founder of MochaManual.com, an award-winning pregnancy and parenting destination for African Americans. Her first book, The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy was nominated for a NAACP Image Award and turned into a DVD sold at Wal-mart. The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profit and The Mocha Manual to Military Life round out the top-selling series.
Kimberly has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Anderson Cooper, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Fox News and has been featured in various international and national media outlets, including The Guardian (U.K.), U.S. News & World Report, Essence, Pregnancy and in various online media.
Kimberly is a graduate of New York University and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. A divorced mother of two, she lives in Queens, NY with her children.
Putting an End to THE BIG LETDOWN
Based on Seals Allers’ top-selling and groundbreaking book, the presentation identifies and explains the social, cultural and economic forces at work manipulating decisions about breastfeeding. The talk examines the role of science and scientific protocols, medicine, commercial interests, feminist ideals, and other “actors”, in shaping infant feeding decision-making and what can be done to level the playing field. Allers also pushes for more structural support for breastfeeding mothers, improved communication and messaging from the lactation community and a call to action by physicians and other health professionals while creating a blueprint for changing social acceptance of breastfeeding as the biological norm.
No Mother Left Behind: Reducing Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding Rates
Despite some improvements, lingering racial disparities still exist, particularly at the six-month and 12-month exclusivity milestones. This presentation identifies five key cultural and structural barriers to breastfeeding for the African American community as well as eight strategies for overcoming barriers, engaging with community and communicating effectively with African American women and men. Attendees will be able to better understand how current breastfeeding messaging and protocols may be disconnected from the lived experience of African American women and will understand strategies for developing more culturally appropriate messaging.
Place Matters: Unleashing the Power of Community to Shift Cultural Norms in Breastfeeding
Drawing on the 3-year, W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded pilot project in Detroit and Philadelphia, this presentation walks through the role and process of community assessment and engagement in increasing breastfeeding rates, shares qualitative results of the project and identifies key takeaways for the field in centering community in breastfeeding interventions.
Shifting the Narrative: Rewriting the “Story” of Birth and Breastfeeding to Improve Outcomes
When it coming to eradicating health disparities, how we communicate matters. From critical conversations on the role of structural racism in health outcomes to understanding the cultural nuances of language in various communities, how we talk about health impacts outcomes. Leveraging decades of experience as a journalist and communication strategist and eight years of on-the-ground work in the Southeast, Philadelphia, and Detroit directing maternal and child health-related programs and conducting community-partnered participatory research, this presentation leverages lessons learned in the field to create a blueprint for more impactful health promotion. It walks through common missteps of breastfeeding promotion, identified communication tools, and storytelling techniques and identifies strategies for building a new framework for talking about birth and breastfeeding.
Shift Strategies Consulting
Kimberly works directly with organizations to develop high-impact community
engagement and communication campaigns. Drawing on decades of media expertise and over six years of on-the-ground community insights, Kimberly uniquely understands how to create messaging and communication initiatives that connect.
She has led innovative community-based projects in New Orleans, Birmingham, Detroit, and Philadelphia that assessed the impact of “first food deserts” — communities that severely lack accessible resources to support mothers who choose to breastfeed — and developed community-partnered strategies to transform these areas into more breastfeeding supportive environments.
Kimberly also provides strategic communication and messaging services to hospitals, nonprofits and other public health-related organizations looking to more effectively engage communities of color.
Kimberly is passionate about shifting organizational and professional industry culture by offering motivational and informative keynotes and workshops full of fresh insights on the social and cultural influences on the landscape of maternal and infant health.
From systemic barriers and cultural nuances to developing specific messaging custom designed for your organization, Kimberly’s keynotes and workshops connect and inspire.
- “Best speaker of the day. First true disparities with solutions discussed today. Moved me to tears.” Attendee California Breastfeeding Summit Pre-Conference
- “I would love to hear Kim again. She is a wonderful educator to help us (health professionals) to better understand culture.” Attendee California Breastfeeding Summit Pre-Conference
- “Excellent presenter! Very powerful, insightful, gentle, humorous, and sent out a service of hope and possibilities.” Attendee California Breastfeeding Summit Pre-Conference
- “We were extremely fortunate to host Ms. Kimberly Seals Allers as our special invited guest speaker at La Salle’s MPH Awards Ceremony in 2014. Ms. Seals Allers inspired our graduates, alumni, community members, and dignitaries as she thoughtfully and passionately addressed disparities in health and wellness in urban communities and called on us to “not confuse someone’s circumstances” with their character.” Holly Harner, PhD, MBA, MPH, CRNP, WHCNP-BC Assistant Professor and Chair, Department of Urban Public Health and Nutrition, La Salle University
- “Kimberly is one of the most powerful keynote speakers we have ever contracted. Her presentation was eye-opening, engaging, and sincere. I have never seen such overall approval and admiration from the crowd as I did after Kimberly's keynote. I would be surprised if there was a dry eye in the audience and anyone left seated when it was over.” John Rabold, CMP EventGlide, Maternal and Child Health Conference
- “We could not be happier with the content and clarity, Ms. Seals Allers provided to our Pre-Conference and Summit attendees. Kimberly spoke from her experiences, sharing her truth, passion, and wisdom. Kimberly Seals Allers is a staunch advocate and phenomenal breastfeeding expert, who captivates audiences. We definitely look forward to future collaborations with Ms. Seals Allers and continued support as we work to breakdown breastfeeding inequities in California, one community at a time.” Executive Board California Breastfeeding Coalition