Sharing Health Education & Awareness

A number of social and economic barriers contribute to the breastfeeding gap between Black women and other women in Mississippi (and the United States). Through the SHEA (Sharing Health Education & Awareness Campaign) we sought to support education and advocacy efforts to improve the health of Black mothers, babies, and families on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The poverty rate among Black families in Jackson, Hancock, and Harrison Counties is between two and 10 points higher than the state rate and between two and three times the national poverty rate. Among Black women who are the heads of household, the poverty rates are even higher–ranging between 34 percent and 49 percent. And there’s more.

While the state unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, the unemployment rate for Black Mississippians in these coastal counties is between 12 and 15 percent. When coupled with the current poverty statistics, these numbers paint a grim picture for Black women who need increased access to health care (especially with Mississippi’s decision not to expand Medicaid) and healthy workplaces.

Fortunately, the picture is still being painted, and through our work with the Mississippi Public Health Institute, we developed a campaign that opens the aperture on Black women and families, shedding more light on the fullness of their lived experience, including the trials and the triumphs.


We used qualitative, focus group research to better understand the knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors of Black women while exploring their lived experiences through the collection of rich, phenomenological data. Although a majority of women we spoke with were able to identify at least one of the benefits of breastfeeding, many of the women had a hard time identifying even one example of a Black mother they had observed breastfeeding.

These women also expressed a need for more support from members of their family, their partners or spouse, peers, employers, and other members of their community to start and continue breastfeeding. All of this information led us to develop a brand that focused on connection, sharing, and togetherness that centers the health needs of Black women and babies in the Black community.

Services Provided

Project Management
Market Research – Focus Groups
Market Research – Online Polling
Communications Strategy
Graphic Design
Website Design and Development
Social Media Management
Media Planning and Placement
Public Relations
Community Engagement
Experiential Marketing
Email Marketing
Video Production


With a limited budget in a fragmented media market, we had to identify an approach that would help us rapidly build awareness, familiarity, and credibility for the campaign. So in addition to running outdoor, targeted digital advertising, and radio ads, we partnered with local organizations, including Head Start programs and community health centers, to conduct a two-week series of live events where trained brand ambassadors spoke directly with Black women about the benefits of breastfeeding and tobacco cessation.

During these events, women were also invited to take and print selfies, professional headshots, and candid photos–some of which we have included in ongoing campaign advertisements to further increase the campaign’s local connection by showing Black women from the Mississippi Gulf Coast.