Cindy Baker-Fox was named a 2023 SoCal Hospital Hero by the Healthcare Association of California for her application of advance concepts in nursing research to innovate and advance the care CHOC provides patients and families.
Cindy, who began her career at CHOC as a neonatal nurse in 1982 and now serves as a lactation specialist, has in recent years has become passionate about the role traditional Chinese medicine might play in optimizing lactation in mothers of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Despite a steep learning curve and unforeseen challenges associated with the pandemic, Cindy demonstrated an unwavering commitment to successfully lead an interdisciplinary team through a novel nurse-led study, Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine to Increase Milk Supply in NICU Mothers.
Cindy’s idea was sparked about two years ago by a lactation consultation she provided to a parent in CHOC’s NICU. A mother was determined to breast feed her baby but was having difficulty producing milk. Cindy discovered that the mother had previously used alternative treatments like acupuncture and was curious what impact this might have on breastfeeding journey.
Cindy introduced the mother to Dr. Ruth McCarty, a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine who is on staff at CHOC. Subsequently, the mother was able to produce enough milk to successfully nurse her baby.
Excited by this experience, Cindy became passionate about exploring the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine to optimize lactation in other at-risk NICU mothers. She reviewed literature and ultimately sought out resources to design and implement a formal nurse-led research study. This included seeking grant funding, completing human subjects’ protection training, and formal informed consent training.
The My SoCal Hospital Heroes Awards aim to highlight the outstanding work of hospital staff, day in and day out. The awards recognize heroes from among member hospitals in HASC’s six-county region: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura.