LANSING — State Rep. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) said she was honored to speak at the National Black Nurses Association conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. Geiss noted the significance of the event taking place during Black History Month and mentioned her grandmother, who was the head nurse in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y.

“Nurses are on the front lines of our health care system, and I have tremendous respect for the vital, demanding job they do each and every day,” Geiss said. “It was an honor to speak to this group of dedicated professionals about legislation that will have a positive, even life-saving, impact for the most vulnerable patients: newborns and infants.”

In her previous term, Geiss introduced a package of bills to codify practices surrounding breast milk donation and properly regulating commercial and nonprofit breast milk banks. Recent guidance from the previous U.S. surgeon general and such medical groups as the American Academy of Pediatrics and The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, urge increased access to human milk for at-risk infants, and scholarly evidence shows that donor milk can reduce instances of complications that lead to infant mortality. Geiss plans to reintroduce the bills in the current legislative session.

“Some areas of Michigan, urban and rural, have infant mortality rates that are double or even triple the national average. We should be doing everything possible to improve outcomes for newborns in neonatal care,” Geiss said. “My legislation will do just that, and I will continue fighting to see it passed into law.”