Mena Regional Health System Opens UAMS Milk Bank Depot

By Andrew Vogler

The Mena Milk Depot is a designated space for women to donate milk, which will be sent to the UAMS Milk Bank for screening, pasteurization and nutritional analysis. After processing, milk will be sent to hospitals throughout Arkansas.

“Our team at Mena Regional Health System is excited to partner with the UAMS Milk Bank in support of women and infants in our area,” said Amber Williams, RN, clinical director of Women Services for Mena Regional Health System. “We are proud to be the first milk bank donation point in our region, providing a critical service for our community. Our new milk depot will not only nourish infants but also foster a culture of support and care, where every drop symbolizes a shared commitment to the well-being of our community’s youngest members.”

The Mena Milk Depot is in the Women’s Center at the Mena Regional Health System building, located at 311 N. Morrow St., Mena, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If making donations after 5 p.m. or on the weekends, please enter through the hospital’s main entrance. For more information or to schedule a drop off, please call 479-394-6100, ext. 2409 or 6401.

The first facility of its kind in Arkansas, the UAMS Milk Bank helps ensure a ready supply of donor milk for sick and vulnerable infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) around the state, shortening the time it takes for regional hospitals to receive critical milk supplies and improving outcomes for babies.

“We are very excited to be able to partner with the folks at Mena Regional to open a Milk Bank Depot in the area — this builds very important connections between UAMS and the Mena community to support breastfeeding mothers and make donation to the milk bank easier,” said Misty L. Virmani, M.D., executive medical director of the UAMS Milk Bank, associate professor of pediatrics and neonatology and director of breastfeeding medicine at UAMS.

“We hope this partnership shows the community and partners in health care all around the state how important breastfeeding is to the health and well-being of both mothers and infants,” she added. “Supporting breastfeeding women helps reduce the burden of maternal and infant mortality in our state and creates a foundation for a healthier Arkansas. We hope that we can continue to build on this relationship in the future to continue to improve breastfeeding support and help all new mothers meet their breastfeeding goals.”

Previously, Arkansas hospitals relied on donor milk purchased from milk banks in Texas, Michigan, Illinois and Oklahoma, costing more than $1 million a year. In 2021, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 225 establishing the creation of the milk bank and a special fund to help support the bank.

For information about how to donate milk to the UAMS Milk Bank, please visit uamshealth.com/uams-milk-bank. To contact the Milk Bank, please call 501-686-5355 or email milkbank@uams.edu.

Mena Regional hospital, a full-service health system providing inpatient and outpatient services since 1936. Offering a dynamic healthcare team that specializes in individualized patient-centric care. Mena Regional Health System offers a diverse complement of inpatient and outpatient services to the communities of Polk County, Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Inpatient services include; acute care medical/surgical services, a six bed ICU, labor and delivery, a 12 bed geriatric psychiatry unit (Mena Senior Behavioral Health Center) and a 12 bed acute care physical rehabilitation unit (Mena Rehabilitation Center). Outpatient services include; Ouachita Rehabilitation Center, dermatology, cardiology, ophthalmology and urology clinics. Mena Regional Health System is accredited by the Arkansas State Department of Health and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.

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