Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia has obtained accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR) for its Nuclear Medicine and CT Imaging services.

The hospital also announced that it received recognition as a Baby-Friendly birth facility following a two-day onsite visit from the World Health Organization (WHO) and representatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It is now one of only nine Baby-Friendly hospitals in Los Angeles County.

In order to gain accreditation from ACR, Henry Mayo had to change its policies and procedures and develop new protocols for peer review. ACR reviews the imaging quality produced from the hospital’s equipment along with the credentials of its staff and physicians. In addition, physicians and technologists must meet continuing education and experience requirements.

“Our accreditations are documenting the proof that we are offering superior imaging capabilities,” Connie Hage, director of cardiology and imaging services, said in a statement. “It takes a great deal of quality imaging, document adjustments and staff time to achieve these awards.”

The Baby-Friendly initiative goes back to 2006 when Henry Mayo set out to raise the number of women who breastfeed upon leaving the hospital. Breastfeeding has numerous benefits for both mother and child, including lower rates of ovarian and breast cancer for the mother. Hospital officials also noted that breastfed children have lower rates of childhood cancer and diabetes and are less likely to be obese.

Since 2006, the hospital has increased the number of women who initiate breastfeeding in the hospital to 96 percent from 89 percent; 76 percent of new mothers were exclusively breastfeeding at discharge, up from 48 percent in 2006.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the WHO and UNICEF. The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Only 121 U.S. hospitals have launched the initiative with California leading the way. Fifteen percent of California hospitals have the Baby-Friendly designation, compared to the national average of 5%.