Thanks so much both of you-- your advice is helpful and confirms what I suspected. I will focus on selecting a message and making it apparent from the outset.
I had hoped that it wouldn't come off as a resume rehash, so do you think I should only focus on one of the issues I mentioned? I have a lot of other volunteer / service work (years of tutoring students and also inmates for awhile, leading service trips for Habitat for Humanity, my thesis was on promoting women's participation in peacebuilding) which I didn't mention because I knew it would overcrowd the statement and would be in my resume.
Any more comments would be appreciated. I will post a revised version incorporating these suggestions.
Also, you never really tell us why poor single immigrant moms don't breastfeed. This is the only thing from this PS I really wanted to know. Do posters in clinics really alter behavior? I would think hospital birthing centers would be a better place to start. Just curious.
: The reason these women were not breastfeeding was actually the main puzzle of my research. In America, Hispanic women actually have the highest rates of breastfeeding (60-70%), but for some reason these women (almost entirely Puerto Rican and 100% on Medicaid) were only breastfeeding btwn 5-10% of the time. I was an anthropology major, so that was the perspective I took. It's pretty much impossible to discern exactly why women don't breastfeed, but my qualitative and quantitative data showed a strong influence of acculturation (these women believed that to be American, you had to feed your babies formula--even though almost no women use formula in PR). There were also issues of the "sexualization" of the breast here; many of their male partners were not supportive because of how it might look BFing in public. There is also the influence of formula companies, which target hospitals (particularly in low income areas) and provide mothers with a free "gift" of formula in the beginning. It is very difficult to get a baby to breastfeed once you have started using formula--which usually costs around $1500 a year.
As for our intervention, there was a statistically significant increase in women's positive feelings towards breastfeeding. While rates of BFing rose, it was not to a significant level. However, I did find a very strong significance with the women who did choose to breastfeed doing it for longer (previously, the women who BF would do it for two or three days, but after the intervention many then continued for a month or more, a positive change- although 6 months is generally considered the optimal amount of time to BF). To me, this seemed indicative of the fact that increased education for those women inclined to breastfeed did alter their behavior in a positive way.
While posters were a part of the intervention, we also played educational DVDS (in Spanish) in the waiting area, the doctor spoke with each woman personally and provided literature (in Spanish) about the benefits of breastfeeding, and we created a breastfeeding support group that met weekly to help women with any problems they encountered. This women's clinic was an ideal place because women came here for their prenatal care, rather than just to birth the baby, and then they returned for a 6-week check up (where we were able to gauge how long they had actually breastfed).
Sorry-- super long answer, I've been working on this for three years though, so I can't help but talk about it. If you were curious, I hope this answered your question!