Election Results: Mudiwah Kadeshe to Join Board of Directors, Bylaws Changes

Copy of Journal of Human Lactation (2)The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mudiwah A. Kadeshe has been elected by the ILCA membership to the Board of Directors. Her three-year term will commence July 2015. We look forward to working with her to continue ILCA’s mission: to advance the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.

Mudiwah A. Kadeshe

Mudiwah A. Kadeshe

She comes to us with more than 25 years of experience in women’s health nursing. Informed by her own birth experiences, she entered the profession wanting to support women in their birthing choices and became a certified childbirth educator and an IBCLC to increase her ability to reach families.

After having established and directed a lactation resource center at a tertiary care medical system hospital that facilitated more than 3000 deliveries per year, she currently is a community based lactation consultant in one of the most poverty stricken wards in Washington, DC and oversees the peer counselor services through the Children’s National East of the River Lactation Support Center. She is currently the Vice President, Program Manager, and lead facilitator for grant-based projects for DC Breastfeeding Coalition.

We are proud to have Mudiwah Kadeshe join the ILCA Board of Directors.

Additionally, ILCA is pleased to announce that all three bylaw changes were APPROVED. The bylaws changes that were ratified took effect as of 10 May 2015.

A second 2015 ILCA voting process will entail the ILCA membership ratifying the other board positions already voted on by the ILCA Board of Directors: ILCA’s incoming President (2016-2018) and the continuation of the Director of Research for an additional three year term. Look for additional information soon.

The ILCA Board would like to thank each of you for your continued support. To find out more, please visit our website at www.ilca.org.

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Lactation Equity Action Seminar: Breaking Down Barriers to the IBCLC Profession

Copy of Journal of Human Lactation

Removing barriers to the IBCLC profession is critical to the mission of International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®): advancing the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) profession worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.

ILCA is an active participant in the Lactation Consultant Equity Initiative, and we are honored to provide the space and other support for this year’s event, to be held immediately before this year’s ILCA conference. (Please note that registration for the event is separate from conference registration. See the link below for event registration.)

Lactation Equity Action Seminar: Breaking Down Barriers to the IBCLC Profession

Tuesday, 21 July 2015 in Washington, DC, USA

A half day event designed to address the cultural and classist barriers to the IBCLC profession. This interactive seminar will be led by author and breastfeeding advocate Kathi Barber, BS, CLEC and Clifton Kenon Jr., DNP, RN, IBCLC. An application for CERPs has been submitted.

At the 2014 Lactation Summit, participants shared many barriers to the profession (Learn more here). There is still much listening to be done to fully identify the range of barriers that exist around the world. The Lactation Equity Action Seminar is an opportunity for participants to:

  • Learn more about the cultural and classist barriers that contribute to the existence of inequities in the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) profession.
  • Identify and organize around strategies to expand opportunities for social groups disproportionately facing barriers to entry into the IBCLC profession.
  • Enumerate action steps taken by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®), the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®), and the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC) in response to the Lactation Equity Summit of 2014.

Considering the discussion at last year’s Summit, the Lactation Consultant Equity Initiative recognizes that the barriers faced may vary significantly depending on geographic location, education level, gender identity/expression and socioeconomic status. Because we recognize that the fact that this seminar is being held in the United States in the English language is a barrier in itself, we are working to lessen this barrier in the future. Our speakers have a wealth of knowledge and experience; they have been asked to address issues facing lactation consultants globally in addition to those faced in the United States.

This event continues the exploration begun at the 2014 Lactation Summit. It is one of several opportunities to help broaden the discussion through various means to the widest possible audience, including those not present at the seminar. Since 2014, there have been significant changes made within our profession. You will hear about these changes and have the opportunity to make further recommendations. We look forward to collaborating with all of you in creating a truly equitable and global lactation profession.

Who: Anyone interested in addressing barriers to the IBCLC profession is invited to attend the seminar.

What: Lactation Equity Action Seminar

When: Tuesday, 21 July 2015

12:30-1:00p: Registration
1:00-1:15p: Welcome/Introduction of Keynote Speaker
1:15-2:15p: Keynote Presentation
2:15-2:30p: Progress Made Since 2014 Lactation Summit
2:30-2:45p: Break
2:45-4:15: Interactive Workshop
4:15-5:00: Closing Remarks

Where: Washington Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Park Road NW, Washington, D.C., USA

How to register: The seminar is free of charge. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Please register here

This event is hosted by the Lactation Consultant Equity Initiative, with support and in-kind donations provided by IBCLCE, ILCA, LEAARC, and Health e-Learning. Learn more about the Lactation Equity Action Initiative here.

Register Now Equity Button

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Celebrate International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day with Us!

Copy of Journal of Human Lactation (1)We are excited to once again celebrate along with you International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day on 15 May 2015. Now in its fourth year, the day was established to raise awareness and educate families about the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, also known as Kangaroo Care, in the early days and weeks.

As International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLC®), we regularly encourage the families we work with to hold their babies to their chests with skin touching, we advocate for policy changes in hospitals, and we educate the public about this important practice. It is no secret to the families we serve that this practice positively impacts their infants with comfort and calm.

As lactation consultants, most of us are well-versed in the importance of keeping babies skin to skin with their mothers. We are grateful to have had Dr. Nils Bergman, a leading researcher on Kangaroo Care and skin-to-skin contact, as a featured speaker at past ILCA Conferences. Recently, he was featured on a podcast with Marie Biancuzzo, in honor of International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day. In the podcast, he discusses how kangaroo care impacts families, especially in regard to bonding after birth. He advises that this should be standard care for all infants. We encourage our readers to listen to the podcast to hear about the latest research and clinical insights.

Screenshot 2015-05-12 09.44.27

Photo used with permission from NuRoo.

For more information about Kangaroo Care and skin-to-skin contact, we encourage you to review this Chochrane Review titled Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants.

We encourage you, on 15 May, in celebration of International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, to take a few moments to read a new article, engage in conversation with a new health care provider, and encourage more families to keep their baby right on their chest, right where they belong.

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#ILCA15: Introducing CMEs and Expanding Our Continuing Education Opportunities

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*** Don’t forget: early bird deadline is 15 May! ***

You’ve told us that the continuing education opportunities are the PRIMARY reason you attend our annual conferences. Each year, we provide a wide variety of high quality, evidence-based presentations for you to learn new clinical techniques, absorb fresh methods of communicating, and prepare you for embracing new ways of thinking.

This year, in addition to providing 22.5 CERPS, we have also applied for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits. This is exciting news, because it will, once again, allow us to greatly expand our reach and provide education to a wider variety of health care providers – those who are impacting the experiences of breastfeeding families all over the world! Now,  physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and midwives can also receive their much needed continuing education at our annual conference.

Please help us share evidence-based information about breastfeeding with these critical audiences – please invite them to #ILCA15!

To learn more about the 2015 ILCA conference or to register, click the register now button: 

RegisterNow

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Addressing Inequity: An Interview with Cathy Carothers

Copy of Journal of Human LactationHere at Lactation Matters and on ILCA’s social media, we have received many questions about last year’s Lactation Summit and the ongoing efforts to remove barriers to the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) profession. We asked Cathy Carothers, BLA, IBCLC, FILCA, the current chair of the Lactation Consultant Equity Initiative, to catch us up on where the initiative has been and what to expect next.

Lactation Matters (LM): Last year’s Summit resulted in a powerful report highlighting some of the barriers to the IBCLC profession experienced by people around the globe. What feedback have you received from that report?

Cathy Carothers (CC): We are VERY excited and gratified by the incredible interest that has been generated as a result of the 2014 Lactation Summit. First of all, we were thrilled over the fantastic attendance, the enthusiasm, and the passion that people brought to the event, and the genuine care and concern by individuals and organizations that are committed to making the profession more accessible. As the Summary Report shows, there are definitely MANY barriers to address, and these barriers result in inequities that make it challenging, if not impossible, for many to access the lactation consultant profession. There is also still much to learn, especially in countries where English is not spoken. While it sometimes feels a little overwhelming to think about how big the needs are, we are, nonetheless very encouraged by the strong interest, and are confident that we WILL find solutions when we work together.

LM: As the result of that feedback,  I understand a much different kind of event is happening this July. Can you tell us a bit about it?

CC: Sure. One of the recommendations from the 2014 Summit articulated in the Summary Report was the profound need for training for members of our profession. This is indeed a journey and a process, and most of us are all at very different places along that path. The former summit design team felt strongly that the next step in this continuing process of discovery and action was to host a seminar to better inform members of the profession about the nature of inequity and how individuals can serve as change agents within their organizations and communities.

We asked a subgroup, exclusively comprised of members of underrepresented communities, to identify goals, speakers, and plans for this event. This subgroup has done an outstanding job identifying key learning needs and a plan for the day to move this work forward. The seminar is free, to enable as many as possible to participate within the limits of the space we have. We are also exploring recording the day to make access to the sessions available after the event for those unable to travel to D.C. The seminar is one continuing step in a larger process that will continue the listening and action planning. For example, the group is addressing other methods, beyond the seminar, to engage the larger global community, such as web-based listening and interactive sessions in the native languages of listeners.

LM: I know the original design team formed to plan the Summit has evolved to respond to what was learned in that report. Can you tell me how that group has changed?

CC: The original 2014 Lactation Summit was hosted jointly by three organizations – International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®), International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®), and Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC). A design team comprised of representatives from several racial/ethnic groups and countries was formed to plan and execute an event that would facilitate listening and learn the breadth of issues impacting access to the profession.

We learned a lot! The Summit showed us that the magnitude of this work exceeds what can be accomplished by a single event or by any one organization. The needs are great. And the work is big and complex. So what began as a single event has now evolved into a much broader initiative, requiring many more individuals and organizations who are willing to work collaboratively to creatively address barriers. Some of the identified barriers can only be addressed by one or more of these three organizations. Many other barriers will best be addressed through the collaborative work of many individuals and organizations that can bring resources, solutions, and ideas to bear. For example, addressing the issue of lack of jobs for IBCLCs cannot be handled by a single organization. This will truly require a collective approach and many different strategies based on country and potential job settings!

We are SO thankful for the vision of the three original host organizations that set the stage for this important work to begin and provided seed resources to launch it. As a result, each has begun internal conversations to consider the recommendations of the Summary Report. Some changes are already underway! The three organizations are also working as important collaborative partners in the restructured Lactation Equity Action Team to explore how we can collectively address these larger issues facing the profession. The team is also exploring ways to equip individual lactation consultants to become change agents within their communities.

I am truly excited about the continuing evolution of this important coalition! The 30th anniversary celebration of the profession is rapidly approaching. There’s no better time to celebrate our past and to work toward a future that includes our full cultural and geographic diversity! Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

LM: If someone wanted to get involved in the Lactation Equity Action Team, how would they do so? What sort of help is needed right now?

CC: We welcome anyone who would like to participate! There is clearly much work to do, and we would welcome those who wish to contribute their time and ideas. The Lactation Equity Action Team is examining a process to assure that the coalition includes a just and effective proportion of global and racial/ethnic perspectives. There are many opportunities to get involved for anyone who is interested.

  • Learn about the issues! The ILCA website Lactation Consultant Equity page has numerous opportunities to learn more. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to access the Suggested Reading List to read some outstanding articles about how inequities come about and can be addressed. Also, be sure to check out the February 2015 “Equity in Breastfeeding” issue of the Journal of Human Lactation, which has several outstanding articles about equity in our field. Then, use what you are learning to begin a systematic process of analyzing how institutional privilege and oppression manifests itself in your own organizations and develop and implement a strategic plan to rebuild the structure, based on your findings.¹
  • Stay informed and keep US informed! If you’d like to be on a mailing list to receive ongoing information about the lactation equity initiative, let us know! We also want to hear from YOU if you have suggestions about solutions that will address the many identified barriers.
  • Attend the Equity Action Seminar. Join us in Washington, D.C. on 21 July 2o15 for the Equity Action Seminar. If you are not able to come to Washington, D.C., check out a recording that will be made available free of charge. Pass the information along to other lactation consultants in your community, and consider implementing action steps within your hospital or organization to address issues of equity within your own community.
  • Contribute. Consider making a monetary donation to Monetary Investment for Lactation Consultant Certification (MILCC) (click here to visit MILCC). This nonprofit organization provides scholarships for IBCLC exam fees for those who are simply unable to pay the costs. Spread the word both to those who are seeking financial assistance, as well as those who are in a position to contribute. It’s a wonderful way to make a tangible difference in reducing the cost barrier.
  • Volunteer. There will be many opportunities for volunteers to participate. For instance, we will be looking for individuals who would like to work with small groups to address potential solutions for the identified barriers. Also, if you live in a country where English is not the primary language, we are considering a process to engage ideas to enhance our understanding of the issues of access. Let us know if you would be willing to convene a web meeting in your country to identify additional barriers and potential solutions.
  • Share your ideas. Use this blog or go to our online feedback form to share your ideas and thoughts about next steps and what you would be willing to work on.

LM: Where do you expect the newly formed group to go from here?

CC: Forward! The process is continuing to unfold and evolve with each passing month as we learn more about the issues and the needs. There is still much to learn and much work to do in addressing the identified barriers. We want our efforts to result in a measurable improvement in areas identified as needing change. We’ll be identifying broader goals for the initiative, conducting strategy planning, and identifying the collaborative process that will enable this work to grow.

¹ Good-Mojab C. Pandora’s box is already open: answering the ongoing call to dismantle institutional oppression in the field of breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 2015;31(1):32-35.

Cathy Carothers, BLA, IBCLC, FILCA is Co-Founder and Co-Director of Every Mother, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing counseling and lactation training and resources for health professionals and the families they serve. She is also the current chair of the Lactation Consultant Equity Initiative.

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#ILCA15: Announcing Private Screening of MILK by Noemi Weis

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We are thrilled to announce that the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) will offer a private screening of the ground-breaking documentary, MILK, at our annual conference this July in Washington, DC. JOIN US after our Founder’s Reception (22 July 2015, 8:30pm) to view this wonderful film and participate in a Q&A with its director, Noemi Weis. An additional screening will be held on Friday, 24 July at 3:00pm.

The film, which debuted just a week ago at the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival and has also been officially selected to the Madrid International
Film Festival with two nominations, one for Best Director and one for Best Editing. It is quickly gaining buzz as THE breastfeeding documentary to see.

The film’s website states, “Through an intimate and artistic lens, MILK brings a universal perspective on the politics, commercialization and controversies surrounding birth and infant feeding over the canvas of stunningly beautiful visuals and poignant voices from around the globe. Inspiring, informative, provocative and sensitive, MILK celebrates bringing a new life into this world with a strong call to action and reflection.” We caught up with Noemi Weis to find out a bit about her film and why the audience at ILCA will be an important one:

What inspired you to make this film?

Having worked on a variety of social issues and human rights films for many years, this time, I decided to go back to the roots of Mother Nature and explore what happens when we receive a new life into this world.

The more I heard women’s stories, the more I knew that this was a documentary that needed to be made. I was compelled to hear that advocates from around the world, who have been working on protecting women for decades, were still battling on communicating truths on issues surrounding malnutrition and infant mortality. Even more surprisingly, was to learn how little awareness there is about infant nutrition in emergency and disaster response in many areas around the globe.

 As I talked to mothers from different countries, I realized that the problems and challenges they faced were similar, no matter what country, what culture or what language they spoke. They were all talking about the same issues, united by a strong feeling of motherhood that clearly had no borders.

 I decided then, that I would embark on a world journey and offer a platform that would unite these voices. I went where the story took me, without limitations, traveling to eleven countries and casting the strongest and most passionate women, as well as the most vulnerable and ignored.

 I embarked on the mission with the hope to ignite a conversation, bring awareness and influence change within governments, industry, health workers and anyone dealing with the mother and child in order to help future generations of children live healthier lives.

Why does showing this film to ILCA members especially excite you?

I am very pleased to be able to share the film with ILCA members, as I think that MILK will offer them a platform to increase awareness to the importance of breastfeeding through the voices of the mothers themselves.

What do you hope ILCA members will do with what they’ve learned after viewing MILK?

MILK offers reflection and ignites conversation. I am hoping that by uniting people from around the world in the universal topics of motherhood, birth and life, together, we will create the much-needed change to offer new lives bright and healthy futures.

 As we unite to increase awareness, I would like ILCA members to bring MILK to their communities. I know that together, we can make a difference.

 

ILCA is proud to partner with MILK as we believe that the message of the film aligns closely with our vision of “World health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care.” We will be providing additional information at the screening for those who would like to share this film in their own communities.

To learn more about this film, visit the website at www.milkhood.com. Also, make sure you check out their Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram profile for the latest information about this documentary.

Pre-registration for MILK is not required; however, the private screenings will be open to conference attendees only.

No CERPs will be offered for these sessions.

To learn more about the 2015 ILCA conference or to register, click the register now button: 

RegisterNow

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Gathering More Voices: The Other Perspectives Crossing Cultural and Geographic Lines Panel at the 2014 Lactation Summit

Cross-Cultural PanelThe 2014 Lactation Summit was designed to listen and learn from the missing voices of the profession so that strategies for dismantling institutional oppression within the profession can be developed.

Much was learned from the 2014 Summit, but there is still listening to be done. Over the next few weeks, Lactation Matters will be breaking out the Summit findings from each community that spoke at the Summit. Our goal is two-fold: to shine a brighter light on the concerns raised in each session, and to solicit other voices who were not present at the Summit.

The 2014 Summit was the result of a year-long planning effort by a 22-member design team made up of diverse representatives from seven countries of the world. It was hosted jointly by International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®), International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®), and Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC).

The design team recommended a structure to hear from 26 individuals representing the following categories:

  • African Americans in the U.S.
  • Hispanics in the U.S.
  • Native Americans in the U.S.
  • North and South America
  • Asia Pacific
  • Russia and Europe
  • Communities that cross geographic and ethnic lines (males, lay breastfeeding support groups, those working in remote regions of the world, and the LGBTQI community)

While there are specific barriers unique to various racial, ethnic, geographic, and other groups, several general themes emerged that were common to many of the groups. These findings will help guide future discussions and action plans needed to dismantle institutional oppression.

The following is a summary of the assessments made by individuals representing the panel on Other Perspectives Crossing Cultural and Geographic Lines. Read our other posts on the assessments made by individuals representing the panels on African Americans in the U.S., Native Americans in the U.S., Hispanics in the U.S., North and South America, Asia Pacific, and Europe and Russia. To access information on all of the panels presented, read a complete summary of the report here.

In future posts, we will be highlighting the assessments made by other communities in the order they were presented in the Summary Report.

We hope that, after reading, you will consider sharing your comments, ideas, and suggested solutions. Please click here to offer your input.

Other Perspectives Crossing Cultural and Geographic Lines

A general panel addressed other important perspectives that are not unique to particular cultural, racial, and ethnic groups or countries/regions of the world.

LGBTQI Community
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex (LGBTQI) community is present in all communities of the world. However, acceptance is far from universal and affects how “out” or visible LGBTQI people can be. Non-acceptance such as social stigma and the lack of recognition, legal rights and protection, etc. can lead people to hide their sexual orientation (and relationship or family make-up) and/or their gender identity, due to fear of repercussions, including violence.

The diverse members of the LGBTQI community may have intersectional identities, so they will suffer discrimination in different and layered ways. For example, gay and lesbian members of the community may suffer less discrimination than transgender and bisexual individuals. LGBTQI people of color face complex layers of discrimination. Transgender people of color have been described in the literature as the most oppressed group in the United States.

Legislation still restricts activities of LGBTQI people worldwide. For example, one U.S. state (Arizona) recently proposed legislation that, if passed, would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve people from the LGBTQI community. Rampant discrimination, often under the guise of religious beliefs, has resulted in high stress levels, higher rates of breast and ovarian cancer, substandard health care, and refusal to be provided health care. Many families report they do not want to receive lactation care from a LGBTQI provider. Lack of knowledge among members of the profession about the needs and issues of the LGBTQI community are a confounding factor, making it more difficult to provide mentorship opportunities. Lactation texts and exam preparation materials barely acknowledge the existence of LGBTQI people.

Lay Breastfeeding Support Counselors
Although the lactation profession had its earliest beginnings in the lay breastfeeding support movement, the profession has taken on more clinical approaches through the years. Individuals representing the lay breastfeeding support field identified difficulties for peer support counselors to access mentors and afford clinical education opportunities. Several reported that the U.S. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which supports a robust peer support program nationwide, does not encourage advancement of peer counselors to IBCLC positions, and many local WIC agencies do not provide positions or funding for peer counselors who become IBCLCs. Many also reported that they do not feel “wanted” by the lactation profession. They desperately seek recognition and support.

Remote Regions of the World
Many aspiring lactation consultants live in remote regions of the world and find it extremely challenging to access education, clinical experience, and resources. Transportation can be challenging and costly. Lack of community resources often means that few IBCLCs are available.

Male Lactation Consultants
Men comprise an extremely small proportion of the total numbers of IBCLCs worldwide. Major barriers include lack of acceptance among primarily female supervisors and directors, lack of male-friendly environments in health clinics and hospitals, and a feeling that males are not welcomed in the mostly female lactation consultant profession. For example, most lay breastfeeding support organizations completely exclude males. Even when infants are born, health providers tend to ignore the father, focusing most of the care and attention to the mother. The sense of feeling “invisible” causes many men to feel the lactation consultant profession is not for them.

We welcome your comments, ideas, and suggested solutions. Please click here to offer your input.

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Gathering More Voices: The Europe and Russia Panel at the 2014 Lactation Summit

Europe PanelThe 2014 Lactation Summit was designed to listen and learn from the missing voices of the profession so that strategies for dismantling institutional oppression within the profession can be developed.

Much was learned from the 2014 Summit, but there is still listening to be done. Over the next few weeks, Lactation Matters will be breaking out the Summit findings from each community that spoke at the Summit. Our goal is two-fold: to shine a brighter light on the concerns raised in each session, and to solicit other voices who were not present at the Summit.

The 2014 Summit was the result of a year-long planning effort by a 22-member design team made up of diverse representatives from seven countries of the world. It was hosted jointly by International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®), International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®), and Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC).

The design team recommended a structure to hear from 26 individuals representing the following categories:

  • African Americans in the U.S.
  • Hispanics in the U.S.
  • Native Americans in the U.S.
  • North and South America
  • Asia Pacific
  • Russia and Europe
  • Communities that cross geographic and ethnic lines (males, lay breastfeeding support groups, those working in remote regions of the world, and the LGBTQI community)

While there are specific barriers unique to various racial, ethnic, geographic, and other groups, several general themes emerged that were common to many of the groups. These findings will help guide future discussions and action plans needed to dismantle institutional oppression.

The following is a summary of the assessments made by individuals representing the panel on Europe and Russia . Read our other posts on the assessments made by individuals representing the panels on African Americans in the U.S., Native Americans in the U.S., Hispanics in the U.S., North and South America, and Asia Pacific. To access information on all of the panels presented, read a complete summary of the report here.

In future posts, we will be highlighting the assessments made by other communities in the order they were presented in the Summary Report.

We hope that, after reading, you will consider sharing your comments, ideas, and suggested solutions. Please click here to offer your input.

Europe and Russia

The panel addressing issues in Europe and Russia noted that the three lactation organizations must be committed to truly being international. The processes to establish the profession and maintain it reflect the lens of the United States, and do not play out as intended in many countries of the world. Some of the significant issues addressed include:

  • Few number of IBCLCs – creates challenges in Russia and Europe. In Russia, where there are 146 million people, there are only 10 IBCLCs. In Italy, where there are 60 million people, there are only 198 IBCLCs. In Latvia, a country of 2.1 million, there are 3 IBCLCs. In Ireland, with 4.6 million people, there are 167. When the numbers are small, it is harder to promote the profession and access appropriate education and clinical mentorship opportunities.
  • The size of Russia – with 10 time zones within the borders of the country, access to education and clinical requirements is an uphill battle for aspiring IBCLCs.
  • Few resources and training opportunities – are available in the Russian language. Currently only those who also speak English are able to take the exam as it is not yet translated into Russian or many other languages. Also, there are no educational materials in Russian; candidates must call sites with English-speaking operators to register for the exam.
  • Only 13 of the 24 official languages approved by the European Union – are listed on the IBLCE website and only some information is translated; most key documents are not. ILCA has even fewer resources available in appropriate languages. English is spoken by around 50% of the peoples in Europe. Although many Europeans speak more than one language, English may not be one of them, or their understanding may be only at VERY basic levels. This is a significant issue since key documents and resources related to the exam are not available in the languages needed.
  • Financial costs – in Russia, the dollar to ruble exchange is currently 1 to 50, where it was 1 to 33 before. That means the cost for preparing for and taking the IBCLC exam has become much less affordable. There are similar concerns in European countries, as well.
  • Eligibility requirements – have affected many prospective IBCLCs. The required coursework is not readily available as individual courses, or affordable in Europe, and many online opportunities are available only in English.
  • Access to education and training resources – in the appropriate language and at an affordable cost remains an ongoing challenge. This affects not only initial entrance to the profession, but also maintenance of the certification once it is attained. Many Europeans and Russians do not own credit cards, making it difficult to access online education such as webinars, and exchange rates can make overseas learning prohibitive, especially for Eastern Europeans. One 100-hour breastfeeding course has been developed in Russia for web-based learning to address these issues.
  • Pathways are limited in Europe. Pathway 1 is effectively limited to health care professionals due to unavailability of individual university courses and limited range of required lactation education courses. There are no Pathway 2 programs, and mentorship through Pathway 3 is limited due to lack of mentors. This effectively blocks non-health care professionals, including experienced lay breastfeeding support counselors, from accessing the exam.
  • The IBCLC is not yet a recognizable profession in Russia – There is a certain mistrust that the profession is coming from western societies with certain rules and regulations that are not appropriate to other countries.
  • Making a living as an IBCLC – is rare in Europe. Many aspiring lactation consultants question whether navigating the significant obstacles is worth the cost and effort if they cannot support themselves or their families with a job in the field.

We welcome your comments, ideas, and suggested solutions. Please click here to offer your input.

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ILCA Elections: Board of Directors, Bylaws, JHL Article of the Year

ILCALogo_full_text (2)This week, the ILCA Board of Directors presented a ballot asking ILCA voting members to vote for the following:

  • Board of Directors elections;
  • 2015 Bylaws changes; and
  • JHL Article of the year.

All IBCLC ILCA members, in good standing, should have received an email from ILCA on 9 April 2015 containing a link to the ballot. If you did not receive an email and you should have, please contact the ILCA Office at info@ilca.org (or) 1+ 919-861-5577 (or) 888-452-2478. Our ILCA staff is eager to make sure you get a ballot, so your vote can be counted.

To ensure a timely and secure election, all voting will take place through an online survey.

Prior to casting a vote, all voting ILCA members are encouraged to thoughtfully consider all information provided below. This will enable you to make an informed decision.

 Vote carefully: Once your vote is cast, it cannot be changed, repeated or cancelled.

The balloting commences 9 April 2015 and concludes 9 May 2015, at which time all electronic votes will be tallied by the ILCA staff.

Board of Director Elections

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are pleased to present the 2015 ballot for election of Directors.

This slate of candidates for the Director of Membership & Affiliate Services position was presented to the ILCA Board of Directors by the ILCA Nominating Committee. After thorough review and analysis, the slate was approved as submitted.

The Director must now be elected by a majority of ILCA voting members. (Note: ILCA Bylaw 3.4 confers voting privileges to those dues-paying ILCA members who are also IBCLC certificants.)

Please take time to review the profiles of each nominee (click here) prior to casting your vote.

The ILCA Board extends a special thanks to the Nominations Committee for their efforts on behalf of the entire membership.

2015 Bylaws Changes

The ILCA Board of Directors supports the proposed changes.

The specific changes are summarized below or can be viewed in this revised bylaws document, (click here) edited with “tracked changes,” letting you compare the old version with the new.

Changes include revisions to the ILCA board makeup, size and term limits.

  • ILCA Board Members To Be Selected By Membership Vote

Change: In the proposed bylaws, all reference to Tier 1 Partner Affiliates Board Members has been removed.

Rationale: This wording was initially added to the Bylaws to accommodate the planned restructuring of the ILCA Board of Directors incorporating Tier 1 Affiliates. This restructuring was contingent upon the adoption of new affiliate agreements, which incorporated “bundled” or common membership among ILCA and the affiliate. The joint decision by ILCA and the former Partner affiliates to abandon this strategy and to “unbundle” membership voids the previous rationale.

The bylaws as currently written state that each Partner Affiliate (defined as separate organizations with an independent Board of Directors and governance, 100% of whose members are required jointly to be members of both ILCA and the Partner) will appoint or elect one board member.

As the condition of bundled membership has been removed, this structure no longer reflects the reality of ILCA leadership. The ILCA board proposes that all positions be filled by an election of its members.

 The proposed changes do not prevent board members of other organizations from entering board elections. Candidates for election are encouraged to share their qualifications to serve, which may include their active involvement in IBCLC and breastfeeding advocacy around the globe.

 These changes allow ILCA to more accurately reflect both the current reality of its structure and the needs of members worldwide.

  •  Reduction in board size

Change: The board will have no less than three and no more than nine members.

Rationale: A smaller board is proposed for two reasons.

The provision allowing for more board members was added last year to accommodate the addition of Tier 1 Partner Affiliates. This provision is no longer applicable.

A smaller board also makes organizational sense, as smaller boards tend to have lower costs while increasing levels of participation and generating higher quality decision-making.

  • Presidential Term Limit Clarification

Change: Provisions have been added to clarify that the second term of a member selected for the position of President may be extended up to two additional years to fulfill the term of President.

Rationale: Without this provision, many experienced Board Members (those selected for a second term) would be ineligible due to term limits. This is formal recognition of the current practice.

Best JHL Article of the Year (2014)

As in years past, you are also invited to cast one vote for the Best Article appearing in the 2014 issues of the Journal of Human Lactation. Click here for a complete list of articles published in a 2014 issue of the Journal of Human Lactation. 

Please learn all you can and join the conversation!

Can I discuss this with my colleagues before I vote?

Please do! The ILCA Lactation Matters blog, and other social media venues, encourage dialogue about ILCA’s governance! Use the comments section below to ask questions or make comments.

The Balloting Process

The balloting concludes 9 May 2015, at which time all electronic votes will be tallied by the ILCA office.

Questions? Comments? Share them here!

We want to hear from you.

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#ILCA15: Exploring Washington, DC

Blog Images (2)

In just a few short months, we’ll be gathering together for the 2015 Conference and Annual Meeting for the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®). Located in Washington, DC, USA, this year’s annual conference is shaping up to be an exciting celebration of “Leadership in Lactation: 30 Years & Moving Forward.” We’ll be learning new and innovative techniques, hearing from thought leaders in our field, and reflecting on the past 30 years as we also think towards the future.

While we’ve got a jam-packed schedule of plenary sessions, workshops, concurrents, and events, we hope you’ll be able to take some time to explore our host city. Washington, DC – the capital of the United States – is full of culture, adventure, history, and progress. Here are 5 local sites you won’t want to miss!

Tai Shan

Photo by Smithsonian’s National Zoo via Flickr’s Creative Commons

Smithsonian’s National Zoo: One of the treasures of Washington, DC will be one block away from our conference hotel. As one of the oldest zoos in the United States (and with free admission!), it is now home to thousands of animals housed in exhibits such as Amazonia, the Bird House, and the Giant Panda Habitat, which is home to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, along with their “toddler” Bao Bao (you can read a bit about his weaning HERE). Check them out on the PANDA CAM!

Photo by Robert Lytle Bolton via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Robert Lyle Bolton via Flickr Creative Commons

Smithsonian Museums: In addition to the National Zoo, the Smithsonian Institution includes 17 museums in the Washington, DC area (in addition to two more in New York City, NY, USA). They include the National Portrait Gallery (including a temporary exhibit with TIME magazine covers from the 1960’s), the National Museum of American History (where you can view Julia Child’s Kitchen and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz), and the National Air and Space Museum (check out the Wright Brothers plane) – all of which have extended hours during the week of our conference. Admission to all museums is FREE and most are easily accessible by the DC Metro.

Photo by Geoff Livingston via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Geoff Livingston via Flickr Creative Commons

National Memorials and Monuments: For many visitors to Washington, DC, the memorials and monuments are “must sees.” Among the most popular are the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and Vietnam Memorial as well as the World War II Memorial. Many especially love to visit them at night as most are beautifully lit. In addition, there are a number of sightseeing tours that include on and off buses which stop at the monuments.

Photo by Photo Phiend via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Photo Phiend via Flickr Creative Commons

Washington National Cathedral: One of the largest cathedrals in the world, the Washington National Cathedral is the epicenter of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Located just over 1 mile from our conference hotel, it has been designated as the “National House of Prayer.” There are a number of tours available and you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss the Gargoyles and Grotesques (including one of Darth Vader!) Admission is $10 for adults for visits to explore the grounds and architecture. Worshiping, prayer, and other spiritual visits and all visits on Sundays are free.

Photo by Andrew Watt via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Andrew Watt via Flickr Creative Commons

Kennedy Center for the Performing ArtsThe place to go for theater, dance, ballet, as well as all forms of music is, undoubtably, the Kennedy Center. They offer a full calendar of events year-round (including an annual “Sing Along” version of Handel’s Messiah) and they are featuring a number of events while we’ll be in town, including two Tony Award Winning musicals, Once and The Book of Mormon. You can check out the full schedule as well as information about tours on their website.

What are you most looking forward to visiting while you are in Washington, DC for #ILCA15?

Want to coordinate a day trip with other conference goers? Visit the ILCA Facebook event here!

For more information about the conference and to register, please click below.

RegisterNow

 

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