By Maryanne Perrin, MBA
There is no doubt that it will take a global village to improve breastfeeding rates and ensure that every child gets the optimal nutrition and immunity to start life. Our global village needs fearless leaders to advance the breastfeeding cause, and Dr. Miriam Labbok is one such visionary, which is why we were delighted to see the announcement last week that she had received the American Public Health Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. ILCA is proud to claim Dr. Labbok as a fellow IBCLC, and even more proud of the decades of impact she has had on breastfeeding outcomes. In case you aren’t familiar with Dr. Labbok’s work (which is hard to imagine!) here is a brief summary of her many contributions:
- Dr. Labbok, MD, MPH, FACPM, FABM, IBCLC, is currently a professor at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. She also serves as the Director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, which offers a comprehensive program of research, service to the greater community, and education related to breastfeeding and optimal reproductive health.
- From 2001 to 2005 she served as UNICEF’s Senior Advisor, Infant and Young Child Feeding and Care.
- From 1996 to 2001 she served as Chief, Nutrition and Maternal Health Division for the Agency of International Development (USAID).
- From 1992 to 1996 she served as the Director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center on Breastfeeding.
- A Pubmed search of “Labbok + breastfeeding” generates over 75 published papers on topics ranging from infant feeding practices in international communities, to the impact of the Ten Steps in maternity hospitals, to IBCLCs experience with health insurance coverage of breastfeeding support services.
Dr. Labbok’s lifetime of work has had an immeasurable impact on improving global health. Congratulations on the much deserved APHA Lifetime Achievement Award!
Maryanne Perrin loves all things related to food: growing it, cooking it, eating it, and now studying about it at the molecular and cellular level. She has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and enjoyed a variety of career paths (information technology, management consulting, stay-at-home-mom, entrepreneur) before returning to school to obtain a PhD in Nutrition Science. She was quickly captivated by the amazing story of human milk and is focusing her research on understanding the nutritive and immunoprotective value of donor milk beyond one year postpartum. When she’s not studying or helping ILCA with social media, she likes playing in the woods with her husband, three kids, and the family dog.