Letter from the ILCA President 2014

Every year, the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) board president shares with members the strategic plans and priorities for the year ahead. This year, we’re sharing it at Lactation Matters so that everyone interested in ILCA – not just members – can be up-to-date. Share your feedback at info@ilca.org or in the comments below.

liz_brooksDear ILCA Members,

Happy IBCLC Day (Wednesday, 5 March 2014) from the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) Board of Directors!

Our social media platforms (FacebookLactation Matters blog and Twitter) are front and center this year, to honor and celebrate the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®).  We hope you take a moment to reach out and thank an IBCLC who touched your life . . . perhaps as a clinician; maybe as a mentor. Learn more here.

To our members: thank YOU! Your membership dollars are the engine driving this association, allowing us to produce the top-ranked breastfeeding research publication Journal of Human Lactation (JHL), to host the premier international lactation conference every year, and to be an important voice for IBCLCs who protect  human lactation in international policy-setting bodies. But without YOU, this professional association would not exist.

In return, ILCA offers YOU a place for advocacy, education and professional development that focuses on YOU and your credential. No other group or association looks out for the IBCLC the way ILCA and its Partner Affiliates do. Here is a snapshot of some of ILCA’s important activities in the last year:

Reducing inequities in breastfeeding support; opening the doors of the profession, and the professional association. The demographics of ILCA membership, and the pathways of entry into our profession, show there are significant race- and income-based barriers to sit for the IBCLC exam offered by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®). Accreditation of academic programs in human lactation (by the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee, LEAARC) is expanding . . . but not yet universal. The future viability of our profession is very much at stake. Thus, the three independent organizations (ILCA, IBLCE and LEAARC) are co-hosting a Summit Addressing Inequities within the Lactation Consultant Profession on 27 July 2014, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Watch the ILCA website for details and consider a submission to the JHL issue devoted to the topic of inequity; deadline is 1 August 2014.

Operations and management. Over the past few years, ILCA has been working on a top-to-bottom governance and operational shift, which is critical for long-term association sustainability. Our restructured budgeting, accounting, and auditing processes now include an operational metrics system to better evaluate ILCA’s programs and services. Additionally, ILCA now has highly skilled, experienced staff members who have expertise in conferencing, member-association management, and financial planning and analysis.

Finances and budgeting. The ILCA Board has set several short-term budgeting and long-term financial goals that better reflect our changing member needs. ILCA has commenced an ambitious development goal to raise  membership by expanding into more countries and remote regions where English is not the primary language.

Improved affiliate relations may mean new governance at ILCA! In a matter of weeks, ILCA hopes to provide details of a year-long review and revision of the ILCA Partner Affiliate agreements, designed to better support our affiliate members.

International advocacy. ILCA recently received a three-year renewal of its coveted non-governmental organization (NGO) status with the World Health Organization (WHO), and we retain our NGO status with the United Nations (UNICEF). Additionally, several efforts are underway from our stellar United Nations Breastfeeding Action Team (UNBAT), to insert breastfeeding protection into measures involving maternal/child health, gender equity, food safety and emergency preparedness.

Strategic plan, vision and mission. As part of its on-going work concerning the ILCA Strategic Plan, the Board has begun to look anew at the vision and mission that are our association guideposts. Every breastfeeding family deserves information and support; indeed, breastfeeding and human lactation as the cultural norm is an ideal upon which we can all agree. The IBCLC plays a critical role in making that happen. While not all families need an IBCLC’s care, those that do should know who we are, what we do, and how to access our services quickly. And ILCA and its Partner Affiliates are the ideal place to find IBCLC-centered resources and advocacy.

This is not all that ILCA is doing. These are only the “big picture” efforts that define the overall tone and philosophy of your professional association. The work of our Committees, Task Forces, Liaisons, staff, and our cadre of social media ambassadors, continues, every day. We’d love your help, too.  Let us say it one more time —

Thank you! On behalf of the entire ILCA Board of Directors,


ILCA President

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