Your ILCA Questions Answered


At this year’s All General Meeting, International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) members shared questions with the board and staff.

We were able to address most of your questions during the meeting, but were not able to get to all of them due to time constraints. Following the meeting, we reached out to board and staff with the remaining questions. Their answers are shared below. Other questions? Please leave them in the comments!

Missed the AGM? ILCA members can watch it here.

ILCA Member:

How can we, as IBCLCs, continue to grow our numbers internationally in this COVID financially challenged world?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

We received a number of questions about how ILCA will grow our membership globally during COVID, while ensuring that the needs of members in each region are both heard and met. Thank you to those who posed this question.

To best meet the needs of members, ILCA needs to understand what those needs are. ILCA is always working to find the best ways to hear those needs, from listening tours to enhancing the partners program. Watch in the upcoming year for additional strategies to hear your voice in each region and please be sure to participate, because without your voice, we can’t know what your community needs.

COVID is placing strains on resources everywhere, and ILCA is no exception. It is also requiring rapid responses, such as our quick pivot to a virtual conference this year. Please join us in thanking our incredible conference team for making this possible.

ILCA Member:

Where can I get more continuing education for L CERPs?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

Here at ILCA! We are currently offering more than 25 L CERPs as a part of your membership. If you have any questions about accessing your member benefits, please be sure to reach out to our incredible membership team at membership@ilca.org.

ILCA Member:

We received a number of questions and comments about how ILCA is working to promote the IBCLC profession globally and how that affects issues that are more local, such as licensure or payment models.

Questions included:

  • What is being done to protect the prestige of the IBCLC, in a political environment that does not want to pay for the training?
  • What is ILCA doing to help non-RN IBCLCs in the USA become eligible to bill Medicaid for services rendered?
  • I am finding it more necessary for licensure of lactation consultants. It is a matter of safety and establishing our profession.
  • How does ILCA plan to champion IBCLCs and skilled lactation care in countries such as Pakistan that currently are a bit of a blind spot in the space for lactation support?
  • What actions can we take as a board to get more hospitals to hire IBCLCs pathway 3(non- RN)?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

ILCA is working hard to promote the profession at the global level, which we believe will create the environment needed for local and regional organizations to advocate for those needs that vary depending on the community, such as training opportunities, integration into the health care system, licensure, or insurance reimbursement. 

We believe that our global-level advocacy work – which includes working alongside the World Health Organization and UNICEF in calling for universal access to lactation support – will make it possible for regional and local organizations to create meaningful (and context-specific) change for IBCLCs.

ILCA Member:

How does increasing minority consultants fit into the strategic plan of 2020 & 2021?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

The events of the past six months have shone a much-needed light on the need to focus on increased access to the profession for people in non-dominant cultures around the globe. 

But even though the light on the issues may be brighter, the need for this essential work is not new. ILCA has been laying groundwork for this work for some time, starting with the Lactation Summits, which brought together IBCLCs and aspiring IBCLCs from around the globe to clearly identify the barriers experienced to the profession. 

As Mudiwah and Sabeen highlighted at the AGM, ILCA is committed to a series of action steps that follow directly from our focus area of equity. We welcome our members both to get involved, and also to continue to hold us accountable to this critical commitment. 

ILCA Member:

Have you taken into consideration introducing Spanish translation of all the Annual Meeting Conferences?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

ILCA recognizes that to be a truly international organization, the option to participate in a number of events – from conference and the AGM to our committees to educational opportunities – in multiple languages must be available. 

We have taken the first step by close captioning (CC) our educational offerings, which makes it possible for those who require CC to participate. It also makes future translations much easier to execute. Putting into place the steps needed for a truly multi-lingual organization will be incremental, but we look forward to and are committed to the process.

ILCA Member:

In the future, are there plans for a reduced or discounted ILCA membership for retired IBCLCs?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

This already exists! We welcome you to join as a retired IBCLC at a reduced rate. Learn more at ilca.org.

ILCA Member:

We also received a number of questions about the conference, including:

  • What are the plans for the conference 2021?
  • Any chance to have an ILCA Conference in Europe?
  • Wow. 1300 attendees is more than ANY ILCA conference in history! I have to believe that 54 countries = most diverse worldwide representation as well. No doubt the greatly-reduced cost to attend online helps. I wonder if returning to a four-day in-person conference in 2021 will meet the educational needs of this many members. Is it to be a hybrid conference, with some/all online options?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

We are excited, too, about the ways that a virtual conference made diverse participation possible.

In the past, the location of the ILCA conference has rotated, with one conference every three years in a country outside the US. Prior to the pandemic, ILCA was already exploring new models of hosting conferences that would allow for a more regional approach. Of course, COVID has made this sort of planning more challenging. 

We plan to incorporate more virtual aspects to future conferences for a hybrid, more accessible event. The 2021 conference is currently planned as a hybrid event in Houston, Texas, US.

ILCA Member:

Is it possible to set a cultural equity development group?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

ILCA shares your commitment to being inclusive of different cultures, as is reflected in the diversity of our board. ILCA currently engages in this work through the equity committee. We would love to see you join! Contact education@ilca.org for more information.

ILCA Member:

Does ILCA plan on implementing a scholarship fund for expenses?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

ILCA offers equity pricing for members which adjusts the fee structure based on the economic status of the member’s country. Learn more at ilca.org.

ILCA Member:

When will the IBCLC Care Award recipients be announced? Thank you.

ILCA Board and/or staff:

The IBCLC Care Awards have been announced! Learn more here.

ILCA Member:

Are board meetings open to any ILCA member?

If so, how often are they held? I assume the board is meeting virtually. How can members attend? 

ILCA Board and/or staff:

First and foremost, ILCA is deeply committed to transparency in all of our actions. The change that has happened globally from in-person to online meetings has led to a number of opportunities for members to be involved in unprecedented ways with the organization. Board meetings in the United States are bound by certain rules and regulations that are in the process now of catching up to this new, virtual world. We are working now on ensuring the new rules, our bylaws, and our commitment to transparency in meetings are all in alignment. 

ILCA Member:

Where are the bylaws on the website? I can’t seem to find them.

In previous years, I was able to find the minutes or a summary of the board meetings on the website. I can’t seem to find them now. 

ILCA Board and/or staff:

The Bylaws and Board Meeting minutes are in the process now of being populated on the “ILCA Connect” portion of the website. We look forward to sharing those with you soon. 

ILCA Member:

A question for JHL – why are there not more IBCLCs as authors?

Journal articles are rigorous and challenging for those who are not familiar with them. Yet, if ILCA and JHL valued the IBCLC credential and other breastfeeding certifications, could a requirement be added that one of the authors must have some sort of lactation certification?

ILCA Board and/or staff:

While access to the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is a member benefit, the JHL intentionally maintains editorial independence, with the goal of ensuring that its content is held to the highest possible scientific standard and free from outside influence. We encourage you to direct your questions about JHL editorial decisions to the JHL editor and staff.

Questions for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and LEAARC.

Our profession is supported by three independent but interrelated pillars: ILCA, your professional association; IBLCE, which sets the standards for the profession and oversees the exam; and LEAARC, which sets standards for education. (Learn more about these three pillars here).

We received a number of important questions that fall outside of our scope. These include questions like:

  • I am IBCLC valid 2001 thru 2021 this year with retired membership. Am I required to sit the exam next year?
  • How can you help us in starting a LC course in my institute?
  • What do I do about becoming a retired Ibclc?
  • Please let me know how I can become an IBCLC. 

ILCA deeply values the role of all three pillars, and maintains close conversations with them to ensure that your voice is heard at IBLCE and LEAARC. We have passed along your questions to them.

Have other questions? Please post them in the comments!

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