Tag Archives | Colette Acker

Informative Brochure for Radiology Personnel from the Breastfeeding Resource Center

Lactation Matters is proud to highlight this fantastic resource produced by the Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC), a brochure intended to educate radiology personnel about breastfeeding. We hope that it will be helpful for those with questions about the compatibility of breastfeeding and contrast agents. We thank them for encouraging all of our readers to widely share this resource.

By Colette Acker, Executive Director of Breastfeeding Resource Center

“I had to switch to formula for two days because of my MRI. I couldn’t pump enough beforehand.”

“The doctor said I had to stop breastfeeding for a week because I needed the MRI and he said he wasn’t sure what that would do to the baby.”

These are common phrases we all have heard as IBCLCs. It’s even more frustrating when we hear about it after the fact.

By Helmut Januschka via Wikimedia Commons

By Helmut Januschka via Wikimedia Commons

The Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC) provides assistance to fourth year medical students from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA and they can use us as a resource for projects. Mariya Gusman, a Drexel student, came to the BRC to pick my brain for ideas for her project. Her passion lay in Radiology, but a visit to our center validated the important link between breastfeeding and Radiology.  You can only imagine my excitement when we started talking. Together with the BRC’s Education Committee, we planned to create a brochure for local Radiology Departments.  I pointed Mariya to resources to find evidence based information on contrast agents and their impact on breastfeeding. Interestingly, she came back to me with one question, “What’s the big deal about pumping and dumping for a few days?” Even she, a doctor and breastfeeding advocate, didn’t understand the difficulty.  So we decided to add a portion addressing the concerns surrounding pumping and dumping.

The BRC then gathered 15 volunteers to begin the search for contact information on as many Radiology Departments and Imaging Centers as we could find. A cover letter was developed and mailed along with two brochures to 85 researched addresses. We also emailed the brochure to our local ILCA affiliate members and offered to mail nicely printed copies to them. Many were excited to help spread the word.

Since the mailing, many of the recipients have contacted us. They have thanked us for our work and requested more brochures. We hope this project can end the senseless need for pumping and dumping!

We are proud to offer this resource to all of our readers. You can access it by clicking on Radiology brochure.

ColetteColette Acker is the Executive Director of the Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC) in Abington, PA. In 1998, Colette became an IBCLC. She began providing home visits, but many mothers couldn’t afford to pay. In 2003, Colette and a colleague founded the BRC which provides visits on a sliding scale of payment. The first year they worked with almost 300 families. Last year, they worked with close to 1,000! New programs were developed over the years such as free support group meetings, observation days for pediatric residents, and a pump program for low income mothers. Colette loves both working with mothers and doing the daily tasks of the executive director.

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Clinicians in the Trenches – Colette Acker

Please welcome Colette Acker, our first clinician to be highlighted in our monthly series, Clinicians in the Trenches.  In this new series, Lactation Matters will take you into lives and businesses of fellow colleagues around the world, allowing them to share their knowledge, expertise, and wisdom.

Colette M Acker, IBCLC lives in Glenside, Pennsylvania with her husband, Rodney.  They have three children who are now in the teen/young adult age range.  Nursing her own children led to her passion for assisting other mothers.  She became a volunteer breastfeeding counselor in 1995, an IBCLC in 1998, and co-founded the Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC) 5 years later.  Although Colette loves working with new moms and babies, the multi-tasking life of the director of nonprofit calls for much more and never leaves her bored!  Outside of lactation, Colette’s favorite stress release is running and has developed a new addiction to Zumba classes.

1. What is the Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC)?

The BRC is a nonprofit organization committed to providing expert clinical and educational breastfeeding services.  We offer a variety of lactation services from the prenatal period through weaning. We provide problem-solving consultations, back-to-work planning, and weight checks, along with other consultations designed to meet a mother’s individualized needs. Weekly support group meetings and low cost parent classes complement our outreach efforts. The BRC is an asset to the medical community by providing supervised clinical opportunities, as well as being a resource of evidence-based information. All services are offered on a sliding scale of payment to ensure access for all families.

2. Why did you decide to start a non-profit?

Two colleagues and I were on our way to our ILCA affiliate meeting and were dreaming.  We fantasized about a place where women could go if they were having difficulty with breastfeeding, planning to return to work, needing assistance in choosing the right products, or just needing some support and reassurance.  We also imagined it being a valuable resource for healthcare professionals serving breastfeeding families.  We were currently working in the private practice arena and we knew many moms couldn’t afford the service.  We felt strongly that this center should be accessible to all families, regardless of income.

3. What are your biggest challenges running a non-profit?

The biggest challenge is finding funding to allow the BRC to provide LC visits on a sliding scale of payment. Thirty three percent of our budget needs to be obtained through fundraisers, donations, and grant funding. All of these take a lot of time and effort by many people. The employees of the BRC wear many hats. Janice McPhelin, our Director of Development, is an IBCLC who works with moms on a daily basis and needs to jump into grant writing whenever a free moment arises. This hat-switching life can be very crazy, yet it also makes the job more interesting!

4. What resources have been most helpful to sustain your non-profit?

The greatest part about running a nonprofit center is that you are not alone. We have 16 members on our Board of Directors. We’ve found volunteers with expertise from all walks of life such as accounting, law, grant writing, physicians, RNs, and event planners. Developing a strong board with experience in the areas where the BRC needs the most help is vital. Also, creating a strong community among our clients has led to a large volunteer base. It is amazingly touching to see our clients so appreciative of our work that they volunteer time to keep it going strong!

5. What advice would you give to an LC who wanted to open a non-profit center similar to yours?

Prepare for a wild ride!  I’d suggest learning everything you can about running a nonprofit.  There are many opportunities available in most communities and on the web such as www.Nonprofitwebinars.com. Plan on working long hours with little pay until funding becomes accessible. Discover your weaknesses and find board members and volunteers to fill that gap. Collect emails and join social networks for the most efficient and inexpensive way to spread the word. Become a strong member of your community by participating in health fairs, the chambers of commerce, as well as partnering with other nonprofits that target a similar audience.

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