Catherine Sullivan

Catherine Sullivan, MPH, RDN, LDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND

Assistant Professor
Department of Maternal and Child Health
Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute


Catherine Sullivan is Director and assistant professor at the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI). Catherine leads CGBI programmatic efforts in the areas of breastfeeding friendly healthcare, childcare, communities and in lactation training. She serves as CGBI’s Co-Principal Investigator on the core leadership team of CDC’s EMPower Breastfeeding Initiatives and is PI of the ENRICH Carolinas project, serving North and South Carolina. Additionally, Catherine serves as course coordinator for the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative, a CAAHEP accredited Pathway 2 Lactation Training Program. Catherine serves as a CGBI member representative to the US Breastfeeding Committee. Catherine served as State Breastfeeding Coordinator in the NC Division of Public Health from 2006-2013 and has worked at the local level as a WIC Director and as field faculty for NC State’s Cooperative Extension Service. Additionally, she has been a faculty member and clinician in the Department of Family Medicine at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. She is a registered and licensed dietitian and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Catherine is a frequent invited speaker with over 100 presentations in the areas of lactation training, maternity care practices, breastfeeding advocacy, and nutrition. She has 25 years of experience in the fields of nutrition and lactation.

Catherine Sullivan in the Gillings News

Honors and Awards

Bbernard G. Greenberg Alumni Endowment Award
2021, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Wilam Lloyd Garrison Ally Award
2020, Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, Atlanta GA

Impact in Practice Award
2019, UNC-CH

Teaching Excellence and Innovation
2019, UNC-CH

Delta Omega Inductee
2019, UNC-CH

Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND)

Certificate of Appreciation APHA Martha May Eliot Forum
2015, American Public Health Association

Centennial Legacy Leader
2009, East Carolina University, College of Human Ecology

Faculty Author Recognition Award
2006, 2005, East Carolina University, Laupus Health Sciences Library

Outstanding Research Paper Award
2004, East Carolina University, Brody School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine

Representative Courses

MHCH 765 - Clinical Support for Breastfeeding I

MHCH 766 - Clinical Support for Breastfeeding II

Research Activities

Ms. Sullivan actively researches the impact of best breastfeeding practices and the impact on systems level change in healthcare and in the community.

Principal Investigator, ENRICH Carolinas Expansion

Principal Investigator, RISE: Lactation Training Model

Co-Principal Investigator, EMPower Training

Service Activities

2021-22- SPH Alumni Awards Committee

2021-22 Gillings Practice Taskforce

2021-present MCH/MPH Admissions Committee

2018-present Baby Friendly Expert Workgroup

2015- present Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative Advisory Committee

2014-present US Breastfeeding Committee

2014- present North Carolina Maternity Center Breastfeeding Friendly Designation review committee

2007- present Perinatal Health Committee, Child Fatality Task Force

2006- present Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Prevention Committee, Healthy Start Foundation

Practice Activities

Daniel, T, Sullivan, C. Leading with Equity in Breastfeeding. Improving Community Outcomes for Maternal and Child Health Learning Collaborative. April 11, 2022.

Sullivan C. Implementing Skill-Based Breastfeeding Competency Training. Alameda County WIC Breastfeeding Collaborative Meeting. August 5, 2021.

Sullivan, C, Tate, Jeanne. Baby Friendly Annual Quality Improvement Process and Competency Verification Workshop. California Breastfeeding Summit. January 25-26, 2021.

Bourg, J, Sullivan, C, Parry, K, Huntley, D, Lawless, G, Smith, J, Hendricks, M, Bridgman, J, Palmquist,A, Wouk, K, Flower, K. Improving maternity-care practices and breastfeeding support in underserved communities in the Carolinas: A comprehensive approach to improved breastfeeding outcomes. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Expo. October 24-28, 2020.

Key Publications

Welcoming supportive care in US birthing facilities and realization of breastfeeding goals. Pearsall MS, Stuebe AM, Seashore C, Sullivan C, Tully KP (2022). Journal of Midwifery.

Postnatal Unit Experiences Associated with Exclusive Breastfeeding During the Inpatient Stay: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey. Tully K, Smith J, Pearsall M, Sullivan C, Seashore C, Stuebe A. (2021). Journal of Human Lactation.

Cross-Cultural Adaption and Validation of the Translated Arabic Revised Breastfeeding Attrition Tool. Al-Barwani S, Hodges E, Thoyre S, Knafl K, Crandell K, Sullivan C. (2021). Journal of Nursing Measurement.

Pregnancy and Lactation In: Morrow K. Cox J, Sullivan C. (2020). Krause and Mahan Food and the Nutrition Care Process.

Ready, Set, BABY Live Virtual prenatal breastfeeding education for COVID-19. Palmquist AEL, Parry KC, Wouk K, Lawless GC, Smith JL, Smetana AR, Bourg JF, Hendricks MJ, and Sullivan CS. (2020). Journal of Human Lactation, 36(4).
View publication

Parent-infant room-sharing is complex and important for breastfeeding. K Tully, C Sullivan (2018). Evidence-based nursing, 21(1), 18.

Advocacy for IBCLC care: A toolkit for action based on cost benefit analysis and GIS mapping in North Carolina. Wouk K, Chetwynd E, Sullivan C. (2017). Labbok M, Hall Smith P, editors. Breastfeeding, social justice, and equity: Reflecting, reclaiming, re-visioning, In press.

Health professional associations and industry funding-reply from Parry et al. K Parry, C Sullivan, A Stuebe (2017). Lancet (London, England), 389(10080), 1696.

Improving Access to Medical Lactation Support and Counseling: Building the Case for Medicaid Reimbursement. K Wouk, E Chetwynd, T Vitaglione, C Sullivan (2017). Maternal and child health journal, 21(4), 836-844.

Innovative Prenatal Breastfeeding Education Curriculum: Ready, Set, BABY. K Parry, K Tully, S Moss, C Sullivan (2017). Journal of nutrition education and behavior, 49(7), S214-S216.e1.


  • Faculty Development Mini-fellowship, Family Medicine, East Carolina University, 2001
  • MPH, Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000
  • BS, Dietetics, East Carolina University, 1997