Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI)

Breastfeeding Exclusive New Year 2020 - HBCU Lactation Training Program

First HBCU Lactation Consultant Training Program:  Johnson C Smith University

Written by Rachel Davis and Lugenia Grider

Program Director Rachel Davis is far left. Clinical lecturer and mentor Diane Asbill stands in the center with 2 students on either side of her.

The Lactation Consultant Training Program (LCTP) is a comprehensive IBLCE Pathway 2 Lactation Consultant Training Program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and administered through the Metropolitan College of Professional Studies at Johnson C Smith University (JCSU), in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is the first Pathway 2 program in the country intentionally located at a Historically Black College/University (HBCU). The primary goal of this program is to help diversify the field of lactation to include more people of color, positively impact health outcomes and help address breastfeeding and health disparities and inequities.

The vision for this program originated with the voices and concerns of families who participate in the Queen City Cocoa B.E.A.N.S. (QCCB) monthly breastfeeding cafés (or support groups). QCCB is an initiative of Harmony Nutrition & Lactation, LLC, an organization that provides nutrition and lactation education and consultations to assist individuals and families in improving their overall health and well-being. Since 2013, QCCB has served to build a supportive, informed and empowered community for families in Charlotte and surrounding areas. People of color are encouraged to embrace good nutrition and breastfeeding as a cultural and social norm through Breastfeeding Education, Advocacy, Normalcy & Support (B.E.A.N.S.) The group is comprised of volunteer lactation consultants, doulas, dietitians, health educators and peer counselors – all women of color.

In 2015, the leaders of QCCB reached out to colleagues from JCSU, the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) and Novant Health to start a discussion around creating a more inclusive patient-provider relationship and providing families with reassurance and comfort that there are culturally appropriate organizations for people of color, by people of color. From that time, leaders from each of these organizations have been instrumental serving as key players through their professional strengths and personal commitment and together they have catapulted this project forward.

For the first year, Novant Health serves as the primary clinical site for students to work with preceptors. Having one of the leading lactation consultant training programs in the country (the Marry Rose Tully Training Initiative – MRT-TI), CGBI, in partnership with the National Association of Peer and Professional Lactation Supporters of Color (NAPPLSC), received a grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation and developed an initiative known as RISE: Lactation Training Model (Reclaiming, Improving, and Sustaining Equity) that provides technical assistance on the development of, and a start-up package for HBCUs to develop their own Pathway 2 lactation training programs. Click here to learn more about CGBI’s mentorship program and to express interest.

The LCTP is currently halfway through its first semester with a pilot cohort of excited and exceptional lactation students of color.

To learn more about the program, click here.

(Back to Newsletter)