Breastfeeding Exclusive Summer 2020 - RISE Lactation Training Model Project
Exciting News from Two Historically Black Universities in North Carolina
It is with great excitement that we highlight the recent accomplishments of the lactation consultant training programs at Johnson C Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte and North Carolina A&T University (NCAT) in Greensboro. Despite the COVID pandemic, the programs rose above the chaos, persevered, and continue to make history as the first two HBCUs in the United States to establish Pathway 2 lactation consultant training programs strategically developed to address the inequities faced by communities of color in maternal, child, and family health.
The 2019-2020 academic year was a year of firsts for the JCSU team consisting of Program Director Rachel Davis and Program Manager Lugenia “Genia” Grider. In addition to navigating all of the challenges and successes that come with being the first program of its kind in the country, the JCSU team faced some very unexpected circumstances as the program entered into the spring semester. When asked to comment on this past year, Rachel Davis describes the following:
“Despite the challenges faced from COVID-19 that required the last 2 months of the program to be conducted virtually, the Fantastic Four (or the first 4 students to complete the program) successfully obtained all of their clinical hours through virtual class and the 65 community volunteers who provided opportunity for clinical hours. The first cohort has graduated and has applied to sit for the IBCLC exam in September of 2020.”
It is amazing how a program that started with the community, also ended with it. Rachel Davis and Genia Grider, with the support and assistance of the community, were able to quickly pivot and maintain a high caliber learning environment for their students during the COVID pandemic while staying true to the primary goal of the program which 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 by intentionally focusing on equity and inclusion to develop providers who will give more culturally relevant skilled lactation care. The program looks forward to welcoming their cohort of seven in January 2021 and the continued partnership from within the community.
Janiya Mitnaul Williams, of NCAT, shares :
“The North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University Pathway 2 Human Lactation Training Program (NCAT P2P) is thrilled to welcome their inaugural cohort in the Fall of 2020. This program is the first of its kind due to the emphasis placed on cultural competency. Graduates of the NCAT P2P will possess not only the skills necessary to become IBCLCs, but they will also understand the importance of embracing an equity lens. Equity, diversity, and inclusion are exceptionally pivotal in health care professions. The field of Lactation has been homogenous for many years. Having Pathway 2 programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities like the NCAT P2P is just one of the ways to begin diversifying the field.”
Through our continued interactions with both schools, it is evident that they have laid solid foundations geared towards ensuring success. The support from their respective institutional administration, community stakeholders, clinical sites and prospective applicants is astounding. We look forward to witnessing their continued success and growth of their programs.