Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI)

CGBI: Breastfeeding Exclusive Winter 2019 - Letter from the Director

Greetings and Happy New Year from the CGBI Team!

The last half of 2018 was a time of change and excitement at CGBI. The CGBI team is looking forward to a productive year ahead with expansion of our programming, domestically and globally. Hurricane Florence decided to visit the Atlantic coast last fall, bringing devastation to many communities. CGBI responded by providing resources from our Lactation and Infant Feeding in Emergencies (L.I.F.E.) Support Initiative. Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist led our efforts as we packaged and sent resource notebooks to affected hospitals, both on the coast and inland. Due to the storm, we had to reschedule our first ENRICH Carolinas Learning Collaborative meeting to December. Staff and leaders from 19 NC hospitals attended our LCM held at UNC’s Rizzo Center.


October brought us hope and joy as we welcomed the newest member of the CGBI family. Josefina Rhone Parry came into the world on October 4th. Josefina is the daughter of long time CGBI Project Manager, Kathy Parry, and her husband Mel DeJesus. Kathy will be gradually returning to work in the coming weeks and we hope that Josefina will be joining on occasion. Three of our current MRT-TI students also delivered babies over the last few months. Ruth, Teddy and Elliott are regular attendees for didactic class day.  We are happy to have them as a part of our program.

In November we were honored to present three sessions at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Diego. Our RISE session also featured partner, Stacy Davis, Executive Director for the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color (NAPPLSC). In this issue, major programs will report exciting progress and updates. Dr. Palmquist presented on Breastfeeding, Pumping, and Weaning in the Context of Human Milk Sharing and our ENRICH Team had a poster presentation describing our work in breastfeeding friendly healthcare in the Carolinas. While we were still in San Diego, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced a $530k award to CGBI to assist North Carolina hospitals with offsetting costs towards the Baby-Friendly designation process. We are incredibly grateful for this gift which will enable us to enhance our expansion of ENRICH Carolinas. In addition, towards the end of the year we learned that the Spiers Foundation donated an additional $5K towards this work.


I urge our supporters to read the feature article by Dr. Kristin Tully, CGBI Research Associate, who was invited to give a guest lecture at Notre Dame University to celebrate the life’s work and retirement of Dr. James McKenna. Dr. McKenna is an internationally renowned expert in “breastsleeping” and has dedicated his career to supporting mothers and babies with optimal sleep.

I am hopeful that we will begin to thaw out from this incredibly cold winter soon. As we move into spring I want to remind supporters that we will again be co-sponsoring the Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference March 20-22, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The theme for this year is: Roots and Wings: Looking Back, Looking Forward. The conference is shaping up to be the best yet, featuring opening plenary speaker, Shannon Cohen. Shannon is the author of, “Tough Skin, Soft Heart”, focusing on the holistic well-being of leaders and organizations.  Registration is open now:

Lastly, it is with mixed emotions that I announce that Abby Smetana, Program Manager for RISE and assistant for MRT-TI, has decided to step back from her role. Abby relocated to Charlotte last year and her number one priority is her four beautiful children and making sure they are adapting well to their new environment. Abby will still do some work with the RISE project moving forward as an intermittent employee, helping us to orient a new Program Manager in the coming months. Thank you Abby for your dedication to CGBI!