Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI)

CGBI: Breastfeeding Exclusive September 2018- Letter from the Director

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Two years have passed since the loss of our founding director, Dr. Miriam Labbok. Two years have passed since I accepted the role of CGBI Director after serving as the interim for 5 months. Our team has grown in number, our reach, and in our own professional development. I would like to start this newsletter with profound gratitude for our CGBI team and partners that have worked incredibly hard to support me in this role while also supporting our collective vision to promote equity and inclusion in all of our work. As you read the project updates shared in this newsletter, I hope that you will feel the same appreciation as I do for the individuals behind our incredible work to improve the lives of families domestically and globally.

Team members have participated in several ground-breaking conferences and meetings over the last 5 months including the Global Breastfeeding Collective, International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes Training, International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) Annual Conference, United States Breastfeeding Committee’s Member Meeting and National Breastfeeding Coalitions Conference, the North Carolina Lactation Consultant Association Annual Summit and the North Carolina Region 6 Breastfeeding Symposium.

CGBI team at International Lactation Consultant Association 2018 conference

In July, CGBI presented a team record five sessions at ILCA in Portland, Oregon. Topics included safe implementation of the Ten Steps, lactation support in disasters, preparing IBCLC candidates, a 2-hour workshop on deconstructing fake equity and a plenary session on stepping up and back as a dominant culture institution. I am incredibly proud to have been able to give the plenary talk lifting the voices of those unheard in the lactation/birthing space.

In the midst of conducting four regional EMPower Training learning sessions in July and August, we hosted a new cohort of students in the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative for a week-long orientation. We had a record number of applicants this year, including four students that are completing their 2nd year in the Masters of Public Health program – Maternal and Child Health.  We awarded three scholarships to Mattea Alexander, Edith Amponsah and Keyanna Robinson. Scholars will work closely with mentors throughout the year to develop their leadership and professional skills outside of the classroom/clinical setting.  In addition to MCH students working with CGBI, we have awarded our first post-doctoral position to Dr. Kathryn Wouk.  Dr. Wouk will be working on mixed methods evaluation of our current and future projects, starting with our RISE program.

Next week we will be hosting a gathering of our hospital partners from twenty communities in North Carolina and South Carolina for our ENRICH Carolinas Learning Collaborative Meeting, funded by The Duke Endowment.  Our Couplet Care Bassinet ™ project, led by Dr. Kristin Tully is moving forward to the next phase of development with new funding mechanisms. Late in September, Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist will be representing CGBI at the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) Global Breastfeeding Partners Meeting in Penang, Malaysia.

I am completing my term as an Elected Director to the United States Breastfeeding Committee in October and have stepped down from co-chairing the North Carolina Lactation Consultant Association (NCLCA). I believe strongly that this will open the door for other change makers to grow in state and national leadership roles.  Congratulations to Rebecca Rhulen and Norma Escobar who will be leading NCLCA into the future.  What a gift it has been to serve in these roles.

Kathy with her mother, Linda Parry. Linda has dedicated her ‘career’ to La Leche League, volunteering in various roles for the last 40 years!

Lastly, we have so much to celebrate, most importantly the expansion of our CGBI family. Congratulations to Kathy Parry and her husband, Mel DeJesus on the impending arrival of our new CGBI!