Many U.S. communities are "first food deserts," where professional lactation support is practically nonexistent, and maternal & neonatal outcomes are worst for non-dominant culture groups such as Indigenous and Black People of Color and LGBTQ+ families in these communities. Increasing qualified lactation support in these communities will improve health outcomes for parents and babies on a community scale. Our program removes barriers to accessing this training through scholarships and support.
Even motivated members of under-served and under-resourced communities often have myriad barriers to pursuing professional lactation training, the most prominent being financial. The cost of professional lactation training and accreditation can be prohibitive, which keeps these communities at a disadvantage. There is a staggering lack of representation for Indigenous and Black People of Color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other non-dominant culture groups in the professional lactation support field.
Our program identifies motivated and passionate individuals from these at-risk populations and empowers them to achieve their goals by removing financial barriers to accessing professional lactation accreditation. We provide scholarships for training, materials, and exam fees so that these new lactation professionals can focus on the important task of working directly with the families in their own communities, which in turn improves health outcomes and helps families get off to the best start.
Empowering these new lactation professionals means increasing breastfeeding rates in their communities, where the 2020 goals from the US Breastfeeding Report Card have yet to be met. According to UNICEF, "As a practical step towards protecting the survival and health of babies and women, breastfeeding is a central part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is linked to many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)." Specifically, goals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 12.