By Danielle Harmon, MPH
I have recently been disheartened over several conversations happening in social media circles about “what is USLCA is doing wrong?” I came to this organization 7 ½ years ago after working IN lactation with a tremendous understanding for the effort, passion, and energy that goes into being a part of the profession. As someone who was a former IBCLC pathway 3 candidate, I know firsthand what it takes for an aspiring IBCLCs face to gather education and find mentorship hours. When I came to USLCA I was eager to influence real change and help advance this profession.
For the better part of a decade, I have worked to demonstrate that while I am not “Miss USLCA”, as an organization I – and by extension the staff and Board – are truly accessible to our members. Having real conversations, with real people, about real problems that people in this profession face every day.
Three years ago we realized that in order to better support the IBCLC and to truly become an equitable, diverse and inclusive organization, we needed to also be a resource for those aspiring to become IBCLCs, breaking down the perception that we were only a resource once you passed the exam. With that we opened our doors to providers of ALL types. With open arms we have worked hard to build a place that is special, valuable, and inclusive for the entire lactation profession.
While we recognize the unique needs of different types of providers, we also recognize the unique needs of those working in various settings. With that, we have worked to build resource libraries that help to fulfill these needs, increase our educational offerings, and form strategic partnerships that benefit our members (such as the Melanated Mammary Atlas), though we know this work is ongoing.
We often hear that USLCA should have a fully functional, paid staff. As a reminder, USLCA is comprised of a Board of 7 volunteer IBCLCs, 2 full time staff and 3 part time staff, 2 of which are new in 2022. While this team is small, it is full of a very passionate and dedicated group that WANTS to hear from those in the field. We may not be able to accomplish every task requested but your suggestions are a great place to start! They can identify real, current needs. This team is made possible primarily through membership dollars, so we constantly work to balance the affordability of your professional organization with the realities of fair wages for this incredibly important work.
Accessibility is a top priority of this team and we WANT to hear the ideas of what could make your jobs easier. We hope that you’ll consider sending your ideas no matter how big or how small. Let’s work together to crowdsource ideas and solutions to help the entire profession. Let’s take a solution-oriented approach to strengthen the foundation that is lactation support in the United States.
For increased transparency and information for our members., USLCA is launching a post series around some of the common questions and concerns we hear, and want to hear your questions! Ever wonder why we don’t operate off of grant funding? What exactly is our role at the state level? How are we supporting the continued integration of the IBCLC as an integral part of the healthcare team? Send us a note so we can make sure we answer your questions.
It is my sincere hope that you will reach out. You can reach out to my email directly, firstname.lastname@example.org, our info email that is monitored regularly by our team, email@example.com, through an anonymous form, by phone or (NEW!) by text, 202-738-1125. Want to set up a time to chat with me personally? Click here to schedule. Would you rather engage with a member of the board, every member of the USLCA team’s email is listed here. Have a question for our post series? Enter your question here! Let’s start the conversation. I genuinely want to hear from you.
My challenge to you in the new year is to be more intentional with your feedback. Have a question, a thought, an idea, or a concern? Bring it to us and let’s see what we can build together!
With gratitude and hope,
Your Executive Director
Danielle Harmon, MPH