Congratulations to the 2022 winner!
The winner of the 2022 Changemaker Award Paula Utilla, IBCLC, RLC
Having graduated from Durham College in Ontario Canada as a Registered Practical Nurse, Mrs. Utilla possesses extensive experience in providing both prenatal as well as postpartum lactation guidance to individuals from a diverse array of cultural backgrounds.
Mrs. Utilla served as a La Leche League Leader beginning in 2007 as well as a Maimonides Medical Center WIC Peer Counselor from 2009 to 2014 where she provided breastfeeding counseling and services in the hospital’s NICU, Postpartum and Clinical Units. She simultaneously established the Brooklyn Birthing Center’s first prenatal lactation education program where she focused on the counseling of new mothers.
In 2010, Mrs. Utilla became an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (“IBCLC”) and founded The First Latch – an active home visit practice where she made use of her strong instinct for problem solving as well as results-oriented approach to a comprehensive spectrum of challenges encountered by her clients.
Since April 2014, Mrs. Utilla has served as Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s first full time IBCLC and played a critical role in the facility recently securing the prestigious World Health Organization / United Nations Children’s Fund “Baby Friendly” Hospital Initiative Accreditation. In this capacity, Mrs. Utilla educates nursing staff, residents and pediatricians regarding the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, resulting in dramatic gains in exclusivity rates at the facility.
With her passion to mitigate existing community health disparities based on race and ethnicity, Mrs. Utilla also oversees Jamaica Hospital’s Breastfeeding Volunteer Counselor Program. This innovative program focuses on providing minority candidates with clinical training in furtherance of sitting for their International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (“IBCLC”) licensing exams. Heralded as the only hospital operating an IBCLC internship program of this nature in New York State, Jamaica Hospital received a Volunteer Excellence Award in 2019 from the American Hospital Association. Mrs. Utilla’s passion for breastfeeding is further exemplified by her active management of Jamaica Hospital’s Breastfeeding Committee, Tongue-Tie Conference, World Breastfeeding Week programming as well as other breastfeeding-oriented initiatives.
Mrs. Utilla is the proud recipient of numerous accolades in recognition of her strides in lactation education and advocacy including a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the United States Congress, a New York City Counsel Citation, a Commendation from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, as well as a Woman of Distinction Award. Congratulations on your newest award, USLCA’s 2022 Changemaker!