Colette Acker, BA, IBCLC, is the Executive Director of the Breastfeeding Resource Center (BRC), a non-profit, community-based center with two locations in suburban Philadelphia. The BRC opened in 2003 with the goal of providing the best in lactation care to families of all incomes by offering a sliding scale of payment was apparent. In 2014, there were over 1,200 visits to the center.
The BRC provides in-office lactation consultation, free weekly support groups, low milk supply support groups, and a variety of parent classes. Mothers whose insurance doesn’t cover visits may qualify for a reduced rate based on family income. Services at the newest office are fully funded by a grant by St. Mary Hospital, enabling many to come for free. It is strategically located in an area populated by lower income families.
The BRC also contracts with two local hospitals to provide inpatient lactation care: Temple University Hospital, serving more impoverished families than any other hospital in the city, and Holy Redeemer Hospital. Colette actively participates on the breastfeeding committees of both hospitals as well as St. Mary’s.
Under Colette’s leadership, the BRC provides breastfeeding education to students. Pediatric and Family Practice residents spend a day at the BRC seeing mothers with an IBCLC as part of their community health rotation. The BRC also hosts student nurses, OTs, and doulas. Many aspiring IBCLCs intern at the BRC for the clinical experiences needed to qualify for the exam.
Colette dreams of having a BRC in every town and that the local breastfeeding center is as well-known as the local convenience store! Having a breastfeeding center that is accessible to all available in every community may finally show Americans that breastfeeding is normal!
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