Denise Fenick & Michael Fink

Focus on the Rhode Island Lactation Consultants who led the crusade to license IBCLCs

Denise Fenick

Denise Fenick has been an ILCA member since 1997, the year she was certified as an IBCLC. Her passion is driving hospitals toward Baby Friendly accreditation. Her career as a Registered Nurse focusing on Maternal Child health spans three decades and she has worked as a Lamaze childbirth instructor, labor and delivery and post-partum mother baby nurse. She is now working exclusively as a lactation consultant.

In addition to her professional endeavors, Denise has held the position of chairperson of the Rhode Island Breastfeeding Coalition (RIBC) for two terms and states that “licensing IBCLCs had been a goal of the RIBC strategic plan since 2006.” After meeting with Senator Gayle Goldin (Democrat – District 3, Providence) in the fall of 2013, the project gained momentum and she and Michael Fink, whose passion and commitment led the drive for Rhode Island to become the first state in the US to legally define the role of “Lactation Consultant.”


Michael Fink

Michael W. Fink, MS, ICCE, IBCLC, began her career as a lactation consultant making rounds on childbirth class participants from the Providence Community Health Centers in 1990. She was certified as an IBCLC in 1991.  At that time, breastfeeding rounds were expanded to all WIC patients at the Health Center.  Today she directs a pre-natal education program and is the lactation consultant at a community hospital in Pawtucket RI, still making lactation rounds at W&I hospital on WIC participants She is one of the original members, and past chair, of the Rhode Island Breastfeeding Coalition. She states “I fully supported the USLCA’s idea of the IBCLC as a standalone credential and integrating the IBCLC into the healthcare system” and was pleased to accept the task of chairing a licensure committee. She and Denise spearheaded the task of moving the licensure bill through the Rhode Island legislature, along with other members of the committee who testified on behalf of the Lactation Practice Act of 2014. She comments “it will be interesting to watch how the licensure step unfolds in our state and the United States.” We couldn’t agree more.

Our hats are off to both Denise and Michael for their dedication to this achievement.

USLCA is proud to highlight the great work being done by our members throughout the country.  If you know of a member doing great work in your area, send an email to and your story may be listed in an upcoming eNews!