USLCA created the Terry Jo Curtis Award to recognize the exemplary efforts of those increasing access and equity for the US IBCLC. Terry Jo Curtis, IBCLC, founded Indiana’s Black Breastfeeding Coalition and was a powerful voice promoting breastfeeding for all families in her community. She was proud to be an IBCLC. Sadly, Ms. Curtis passed on in May of 2014, but we honor her work with this award.
Congratulations to the 2017 winner!
The winner of the 2016 Terry Jo Curtis Award is Mellissa Alvarado, IBCLC
Mellissa is the sole lactation consultant of a breastfeeding education program at her local food bank. She travels throughout a 21 county area teaching classes, making referrals and providing breastfeeding support 7 days a week. She supports low-income rural area mothers who don’t have access to breastfeeding support. She provides 7 day a week support by phone, email, text and well as home visits. Mellissa believes that all women should have equal access to quality breastfeeding support, regardless of ability to pay. The women she serves cannot afford a private LC and are often in an area where no such support exists. Mellissa began her career as WIC peer counselor and truly believes that breastfeeding is a public health and human right issue. Mellissa works closely with her area WIC and private LC’s to ensure that she work collaboratively with them and not in competition. All moms are referred to WIC to ensure they are knowledgeable about the support offered through WIC and any mom that has the ability to pay is referred to their local private practice IBCLC, if one exists in the area. Mellissa strongly believes that social determinate of health can be improved if we recognize the need and work to meet mothers where they are at. By ensuring that all moms have access to qualified breastfeeding support, Mellissa hopes that women feel supported in meeting their personal breastfeeding goals.