As a former WIC participant and current WIC professional, I am able to apply personal experience, education, and technical knowledge and skills to cultivate quality breastfeeding programs. Since June 2016, I have had the privilege to hold the title as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services WIC Division’s Regional Lactation Consultant for the Metro (Detroit) region- serving Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties.
As Regional Lactation Consultant, I am charged with providing local agencies with advanced technical lactation support; developing, revising, and writing State-level policies and training curriculums; and training local agency WIC staff to provide evidence-based and culturally-appropriate breastfeeding education and support.
During my first 3 years on the job, I served as the only person of color to work alongside a team of white, middle-aged women who were removed from the challenges and barriers women, families and communities of color face daily. As a member of the State breastfeeding team, I have been able to ensure equity is at the foundation of State WIC policy, programs, trainings, and initiatives; and provide the team with an alternate viewpoint in situations which may be difficult for white people to relate to and/or comprehend how current and historical trauma amongst black and indigenous people has disproportionately impacted their individual and collective health, behaviors, access, and ability to achieve optimal health. I have been instrumental in various projects I have either led or assisted with, and provided the perspective of a black person where if I had not been a part of the conversation, planning, and development may have inadvertently caused further trauma. More specifically, those include, but are not limited to: developing a cultural competence and equity regional training for peer counselors; revision of breastfeeding education; orientation of peer counselors; defining the scope of practice for breastfeeding staff; and contributing to the State’s quarterly newsletter.
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