In proud partnership with the DC Breastfeeding Coalition, Pacify is excited to announce our first winner of the Diversity in Lactation Award, Kymberly Sharpe! Kymberly is a Registered Nurse on the Labor and Delivery Unit at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. She hopes to marry her clinical skills and practice as a Registered Nurse with the knowledge and advocacy of an IBCLC, in order to provide the safest, evidenced-based care to patients of all backgrounds. We're honored to help Kymberly pursue her career as an IBCLC, and asked her to share her story - read on to learn about why she wants to become an IBCLC!
Why I Want to Be an IBCLC
A Natural Extension…
I’ve always loved bedside nursing. I know that there are many opportunities within the field of nursing but being at the bedside has always been my calling...my niche. Over the years I’ve been blessed to be that support for women enduring the most difficult, most rewarding and sometimes most heart wrenching experience of their lives. Over time I’ve found that providing lactation support to families, was a natural and necessary extension of my work as a nurse. As a maternal child health worker, it’s no longer enough to support a woman during the transition of labor and delivery but I owe it to my patients, my babies, my families and the public in general to educate and embrace them while on their breastfeeding journey.
As a junior year nursing student, I learned during an internship (at a predominantly white institution), about the benefits of breastmilk. Upon returning to my predominantly black university and hospital, I also quickly learned of the disparities that exist in the care provided to and the rates of breastfeeding within the African-American and other communities of color. All babies, despite their family’s background, deserve the gift of breastmilk. We can only do this by infiltrating our institutions (academic and healthcare) with trained individuals who understand both the benefits of human milk and the cultural uniqueness of our communities. IBCLCs of color make an impact on communities of color.
I'm not unique in my discovery of the disparities that exist in the field of lactation. Many of us attend webinars, conferences and lectures where this topic is discussed at length but when does discussion become true advocacy and most of all action? It's of the utmost importance that those in a position to, advocate for initiatives that assist people of color attempting to break into the field of lactation. Pacify, at the urging of and in collaboration with the DC Breastfeeding Coalition, not only heard the cry but rose to the call. As one of the first recipients of the Pacify Diversity in Lactation Award recipients, I have been able to use my scholarship funds to cover expenses necessary to prepare for not only my exam but more importantly, to provide quality evidence-based care that I hope to provide couplets/families for years to come.
Lactation…a Growing Field
I’m excited to be entering into a field that is ever-growing. A field where there is a mutual respect for those at the bedside; in the clinics; in private practice; looking through the lens of a microscope; advocating for moms making the hard decision to return to work; receiving the late-night/early morning phone calls; and each of us who live and breath...just for the love of the latch.
About the Diversity in Lactation Award
In line with our core values of health equity and clinical excellence, Pacify is committed to playing an active role in promoting diversity within the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) community.
The Diversity in Lactation Award was established in partnership with the DC Breastfeeding Coalition and aims to provide financial assistance to aspiring IBCLCs from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in the professional lactation field.
About DC Breastfeeding Coalition
Since 2004, DCBFC has sought to promote, protect, and support culturally-sensitive programs and activities that build awareness and understanding of the preventive health benefits of breastfeeding. The Coalition unites breastfeeding advocates, health care providers, and families, providing a forum for the development and exchange of resources to establish breastfeeding as the normal way to feed babies.