Pacify is excited to announce our second 2021 recipient of the Diversity in Lactation Scholarship, Galissa Jones! Galissa is a Breastfeeding Counselor with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health - Division of Maternal Child and Family Health (Healthy Start Program). We asked Galissa to share her story - read on to learn why she wants to become an IBCLC!
Why I Want to Be an IBCLC
I have worked supporting families to breastfeed for substantially more years than I have been trained as a lactation professional because I have always seen the struggles of mothers feeling inadequate or not having the resources to support their breastfeeding goals. As a woman who has breastfed I was able to empathize and connect families to adequate resources that helped them. Support can come from anyone but what I have learned is that this journey of certifications and acquiring layered knowledge is not just rooted in personal passion but a passion to increase representation in a field that has seen a lot of work over the last decade to increase equitable and compassionate care to all women but specifically BIPOC. Being a woman who identifies as Black that also has breastfed her two children this is personal for me. Beyond what the data says, the struggles encountered and the reasons why I could have chosen a different path I have chosen to hold space for all women who breastfeed but represent women who have been historically disenfranchised from the breastfeeding journey. We have to look at history but we also have to be present in the efforts of today to improve the future. I want to be apart of that change.
What impact do you hope to make as an IBCLC?
My hope is to bring compassion and patient centered care to those I will support as an IBCLC. I hope to help women feel heard, seen and supported regardless of her choice ,circumstance or goals to feed her baby. I also hope to provide representation in a field that has so many barriers that subjugate many grassroots providers who serve the BIPOC communities especially when they are BIPOC because those barriers are more relevant when you are a BIPOC.
Why is winning Pacify's Diversity in Lactation Scholarship meaningful to you?
Lactation support can be done at various levels and by being a women who had breastfed I have been a peer supporter, I am currently a CLC and by becoming an IBCLC I will be able to provide representation at all levels of lactation. I hope my story helps inspire others who felt they could not, felt they were inadequate or faced obstacles that prevented them from doing it because it can be done.
About the Diversity in Lactation Scholarship
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 Scholarship 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.