Sullivan 180 ensures professional support for breastfeeding women in Sullivan County
Certified Lactation Counselor Training scholarships funded by a grant from former New York State Senator Bonacic
[FERNDALE] – Concerned by the shortage of professional breastfeeding support for new moms in Sullivan County, and courtesy of a generous grant from former New York State Senator John Bonacic, Sullivan 180 has been pleased to help to increase the level of local breastfeeding support. In consultation with the Sullivan County Breastfeeding Coalition, Sullivan 180 has provided full scholarships to attend Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) training for a number of local health professionals and paraprofessionals who work with new mothers and newborns. With an increased number of CLCs in the county, more women will have immediate breastfeeding support in the very sensitive newborn period. Breastmilk is nature’s ideal food for infants, supplying them with the perfect combination of nutrients and immune system support. Breastfeeding has significant and long lasting health benefits for the new mother as well, including a preventive effect against certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases later in life.
The CLC training course is a college-level five day course which includes testing and certification. Upon successful completion of the course and upon passing the exam, an attendee gains their certification as a CLC. According to the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP), “CLCs are dedicated to the promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding and human lactation in their work to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems.”
In order to qualify for a scholarship, staff were required to be nominated by their employer and have regular direct contact in their workplace with mothers in the postpartum period from birth to six months. Sullivan 180 recommended to organizations who successfully nominated staff that they allow attendance on paid work time to increase the number of staff who could commit to the training. The scholarship covered costs of the training, textbook, testing, and all travel expenses, thus eliminating a long standing barrier to becoming a CLC. So that CLC services remain available once the grant ends on March 31, 2019, Catskill Regional Medical Center has generously made a commitment to sponsor their obstetrical RNs for this training in the future, to ensure adequate support for its patients in the vulnerable postpartum period.
Sullivan 180 commends its partner organizations Catskill Regional Medical Center, Sullivan County Public Health Services, and Maternal Infant Services Network, who have all nominated
their staff for scholarships and have also paid the staff their full salaries while attending the training.
To date, attendees who were funded through this grant and completed the coursework include Ericka Pineda and Stacey Wizwer from the Sullivan County Healthy Families Program (in Public Health Services), Linnette Gonzalez, Community Health Worker from Maternal-Infant Services Network, Joanne Cerniglia, R.N. and Dawn Twomey, R.N., from Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC)’s Obstetrical Department, and Janna Walter, R.N, a Community Health Nurse who specializes in maternal child health at Sullivan County Public Health Services. Several more scholarship recipients from these facilities will be attending in March and join the ranks of CLCs ready to assist breastfeeding moms.
Ericka Pineda, a Family Support Worker from Healthy Families and one of the first attendees to receive her certification, wrote: “I just want to take this time and tell you how deeply thankful I am with your program for the great opportunity I was given. I feel like I have accomplished a goal I was stuck on and I owe it to Sullivan 180 for this great achievement. I am beyond proud to say I did it with Sullivan 180 standing behind me. Thank you so much!!”
Sullivan 180 is a non-profit organization born out of a grassroots effort to build a healthier Sullivan County one degree at a time.