Posted : 09/09/19 in In the News
Posted 4 months ago
REPOST: Our Milky Way - Demographic Report of Current CLCs in the U.S. & Territories Released - by Jess Fedenia
Last month, Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP) Director Ellie MacGregor, MPH, CLC and Healthy Children Project’s Lead Faculty and Lactation Consultant Cindy Turner-Maffei, MA, ALC, IBCLC had the privilege of attending Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere’s (ROSE) 2019 Summit in Atlanta, GA.
“It was an amazing conference focused on eliminating inequities, particularly racial inequities, in breastfeeding,” MacGregor begins. “One of the speakers at the conference was discussing the racial/ethnic landscape of lactation care providers and, to her point, mentioned that none of this data is publicly available when it really should be.”
Released at the ROSE Conference, Saving Tomorrow Today: An African American Breastfeeding Blueprint, further points out: “In the United States, the organizations that built the professionalized lactation provider field have been historically white therefore, these providers may not be equipped to meet the breastfeeding support needs of African American mothers. IBCLCs (especially IBCLCs of color) may not be available to African American breastfeeding families in many communities.” (p. 19)
The same holds true of CLCs.
“U.S. families need many more CLCs of various backgrounds, specifically CLCs of color,” MacGregor confirms.
This is evident in the new Demographic Report of Current CLCs in the U.S. & Territories which shows that 74.8% CLCs identify as Non-Hispanic White or Euro-American while 10% identify as Black, AfroCaribbean, or African American. U.S. 2018 census data indicates that 76.5% of the U.S. population identifies as White and 13.4% as Black, AfroCaribbean or African American. Comparison of CLC and U.S. demographics for these and other racial and ethnic groups may be found in the report linked above.
Findings are limited in that the ALPP Demographic Survey Tool was implemented in 2013. As such, the data do not account for all 23,000+ CLCs in the U.S and Territories. Data are based on demographic information collected from 13,299 current CLCs. However, ALPP plans to update the demographic report annually, allowing the report to more accurately reflect CLC demographics.
Breastfeeding disparities among African American mothers and other ethnicities persist due to systemic factors in communities of color like lack of quality support, poor hospital practice, predatory marketing of breast milk substitutes and insufficient local, state, and national policies that address social determinants of health. (p. 19)
In a recently released CDC piece, Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration Among U.S. Infants Born in 2015, the authors again cite lack of support as a major barrier to breastfeeding.
However, “increasing interpersonal support for breastfeeding might help increase breastfeeding initiation and duration among black women, who might lack breastfeeding role models in their social networks and be more likely to face negative perceptions of breastfeeding among their peers and communities,” the report states.
ALPP and Healthy Children Project, Inc. are committed to continuing to work toward dismantling institutional and systemic racism. As President/CEO and Change Leader at ROSE Kimarie Bugg, DNP, MPH, IBCLC calls for in Saving Tomorrow Today, we strive to unpack our implicit bias, work collaboratively to achieve health equity through breastfeeding and create a culture of professional accountability. (p. 2-3)
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