I’ve heard about the BIPOC Scholarship, but what is it, and why do we need to fund it?
Our Black Indigenous Person of Color (BIPOC) Scholarship for Aspiring IBCLCs, which offers $10,000 in support, was created to increase racial diversity among people entering the IBCLC profession.
“When I started my journey to be a lactation consultant, one of the biggest barriers was getting the required hours…I had to move to another state,” said BIPOC Scholarship recipient Jennay Peterson. “The other barrier was paying for the program.”
Becoming an IBCLC is a long road, and has significant costs in both time and finances.
Finding funding and grants for a scholarship like this can be challenging, but it is important to the BRC to support people of color financially and with education and clinical hours.
“I was super excited and grateful,” Jennay said of receiving the scholarship.
At the BRC we know there is a high need for diversity in the lactation consultant field and there can be many barriers to access for people of color to the programs, education and hours needed to become an IBCLC. It is important for the families we serve to be able to relate to the consultant they are seeing. Low rates of breastfeeding in diverse communities can be lifted with access to lactation consultants of color.
“In order to bridge the racial divides in breastfeeding rates in people of color, we need lactation consultants who can work closely with the community,” said Executive Director Colette Acker, IBCLC.
For families that want to prioritize breastfeeding, It is important to have a lactation consultant who looks like them and who understands their unique barriers to accessing breastfeeding as well as culturally understand the issues that they might be faced with.
Costs of becoming an IBCLC:
- 14 Health Science Courses at college level
- 1,000 hours of breastfeeding counseling OR Certificate Program with 300 Clinical Hours OR 500 Clinical Hours (Clinical hours $10,000)
- 90 hours of Lactation Specific Courses ($1,000)
This scholarship is for the clinical hours an aspiring IBCLC needs to qualify.
“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, the predatory marketing of breast milk substitutes, and insufficient local, state, and national policies that address social determinants of health,” according to the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP).
This disparity in breastfeeding rates has detrimental effects throughout communities of color and urgently needs to be addressed. By opening access for Black and other people of color to enter the field, we hope families can experience increased support for their breastfeeding journey.
“This is an important source of funds and is so needed in the community,” state donors Robert and Sylvia Cavanaugh.
Thank you to all of our donors to this program, including Denise Wilcox, OD, PhD and board member Jackie Maniscalco. As of this blog post, we are still $5,000 short of funding for 2022.
Donate to the BIPOC Scholarship HERE!