Patricia Officer, BA, CLC, CLS is one of Healthy Children Project’s newest faculty members teaching the Community Breastfeeding Educator Course (CBE). She’s a golden thread woven into her community connecting with families to provide culturally safe, competent and relevant care.
Officer also currently serves as a Breastfeeding Peer Leader in Indianapolis, Ind. For over 10 years, Officer has also worked as a fitness trainer and coach at the YMCA.
Officer’s peer counseling and fitness training naturally intersect. When she goes to the YMCA, she runs into the same clients she works with as a Breastfeeding Peer Leader. This intersection allows her to provide relevant care like helping women decide when it’s best to resume exercise postpartum.
Officer is a familiar face and a valued community member.
“I love community work,” Officer says. “It’s just my passion.”
Officer deems herself a “girls’ girl” who believes strongly in Sisterhood.
“What I’m proud of is the natural draw I seem to have with women,” she explains.
She’s invested in women’s well-being; the relationships she’s built with women and their stories are of her greatest treasures.
“[Mothers] might come in for latch support, but I feel like at the end I’ve learned so much more,” she says.
In all her career, the moment that stands out most happens to be with a father she connected with. After teaching a basic infant feeding class, the father stood up and told Officer that she reminded him of his beloved aunt.
“I thought that was the best compliment,” says Officer.
Officer is impressed with her community for its thriving grassroots efforts and their ability to disseminate breastfeeding information, like through the work of the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition of which she is a member.
Still, Officer worries that women’s health in general isn’t a priority in Indiana.
“We find ourselves trying to increase breastfeeding rates, but at the same time we don’t have respect for women’s health,” she says.
She hopes more organizations and more research will support women’s health issues including breastfeeding.