22 in 2022: Unsung Sheroes/Heroes in maternal child health

Earlier this year, we compiled 22 Actions in 2022 for maternal child health advocates. The list was inspired by Life Kit’s 22 Tips for 2022, and we hope it provides inspiration for you to forge forward with this important work. Extending this theme, we have curated a list of 22 Unsung Sheroes/Heroes (The list was not easily narrowed to 22 individuals!)  to continue to draw inspiration from.

Source: United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)
  1. Nicolle L. Gonzales is a Navajo Nurse-Midwife and founder of the  Changing Woman Initiative
  2. Rickeshia Williams, CLS, CLC, BD, CBE is the Co Founder of Milk Like Mine along with colleague Stephanie Freeman, CLC, BD. Milk Like Mine is a breastfeeding coalition and also offers doula services. 
  3. TaNefer Camara is one of four instructors at The B.L.A.C.K. Course, a full scope lactation and breastfeeding education course made by and for Black People and folks. You may know Camara from her creative work producing breastfeeding songs.  
  4. Tawanda (Williams) Payne runs a breastfeeding-friendly child care center in Mississippi. 
  5. Nishka Bommareddy, MPH serves as a Public Health Project Coordinator for CityMatCH where she works to understand the Perinatal Periods of Risk approach and assist in analyzing real-time data.
  6. Doug Edwards is the founder and Director of Real Dads Forever
  7. Katharyn Head is an ASL interpreter postpartum doula and CLC.  
  8. Julie Avery, PhD RND LDN of the University of Alaska Fairbanks has an impressive list of marine mammal research and explorations.
  9. Teresa McGinnis is a dental hygienist at Dakota Dental who completed the Lactation Counselor Training Course (LCTC) to better serve her patients. 
  10. Brittany Isler, CLC continues her work in the Mississippi Delta, supporting families to reach their breastfeeding goals and ultimately working to help shape a breastfeeding-friendly culture. 
  11. Laura Asbury, MD, CLC is a pediatrician with Beacon’s Children’s Diagnostic Center in Chattanooga.
  12. Eau Claire, Wis. City Council Member Catherine Emmanuelle persevered after a ban was instituted to keep her  from breastfeeding at her seat during meetings. 
  13. Renae Green, IBCLC, CLC  developed the Healthy Start, Inc.’s Center for Urban Breastfeeding program initiative. 
  14. Cassie Calderone is a DONA certified birth doula, Co-Chair of Chicago Latina Moms, and Board Member of Chicago Volunteer Doulas. 
  15. Mariah Palrang is the co-owner and founder of the Omaha Baby Nest. The doula group provides scholarships to the Lactation Counselor Training Course (LCTC) with a mission to diversify the lactation field. 
  16. Tara DeWolfe is a physical therapist at Way to Grow Pediatric Therapy and also serves as a lactation educator. 
  17. Colleen Jesberger’s recent work looks at Maternal Self-Confidence and Breastfeeding after Participating in a Program about Infant Prone Positioning
  18. Tammy Rascon is the Maternity Care Coordinator at  Southern Arizona VA Health Care System(SAVAHCS). Rascon and her colleagues coordinate veteran maternity care among staff OB/GYN providers, MCC nurses, and community health providers. 
  19. Amber Crews is the chair of LGBTQ+ Human Milk Feeding with Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities of Durham (BFFC).
  20.  Karin Cadwell, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANLC, CLC, IBCLC is the Executive Director and Lead Faculty of Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding. 
  21. Lauren Melman, MD, IBCLC is a pediatrician and family medicine physician at Middlesex Health Family Medicine – Portland where she supports families in their healthy infant feeding goals and works to educate medical students on lactation and breastfeeding support. 
  22. Margaret Butler’s, MA, CLC recent work looks at Structural Racism and Barriers to Breastfeeding on Chicagoland’s South Side

We would love to hear from you. Who is doing quiet but mighty work in your area? Send us an email at info@ourmilkyway.org or comment below to nominate your unsung shero/hero.

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