College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

HUMAN LACTATION PATHWAY 2 CERTIFICATE

The Human Lactation Pathway 2 Program at N.C. A&T prepares individuals to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), healthcare professionals who specialize in the clinical management of breastfeeding. To be eligible to take the IBCLC examination, an individual must complete one of three pathways. Pathway 2 requires completion of a comprehensive, accredited academic program in human lactation.

The program offers a post-baccalaureate certificate accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, and provides the required 95 hours of coursework and 300+ hours of supervised practice in lactation consulting. This 18-credit-hour program offers 12 credit hours of didactic coursework (FCS 620, 622, 623 and 625) and 6 credit hours of supervised practice experiences (FCS 621 and FCS 624) in clinical settings within the Triad region of North Carolina. 

THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE

This certificate is specifically designed for students who are committed to providing breastfeeding education and support to marginalized communities. Housed in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, the certificate program will develop entry-level lactation consultants who are skilled and culturally competent. The students in our program will have a solid foundation in the competencies of human lactation, with a heavy emphasis on the competency of communication.

There are many barriers to breastfeeding for African American families and families with marginalized voices. This program’s mission is to change the health narrative for these families by educating, supporting and helping them sustain breastfeeding. Graduates will be able to apply for the International Board Certified Lactation Consultants Exam, and upon passing will become IBCLCs. Graduates of this program will be prepared to work in a variety of public health settings, from hospitals to private practice to organizations that govern policies and procedures for breastfeeding.

WHY CHOOSE N.C. A&T’S P2P?

Centered around community, diversity and equity, N.C. A&T’s P2P sets itself apart from other Pathway 2 programs by exceeding the number of didactic hours in the subject of communication set forth by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. In order to sit for the exam, applicants must have 5 hours of didactic coursework in communication.  N.C. A&T's P2P exceeds this requirement by designating two courses with an emphasis on cultural diversity and communication in healthcare.  Effective communication is not only critical to meeting patient needs and providing safe, high-quality, patient-centered care, it is also necessary for delivering effective healthcare messages, especially in marginalized communities. 

N.C. A&T’s P2P is one of only two lactation certificate programs housed at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. African Americans are underrepresented among IBCLCS, and this program will help change that. Graduates of this program will be pivotal in closing the gap in breastfeeding disparities for African Americans. Due to the numerous health benefits associated with breastfeeding, this will directly lead to overall health gains for this population and will help increase the number of diverse professionals within a field that has been homogenous since its origin.

A CULTURALLY IMPORTANT CREDENTIAL

Due to the adaptability of the certification and its value in a wide variety of settings, IBCLCs can thrive in a range of healthcare environments, including local, regional, national and international public health organizations.

Despite the many benefits of breastfeeding, such as the reduction of acute and chronic diseases from infancy to adulthood, African Americans continue to have the lowest breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. These statistics have remained constant for nearly 50 years. Research has shown that even when income and education are controlled, African Americans still have lower breastfeeding rates than other races. These rates are lower due to a combination of institutional and historical barriers, including slavery, wet nursing, the eugenics movement, the movement of the birthing process from midwifery in the home to physician care in hospitals, and the mass production of formula. Each of these societal factors greatly affected breastfeeding rates for African Americans.

The lack of diversity in the field of Lactation does not support the necessary cultural modeling for successful breastfeeding. Increasing the number of African-American and culturally competent lactation consultants will aid in increasing the number of African American families who choose to breastfeed. One of the many health initiatives of this program is to move the pendulum of breastfeeding from being a feeding choice to a public health choice for African-Americans.

ACCREDITATION

The Human Lactation Pathway 2 Program at N.C. A&T is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee. The program earned its initial accreditation on May 15, 2020, and is current until 2025.  CAAHEP, 25400 U.S. Highway 19 North, Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33763  (727) 210-2350

HOW TO APPLY

The application period for fall 2020 is now closed. The university will begin accepting applications in February 2021 from applicants who wish to begin the program in fall 2021. All prospective applicants must read the Student Handbook before submitting an application.

CONTACT

Janiya Williams
P2P Program Director
Ncatp2p@ncat.edu
Phone: 336-334-7850