California Breastfeeding Coalition
Last weekend, Aug. 17 and 18, the California Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC) Board of Directors met in San Diego for a weekend of planning and visioning.
Back Row (L-R) Dr. Okeanos Gerell, Lisa Bandong, Rebeca Pacheco Hildalgo, Dr. Ursula Pertl, Yvonne Golub, Robbie Gonzalez-Dow, Front Row (L-R) Dr. Ifeyinwa Asiodu, Janisha Howard, Dr. Susan Crowe, Kelly Philipson, Elyse Homel Vitale, Devona Robertson
During their time together, board members carefully considered priorities related to increasing access to breastfeeding, chestfeeding and donor human milk as a first food for California families. After a thorough exploration of statewide needs and opportunities, the board honed in on five key areas of focus.
Board President Dr. Ifeyinwa Asiodu, an assistant professor at UC San Francisco’s School of Nursing, said the meeting was productive and encouraging.
“As we get clear on our priorities, we look forward to sharing that information with our local coalitions and stakeholders,” she said. “This is a working board, and the work we did this weekend will move us forward as an organization in a strategic way.”
The board will vote on its action plan for the coming year at its next regular meeting, but everyone in the room agreed that sponsoring regional convenings throughout the state is at the top of their list.
“Talking with our local coalitions and partners about the successes, growth opportunities and challenges they see in the communities they serve is one of the best ways we can think of to ensure we promote, protect and support breastfeeding throughout the state,” Asiodu said.
Elyse Vitale, a senior advocate at California Food Policy Advocates, is among the board’s newest members and looks forward to leveraging her advocacy skills to support the mission and priorities of the coalition.
“The CBC is at an exciting point of strategic growth,” she said. “What’s most clear is that we’re all committed to racial justice and lifting up opportunities to support all Californians through equitable rights to infant feeding.”
The topics of equity and access bubbled up over and over throughout the retreat as board members examined wants, needs and goals moving forward. Asiodu said this why regional convenings will be critical in the coming year – to ensure the CBC effectively represents coalitions throughout the state.
“There is more to come,” she said. “Look out for us in an area near you.”