by Elizabeth Kirts, MPH, ICCE, IBCLC, RLC
I am writing this after spending the weekend with the Board of Directors, our Executive Director, Caitlin Smith, and a consultant, Marcy Cottle. We met via Zoom to work through the 2021 Strategic Plan which is a critical part of governance for a non-profit organization. Normally, this planning occurs in person over several days. However, with the pandemic still precarious, we made the decision to forge through on Zoom. I want to take this opportunity to thank this dedicated group of very busy professionals for taking the time, energy, and focus to work through this critical process in less than ideal circumstances. During our time together, we really processed all the great things that we as an organization, and you as Certified Professionals do to educate and support birthing and postpartum families. Because of the condensed time and challenges of Zoom, we will having small group sessions to complete the full Strategic Plan by our August Board Meeting. The full plan, along with updates, will be presented at our Annual Meeting this fall. Be watching for information about this virtual meeting. As a reminder, we have moved to holding a conference every other year. We held a virtual conference in 2020 and hope to be in-person, possibly with a hybrid model for 2022. Although nothing beats the connections made by being together, we recognize that for some, the constraints of flying and hotel costs make it difficult or impossible to attend. We are considering all options to support you in obtaining your CEUs. We have provided information about our new CEU requirement of 4 hours of diversity, equity, and inclusivity training in multiple places. However, I have had questions and push back on this requirement. So I am taking the opportunity to address this topic. We as a board stand together in unison that these CEUs are important and necessary. The 4 hours need to be on a topic of choice where you can expand your knowledge in this area. We recommend that they get pre-approved or that you contact the Certifications Coordinator in the office for a list of courses already vetted. These hours will be part of the 24 required for certification; they are not additional hours. I recently was told that this requirement is supporting a political agenda. I will be fully transparent in saying that this hurt my heart to get this feedback. This was not done to support any agenda except to learn more about fellow humans, recognize where mistakes have been made, and to BE BETTER. This falls under our value of compassion and does not in any way take away from choice. If you still have questions about this requirement or have concerns, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I implore you to come to the source rather than spread untrue information about our organization and profession. Next week is Birth Trauma Awareness Week. This week recognizes that birth is not always the experience that our families hope for; that things happen that are out of their control. As educators, doulas, and lactation professionals, we are in a unique position to help families process and recover from difficult experiences and have hope for better outcomes when there are future births. Remember that you are valuable and important to these families. As I close, I want to thank you for your dedication, compassion, and support. Creating a family is a life changing event and having the support and education are so important for best outcomes and bonding. As President, I am in service to you as you are to your patients, clients, and students. I am always available to answer questions and guide you in your professional journey.