by Debra Tolson, RN, BSN, ICCE, IBCLC, CPST ICEA President
The ICEA Board and staff were very busy flourishing for ICEA in 2017 to meet the needs of the membership. We started by looking at the results of a survey held in 2016 and then moved to prioritizing what we need to accomplish. One of the big items was the streamlining of membership and certification because we heard from the membership about the need to simplify the process of membership and certifications. The planning started in January, the behind the scenes preparation began in spring, and the implementation of the streamlining took place in in late summer/early fall. We now have a more user friendly process for all! With the streamlining changes being added to the website, other improvements were also made to enhance the website including:
- Updated vision, mission and core values
- Inclusion of a equity and diversity statement
- Added and updated Position Papers
Another milestone for ICEA included receiving provisional accreditation for ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center). Many organizations now require certifying bodies to have ANCC, and ICEA frequently received phone calls and emails from the membership about the need. We rolled up our sleeves and put a dedicated and experienced group of nurses and educators together to get the job done. ICEA launched the online PCBE program to help those who could not attend workshops but could do the work online for obtaining their certification. We developed a rubric for the scholarship program to provide support to those seeking certifications. To meet the need for obtaining contact hours, monthly webinars were offered for the first time. Plus, our social media committee worked hard to keep the membership updated with current evidence based information and other relevant articles. ICEA was also very busy growing internationally. We signed an International Teaching Partnership agreement with the Chinese organization – YANMA. This came about due to the hard work of our Education Director, Tamela Hatcher, who has been teaching workshops in China for the past two plus years. There is a hunger and a need for Childbirth Educators and Birth Doulas in China. Another first for ICEA was appointing our first International Director from outside the US, Deryse Simone Van Aardt, who is located in South Africa and began her term this month. It is easy to see that we have a strong Board and supportive management company (IMI) to help ICEA be the best. It has been a privilege to work with these ladies, and I look forward to what 2018 has in store.