In Detroit, racial inequities lead to breastfeeding rates of about 30 percent for Black families with infant mortality more than twice the national average (1). Southeast Michigan IBCLC’s of Color (SEMI) consistently ‘show up’ for families by providing services, developing advocacy, leveraging relationships, and mentoring countless other professionals entering the field of Black maternal health work. Members of SEMI lead in a vast array of capacities all throughout the region. Our commitment to reducing disparities in Black maternal and infant mortality in the Southeast Michigan region is visible in the significant programming of our organization.
1. MDHHS Lifecourse Epidemiology & Genomics Division. (2019). “Breastfeeding vital statistics by race ethnicity county 2017” [Data file]. Available from the MDHHS Lifecourse Epidemiology & Genomics Division).
In celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week 2017, a photoshoot was held to highlight African American Lactation Consultants in the metro Detroit area. That created a desire for a more formal group, and out of discussions that sprang from that event, Southeast Michigan IBCLCs of Color was formed in 2018. We have attended community health fairs, local birth worker gatherings and coalition meetings, as well as fielding invitations to present at several conferences, most notably the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association’s Motown Experience: Birth and Breastfeeding Conference.
To meet the unique needs for mentorship, fellowship and profession growth of IBCLCs of Color in the Southeast Michigan region in order to supply our community with equitable access to culturally appropriate lactation support and advocacy.
Southeast Michigan families of color receive access to equitable and skilled lactation support by bridging gaps in our community.
Our COMMITMENT to the community
SEMI is actively involved in collaborative efforts to support breastfeeding with other organizations of color in the SE Michigan region, such as Birth Detroit, Metro Detroit Midwives of Color and Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association. We also use our position and platforms to teach equitable lactation support practices to mainstream dominant culture healthcare providers who serve families in our community, as well as provide breastfeeding education and support to families of color.