Stephanie Hutchinson, MBA, BS, IBCLC - Founder and President
Stephanie Hutchinson (pronouns: she/her/hers) is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and International Public Speaker who lives in southeastern Ohio - specifically Gallipolis, Ohio - with her wife and two daughters. She began her journey into the lactation field in 2007, after the birth of her first daughter. Starting as a WIC Breastfeeding Peer, Stephanie continued to pursue education and certifications, with hopes to mentor young, diverse lactation folx in Appalachia. Stephanie holds three degrees: AA in Communications, BS in Leadership with a Concentration in Maternal Child Health: Lactation Consulting, and MBA in Entrepreneurship with a Concentration on Non-Profit Leadership.
Stephanie earned her CLS (Certified Lactation Specialist) in 2012 and her CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) in 2013. She sat for the IBLCE in July 2015, to find out she passed and earned the credential of IBCLC in October 2015. Stephanie currently works as the Education Manager for Pediatric Products and owns a private practice in lactation consulting, Rainbow Mountain Lactation. She also works for Lactation Education Consultants as an instructor and media manager and is the Hotline Administrator for Appalachian Breastfeeding Network. Stephanie has presented to many different conferences and symposiums across the world and is also available to present on various Appalachian-centered and LGBTQIA2S+ lactation topics at conferences, meetings, or educational sessions. For more information click here.
It is Stephanie's mission, along with the help and guidance of many influential colleagues, to make equitable change in her state, as well as all of Appalachia. Her key focuses are on inclusivity, equitable access to lactation care, and diversification of what the lactation field looks like and how it will continue to grow. She believes in mentoring young aspiring lactation professionals to help them tap into their own strengths and skills, while also working to change policies and structures that are currently not conducive to empowering young folx to desire to enter the lactation field.
In May of 2016, Stephanie founded Appalachian Breastfeeding Network, dreaming that one day our parents would have the access to lactation care that they deserve. In just one year, the network grew to 11 states and 250 members. By 5 years, the network continued to grow to over 600 members across all 13 states in Appalachia - and beyond! Appalachian Breastfeeding Network continues to grow in its membership, its capacity, and its visibility. Stephanie received an award in March 2017 at Ohio Lactation Consultant Association's Annual "Breastfest" Conference as an "Outstanding Innovation as a Cultural Change Agent" and at this conference ABN received a $1,000 grant to help fund the 1st Annual Appalachian Breastfeeding Conference in October of 2017. ABN has been featured as USBC's June Coalition Spotlight in June 2017 and achieved 501(c)3 status in June 2017 as well. She received the "Emerging Leader Award" from USBC in August 2018. The first listed cultural coalition under USBC continues to grow as Stephanie, along with the rest of the board, works diligently to increase equitable access to care. Stephanie was awarded the 2019 Terry Jo Curtis Award from the United States Lactation Consultant Association for her work with equity and increasing access to care in Appalachia. Stephanie is also OutCare Certified, after completing an inclusivity competency training in 2019.
Stephanie is the ABN Member-At-Large to Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance and Ohio Lactation Consultant Association. She also serves as Vice Chair for Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance. Stephanie previously served as an Elected Board Director for the United States Breastfeeding Committee as well as many other positions on both regional and state organizational boards.
When not busy with the above, Stephanie enjoys being a wife and mother, traveling (especially to Disney World!), and jigsaw puzzles.
Mishelle Trescott, IBCLC, LPN - Vice President
Mishelle Trescott (she/her), LPN, CLS was born in San Diego, California. Her family traveled a lot and settled down for almost five years in Zanesville, Ohio, where she graduated from high school and joined the U.S Army as an active duty soldier. She became a National Registered Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B). She had trained and mastered giving care in extreme circumstances. After her active military service, she continued with Reserve services and went back to school to receive her Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) certification. As an LPN, she was able to gain experiences as a telemetry technician and critical care nurse on a critical care step down unit, emergency room care, scrub technician and care nurse on a labor and delivery unit. As she went back to school to further her nursing degree, she gave birth to her first child. She had a very hard breastfeeding experience and was unable to meet her personal goal. She also failed out of school as she became pregnant for the second time. After her second child was six months old, she went back to school and was offered a position as a WIC breastfeeding peer helper. She had the opportunity to gain knowledge from the Lactation Consultant she worked with and through school. The most knowledge she could gain came from her second experience as a breastfeeding mother, because she was very successful. Mishelle successfully completed the IBCLC in 2018.
"As a WIC Peer helper I wanted to give mothers the same education and hope to succeed at achieving her breastfeeding goals. I have worked as a peer helper for six years, gaining certification as a certified lactation specialist. I have had many opportunities through experience and training to advance my counseling skills. I am hoping to complete my Bachelors of Science degree within the next year as well as move towards receiving my qualifications to sit for the certified health educator board. I am excited to help the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network to succeed with the mission and goals. I am honored to have been appointed Vice President and will do all I can to devote my time and passion towards this growing and dynamic group."
Jeanna Spears, BS, IBCLC - Secretary and Librarian
Jeanna (she/her) was the breastfeeding peer helper at Gallia County WIC in Gallipolis, Ohio from December 2015-December 2017. She is now the Lactation Consultant for Holzer Health System in Gallipolis, OH. She received her Certified Lactation Specialist (CLS) in 2017. She is the mother to a wonderful little boy who was breastfed for 3 1/2 years, named Ethan. Jeanna's passion for breastfeeding started when she became a mother and has not stopped even though her son has stopped breastfeeding. She is currently the secretary for Appalachian Breastfeeding Network and helped start the organization with Stephanie Carroll. Jeanna successfully obtained her IBCLC in 2018. Jeanna graduated from Union Institute and University with a Bachelor of Science in 2019.
Dyan Van Sickle, DTR, IBCLC - Treasurer
Dyan Van Sickle (she/her) works for the Athens/Perry County WIC program in Ohio as a Health Professional and Breastfeeding Coordinator. Dyan is from Hocking County, OH where she resides with her husband and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren.
"When I first started working for the WIC program, I didn’t know much about breastfeeding. After a year of working with breastfeeding moms, I felt a desire to learn more. My training in the field of lactation began when I got an opportunity to take the CLC course. During the training, I learned a great deal about breastfeeding and felt that if moms were better informed and educated, they would be able to make better choices when it came to feeding their babies. This training planted a seed, and since then all I have wanted to do is further my education in the field of lactation so I can assist mothers who choose to breastfeed. I have since gone on to become the Breastfeeding Coordinator in our WIC clinic, and also have the privilege of being a member of several wonderful groups that advocate for breastfeeding, such as the Southeast Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition (SEOBC) and the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network (ABN), which I am currently the treasurer of. In 2017, I became certified as an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I am excited to see what the future holds for me in this wonderful journey of providing support and education in the expanding field of lactation."
Kate Tuttle, BS, IBCLC - Membership Chair
Kate Tuttle (she/her) is a mother of a wonderful five year old son, Bennett. She has lived her entire life in Southeastern Ohio. Most recently in Racine, OH, the heart of Appalachia. When she started on her breastfeeding journey, she was a lone traveler. She had a husband and mother who were nothing short of great cheerleaders, although just as uneducated as she felt she was. Her mom never breastfed Kate or her siblings because “you just didn’t do that then. Doctors didn’t ever talk about it. They sent you home with formula and told you congratulations”. She had to learn on her own how to navigate through the sometimes rocky terrain. But she made it! She breastfed her son for 15 months and followed his self-weaning cues. She believes breastfeeding education is important in normalizing breastfeeding. The more women who view breastfeeding as the biological norm and the more they are encouraged to do it, the more common it will become. Kate successfully obtained her IBCLC in 2018. Kate received the Cultural Changemaker Award from the United States Breastfeeding Committee in 2019.
Cissy Watkins (she/her/hers), CLC, CCHW, current member of the United States Breastfeeding Committee and co-founder of Black Lactation Circle, a breastfeeding group that is specifically for and founded by African American women, an endeavor intended to shift the culture around breastfeeding in the African American community in Columbus Ohio and impact the outcomes, reducing infant mortality and increasing maternal support during this population's most vulnerable time. Cissy is an educator, a community liaison, and core advocate for women's health and family wellness. She is a mother of one and accomplished all of this after finding her passion after the birth of her son.
Crystal Lovett (she/her) is a West Virginia native and the mother of two breastfed children. She is also a registered nurse, WIC Peer Counselor, doula, and owner of Mocha Milk in the Mountains LLC, which was born out of a passion to help families, with a focus on families of color, in pregnancy, birth, lactation and human milk feeding, and parenting.
Crystal earned a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Marshall University in 2002. In 2012, at the age of 32, she graduated cum laude from Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College with an Associate Degree in Nursing. After 8 years in the nursing field, Crystal joined the Valley Health WIC Program as a Peer Counselor with a goal of becoming an IBCLC. Since joining the WIC Program, she has become a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and Certified Lactation Specialist (CLS) and continues working toward her IBCLC goal. To the best of her knowledge, she will be the first Black IBCLC in the state of West Virginia. In addition to this goal, she plans to become a Family Nurse Practitioner to help foster continuity of care for lactating families and potentially increase compliance when medical treatment is needed for lactation challenges. Crystal is a Hotline Operator for the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network Breastfeeding Hotline. “I’ve known since I was pregnant with my son, who is now 15, that I wanted to be involved in working with pregnant and breastfeeding families. It was not until I was pregnant with my daughter, now 2, that I started seriously considering how I would get involved with perinatal and breastfeeding work. In 2021, we continue to see disparities and systemic racism in all aspects of life, including the perinatal period, infant feeding practices, and parenting. My hope for our communities is that all families, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, class, ability, or religion, will receive the equitable care and support needed and deserved to have healthy and safe pregnancies, deliveries, and parenting experiences. This care includes not only the medical aspect, but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the families. Our need for this support does not go away in the midst of a pandemic; therefore, now more than ever it is important to reach our communities. For the last several years, we have seen more and more inequities in all aspects of life being highlighted, including in our healthcare system. Our communities need us and I look forward to being one of hopefully many that help normalize breastfeeding/chestfeeding in our culture and lead us to better outcomes for families.”
Monique Hutchinson, CLS - Media Chair
Monique Hutchinson (she/her/hers) lives in Gallipolis, OH with her wife and two daughters. In 2020, Monique took the Certified Lactation Specialist course, hosted by Appalachian Breastfeeding Network. Monique has extensive experience with social media, hoping to bring more presence of Appalachia to the various social media outlets available. Monique is passionate about bringing awareness of intersectionality to Appalachia, as a Black LGBTQ+ Appalachian herself. Monique has lived in Appalachia her entire life, often growing up the only POC in the room. She remembers only once having a teacher that looked like her, and he happened to be her preacher at church as well. Culture is very important to her, with a distinct emphasis that Appalachia, too, is a culture. She believes in the mission of Appalachian Breastfeeding Network: to bring more access to care in our region. She is excited to serve as Publicity Chair to Appalachian Breastfeeding Network.
Andrea Schlueter, CLC, CLS, LLL Leader - Publicity Chair
Andrea (she/her/hers) is currently tandem nursing her 4 and 6 year old and has overcome lactation struggles herself. This she would state is her biggest accomplishment to date. All together she and her husband of 7 years have 5 children, three of which are her bonus children. Andrea believes EQUITABLE lactation care and support is vital. She believes in pushing herself forward to achieve this work that needs done with a passion that doesn’t ever die down even when opposing voices are loud. Andrea has strived to garner lactation support and care in her rural county of 18,000 people while trying to counteract disparities with lactation support, and equitable care. Both being sparse and “not the norm.” in her rural area. Along with this, she has worked with WIC going on 6 years as Breastfeeding Peer Helper, as well as currently working for the State Wide Ohio Breastfeeding Hotline funded by Ohio Dept. of Health/ABN as a hotline worker for over 1 year. Andrea has obtained her CLS, CLC, as well as being a Le Leche League Leader. She plans to obtain her IBCLC in the future. She has attended well over 350 hours of CEUS trainings alone and plans to continue these trainings any chance she gets. Andrea was awarded “Outstanding Breastfeeding Peer Helper of the year, as well as honored to be nominated to attend USBC conference for no cost. Andrea is the new Chair of Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance and has for the last two years been the Regional Rep. for region 2 in OBA. Andrea was elected previously and held a position as a publicity board member for ABN in the past. She also is a business owner in Ohio for her well established photography business which from she has learned to be proficient in marketing and social media along with other media programs, including social media on cross platforms, making flyers, and video content.
Hannah Hobart, CLS - Continuing Education Chair
Hannah Hobart (she/her) grew up in Gallipolis, OH - where she met Stephanie Hutchinson and started learning about lactation and the inequities in healthcare in Appalachia. She quickly knew that ABN would be a good fit for her, and joined the ABN Conference Committee. Since then, Hannah has continued to participate in the ABN Conference Committee (2018-present) and took the Certified Lactation Specialist course hosted by ABN in June 2018. Hannah began working for the 24-Hour Breastfeeding Hotline through ABN immediately thereafter and continues to field calls presently. Hannah currently lives in Johnstown, OH, where she finds more opportunities to serve her community as a Dialysis Technician, alongside her husband, Steven - however, her heart still lies in Appalachia with a strong dedication to preserving our culture and inducing change in the area from which she is from.
Ophelia Griffin, CLC - Alabama Representative
Ophelia Griffin, CLC, is a mother of two boys and Certified Lactation Counselor since July 2018.She became a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor through ROSE(Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere) in 2017, after realizing that there was a huge diversity difference in the lactation field. Her own breastfeeding experience sparked a fire within to begin to educate her community on how important breastfeeding is. She also became heavily interested in Maternal Health, and the important of informed consent within the medical community. She hosts a monthly breastfeeding support group for POC and is the organizer of Mocha Milk Mamas created in May of 2018. Their main purpose is to empower and educate black mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding.
Miranda Fischer, CLC, CD, BFPC - Georgia Representative
Miranda (she/her) is a mother of five with a passion for supporting families! She is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), WIC Certified Breastfeeding Peer Counselor as well as Birth, Postpartum & Bereavement Doula. She began getting involved with her community by hosting local breastfeeding events like The Global Big Latch On, volunteering with the March Of Dimes, serving on the planning committee for the March For Babies, and even worked with the city of Jacksonville, NC to get their local Freedom Fountain lit purple annually for World Prematurity Day. She now resides in North Georgia where she hopes to find more ways to reach her community. In her spare time Miranda enjoys spending time with her family, thrift shopping, watching Friends reruns and drinking herself into debt at every coffee house she can find. Miranda served as the ABN Media Chair from 2018-2019. Miranda has previously served as ABN Georgia Alternate from 2018-2021.
Audrey K. Thompson, BBA, RN, IBCLC, Licensed LC, CCE, CLPD, IME-C is a Women's Services RN and Residency Director in Atlanta, Georgia. A previous Book Review Associate Editor for the Journal of Human Lactation, she frequently publishes opinion pieces and reviews, speaks at conferences about breastfeeding, childbirth and ethics topics, and educates families and future IBCLCs. A leader and member of many lactation, childbirth, and family focused organizations, Audrey advocates for children with special needs and families everywhere, both professionally and in volunteer capacities. She served as the inaugural Executive Director of the national Center for Lactation Equity, and is currently President of the Southeastern Lactation Consultant Association, the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition’s Board liaison to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, and sits on the Board of the Georgia Perinatal Association. Audrey is passionate about advocating for increasing equity and access to quality, evidence-based and intuition-guided childbirth and lactation care.
Andrew Rich - Kentucky Representative
Andrew Rich (they/he) is a full-spectrum birthworker in Louisville, KY where he also works in a local family medicine practice known for their work with trans and gender non-conforming patients. They are a parent and lactation nerd, working on an IBCLC mentorship. Andrew will begin a post-bac pre-med program at the University of Louisville and plans to start medical school in 2023, eventually becoming a physician and lactation consultant whose work is focused on LGBTQ+ individuals and families.
Jan Johnson, RD, LD, IBCLC - Kentucky Alternate
Janet (Jan) Johnson is a Registered Dietitian and became an IBCLC in 2009. She has worked for the WIC Program at the Pike County Health Department in Pikeville, KY since 2006. Being the only outpatient IBCLC in about a 12 county area, Jan wants to be a voice and advocate for the mothers of eastern Kentucky. In addition to her work with breastfeeding and WIC, Jan is the Clinical Instructor of Nutrition for the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine, is passionate about the arts and loves encouraging teenagers. She teaches ballet at the University of Pikeville School of Dance, instructs the color guard for the Pike County Central High School Marching Band, and helps lead the youth group at the Prestonsburg Church of God where her husband, Jason, is the pastor. Jan plays the flute in the Winds of Appalachia Community Band and loves learning new dance styles. Jan was born and raised in Prestonsburg, KY and now lives “at the head of a holler” in Pikeville, KY.
Elizabeth (Beth) Nottingham, PhD, CCC-SLP, CLC - Maryland Representative
Beth Nottingham is a pediatric feeding specialist with over 15 years of experience working with children aged birth through adolescence. She completed the doctorate program at James Madison University, department of communication sciences and disorders in 2018. Her research focused on investigating breastfeeding practices in NICUs across the United States. She has served as a volunteer breastfeeding peer counselor for the WIC program in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. She completed the birth doula workshop through Doulas of North America (DONA) as well as advanced training in the identification and treatment of tethered oral tissues (tongue and lip ties). She currently provides evaluation and treatment to families of infants and toddlers in York and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania, and volunteers as a facilitator for a weekly breastfeeding circle in Baltimore, Maryland.
Robert Lee, MA - Mississippi Representative
Mr. Lee (he/him/his) holds a Master of Public Communication from American University in Washington, DC. He is a Gulf Coast native, a follower of conscious communications and intentional diversity, a Chi Gong practitioner, a gluten-free vegan, a Saints and Braves fans. Mr. Lee works as a consultant to improve the nutritional health outcomes for the WIC and CACFP community. He advocates on improving the breastfeeding outcomes for women of color, women in indigenous communities and women living in poverty. Robert is a longtime docent with the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum and is also involved in a variety of community-focused projects on behalf of children and families.
Currently the Coordinator of Community Health, Office of Chronic Disease Prevention, Office of Preventive of Health and Health Equity in the Mississippi Department of Health. He has oversight in convening the over 800 community health workers and supporting them on their credentialing pursuits. In addition, supporting the CHWs to be recognized as a value added in working with thousands of underserved communities who have been fractured due to structural and institutional racism. Robert has previously served ABN in various forms on the board in Virginia and Alabama, as well as working with ABN on a grant applying process for a Fatherhood Program in Appalachia.
Jacqueline Lambert, CLC, CCE, CD - Mississippi Alternate
My name is Jacqueline Lambert. I am the mother of 3 and a wife with a passion to serve/support expectant and breastfeeding mothers. I am a Certified Lactation Counselor, Certified Childbirth Educator and Doula. I work with the Mississippi State Department of Health WIC Breastfeeding Program as a Peer Counselor 3. I have been working with expectant families for over 12 years. My goal is to empower expectant mothers and their families and give them the necessary tools to make an informed decision concerning their Infant Feeding decisions. I helped facilitate the first Baby Café in Mississippi. I am Lead Facilitator of the cluster site- Delta Baby Café-Let’s Talk. I also host Let’s Talk classes, teen parent sessions, baby fairs and breastfeeding support groups throughout the community. I am also a member of several coalitions that advocate for breastfeeding.
In my spare time I love reading, and watching reruns of Andy Griffith show.
Rebecca Costello, MPH, IBCLC - New York Representative
Rebecca began her lactation journey with her undergraduate senior thesis, evaluating a WIC breastfeeding education program. After working as a doula and childbirth educator, she decided to pursue a Master’s in Public Health, in Maternal and Child Health, from the University of North Carolina. There, she was also in the first class of the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative, a Pathway 2 IBCLC training program. Following graduation, Rebecca worked full time as an IBCLC at University of North Carolina Women's Hospital. She then became the Director of Lactation Services at Women's Birth and Wellness Center, a freestanding birth center in North Carolina. After making the move from NC to NY, she has set up a private practice and continues to work with new families. She has also been active in research, presenting at lactation conferences and publishing several articles. She has been active in the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition in the past, and is excited to get involved with coalition work again.
Lillian Scott, MS, CCC-SLP, IBCLC - North Carolina Representative
Amanda Breedlove (she/her) was raised in western North Carolina, my passion has grown over the years in my own breastfeeding journey with my children. I struggle to receive support and help with my older two children. The lack of support ultimately ended my breastfeeding journey with my older two due to lack of support. My passion has really come from my own struggles over the years. Working in my community to better bridge the gap in maternal support so that woman can receive the best prenatal/postpartum, and breastfeeding support. 3 Years ago I started working for Macon County as a breastfeeding peer counselor and later in Jackson County as well. Working in my community and helping woman achieve their breastfeeding goals is what I love to do. I received my Certified Lactation Specialist training after receiving a scholarship through ABN to obtain this certification. I am so grateful for the support of ABN so I can better help and serve those in my community. I have later gone on and received more breastfeeding training as well and just recently completed my training as a Doula. My love and interest for maternal health has grown over the years, and it is my passion helping women to be successful in their breastfeeding journeys and birth outcomes as well as working in my community empowering women to make informed decisions and have the best possible birth outcomes and support. I also have an associate’s degree in early childhood education, and worked for many years in the classroom. In my free time, I love spending time with my family. I am the mother of six and have been married for 10 years to my husband, Cory. I also find joy in plants and gardening.
Hope Lima, MS, PhD, IBCLC - South Carolina Representative
Hope Lima, MS, PhD, IBCLC completed the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative at UNC School of Global Public Health, becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2017. She graduated with her PhD in May 2018 from North Carolina State University. Hope is actively involved in the South Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition, helping to run the South Carolina ZipMilk website and serving as a member of the steering committee.
Hope works full time as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition at Winthrop University helping to develop and oversee the Pathway 3 IBCLC training program. She runs a research lab that focuses on helping mothers to reach their infant feeding goals, improving access to human milk, and analyzing the nutritional content of human milk.
Nikki started as an LPN in 1971, got her RN and a graduate degree, and is also an author, a teacher, a holistic lactation consultant, a craniosacral therapy practitioner, and a baby body worker (teaching Infant Massage and TummyTime!). Mother of 2 wonderful (breastfed for a long time) daughters, wife to 3 interesting men, only one of whom was the right one for the past 35 years, Rafe!
Her publications include the books, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Breastfeeding Therapy and A Breastfeeding Owner's Manual, the monographs, “Benefits of Breastfeeding and Their Economic Impact” and “Sexuality and Breastfeeding” and the educational pamphlet “How to help yourself through labor". She is a reviews editor for the journal Clinical Lactation, writes reviews for the Old-Time Herald, a magazine dedicated to old-time music, is author of the blog, Morning Thoughts, and regularly updates her Facebook page, NikkiLeeHealth. She is the administrator of the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network-Pennsylvania Chapter Facebook page.
Jessica Santore, RN, CBS - Tennessee Representative
Jessica Santore RN, CBS, was born outside of Chicago and went on to work as a home health wound care nurse in the Chicagoland area. Her lactation journey began with difficulties with latch for the first few weeks of life with her son, After receiving tremendous support from Husband and education from community programs, was able to breastfeed successfully. Wanting to repay and be a support for new mothers she began the Pathway to IBCLC certification. After moving to East Tennessee she is currently working as a night shift bedside nurse and certified breastfeeding specialist in a hospital family birth center in hopes to support mothers needing lactation assistance during the nights and weekends. Hoping to be a resource in the community and to help ABN extend education and support to many families throughout the region.
Jennifer Wilson, M.A. CCC-SLP, BCS-S - Tennessee Alternate
Jennifer Wilson has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for over 25 years, working primarily with pediatrics in medical settings. She received her M.A. from University of Memphis in 1993 and began gaining experience through working for two Children’s Hospital systems, owning a private practice for 12 years and working for the past 3 1/2 years at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as a Clinical Instructor. She specializes in Pediatric Dysphagia, educating graduates clinically and academically, and providing community education on feeding and swallowing disorders in children. She also serves on the Admissions Board and as a Internship Coordinator with the University of Tennessee FUTURE program, a post-secondary education program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Additionally, she serves as a Consultant with Feeding Matters, a Site Visitor for the Council of Academic Accreditation and the President for Tennessee Association for Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists.
V. Katherine Wilson-Thompson, IBCLC, RLC - Virginia Representative
Katherine (she/her) is an IBCLC and LLL Leader in Appalachian Virginia. "My lactation support journey spans 20+ years. I started my journey in lactation when I successfully breastfed my youngest after feeling like I failed miserably with my oldest. I began as a WIC Peer Counselor, continuing to work for WIC as I became a La Leche League Leader. After spending many years supporting families through WIC and LLL, I sat for the Exam and became an IBCLC. I now continue supporting breastfeeding families through my private practice in Bristol VA as well as supporting VA WIC families by working in WIC administration at the state level. I feel a deep need to work at all levels of lactation support. It is fulfilling to know that I am part of the big picture solution as well as the individual family solution. One without the other, just isn't enough!"
Leah Schie, M.S.Ed., CCC-SLP, CLC - Virginia Alternate
Leah is a licensed ASHA-certified Speech-Language Pathologist, an ALPP-certified Lactation Counselor, a Feed the Peds: Foundations of Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Training Course lecturer, and a small business owner. She received her Master of Science in Education at Old Dominion University in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. She has clinical experience providing services in public schools, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, long term care facilities, assisted living, in-patient rehabilitation centers, and acute care hospitals providing speech, language, cognitive, voice, and swallowing treatment. She has specialized training in oral motor methods, infant feeding, lactation counseling, and swallowing interventions. As a mother of a late preterm infant, she is able to bring compassion and a personal touch to infant feeding and lactation management. Leah’s free time is spent reading, raising her toddler, and cooking at home with her family.
Joni Gray, Ed. D., MA, BA, CLC, CLS - West Virginia Representative
Joni Gray (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, specializing in Health Communication, at Alderson Broaddus University. Joni is a generational native of WV where she has birthed and nourished 8 children of her own, worked as a peer breastfeeding counselor for WV WIC, completed dissertation research focusing on Appalachian culture and breastfeeding decisions, and shared her experiences and those of other WV moms at various conference presentations and symposiums. Joni is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice, a Certified Lactation Specialist and has completed advanced lactation management courses. Dr. Gray volunteers with the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network Breastfeeding Hotline; she is a member of the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network (ABN), West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance (WVBA), the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association (OLCA), and is a La Leche League Leader (LLL). Joni serves as a La Leche League Alliance representative to USBC and was recently chosen as the Area Coordinator of Leaders (ACL) for Ohio LLL. Dr. Gray approaches maternal child health and the choice to breastfeed as a social justice issue and woks passionately to improve access to optimal healthcare and health choice in Appalachia. Joni has been the WV Alternate for ABN from 2017-2021. Joni has also been a Hotline Operator for ABN's 24 Hour Breastfeeding Hotline and a speaker for ABN multiple times.
Kate Shanks, LISW-S, CLC - West Virginia Alternate
Kate (she/her) was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She attended Ohio Wesleyan University for her undergraduate work where she graduated in 2007 and then completed her Masters of Social Work at The Ohio State University in 2012. During Graduate School, Kate and her now husband Rusty, moved to Rusty’s home town, Parkersburg, WV. Since then, Kate has worked across the river in Athens, Ohio and now in Belpre, Ohio. Kate and Rusty have 2 children, Collin and Audra, both of whom Kate was lucky enough to breastfeed for an extended period of time. Kate is an Independently Licensed Social Worker who provides mental health therapy for children aged birth to six years old and their caregivers. Kate also specializes in providing therapy for moms who have Perinatal Mood Disorders during pregnancy and postpartum. Her professional passions are helping moms and babies/children attach and fall in love with each other. Kate is also a Certified Lactation Counselor.
Jenny Morris, MM, IBCLC - West Virginia Charleston Area Regional Representative
Jenny Z. Morris (she/her), of South Charleston, WV has been working or volunteering with breastfeeding mothers for nearly 25 years. Her passion began as a result of breastfeeding her three children and has only grown since those years. Originally from the northern panhandle of WV, she became active with LaLeche League when she moved to Charleston in 1992, eventually becoming an accredited volunteer leader. After beginning a part-time role as a WIC Peer Counselor, she also served as a Home Visitor for Parents As Teachers for several years. In 2001, she was accredited as an IBCLC, the first Peer Counselor in WV to achieve this credential. Eventually she became the Breastfeeding Coordinator for Valley Health WIC Program, which operates in 6 counties of WV and continues in this role today. She helped establish a hospital visit program for WIC moms in the Charleston area at two local hospitals and has felt privileged to continue doing these rounds on a weekly basis herself. She understands the importance of cooperative efforts within the healthcare and social service entities in providing consistent key messages about breastfeeding and works to further that communication in her varied roles.
Jenny also has training as a professional musician and can still be heard with some local orchestral groups, as well as church and choral groups. This is due in large part from the help of her husband and children who understand that babies and moms are more important than cooking and cleaning! Her college degrees in music are from West Virginia University and State University of New York at Stony Brook. She also received teaching certification through Glenville State College. Other hobbies include being an elementary knitter, and an ice-skating aficionado.
For a full list of board members including alternates and regional representatives