Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A reminder of who we are as La Leche Leaders and as Lactation Consultations

Many LLL Leaders, and many more lactation consultants don't know how the profession of IBCLC came to be. JoAnne Scott was a LLL Leader and the person who worked to help create a profession of lactation "specialists"; consultants.

My friend and La Leche League co-Leader, Maureen Lopina knew her as a Leader and a friend. Maureen gained insights into the mother/ baby relationship and how breastfeeding is such an integral part of that relationship though the loving guidance and later friendship with JoAnne
I met JoAnne in 1981 when I was back in the US to have a baby. I was already a LLL Leader, and JoAnne was a LLL volunteer at Fairfax Hospital. Almost 9 years later, JoAnne was instrumental in helping me learn what I needed to do in order to be able to nurse my failure to thrive preemie, Chance, who was born in 1990.
As the 9th anniversary of JoAnne's death approaches, I want to be sure that we all know and appreciate her. I plan to share this with some of my fellow lactation consultants as well. It is important to know our roots and not forget them.

JoAnne Scott; Promoted Breast-Feeding Advisers

By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 9, 2006
JoAnne W. Scott, 62, an advocate of breast-feeding who helped advance the professional qualifications of lactation consultants around the world, died Sept. 18 of breast cancer at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She lived in Annandale.
Unheard of a generation ago, lactation consultants are now on the staffs of hospitals, maternity and pediatric centers and private medical practices in dozens of countries. Largely through the efforts of Mrs. Scott, the field has become a licensed profession with rigorous requirements for certification.
Mrs. Scott became a breast-feeding specialist through personal experience. She had long believed that breast-feeding conferred physical and psychological benefits to both mother and child, but when she encountered problems breast-feeding her children in the early 1970s, she had few places to turn for help.
She later learned of La Leche League, an international group of mothers who offer assistance with breast-feeding, and in 1975 she became a volunteer with the organization. By the late 1970s, trained lactation specialists in California were offering practical guidance to nursing mothers.
Once universally practiced, breast-feeding reached a low ebb in the United States in the 1950s and '60s, when fewer than 20 percent of new mothers nursed their babies. But as the practice became more widespread in the 1970s and '80s, hospitals and pediatricians found a growing need for specialists.
In an effort to develop consistent standards, Mrs. Scott became director of La Leche League's Lactation Consultant Department in 1982. She helped develop educational programs, professional regulations and certification tests as her specialty rapidly expanded in the United States and overseas.
In 1985, she became founding director of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, an independent examining body to certify specialists in breast-feeding. Consulting with doctors, nurses and mothers, Mrs. Scott recruited volunteers from around the world to help administer the testing program.
At the first certifying examinations in 1985 in Washington and Melbourne, Australia, 259 people took the test. Today, there are more than 16,000 certified lactation consultants in 69 countries. They must be newly certified every five years.
To get her licensing board established, Mrs. Scott worked for years with no compensation. She traveled throughout the world to develop networks of lactation specialists and to promote the idea of breast-feeding.
Today, more than 70 percent of U.S. mothers breast-feed their babies for at least part of their infancy, and rates in other Western countries are as high as 98 percent.
JoAnne Winney Scott was born in Wilmington, Del., and graduated from Hanover College in Indiana. In 1965, she received a master's degree in English from the University of Virginia.
Initially, she found her lack of medical training an impediment to gaining support from doctors and nurses. But she persevered, and medical professionals quickly learned that lactation consultants filled an unmet need.
As she became more established, Mrs. Scott wrote papers on breast-feeding and spoke at international conferences. But she also worked with volunteers and mothers individually, following the philosophy of "as comprehensive as possible -- as specific as needed."
"I have worked with very few people longer than I worked with JoAnne, and no one has come close to matching her ambassadorial skills and global diplomacy," said Leon Gross, a Charlotte doctor who is an authority on breast-feeding. "And literally, the entire world is a better place as a result."
Mrs. Scott was executive director of the lactation examiners board until her retirement last year. She continued to deliver speeches around the world until several months ago.
She was a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Competency Assurance from 1992 to 1997 and a commissioner of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies from 2001 to 2003.
According to her daughter, Mrs. Scott -- a member of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria -- saw her role as an extension of her deep religious beliefs.
"She truly felt like the Lord had called her to help mothers and babies in this way," said Cordia Hennaman of Richmond.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include her husband of 40 years, Douglas Scott of Annandale; a son, Christopher Scott of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.

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