Lactation Clinic and Mentorship Program
Hello, my name is Kira Kim, owner and lead clinician of The Boston Area Lactation Connection.
I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in private practice serving families in Boston/Cambridge and the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Multiple times a week I get emails with the same two questions:
- I want to become an IBCLC. Can you help me with mentorship?
- I cannot afford an out-of-pocket expense. Do you have resources for low-income parents?
The unfortunate answer to both of these questions are: "It's complicated."
However, I have come up with an idea to make the answer to both of these questions a resounding: "Yes!"
Offering mentorship on the road is difficult. Trying to match schedules, making sure that people I am mentoring have transportation, and trying to keep consistency in different settings are all hurdles to having a comprehensive mentorship program. Being in one, single space will allow the structure needed for those under mentorship to succeed.
Resources for low-income parents are far and few between. Many patients have to rely on the 10-minute wellness visit with their pediatrician to get their questions answered. Some are lucky enough to have a lactation consultant at their pediatrician's office, but many are overbooked and only have 30-40 minutes with each patient. On top of that, many of my low-income parents are not able to make it into an office because their offices are not on a public transit or bus line.
I am planning to open a lactation clinic and mentorship program in the Spring of 2023. The clinic will be open for private practice starting in February of 2023 and our tentative start date for the open clinic portion will be in April 2023. The pilot will run for one year, until April 2024.
The office is located in Malden, half a mile from both Oak Grove and Malden Center on the Orange line and on the direct route of multiple bus lines.
The vision is as such:
Once a week, we will run an open clinic in the office. These days will allow our Masshealth patients to come to us free of charge for consults. Another day we will dispatch our staff out for home visits to our patients who do not have access to transportation or are otherwise unable to come to our office. A third day there will be a group for people to further access help with routine complaints.
In the spirit of providing the best care while also training the next generation of IBCLCs, our model will utilize the skills of all lactation professionals. All clinical matters will be handled by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) with peer and certified counselors assisting within their scope of practice. Basic lactation care including education and support groups will be routinely done by non-IBCLC counselors following a strict protocol to ensure that clinical cases or questions are moved over to IBCLC care. All activities will have IBCLC oversight.
Individuals under mentorship will follow a program that allows them to learn under experienced IBCLCs, get their hours to sit their exam and learn the business skills necessary to run a private practice of their own.
My personal private practice will also be moving into the office on days when the clinic is not being run. After many years on the road and 10s of thousands of miles, I want to thank all of my families for trusting me with their care. I am excited to not only be able to get off the road but also have more time to devote to mentorship and providing care to all families, regardless of need.
Your help will support me in:
- Offering free consults to Masshealth families (as MassHealth does not reimburse for lactation care)
- Opening a physical space for the clinic to run
- Ordering supplies needed to run a free clinic
- Hiring 2 IBCLCs to oversee mentorship and do home visits
- Hiring a non-profit consultant to allow this portion of the clinic to become a non-profit
- Mentoring up-and-coming IBCLCs, focusing on IBCLCs of color
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