GNTC’s Human Lactation program celebrates student accomplishments

GNTC’s Human Lactation program students Erin Fitzpatrick (from left), Gisselle Silva, Kristin Patterson, Maria Arroyo, Ayra Allen, Scarlet Davis, Heather Ballinger, Shannon Vann, Sydney Matthews, Christiane Worley and Autumn Robinson.

Twelve students in Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Human Lactation program were recently honored at the Gordon County campus in Calhoun.

The event was an opportunity for the students to celebrate their accomplishments with family, friends and faculty.

Shannon Vann, a GNTC Human Lactation student from Dallas, shared some of the challenges the class faced during the pandemic.

“Challenges the class of 2021 faced were schedule changes when several students were quarantined and we had a couple of virtual weeks in a row. This was communicated as best as possible so we could plan on where we needed to be,” said Vann. “Personal Protective Equipment was another concern, but equipment was provided to the students for use and maintenance throughout the clinical rotation.”

During the month of October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, GNTC’s Human Lactation students designed campaigns for community public health as a capstone project.

“One of the students created a social media infographic highlighting breast cancer statistics based on a local hospital’s efforts to boost mammograms and correlated it with the reduced risk experienced by parents who body feed,” said GNTC’s Human Lactation program director, Audrey Thompson.

Another initiative the program undertook was implementing an alumni association. The alumni association includes members from all previous Human Lactation classes and meets quarterly, either virtually or in-person.

“We plan to hold one or two events yearly, outside of the pinning ceremony, for program graduates and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant exam study groups,” Vann said. “We also plan on having an alumni member involved in the 2022 class for study guidance, tutoring and as an ongoing presence to build the membership of the association.”

The Human Lactation program gives students clinical and classroom experience in the management of lactation, breastfeeding counseling skills and general health sciences.

Graduates of the diploma program will be trained to sit for International Board of Lactation Examiners Certification to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, which is considered the highest certification of a lactation professional.

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