2016 Legacy Awardee: Miriam Labbok

At the Sixth National Breastfeeding Coalitions Conference, Miriam Labbok was celebrated as a recipient of the 2016 USBC Legacy Award. Because Miriam was unable to attend the ceremony, her close friend Hope Sukin accepted the award on her behalf (pictured above). Her colleagues from the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute shared their reflections on Miriam's legacy in the breastfeeding field. Below are remarks made at the awards ceremony while presenting this award.

Miriam Labbok is one of the strongest advocates for maternal and child health and nutrition. In her decades of leadership in the breastfeeding field, she has been a pioneer in articulating and moving forward the life cycle approach as a basis for understanding the importance of optimal nutrition and health. She is a person whose impact on the field has been monumental on both global and domestic levels, most significantly at UNICEF and USAID.

At the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) that she founded at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her unstoppable drive to protect the health of mothers and newborns is felt in every area of the institute’s work, from education of future leaders in maternal and child health, to breastfeeding-friendly programs, research, and technical assistance. Miriam’s colleagues at CGBI say that her passion was a model for their motivation and her legacy of “caring from the inside out” will endure as a foundation for their life’s work.

Today, we applaud Miriam for her tremendous contributions both nationally and internationally to the field, and we thank her for her steadfast commitment to moms and babies across the globe. She is a lifelong scholar, a dedicated teacher and an incredible innovator. Unfortunately, Miriam cannot join us today, but her close friend Hope Sukin is here to accept on her behalf.

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