It is my honor, for my final act as Chair of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, to announce the long-awaited outcome of our extensive search for Executive Director: Nikia Sankofa, MPA, MPH, has accepted the position of Executive Director and will be joining the organization on Tuesday, October 15. We trust that you will welcome her warmly!
Nikia brings passion, experience, and skills that will continue to guide the USBC into our exciting future! Nikia earned her Bachelors of Science in Chemistry at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania and Masters of Public Affairs at the Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where she concentrated on Environmental Policy. Nikia also has a Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she concentrated in Women's Reproductive Health and earned certificates in Health Disparities and Health Communication.
Focused primarily on reducing racial and ethnic health disparities, Nikia’s public health work encompasses a broad range of functions, including multi-site project management and team leadership; program design, monitoring, and evaluation; data management and analysis; advocacy; and delivery of training and technical assistance. Nikia has directed community-based participatory research as well as an infant mortality reduction initiative. Most recently, Nikia served as Project Director for breastfeeding at the National Association of County and City Health Officials. This project aims to increase implementation of evidence-based breastfeeding programs, practices, and services at the community level, specifically focusing on peer and professional lactation support to breastfeeding mothers in predominantly African American and/or underserved communities. The project also supports communities in developing public health partnerships critical to building community support for breastfeeding. It is all of these experiences and expertise that positions Nikia to be the Executive Director of the United States Breastfeeding Committee. Read Nikia's full bio.
I would like to thank both the Transition and Search Committees for their efforts and diligence throughout the search process. Their dedication to the USBC mission and to the careful consideration of the strengths, needs, and opportunities for the USBC and the breastfeeding field have been critical to the selection of the next leader of USBC. The Board of Directors and the USBC staff team have been instrumental throughout this process, supporting a successful transition while continuing and expanding the USBC's critical work to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. Each individual brought expertise, knowledge, and commitment to the vision of the USBC’s future to the process. Every position, role, and voice was critical to our success throughout the transition period.
I especially extend my sincere gratitude to Amelia Psmythe, Deputy Director, for her outstanding leadership throughout this lengthy time of transition. Amelia held the role of Interim Executive Director for the past 20 months, supporting the staff team as they persevered through the significant challenges and changes that accompany organizational shifts such as this. She worked closely with the Board, staff, funders, and member organizations to not only sustain, but also grow the USBC’s work and relationships in the field of lactation and health policy. Amelia’s hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated, and I look forward to her continued leadership as Deputy Director of the USBC.
During this transition period, the USBC implemented an expansion in membership categories, led advocacy efforts that resulted in the passage of the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act, and hosted the National Breastfeeding Conference & Convening, three Membership Meetings, and the Welcome Congress and Advocacy Day of Action events!
I hope you'll agree that the future of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee looks bright, promising, and secure! I am pleased to support Emily as the incoming Chair of the USBC’s Board of Directors. As I move on to become Past-Chair, I have faith that the organization is ready and well positioned to continue forward with its mission to drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States. By continuing to center equity in all that we do, together we will achieve our collective vision of thriving families and communities.
Love and light to all,
Mona Liza Hamlin, Chair