2019 NBCC Awardees 

Congratulations to this year's selected awardees.

Emerging Leader Awardees 

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Amber Granite

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To-wen Tseng

Tribal Trailblazer Awardees

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Alicia Gourd

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Courtney Schwefel

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Cyndee McLead  

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Danielyn Hardy

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Natalie Nicholson

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Stephanne Rupnicki 

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Tracey Printup

                 

Cultural Changemaker Awardees

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Carmen Cabrer

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Elsa Quintana

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Jabina Coleman

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Jacqueline Lambert

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Jada Wright Nichols

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Kaitlin Tuttle 

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Kanisha Neal 

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Lizabeth Berkeley

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Rosalba Ruiz-Holguin 

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Rose Steele 

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Stephanie Johnson 

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Tiffany Yang

Emerging Leaders

Amber Granite 

Breastfeeding Hawai'i Coalition, Oʻahu, Hawai'i

Amber Kapuamakamaeokalani Estelle Granite is a native Hawaiian born and raised on the island of O’ahu. She started her breastfeeding career as a WIC breastfeeding peer counselor. She also studied to become a Childbirth Educator and is also a labor doula. She found that supporting mothers through their entire pregnancy and labor process helped them have good breastfeeding outcomes. She works now as the WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator at the Waimānalo Health Center. A project she is currently working on with the Breastfeeding Hawaiʻi Coalition is to bring the Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor Training to Hawai’i and to integrate Native Hawaiian cultural practices into this training. Her ultimate goal is to create an Indigenous Breastfeeding Coalition in Hawai’i and offer education and training in breastfeeding with an emphasis on cultural trauma and native Hawaiian cultural practices. She hopes to give native Hawaiian people the recognition they deserve in the USBC and at other national and international levels.

To-wen Tseng 

Asian Breastfeeding Taskforce, Los Angeles, California

To-wen is a former Chinese-language TV reporter turned freelance writer based in Los Angeles, California. She faced challenges when returning to work after maternity leave in 2013 when her first child turned 3 months old and her employer refused to provide workplace nursing accommodations. Since that experience, she has dedicated her career to speaking out about breastfeeding barriers in Asian-American communities. In 2018, she joined a group of concerned individuals and co-founded Asian Breastfeeding Taskforce.

Tribal Trailblazer 

Alicia Gourd 

Spirit Lake Nation, Apache, North Dakota

Alicia Gourd-Mackin (Dakota/Apache) is a member of the Spirit Lake Nation. She now lives in Bismarck, ND with her husband George and two daughters. Alicia’s full-time job is teaching as a Social Work Instructor. She is a doula and Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor. Alicia is part of the Indigenous Birth and Breastfeeding Collective of North Dakota (IBBCND), a newly formed grassroots collective that was developed out of a need for a more Native-led coalition in the area. Alicia credits the experience of birthing and breastfeeding her girls over the last four and a half years as her inspiration to continue this work. Alicia believes in a helping approach that empowers women to find and reconnect with their innate and instinctive knowledge around birth and breastfeeding. Alicia also enjoys: both being at home and traveling with her family, cooking, exploring the prairie in the summertime, learning skills that promote self-sufficiency, and helping people find their strengths.

Courtney Schwefel

Bear Clan, Mohican Tribe, Wisconsin

Koolamalsi, nidushiinzi Waupanahkeakiuh. I am from the Bear Clan, I am from the Mohican tribe in Wisconsin and I also work for the tribal clinic in the community health department. I am a prevention health nurse and an indigenous breastfeeding counselor. What brought me to this work is when I attended Camie and Kim’s IBC training in Bad River; I fell in love with helping families with breastfeeding and taking on the challenges. My biggest accomplishment is getting our tribe to pass the breastfeeding resolution to let mothers be able to breastfeed without being discriminated and having breast milk being recognized as traditional food. Knowing that our tribe supports breastfeeding means a great deal to our community and myself. I want to get breastfeeding normalized within our community.

Cyndee McLead 

Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, North Dakota 

Cyndee McLeod is an enrolled member of Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, located in Belcourt ND. She resides in Bismarck, North Dakota where she is an advocate in promoting overall family well-being. Her position with Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota as the Training Program Coordinator provides TA to State MIECHV Tribal Home Visiting programs. She is actively involved in the Indigenous Breast Feeding Collective recently established in Bismarck as their own collective.  Working in an urban setting with Native American breastfeeding mothers she has gained first hand on the challenges they have a new mothers. There are many initiatives they are addressing. The gift they are given as a woman to provide the first and best form of nutrient to their infant. Cyndee received her education in Early Childhood Education from Turtle Mountains Community College, Dickinson State University in Business, Elementary Education.  She enjoys reading, cooking, outdoor activities walking, biking, golfing and cross country skiing with her husband Bob, family and friends.

Danielyn Hardy 

Pueblo of Zia, New Mexico 

My Name is Danielyn J. Hardy and I am Native American from the Pueblo of Zia, but work in the Pueblo of Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo has a population of 4000 enrolled tribal members. It is the largest pueblo out of all the 19 pueblos.  Santo Domingo is located about 40 minutes north of Albuquerque. When I had started my position as a Prevention Specialist for the pueblo, there was a grant that was already in place. The grant (the Notah Begay III) was awarded to the pueblo. The NB3 grant focuses on reducing incidences of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes and promote leadership development of Native American youth through evidence-based sports, health, and research. At the beginning of the grant a survey was given out to 250 mothers and one of the questions was about the importance of breastfeeding. Out of those 250 surveys, only 5 mothers were breastfeeding and we as a department felt it was important to get out into the community and educate, establish breastfeeding groups. I collaborated with all different programs to promote breastfeeding. Along with the breastfeeding efforts, I was to work closely with the KHOP (Kewa Health Outreach Program) to educate and promote healthy lifestyles by eating right and exercising. I was able to be part of the NM Breastfeeding Task Force. I worked very hard throughout my community to make connections. In time, when I set up events, more and more people were interested and attending.

Natalie Nicholson 

Three Affiliated Tribes, Minnesota 

My name is Natalie Nicholson, I am from Bemidji, Minnesota and an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes.  My parents are Millicent & Bruce Simenson from Bemidji. I am married to John, who is also a public health nurse and we have two awesome daughters, Stella & Mya who are in grade school.  I am a certified family nurse practitioner, lactation counselor & public health nurse and work with Mewinzha Ondaadiziike Wiigaming and Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians as a medical and lactation provider.  I help co-facilitate the Indigenous Breastfeeding Coalition of Minnesota as well.  I am excited and honored to be one of the recipients of the USBC Tribal Trailblazer award to be able to participate and experience this conference and convening for the first time. Miigwech!

Stephanne Rupnicki 

Kickapoo Tribe, Kansas

Stephanne Rupnicki is a recognized member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas who graduated 2nd in her class at an all Native American school, Kickapoo Nation. She went on to attend Highland Community College in Kansas, where she received her Associates of Arts in Art Education and graduated with honors as Phi Theta Kappa. Stephanne pursued a Fine Arts degree from Washburn University in Kansas. She is married to John Rupnicki, an enrolled member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribe. They have 5 sons together and reside on his Tribe’s Reservation.

The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition worked with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe to establishing a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program to support the moms in the Tribe. Stephanne became the first Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in April 2018. She works out of the Tribe’s Health Clinic. Stephanne is also a founding member and leader of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Breastfeeding Coalition. She is an active member of the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition.

Tracey Printup 

Tonawanda Seneca, Turtle Clan of the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois Confederacy, New York

Tracey is a member of the Tonawanda Seneca. Turtle Clan of the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois Confederacy. Her traditional name is "O'JOWO:SA", which means "She nurtures the corn" Tracey has been married 31 years, had 3 children and 3 grandchildren and resides on the Tuscarora reservation just outside Niagara Falls, NY. 

The Tuscarora Community Health Workers program provides education, support, and advocacy to pregnant and parenting young women resided on territory and also offers assistance with health care, social services, transportation, and other services as needed. Tracey is currently a member of the Healthy Moms/Healthy Babies Coalition of Niagara, sits on the board of OHAIIO/WNY Independent Living services for Native people with disabilities and is President of the Board for the Seven Dances Coalition of Awkesasne, which helps raise awareness of domestic violence, sexual assault, teen dating violence, stalking and sex trafficking of Indigenous Women. 

Cultural Changemaker 

Carmen Cabrer

Alimentación Segura Infantil, Carolina, Puerto Rico

Carmen Cabrer, from Puerto Rico, has been a La Leche League Leader for 25 years; and an IBCLC for 23 years.  She was a district coordinator for Central America and the Caribbean for La Leche League (1999 to 2001); participated in the National Campaign “Babies were born to breastfeed” (2000-2005).  From 2005-2014 she had a brick and mortar breastfeeding store which sales covered free lactation consultant services to the community.  She also has an educational website in Spanish (lacted.com).  She’s the author of 17 parenting books in Spanish.  In 2017 the Island of Puerto Rico was hit by two category 5 hurricanes.  The whole island was without basic necessities for months.  Immediately Carmen joined what is now the community coalition ASI (Alimentación Segura Infantil, which means Infants Securely Fed) which consisted of IYCFE first responders, who in terrible conditions went to assist and educate parents with infants during and after the catastrophe.  In a year and a half, they have established 17 support groups around the island and educated hundreds of first responders.

Elsa Quintana 

Coalition of Binational Associations, Anthony, New Mexico

Retired from NM state government and is now working on contractual work for NM WIC as their State Coordinator for their Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, Office of Border Health with their health & social service binational initiatives, and NM Office of Community Health Workers as their Community Health Worker Certification Instructor.  Elsa possesses a BA in Psychology and a Bachelor of Criminal Justice from New Mexico State University. She is bilingual and holds professional certifications as an IBCLC and CAPPA CLE. Elsa is an active member of several lactation and binational coalitions and sits on several local, state, and binational boards. She is the current co-President of the Coalition of Binational Associations.  Her current work is focused on initiatives expanding the promotion and support of lactation and equipping community health workers to provide communities the access to quality health care and bridge racial and health disparities along the US/Mexico borders.

Jabina Coleman 

 Breastfeeding Awareness & Empowerment (BAE) ,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Jabina G. Coleman is a Licensed Social Worker and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who has dedicated over a decade of her life to serving women, children, and families in Philadelphia. Jabina received her Bachelors of Science in Biobehavioral Health from the Pennsylvania State University and Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice. Jabina is the owner of Life House Lactation & Perinatal Services, LLC where she provides breastfeeding support services, and psychotherapy to parents experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Jabina is the co-founder of Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color, where the vision is to provide resources and support to professionals and communities of color who are treating and dealing with the complications of perinatal mood disorders. Jabina has also been a local and regional keynote speaker addressing lactation and perinatal mood disorders. Her work has been published in the Clinical Lactation Journal and she has been featured in multiple media outlets including the Huffington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, WHYY and KYW. Jabina is also a mentor leader for Health Connect One-Birth Equity Leadership Academy (BELA). Jabina is the mother of two beautiful children one of which she had the pleasure of breastfeeding for 3.5 years. Jabina’s work is grounded in trauma-informed care, cultural humility and reproductive justice. Her mission is to educate, empower and support families and communities on their journey into parenthood while working on systemic barriers impeding on a culture of health.

Jacqueline Lambert 

Baby Café, Merigold, Mississippi

My name is Jacqueline Lambert. I am the mother of 3 and a wife with a passion to serve/support expectant and breastfeeding mothers. I am a Certified Lactation Counselor, Certified Childbirth Educator and Doula. I work with the Mississippi State Department of Health WIC Breastfeeding Program as a Peer Counselor 3. I have been working with expectant families for over 12 years. My goal is to empower expectant mothers and their families and give them the necessary tools to make an informed decision concerning their Infant Feeding decisions.

I helped facilitate the first Baby Café in Mississippi. I am Lead Facilitator of the cluster site- Delta Baby Café-Let’s Talk. I also host Let’s Talk classes, teen parent sessions,  baby fairs and breastfeeding support groups throughout the community. I am also a member of several coalitions that advocate for breastfeeding.

I am proud of many accomplishments in my life but one thing that I am most proud of is the ability to serve people.

Jada Wright Nichols 

Sankofa Breastfeeding Coalition, Stone Mountain, Georgia

Jada Wright Nichols has been involved in community-based breastfeeding support since 2014, as a breastfeeding mother, a ROSE Community Transformer, and a Breastfeeding USA Counselor- the first in the state of Tennessee. She is also the co-founder BSTARS- Breastfeeding Sisters That Are Receiving Support- a support circle for marginalized mothers of color in Memphis, TN. They work to increase some of the poorest breastfeeding rates in the country. Through regular support group meetings, community baby showers, seminars, fundraisers, and consistent collaboration with our local and state coalitions, BSTARS has been able to increase awareness, community support, workplace education, and confidence in breastfeeding success.

She is the vice-President of Breastfeeding USA, and a steering committee member for the Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition, and a member of the Sankofa Breastfeeding Coalition. She is the owner of Blossom Health and Maternal Wellness, and its non-profit arm BirthWright Consulting, which helps breastfeeding families to navigate the social, workplace, and legal discrimination, through consultation, education, and serving as an expert witness in cases of malnutrition and neglect, related to breastfeeding. She is a lactation consultant at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she supports parents with infants in the neonatal, cardiac, and general pediatric units. She enjoys teaching and speaking about all things maternal child health, and birth equity. She lives in Atlanta with her 6-year-old daughter, who occasionally breastfeeds her own dolls. 

Kaitlin Tuttle 

Appalachian Breastfeeding Network, Racine, Ohio 

I am a mother to a 3 ½-year-old son, Bennett, with two bonus sons. I am a wife to my sweet husband, Eric. I started my journey as a breastfeeding peer at WIC in 2017, became a CLC and CLS in 2018 and sat for the IBLCE in October 2018. I still work at WIC and at a local Hospital helping towards their baby-friendly journey. I am the ABN Membership Chair and work closely with Appalachian families daily.

Kanisha Neal 

Inland Empire Breastfeeding Coalition, Moreno Valley, California

As a Moreno Valley (Inland Empire) native, Kanisha Neal is committed to the idea that sowing into “people, pride, and progress” will give room for dreams to soar. She currently serves as the Breastfeeding Coordinator and Regional Breastfeeding Liaison for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health WIC program. Witnessing how lack of support can affect subsequent generations is what motivates her to actively participate in wellness and breastfeeding advocacy groups. It is also for this reason that the personal accomplishments that mean a great deal to her are those that are centered on activities that uplift wellness, joy, and upward mobility.

Lizabeth Berkeley 

Binational Breastfeeding Coalition, El Paso, Texas 

Lizabeth Berkeley earned her Master of Public Health from Columbia University. She is a board-certified lactation consultant, and, in addition to running the Breastfeeding Garden, a peer-to-peer support center, she is an officer of the Binational Breastfeeding Coalition. She has been a faculty member of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine and the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing and has published articles and essays in a number of journals including Clinical Lactation, Medical Literary Messenger, Southern Medical Journal, Cultural Survival, and Mothering.

Rosalba Ruiz-Holguin 

Binational Breastfeeding Coalition, El Paso, Texas 

A Mexican American, Hispanic General Practitioner with a Master’s in Public Health (MD, MPH) graduated from the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez. She is a true Binational animal committing, living, and working on both sides of the US- Mexico Border. She has worked for the Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado (ISSSTE), the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), the Pan American Health Organization US – Mexico Border office in El Paso, Project Vida and currently the Alliance of Border Collaboratives

She has worked in the area of Public Health for more than 20 years. She is committed to improving the health of US- Mexico border residents and believes that we need to change the way we approach “mothers to be”in the area of breastfeeding not only to we need to increase knowledge but also create the environments that foster breastfeeding. She has worked for more than 18 years in the area of diabetes and believes that if we could only do one thing to prevent diabetes and chronic diseases it is to breastfeed. She is a mother of two, a 20-year-old boy that she breastfed for 2 years and a 9-year-old girl that she breastfed for 4 years.

She began her work in breastfeeding in 2012 as a founding member, past President and currently the Outreach Officer of the Binational Breastfeeding Coalition; she is a member of the Board of the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force, she also belongs to the Latina Breastfeeding Leaders group.  One of the highlights of her breastfeeding endeavors was to be selected by the Center of Social Inclusion to be part of a cross section of breastfeeding leaders:  the National First Food Racial Equity Cohort.

She is 100% committed to defend and promote breastfeeding for all babies and believes this will contribute to a healthier future for generations.

Rose Steele 

Indigenous Breastfeeding Coalition, Clearlake Oaks, California 

My name is Rose Steele, My ancestors have occupied the village of Elem in Northern California for over 25,000. I am from Elem Tribe on my father's side and Yokayo Tribe from my mother's side, I am also Paiute from Lone Pine, Ca and Hawaiian from Maui. I was raised on the reservation all of my life and was raised in the Native American Pomo culture of Elem I have been a traditional dancer since a young age and continue to practice traditions and preparing traditional food for ceremonies. I am the mother of three sons who were all breastfeed and raised in their traditional cradle basket. My oldest son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 6, he is now 21 and thriving in his tribal community, my second son is 18 and my youngest is 15. As a mother of three sons, I have raised them to Respect women and treat them in a Sacred way as Life givers. I am currently the co-chair of the Indigenous Breastfeeding Coalition in Northern California to support women and tribal families. I work in my community as Doula/Auntie to assist Native women in creating sacred space to give birth and breastfeed as their ancestors have for thousands of years. I am learning to make cradle baskets for babies to support traditional customs and values of traditional tribal parenting.

Stephanie Johnson 

Minnesota, Breastfeeding Coalition, Woodbury, Minnesota

I work for the Ramsey County WIC Peer Breastfeeding Counseling Program located in Minnesota. I am a wife and mother of 3 young children. My passion for helping others succeed is what drives me. When I became a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, I finally felt that I received a position that would help me change not just the life of the mother, but the life of her newborn(s) and family especially within the African American community. I enjoy meeting new families and supporting their breastfeeding journey.  I take great pride in the impact that I can have on families during one of the most life-changing events a family will have.

Tiffany Pao Yang 

Twin Cities Regional Breastfeeding Coalition, Coon Rapids, Minnesota

Nyob zoo - Hello! My name is Tiffany Pao Yang. I am the fifth daughter of Hmong refugees from Thailand. I am originally from small-town Sheboygan, Wisconsin, but today I consider myself a big-city Hmong Minnesotan.

I hold a Bachelors of Science degree in Life Sciences Communication and certificates in Gender and Women’s Studies and Global Health from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Today, I am a second-year Maternal and Child Health graduate student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.