Family Services Specialist Caroline Carter Presents at California Breastfeeding Summit

composite photo showing people participating in Breastfeeding Summit via Zoom

By Robert Hood;
Posted March 18, 2024

Family Services Specialist Caroline Carter recently co-presented with the UC Davis Lactation Support Program at the annual California Breastfeeding Summit held in January.

The presentation explored how UC San Francisco and UC Davis supports lactating employees and students via their respective Lactation Support Programs. It described how the programs were built from the ground up into flourishing programs that provide lactation policy, designated spaces, and education and community to students, employees, and their supervisors.

"Our goal for the presentation was to let attendees know the types of tools available to accommodate lactating employees; understanding the stakeholders that are involved in planning and creating lactation rooms and organizational lactation accommodation resources; and knowing the basics of supporting people in the workplace by following California law and other lactation accommodation policies and best practices,” Carter said.

UCSF has been a leader in lactation support. The UCSF Lactation Accommodation Program was established in 2015 within Campus Life Service’s Family Services Department by former director Suzie Kirrane. “With help from Barbara Ashby of UC Davis and Trish Ratto of UC Berkeley, former managers of the HealthMatters Wellness Program, UCSF was able to develop and replicate an almost identical program within our system,” Carter said.

Recognizing the contributions of UCSF stakeholders to the success of the program was critical. Carter shared, “Our first partner was UCSF Facilities Services.” Custodial Services was pivotal in creating industry standards for maintaining and equipping the room for cleanliness, while Facilities continues to provide access and privacy features best for the UCSF community.

Other key partners included Material Services, Hospitality, Human Resources, CLS Marketing and Communications, Documents and Media, Retail Services, Real Estate and Ergonomics.

Prior to the development of the UCSF Lactation Accommodation Program, employee lactation rooms were voluntarily managed by the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health Resource Center. “The resource center and the Lactation Task Force took many important steps during this time,” Carter said. “Though their focus was centered around Medical Center spaces and serving UCSF patients, they also initiated advocacy and provided a road map to serve the UCSF community.”

"It was important to share the history of the UCSF Lactation Accommodation Program and the groundbreaking work of trailblazers such as Dixie Horning, Joanne DeLeon, and the UCSF Health Lactation Task Force, who voluntarily managed the program," said Elizabeth Ozer, Professor and Associate Vice Provost, Faculty Equity, former Faculty Chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women and current Chair, UC Systemwide Committee on the Status of Women.

The UCSF Chancellor’s Committee on the Status (CACSW) of Women linked with Horning and the UCSF Lactation Accommodation Program as early as 2009 to build off their essential work to focus on improving lactation signage and begin working with Campus Life Services to develop a central Myfamily@ucsf communication page. CACSW members also played a role in contributing to the development of UC wide lactation polices and creating standards across UC campuses. Kirrane was instrumental in securing ongoing funding and, with the help of Senior Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administrative Services, John Plotts, formalized ongoing funding and expanded the program.

Carter said the response to their presentation was positive. “We provided information they could use in their workplaces. Our goal was to share the elements of our programs that others are inspired to replicate or make something of their own within their industries, business, or organizations.”

To view the New Rights for Pregnant and Postpartum Workers presented by Jessica Lee during International Women’s Day, visit the International Women’s Day link on the Women of Health website or you can view it directly here.