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Assisting mother with breastfeeding

Providing lactation education for health professionals serving Black families.

Designed to create competent lactation professionals who will impact the infant mortality crisis within the Black community in Louisiana and beyond, the HEAL Certification Program intends to fill the gap in breastfeeding support for Black women. A gap primarily created by historic and systemic inequities. The Program has three overarching goals which are to:

Dillard University breastfeeding training program


To train emerging healthcare professionals and providers on breastfeeding disparities, approaches to address cultural and economic barriers, and ensure they provide culturally tailored support for breastfeeding among Black communities.


To identify community members who reflect the cultural values of Black breastfeeding families and train them to be health equity-focused lactation specialists.

Dillard University medical students in classroom.
Dillard University medical students studying.


To implement strategies designed to increase breastfeeding rates that address systemic racism and inequitable access to resources and support.

Our Story

Our Story

Dillard University, Louisiana's oldest historically Black university, is a private four-year liberal arts faith-based university in New Orleans. Since 1869, Dillard has been committed to providing students with a quality four-year liberal arts education.

In 2011, Dillard received an endowment from the NIMHD to increase research and institutional resources and created the Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center (MHHERC), formerly named the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center.


The mission of the MHHERC is to take a comprehensive approach to advance research across disciplinary areas, enhance and promote coordination and collaboration throughout the scientific community, and improve the overall health quality for racial and ethnic minorities.


The Dillard University Certificate of Health Equity Advocacy in Lactation™ Professional Program will be housed within the MHHERC and serve as the first lactation certification program with a health equity focus and the first entry-level lactation certification open to broad specialties offered by a university.

Course Details

This course design is to meet the unique learning needs of aspiring medical, nursing, public health, and allied health professionals whose work will involve the care or counseling of pregnant and nursing parents.


Focusing on the core concepts of lactation science that constitute the field of evidence-based human lactation care, students will investigate and apply learnings of historical and contemporary health equity issues within the context of becoming competent and self-reflective practitioners that provide culturally humble care.


This is a 3-week, 54-hour training program that will meet Mon. - Thurs. June 3-21, 2024 at Dillard University.  Graduation will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2024.

The course fee is $700. However, scholarships may be available to cover tuition and application fees. All participants will be responsible for food and lodging during the duration of the program

Successful completion of the course includes attendance at all classroom and clinical sessions, and completion of assigned coursework. Withdrawal, refunds, cancellation, and grievances can be initiated by contacting the Program Director at

The program is open to college students in Louisiana in nursing, medicine or public health specialties. Students should be rising sophomores or above. A few designated seats will go to practicing healthcare professionals who are already supporting lactating parents in their current work.

Father assist mother with breastfeeding baby

Applications are currently closed.

Applications for the Summer 2024 Founding Cohort are now closed. 

Applications for the 2025 cohort will open in Fall 2024.

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