California State University, Northridge
Merav Efrat, Ed.D., MPH, and IBCLC, associate professor of health sciences at CSUN, is recognized for her pioneering work in the field of lactation education and research, which has led the campus to become a leader in the field.
Efrat launched the nation's first Minor in Human Lactation in 2019, preparing students for careers as lactation educators. Given that CSUN is one of the most diverse universities in the U.S., the program has created a pathway for traditionally underrepresented minorities to access the lactation field. Over the course of the decade leading to the development of the program, Efrat developed several experiential learning, service-learning and internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. In one example, students provided prenatal breastfeeding education to under-resourced pregnant women at local community clinics.
Since the introduction of CSUN's human lactation courses in 2012, student demand for course enrollment has grown by 1200%. The university's first lactation course, HSCI 434, became the first course in the world to become a recognized breast feeding course by the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC). The Minor in Human Lactation continues to grow in demand from prospective and current students, as well as community members, since its launch in fall 2019. Efrat also hosts seminars to healthcare professionals on lactation, increasing CSUN's visibility as a leader in the field and earning the campus the Visionary Impact Award in 2017 by Breastfeed LA.
“Dr. Efrat's work in creating curriculum and experiential learning opportunities in human lactation has experienced phenomenal growth, increased the university's reputation and enhanced student success," Louis Rubino, Ph.D., professor and chair of the College of Health and Human Development at CSUN.