CHEER CHAMPION OF THE WEEK: AMIE RAKOSKY HOOD!
Amie Rakosky Hood is the Vice President of the Breastfeeding USA Board of Directors and an amazing advocate and supporter of breastfeeding. She was nominated by her colleague, Dana Saccomano, who said “she [Amie] not only counsels lactating parents through her work with Breastfeeding USA, but also trains new volunteers to serve on national committees and to do the important work of promoting breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm…”
Amie’s work is motivated by her strong passion for promoting and protecting reproductive justice. “I want all communities to have access to high quality, culturally competent lactation support and pregnancy care,” she shared. “It’s one of the reasons I love working with a peer-support organization and what drew me to Breastfeeding USA. I have no educational background in science or lactation; I’m just a volunteer with a heart for equity and lactation work!”
Amie became a breastfeeding advocate due to her initial challenges with nursing her own babies. In her role as Vice President of the Breastfeeding USA Board of Directors, she helps to steer the organization, enact the strategic plan, and provides support whenever needed to Breastfeeding USA counselors and lactating parents. She also serves on the community engagement committee where she creates some of the external communications and promotions, co-facilitates National Breastfeeding month outreach activities, and helps to put together some raffles and giveaways to engage the community and lactating parents.
Breastfeeding USA was a fully remote national organization since its founding, so COVID changed very little in terms of their work format. Amie shared how the breastfeeding counselors adapted to community needs and pivoted easily to zoom meetings and Facebook chats, in spite of the new challenges of balancing the majority of childcare, remote school, and work.
“The needs of our community have certainly shifted, and we’ve worked hard to share evidence-based information with lactating families as new studies are published and new guidance is available, from advocating for parents being allowed to stay with their nursing babies in the hospital to countering disinformation about vaccines,” Amie shared. “The pandemic has highlighted gender and racial inequality, and the urgency of real structural change has become something we can’t ignore. I’ve learned that we can and should use our platform to advocate for these changes as they directly impact our mission to serve families.”
Amie lives in Indianapolis with her husband and three children. She has a degree in music and a career history in community organizing, advocacy, and finance.
Congratulations Amie, we thank you for your efforts to advance health equity, breastfeeding, and reproductive justice!