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Michelle Pensa Branco, MPH, IBCLC

  • Speaker Type: Ethics 2018, GOLD Lactation 2018, GOLD Alumni 2019, GOLD Lactation 2020
  • Country: Canada

Michelle Pensa Branco MPH IBCLC is a lactation consultant and public health advocate. In addition to her clinical practice, which has included in-hospital, outpatient and private practice settings, she advocates for improved maternal-child health practices at the local, national and global level. She has a particular interest in the impact of trauma to breastfeeding families, models of peer support to improve breastfeeding outcomes and the application of health communication principles to the promotion and protection of breastfeeding. Michelle serves as the Director of Peer Support Programs and provides clinical lactation expertise for Nurture Project International, the only international NGO focused exclusively on infant feeding in emergencies. With Jodine Chase, she co-founded a Canadian non-profit organization, SafelyFed Canada. She is also an active member of the Ontario Public Health Association’s Breastfeeding Promotion Working Group. Michelle has previously served as the Vice-Chair of La Leche League Canada, the Communications Director for the Canadian Lactation Consultants Association as well as the Toronto Coordinator of INFACT Canada. When she is not travelling for work, Michelle stays close to home, living with her family just outside Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

CE Library Presentation(s) Available Online:
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Keeping the Fox Out of the Chicken Coop: Safeguarding Your Reputation Against Baby Feeding Industry Influence
Adhering to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant subsequent WHA resolutions (the Code) is a personal and professional obligation for IBCLCs and breastfeeding helpers and advocates. Beyond that, we are often called upon to provide advice and support to the organizations we work for and support in respect of their Code obligations.
Accreditation, Main Category, Product Type
Presentations: 5  |  Hours / CE Credits: 5  |  Viewing Time: 6 Weeks
Hours / CE Credits: 1 (details)  |  Categories: Ethics for Lactation Professionals
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Playing Well with Others: Collaborating in High Conflict/Low Trust Settings
Collaboration is the foundation of the work of lactation professionals. As allied health providers, the team approach is at the centre of our professional relationships. Differences in professional practice and standards of care are aggravated by health care systems that are fragmented and operate in silos, while the high emotion and urgency of infant feeding concerns interfere with reasoned collaborative decision-making. Where adequate training, workplace policies and management oversight fail, conflicts within the team may escalate to incivility, lateral violence and bullying. IBCLC must be able to name and act when conflict crosses these boundaries.
At a policy level, the problems facing breastfeeding are among the most "wicked" of public health's "wicked problems".In perpetually resource- limited settings, the challenges of policy-making, good governance and innovative programs require effective collaboration and co-operation within and across organizations.
Limited time and energy is available for the enormous work required to provide excellent care to families and create societies that fully support them to breastfeed their children for as long as they wish to. Moreover, because of the intensity of the "wicked" problems we face and the urgency of resolving them both in individual cases and at the policy level, conflict and erosion of trust often occur. Because we cannot only work with those we would like to work with to accomplish our goals, we must learn "stretch collaboration", explored using Adam Kahane's model of working in absence of friendliness, agreement or trust.
Presentations: 29  |  Hours / CE Credits: 26  |  Viewing Time: 8 Weeks
Presentations: 1  |  Hours / CE Credits: 1  |  Viewing Time: 2 Weeks
Hours / CE Credits: 1 (details)  |  Categories: Counseling Skills
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Watching Our Words: Is Risk-Based Language Always the Right Choice?
Within the lactation world, it is widely accepted that optimizing infant feeding practices and normalize breastfeeding, we must frame breastfeeding as the physiological norm and not breastfeeding as the risk behaviour. For example, breastfeeding does not reduce the risk of type II diabetes, but rather not breastfeeding increases the risk of type II diabetes. Most of us have had this framing drilled into us during our training and can deftly turn around any headline to reflect the correct wording. It is, indeed, scientifically correct that breastfeeding is the physiological norm for human: artificial feeding is no more “normal” for the human baby than using a wheelchair to be mobile. However, health communication is about more than delivering scientifically accurate facts to the target population. In motivating parents to initiate breastfeeding and then maintain exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and alongside complementary foods for at least 2 years and beyond, the science of health behaviour is often overlooked. In this session, we will discuss some of the major models of health behaviour change and how risk is perceived and acted up on within these models, drawing from both maternal-child health and other public health. We will review the rationale for using risk-based language as well as the evidence for different perspectives, including the use of social marketing strategies.
Presentations: 3  |  Hours / CE Credits: 3  |  Viewing Time: 4 Weeks
Presentations: 1  |  Hours / CE Credits: 1  |  Viewing Time: 2 Weeks
Hours / CE Credits: 1 (details)  |  Categories: Breastfeeding Education
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Note: Currently only available through a bundled series of lectures
Facilitated Discussion on IYCF-E and the Role of the Lactation Professional
In emergencies, breastfeeding saves lives - and yet, regardless of the location or type of disaster, breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices are eroded during an emergency. Infant and young child feeding in emergencies (IYCF-E) requires a multi-sectoral approach to meet the needs of both breastfed and non-breastfed children. Where do the skills of breastfeeding counsellors, educators and IBCLCs fit into the IYCF-E response? What competencies do IBCLCs need to provide clinical care in a humanitarian setting and how can IBCLCs obtain those (if they don’t already have them)? Bring your thoughts, experiences and questions and join us for a facilitated discussion about the role of skilled breastfeeding support in protecting infants and young children in emergencies.
Presentations: 33  |  Hours / CE Credits: 32.5  |  Viewing Time: 8 Weeks
Hours / CE Credits: 1 (details)  |  Categories: Breastfeeding in Emergencies