PRO-LC Members of Special Note


The Board of Directors of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) announced in August 2007 the creation of the Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association program. It had been a long-time goal of ILCA to establish a program that would suitably recognize career-long achievements of their leaders, who serve as mentors in the field of lactation consultancy.

Self-nominated and self-funded designation as “fellow” is the typical manner of recognizing professional excellence in the health care field. ILCA members who have achieved a high level of professionalism, demonstrated by meeting independently-set criteria, will be permitted to attain this universal form of recognition.

PRO-LC is pleased to announce that two of our members were selected for FILCA designation in 2008, the first year of the program:

Meet Kay Hoover, MEd, IBCLC, RLC, FILCA

Kay Hoover has been a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association since 1985 and is very involved in her local chapter of USLCA, the Pennsylvania Resource Organization for Lactation Consultants. She has been a La Leche League Leader since 1971. Kay is a member of the Pennsylvania State Breastfeeding Coalition. She served on the board of directors of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners from 1995 to 2001, served on the exam committee three times, and chaired the committee once.

Kay became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 1985 and began her private practice in 1986. She has been a lactation consultant for Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania, Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Chester, Pennsylvania, and Riddle Memorial Hospital in Media, Pennsylvania.

Kay’s job with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health for over 12 years was to assist the Philadelphia hospitals to become more supportive of breastfeeding. Her work for the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania was to provide outpatient lactation consultations for the community and educate college students about breastfeeding.

Kay co-authored Candidiasis and Breastfeeding, published by La Leche League International. With Barbara Wilson-Clay, she co-authored The Breastfeeding Atlas (now in its fourth edition), and parent handouts Diapers of the Breastfed Baby, Pumping for your Premature Baby, and Sore Nipples/Yeast Infections.

Kay has co-authored a chapter in four books: Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultant Practice, 2002 and 2007, The Lactation Consultant in Private Practice, 2003, Breastfeeding and Human Lactation (3rd and 4th Edition), 2004, 2010, and the Handbook of Drug-Nutrient Interactions, 2004.

Currently Kay is the Coordinator of the Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Program at the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Meet Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA

Liz Brooks, JD, IBCLC, FILCA is a lactation consultant in private practice (since 1999) and lawyer (since 1983). She has worked as a prosecutor, litigator and lobbyist; she has expertise in ethics, administrative and criminal law. Liz shifted gears after the first of her three children was born, leaving the practice of law to stay home full-time. For 8 years she served as a volunteer breastfeeding counselor, and trained to take the IBCLC exam in 1997.

Now, she is able to combine her two professions. Liz is a well-received speaker in local, national and international venues. Topics include legal and ethical matters, and issues of practical administrative interest to the IBCLC.

Liz is familiar by training and experience with the challenges faced by lactation consultants. As an IBCLC, Liz has worked in:


  • private practice (offering home visits, and formerly renting pumps);
  • a hospital setting (offering prenatal education, “rounding” on breastfeeding dyads in the full-term and Level III NICU nurseries, and providing in-service education to nurses, doctors and midwives);
  • a non-profit, community-based breastfeeding clinic (which provides IBCLC service to mothers on a sliding fee scale).

Liz has served on the Board of Directors of the International Lactation Consultant Association (Secretary 2005-11; President 2012-14) and is active in her local USLCA chapter PRO-LC. Being a leader in the professional association for IBCLCs lets Liz share her expertise in corporate governance and policy development — but she keeps an eye on how organizational decisions trickle down to the day-to-day, working IBCLC.

Lisa Mandell – Secretary of ILCA

Lisa Mandell, MBA, IBCLC has been working with breastfeeding mothers and babies for over ten years, first as a volunteer breastfeeding counselor through La Leche League, and then as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Lisa had a private practice seeing mothers and babies in their homes, and has also worked as a lactation consultant in hospitals and a pediatrician’s office. She has been involved in ILCA as past secretary, her USLCA chapter as President, CERP Coordinator, and has worked on a mentoring consortium to provide a variety of clinical experiences for aspiring lactation consultants. She is pleased to use her education and experience in business and marketing, as well as her passion for breastfeeding in her life long career.

Debi Ferrarello – Past President of USLCA

Debi Ferrarello, RN, MS, IBCLC

Debi Page Ferrarello has been an IBCLC for over twenty years and an RN for almost 30. She has worked as a lactation consultant in private practice; developed, led, and worked in a hospital lactation program; and together with friend and colleague Colette Acker, IBCLC, opened a free-standing community-based non-profit breastfeeding center. She briefly left the lactation world to explore Big Pharma, providing medical information for a coronary stent for two years, then blissfully returned to the lactation community as Director of Family Education and Lactation for Pennsylvania Hospital, our nations first hospital, which is part of Penn Medicine, in Philadelphia. In past years she has served her local ILCA affiliate, PRO-LC, as President, Vice-president, Secretary and Treasurer. She was employed as ILCA’s website editor for three years and authored two chapters in Linda J Smith’s The Lactation Consultant in Private Practice: The ABCs of Getting Started, including chapter one on marketing.

She has a BSN from Gwynedd-Mercy College, a Master of Science in Health Education from Arcadia University and is midway through a Advanced Practice Nursing program at Thomas Jefferson University. Debi has been married to Carmen for over 25 years—the man can cook!—and is the mother of three college students. In addition to being passionate about promoting our profession, Debi enjoys supporting overseas missions, reading great books, doing just about anything outdoors and traveling. Debi is looking forward to joining USLCA’s dynamic Board of Directors and working together to advocate for lactation professionals.

Rachelle Lessen, MS, RD, IBCLC – Past Board Director IBLCE (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners)

Rachelle is a registered dietitian and IBCLC and has a Masters of Science degree in health education. She serves on the IBLCE Board of Directors as chair of the governance committee, the exam committee and the recertification task force. She works at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she sees families with infants in the cardiac intensive care unit and the pediatric units. She also conducts prenatal consults for families in the fetal heart program. Rachelle has an outpatient lactation center for mothers who are experiencing breastfeeding difficulties and specializes in counseling mothers of infants with food allergies. Rachelle served as the ILCA liaison to the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition and was past-president and board member of the Breastfeeding Resource Center. Rachelle is the co-author of the ILCA paper “Risks of Not Breastfeeding”, the 2009 ADA Position Statement on Breastfeeding and has written chapters or articles for various publication on issues related to breastfeeding and nutrition. When not working, Rachelle enjoys spending time with husband Lou and their children and grandchildren.