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Welcome to our new President.

ICEA saw tremendous growth in 2016. With the talents and dedication of the Board of Directors, ICEA heightened our collaboration with other like-minded professional organizations, created the Early Lactation Care Workshop, updated the ICEA Mother-Friendly Labor Support Skills Workshop for Nurses, streamlined and updated the IAT Process, and expanded ICEA's international outreach.

I am honored to begin service as ICEA's President during this important time of the association, and I believe my background has prepared me for this prestigious role. For 33 years I have practiced as a registered nurse, educator, and lactation consultant in urban and rural hospital settings. I began my career in Houston, TX, in the Texas Medical Center at Hermann Hospital working in the Labor & Delivery Unit and the Maternal Fetal Special Care Unit after graduating from Texas Woman's University with a BSN. From there, I practiced for a few years in Huntsville, AL before moving to Fort Morgan, CO. There, I continued my career in nursing at Colorado Plains Medical Center on the LDRP Unit as an OB nurse, Childbirth Educator, Lactation Consultant, and Nurse Educator for NRP and AWHONN Fetal Monitoring.

I've been active in ICEA since 1999, and have served on the board in various positions including Director of Conferences, Secretary, and President-Elect. I am also currently a member of AWHONN, ILCA, and CLCA. When I'm not busy supporting expectant and new families or serving the interests of ICEA, I can be found spending time with my family. My husband (Bob), daughters (Abigail and Melissa), and I enjoy going to baseball games to watch my son (Bobby) play. We also love spending time in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and are usually camping or skiing.

In 2011, I had the unique privilege of receiving the Colorado Florence Nightingale Award for Advocacy. Receiving this award was such a testimony of the love and passion I have for supporting families in their birth and breastfeeding experiences.

As president of ICEA, I understand that our members and I share those same passions. So, in order to encourage ICEA's growth along with our members' passions, we acknowledge it's important for the organization to come alongside the membership and support them. We will accomplish this in several ways throughout 2017.

First, ICEA will streamline our various programs and improve our certification process. We also have plans to develop webinars that will provide our membership access to current, evidence-based information. In addition, we have developed new relationships in several international locations, and we will continue to support those relationships and increase our presence internationally.

We are excited about the opportunities for growth that these tasks will bring. Your participation alongside ICEA will ensure that we continue to flourish in 2017.

Warmly,

Debra Tolson, RN BSN ICCE IBCLC CPST ICEA President

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Title Annotation:Across the President's Desk
Author:Tolson, Debra
Publication:International Journal of Childbirth Education
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 1, 2017
Words:460
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