Program Specialist Lead: Peer Lactation Services
Brenda Reyes, RN, CLC is a bilingual registered nurse and certified lactation counselor. She has more than 15 years of experience working with diverse organizations to create and implement peer support programs for new moms and families — not only in Chicago, but throughout the U.S. Her work engages communities every step of the way.
Ms. Reyes began her work with HC One as the Peer Counselor Program Coordinator in 2001, designing and delivering training for breastfeeding peer counselors in underserved and economically disadvantage neighborhoods across Illinois. Prior to that, she was trained as a peer counselor by HC One, providing services at Stroger (formerly Cook County) Hospital.
In 2011 – 2012, Brenda worked on Communities Putting Prevention to Work and on Chicago’s Healthy Places initiative, and formed part of the team which developed the Hospital Breastfeeding Toolkit for Illinois’ State Perinatal Breastfeeding Quality Improvement Project.
Currently, she serves as HealthConnect One’s representative to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, and was elected in 2016 to their national board. She is also an elected board member of the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Support Providers of Color. She participates in the Center for Social Inclusion’s National First Food Racial Equity Cohort; served as a work group member of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) for the United States; and she is an Expert Panel Member for Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
Brenda has served as both Secretary and Treasurer of the Chicago Region Breastfeeding Task Force, and is a current member. She acted as lead for HC One’s Message and Messenger Project to increase umbilical cord blood donations among African-American and Hispanic Families. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Sustainable Health Outreach and on the Illinois WIC Peer Counselor Advisory Committee.
She is a frequent speaker on breastfeeding, maternal and child health, health equity, and supporting Latino families. Brenda is a reproductive justice and racial equity advocate and mother of 3 breastfed children.
Ms. Reyes became a Registered Nurse in 2012 after completing the Daley College Nursing Program.