The Northern Illinois Lactation Consultant Association (NILCA) is a local organization, mostly comprised of lactation professionals and peer supporters, that meets semi-monthly to provide camaraderie and opportunities for education and networking. NILCA members promote breastfeeding in a variety of settings: hospitals, public health departments, private practices, clinics and medical offices, businesses, and in their communities. NILCA is a local chapter of the United States Lactation Consultant Association.
Current Volunteer Board
Miena Meek Hall, MD, IBCLC
Dr. Miena Hall is a board-certified family medicine physician and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who has been supporting breastfeeding families since 2005. She
first became involved with lactation as a La Leche League Leader and Area Coordinator of Leaders for La Leche League of Illinois while at-home establishing her family. Later, after
matriculating at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she worked as a clerkship instructor teaching her fellow medical students about breastfeeding. Since graduating from residency at
AMITA Adventist Hinsdale Hospital in 2021, Dr. Hall has been practicing breastfeeding medicine at Duly Health and Care in Hinsdale and working as an affiliate assistant professor at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. She has presented her research on medical student education at the Illinois Academy of Family Medicine Physicians, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM), where she was selected as a member of the inaugural 2021 ABM Leadership Academy. Dr Hall is the current president of the Northern Illinois Lactation Consultant Association (NILCA), which seeks to educate and support individuals who champion breastfeeding within
their communities. She credits her breastfeeding journey with her four children and the aid which she received as her continuing inspiration to help breastfeeding families in need.
Margaret Saltysiak, MPH, IBCLC
Margaret has been working in the Maternal Child Health field for nearly 15 years. She independently founded a La Leche League group in her area where there was previously no support. She grew and led the group for three years before handing it off to new leaders. She
holds a BS in Maternal Child Health, has an MPH, and is working towards completion of an MBA. She has been an IBCLC since 2010. She worked for 9 years in a busy OB unit as an
IBCLC, was a part of a non-profit human milk bank, and is currently working for the Chicago Department of Public Health. Margaret is passionate about maternal child health and health
equity, particularly around breastfeeding. Her long-term career goals involve working to reduce
the disparities that exist in breastfeeding and reduce the health disparities that come from lack of breastfeeding. She breastfed each of her five children, two of which were NICU babies.
Sonrisa Hansen Parker, BS, IBCLC, LLL Leader
No term (non-elected position)
Sonrisa is an accredited La Leche League leader, and recently became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She holds an undergraduate degree in Family Studies, and is passionate about her work as a postpartum doula, supporting and empowering families as they transition into life with a new baby and help them successfully adapt to their new roles. She breastfed each of her three children well into their second year of life.
Melissa Block, IBCLC, BFUSA Counselor
Melissa is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, an administrator for the Chicago Breastfeeding Collective Facebook Group and an accredited Breastfeeding USA Counselor. She co-founded the North Suburbs chapter of Breastfeeding USA. She began serving as NILCA's Vice President in 2020. She started her own private practice, North Shore Lactation in 2017 and prides herself in helping breastfeeding parents around the Chicagoland area. She collectively has 6 years of her own personal breastfeeding experience under her belt.
Elise Fulara, MA, IBCLC, BFUSA Counselor
Terms 2017-2019, 2020-2022
Elise has been involved in breastfeeding support and advocacy since 2010 through associations with La Leche League (Peer Counselor) and Breastfeeding USA (BC). She served on the volunteer Board of Directors at Breastfeed Chicago prior to becoming an IBCLC in 2016. She currently works in outpatient and inpatient contexts and has served as Secretary for NILCA since 2017. She credits her two children with being her best teachers and is thankful for the opportunity to give back to the peer and professional support community that helped her on her along her own breastfeeding journey.
Former Board Members
Jeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, PMH-C
Jeni Gentry, MA, IBCLC, RLC, CLS
Beth Bejanrowicz, BA, IBCLC, RLC, CLS, PCD
Vice President, President
Molly Peterson, BS, IBCLC
Kelly Sviatko, IBCLC