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.
Nicole Santana, BSN, RN, IBCLC
Nicole Santana is a registered nurse and IBCLC working both in private practice and at a local hospital in the lactation department. She has completed her Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Sciences and is in the process of settling on an MSN/NP program that would best complement her role in lactation. She opened her private practice of three, Soak Lactation, in 2021 and began working in the hospital’s lactation department in 2022. Prior to obtaining her IBCLC she was a Certified Lactation Educator, Certified Breastfeeding Educator, and Certified Lactation Professional. With a passion for maternal child health with an additional focus on lactation, she runs a Facebook community, Becoming an IBCLC & Beyond, of over 12,000 people helping them enter and grow in the lactation profession to bridge the gaps in lactation accessibility and opportunities for families around the world. She entered this field after her struggles of breastfeeding her own two sons for two and three years.
Katie Prezas, IBCLC
Katie Prezas is an IBCLC and owner of Empowering Lactation. Her home-visiting private practice serves families in Chicagoland, and incorporates Katie's specialized perinatal mental health training to care for the whole parent. As a maternal mental health advocate, she helped to raise over $32,000 for Postpartum Support International through the Climb Out of the Darkness - Team Chicago event in June 2021. Katie has been featured on Fox32 Chicago and WGN Radio 720, and had a cover feature in Park Ridge Neighbors magazine, discussing perinatal health and wellness.
Former Board Members
Melissa Block, IBCLC, BC
Elise Fulara, MA, IBCLC, CLC, BC
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