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(From the left to right) Takiyah Kaser, MAG Alliance member; Kat Chiu, president of the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition; Bea Stitzer, assistant dean of Public Service Technologies at GNTC; Merrilee Gober, past president of the MAG Alliance; Jody Vangrov, dean of Math and Sciences at GNTC; Frank Pharr, dean of Health Technologies at GNTC; Tom Bojo, dean of Public Service Technology at GNTC; Dave Street, president of the MAG Alliance; Sasha Kahiga, curriculum program specialist at the Technical College System of Georgia; Dr. John Antalis, physician representative for the MAG Alliance and Georgia Composite Medical Board member; Kathy Kerce, director of the Lactation Consultant program at GNTC; Elizabeth Anderson, vice president of Academic Affairs at GNTC; and Michelle Beatson, Administrative liaison to Institutional Advancement at GNTC, pose for a picture during a ceremony on the Gordon County Campus for the new Lactation Consultant program.


Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) recently received a $10,000 donation from the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) Alliance for its new Lactation Consultant program that is being offered on the Gordon County Campus in Calhoun.


The new program provides students with clinical experience in the management of lactation, breastfeeding counseling skills, and general health sciences. It is currently being offered as either a diploma or certificate of credit.


Graduates of the program will be trained to sit for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners certification exam to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).


“The MAG Alliance applauds Georgia Northwestern for demonstrating great vision and leadership in establishing the nation’s first lactation consultants program that is connected to a technical college,” said Dave Street, president of the MAG Alliance.


The $10,000 donation will provide a $2,000 scholarship to a student for four semesters for a total of $8,000. The remaining $2,000 will be earmarked for start-up supplies for the new program.


“We are always excited to expand our programs and have new programs like this one,” said Jody Vangrov, dean of Math and Sciences at GNTC.


According to Merrilee Gober, immediate past-president of the MAG Alliance, many new mothers that start out breast feeding have difficulties and are not successful. These difficulties usually arise after the mother and baby go home from the hospital and no longer have access to the hospital nursing staff and people who have training in lactation care.


“So this program will help us put more lactation consultants in the community settings,” said Gober. “We really want to see lactation consultants working with pediatricians and the family medicine divisions as part of their office staff.”


Kathy Kerce is the director of the Lactation Consultant program at GNTC. Kerce is a Registered Nurse (RN) and has a master’s degree in Nursing. She is a Registered Lactation Consultant (RLC) and is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).


“Georgia was the second state in the nation to grant licensure to lactation consultants,” said Kerce. “This means that our doctors and hospitals can now employ someone who is an IBCLC, which leads to tremendous growth in the employment of lactation consultants.”


To find out more about GNTC’s Lactation Consultant program, contact Kerce at (706) 378-1755 or via email at


The Medical Association of Georgia Alliance is a network of physicians’ spouses who volunteer to improve the health of all Georgians. To learn more about the MAG Alliance, or to apply for the $8,000 Lactation Consultant scholarship at GNTC, go to the website Applications for the scholarship are due by April 20, 2018.


Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 16,402 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,750 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 8,652 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at The Student Help Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 844-348-7659 or via online chat at GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.