Marsha Stegall, CLC is a Peer Counselor III at the Mississippi Department of Health’s District 2 WIC Breastfeeding program in Lee County. She has worked for the WIC Breastfeeding program for nearly 18 years, starting off as a stay-at-home breastfeeding mom/peer counselor, moving into the role of Lactation Specialist, and now working as a Peer Counselor III with her CLC certification. She recently participated in a CHAMPS site visit at North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo, where her input was golden!
Supervisor Cynthia Coleman, CLC shares these words about Marsha: “Marsha Stegall is one of the most compassionate people I know. Every person that enters her office knows that she cares for them. She goes beyond the call of duty to help anyone. She has such a great relationship with many of her clients that they will stop by to show her their children whenever they are in the WIC clinic. She has a wonderful ability to recall names and situations surrounding births. She was even asked by one of her clients to be her child's godmother.”
Marsha provides prenatal education by way of weekly classes, one-on-one classes and community outreach, and supports breastfeeding moms in the clinical setting, home, hospital (on occasion) and over phone. She collaborates with several area hospitals, including CHAMPS hospitals Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County and University of Mississippi Medical Center. She also works closely with a local pregnancy center and the Northeast MS Birthing Project.
CHAMPS asked Marsha what her secret is to developing good relationships with her clients. Marsha responded: “I try to [be] that ‘listening ear.’ My office door is always open and I try to make them feel comfortable and I like to call them by name…I also try to put myself in their shoes when it comes to breastfeeding. For example, some moms do not have a good support system at home or have had trauma in their lives that we may not understand. I used to take it personally when a mom did not breastfeed or did not breastfeed for long because I thought I was not doing my job. I have learned that everyone does not have the same circumstances, and ‘any amount counts’ is my new motto.”
What is one of Marsha’s most important achievements? In her estimation, “helping my own WIC daughter breastfeed her infant. I was the mother, grandmother and lactation specialist all rolled up into one, and it was great. I see the fruits of that labor every day in the healthy, spirited two-year-old that calls me Nannie.”
CHEER Champion of the week
Each Monday (besides public holidays), we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the work they have done for CHEER (Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research)/CHAMPS (Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices).