Dr. Merav W. Efrat is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at California State University, Northridge Human Lactation Academic Lead. She has over 10 years of professional work experience as a health educator and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
In 2017, Dr. Efrat was also recognized by BreastfeedLA with their “Visionary Impact Award” for her pioneering work training the next generation of lactation professionals.
In 2014, Dr. Efrat received the CSUN Visionary Community Service Learning Award for her work
in creating lactation education service learning opportunities for CSUN students.
Dr. Efrat received several federal grants for research, curriculum development and the creation of experiential learning opportunities for CSUN students in the area of human lactation. Dr. Efrat is currently the Project Director of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant which focuses on expanding the curriculum at CSUN to enable students to complete the lactation specific education requirement for the certification exam to become an International Board-Certified Lactation consultant (IBCLC). Dr. Efrat is also the Co-Project Director of another USDA grant, which among other things, aims to provide undergraduate nutrition students with the opportunity to participate in a lactation education service-learning opportunity at a local WIC clinic.
Additionally, Dr. Efrat is the faculty lead of a United States Department of Education grant that is designed to expand career opportunity for nursing students in the area of Human Lactation. Dr. Efrat also teaches courses in the Minor in Human Lactation program as well as the undergraduate and graduate Public Health Programs. Courses she teaches include: HSCI 434: Lactation Education: Postpartum and Perinatal Period, HSCI 446: Lactation Education
Dr. Efrat’s research agenda focuses on developing and evaluating interventions that reduce childhood obesity, particularly among disadvantaged communities, through either the promotion of physical activity among elementary school-aged children or the promotion of breastfeeding. The primary mission of Dr Efrat’s work in developing the Human Lactation curriculum at CSUN is to improve breastfeeding rates in the community by increasing the number of trained lactation professionals in Southern California who can support pregnant and breastfeeding families in the community. She has published several articles highlighting the impact of CSUN’s human lactation curriculum both on CSUN’s students’ success, as well as improving breastfeeding rates in the community.
Efrat, M.W., Boyns, D. & Rubino, L. (2020) Exploring the feasibility of utilizing undergraduate lactation education courses as a vehicle to prepare the future healthcare workforce to educate and support breastfeeding families in the community Clinical Lactation 11(2) 59-64.
This study demonstrated the efficacy of CSUN’s LEAARC Recognized Breastfeeding Course in improving students’ lactation knowledge, positive attitude towards breastfeeding, confidence in delivering lactation education and confidence working with clients in a professional setting. Also, the study serves as a model for other university to better prepare the healthcare-force to support breastfeeding families in the community.
Efrat, M.W., Esparza, S., Mendelson, S. Lane, C. J. (2015) The effect of lactation educators implementing a telephone-based intervention amongst low-income Hispanics a randomized trial, Health Education Journal. 74(4) 424 –441.
This study demonstrated the efficacy of CSUN’s trained lactation educators in improving breastfeeding rates among low income Latina women.