Inspired by her mother, who was also active as a nurse, Sara A. Young, RN, had worked in the field of nursing for 41 years before her retirement in 2011. She gained valuable expertise as an obstetrics-gynecology clinical nurse specialist for Hartford Hospital from late 1970s until 2011. After acquiring her certification as an international board-certified lactation consultant in 1994, she dedicated her focus to establishing a lactation center at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. The lactation center provided inpatient and outpatient services and included a breastfeeding peer- counseling program“Heritage and Pride” that was done in partnership with Grace Damio, MS, CD-N from The Hispanic Health Council for low income women.
Another important partnership was formed with the University of Connecticut Department of Nutritional Sciences with Rafael Perez- Escamilla, PhD. and Donna Chapman, PhD, RD. for conducting breastfeeding research on effectiveness of breastfeeding peer-counseling program. From 2011 to 2018, Ms. Young continued to maintain her registered nurse licensure in West Virginia, where she cared for her mother with health issues in her home prior to her death in 2013.
Early in her career, Ms. Young flourished as a staff nurse for the George Washington University Hospital, the head nurse of labor and delivery and staff nurse for Camden Clark Memorial Hospital. In a career filled with highlights, she is especially proud of coordinating the efforts of the Department of Women’s Health at Hartford Hospital in 2000, during which time she helped the hospital become designated as the first Baby-Friendly hospital in Connecticut and the 28th in the United States of America. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is an International program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The prestigious “Baby-Friendly” award recognizes hospitals and birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. To acquire the Baby-Friendly designation, a facility must demonstrate passing 10 steps that involves a rigorous assessment.
Currently, as of September 9, 2020, there are now 604 Baby-Friendly hospitals in the United States of America. Additionally, Ms. Young was honored to have her mother present at a talk she conducted about Harford Hospital’s journey to become baby-friendly. An expert in her field, Ms. Young earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from West Virginia University in 1970 and a Master’s of Science in Nursing from the Catholic University of America in 1977.
Subsequently, she became a certified bereavement counselor and international board-certified lactation consultant and was a clinical associate for the University of Connecticut School of Nursing. Furthermore, Ms. Young has retained her professional alignment with a number of organizations throughout her career, including the American Nurses’ Association and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.
Due to her considerable accomplishments, Ms. Young was presented with the Professional Award from La Leche League of Connecticut in 2001. Recently, she was honored as a Marquis Who’s Who Top Professional, with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and the Marquis Humanitarian Award. Looking toward the future, Ms. Young aims to continue enjoying her retirement and fostering her hobby of painting.