In August, the California State University (CSU) awarded Merav Efrat, associate professor of health sciences at CSUN, with the 2020-21 Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award (FILA) for her groundbreaking work in lactation education and research, paving the way for CSUN to become a leader in the field.
“I am honored to be selected for this year’s CSU Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award,” Efrat said. “I hope that my leadership efforts in the area of human lactation will have a long-lasting impact on CSUN students’ academic and career success, as well as the communities CSUN’s graduates serve.”
Efrat was among 25 faculty members honored by the CSU for excellence in leadership and innovative practice in promoting student success, especially in fields traditionally affected by equity gaps and low success rates.
Efrat has given CSUN an edge in the human lactation field by developing and continuously expanding CSUN’s lactation curriculum to provide undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to complete course work in human lactation as well as conduct research and gain practical experience implementing lactation education in the community.
In 2019, Efrat launched the Minor in Human Lactation at CSUN — the first program of its kind in the nation — which equips students with the knowledge and skills to become lactation educators and carves a path for underrepresented students to build their careers in the field. With her leadership, CSUN was awarded BreastfeedLA’s Visionary Impact Award in 2017 for its pioneering work in training a new generation of lactation professionals.
FILA awardees were selected by a committee comprised of CSU faculty, California State Student Association student representatives and staff members from the office of CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. Honorees also received a $5,000 award, as well as $10,000 to support their academic department.