Personal: Dr McCutcheon is a small-town girl, born and raised in Walterboro. She is married with two elementary school-aged sons. She is active in intramurals through her church (sometimes roped in by her husband), as well as running to keep in shape and for personal enjoyment. She loves to sew and is very interested in home decorating. She is also drawn to water and unwinds at either the lake or the beach.
Education: Dr McCutcheon attended the University of South Carolina Honor College where she earned a BS in Biology, and a Masters degree in Secondary Education. Her medical degree is from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.
Work History:Her professional path is very unique. She began her career as a science teacher at Spring Valley High School but knew she wanted more. After two years, she became a student again to follow her dream of becoming a doctor. Her residency was through Palmetto Richland, but she also completed a yearlong fellowship in Neonatology due to her interest in the very littlest and most fragile babies. Afterward, she worked with Eau Claire Pediatrics, before returning to her original love of teaching; training medical students and residents at Palmetto Richland. Her practice area was the Special Care Nursery along with Mother-Baby Care on the Baby Friendly Unit.
Focus of Her Work: A review of Dr McCutcheons career reveals a deep connection to children, especially those who don’t yet have a voice. There is also a natural affinity to both learning and teaching. Her particular interest is the late preterm baby, born 34-37 weeks; also known as “The Great Pretenders” for their little recognized care needs. She says “I really enjoy meeting with families and providing education and information to help them make decisions and get things figured out. I just think that is important to spend that time with them.”
Personal: Dr Grooms was born in Gainesville, Georgia. She is married with two children, and says time with her family is the most important thing she does with her free hours. Her husband travels with his work, but she is a self-described homebody who loves curling up with a good book. Her faith is also very important to her, and she manifests this by singing with the praise band at her church.
Education: Dr Grooms attended medical school at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine after completing her Bachelor of Science at North Georgia College.
Work History: Her residency was at Palmetto Richland Hospital. Until the Center opening, Dr Grooms was a full-time pediatrician in the Columbia area for her entire professional career and she feels a deep connection to the community.
Focus of Her Work: She loves babies, and says the best part of her job is meeting with nervous, anxious families to help alleviate their fears. When asked what motivates her, she says “I want to make a difference. I want them to know that we are in this together and it’s okay not to have it all figured out right this minute. It’s a good feeling when they leave feeling more confident and reassured.”
Personal: Jennifer was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. Jen and her family relocated to South Carolina in 2012 after living in Manhattan, Kansas (the “little apple”) for three years. She has been married for 17 years. She and her husband are proud of their three young ladies who keep them busy with sports and laundry. Jen enjoys reading and travel.
Education: Jennifer obtained her Bachelors of Social Work in 1999. Jen has also been a La Leche League Leader since 2010, and a certified Doula since 2008.
Work History:Jennifer has worked with families in a variety of social service agencies including hospice, child protection, and counseling services. She has also worked with the University of South Carolina/School of Public Health assisting with a research project focused on prenatal health.
Work Focus:Jennifer has a lengthy history and passion for volunteer-advocacy and spent a long time considering role changes before becoming an IBCLC, because she knew that this would limit her volunteer work. However, she manages to find balance between professional and volunteer support and although she has decreased her advocacy time, she remains active in the community.
Personal: Jennifer was born in South Carolina but spent most of her early childhood in Rhode Island; returning for high school. She first met her husband while they were in middle school; they later moved to North Carolina while he served as a paratrooper in the Army. She is married with five children, and they all enjoy country living. Their menagerie includes 11 cats, 2 dogs, 5 ducks, 11 chickens, and 4 guinea hens. She spends her down time working in the vegetable garden, bike riding with the children, and watching movies on TV.
Education: Jennifer has two Associates Degree’s from Fayetteville Tech; psychology and general education/science. In addition to her IBCLC, she is also certified as a nurse assistant, Lamaze Birth Educator, Birth/Postpartum Doula. She is a BLS instructor for the American Heart Association.
Work History:Jennifer took a position with WIC as a peer counselor while studying and training to become an IBCLC. Her experience also includes both the hospital and private practice settings. In addition, she served as the Education Chair for the South Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition.
Work Focus: Her love of supporting women through birth and breastfeeding began with her own personal experience. As a young mother with her first, she knew nothing about breastfeeding, and consequently had a negative experience. With her second child, she learned the importance of good support, and for her, this was a game-changer. She began her personal education path by assisting with a local breastfeeding support group while learning as much as possible about the birth process in order to become a Lamaze prenatal educator. Each role, both employed and volunteer added to her knowledge, moving her closer to becoming an IBCLC; her ultimate goal.
Personal:Karen and her husband Pat were both raised in Southern California, and have known each other since middle school (they started dating after graduation). His job brought her to South Carolina, and they have been here long enough to call it home. She and her husband live on the lake and enjoy the water with their four children, and eight grandchildren.
Education:Karen is registered nurse with a Baccalaureate degree from the University of South Carolina.
Work History: Karen was hired by Palmetto Pediatrics to teach a Newborn and Breastfeeding Class, and work as a Pediatric nurse. She later took a part time position at Richland Memorial to start the Lactation program, then expanded her role to include Women’s Health and the after-hours Pediatric Phone Line. She maintained her connection to Palmetto Pediatrics throughout that time and eventually returned to become the first pediatric office IBCLC in the Midlands, possibly even the state.
Work Focus: Karen’s personal mothering experience led her to ultimately become an IBCLC. She says "Breastfeeding just seemed natural to me, but once I had premature twins, and encountered some feeding challenges, I realized that there was a real need for education and support for breastfeeding mothers. It gives me a lot of joy to help young families as they begin their journey in breastfeeding and parenting. It is personally rewarding and is the reason I love my job.”
Personal: She was born and raised in Niagara Falls, NY and only left when it was time for college and the military. Kristine is very active within her church, teaching two bible study groups as well as a Sunday school class. She enjoys just about all outdoor activities including hiking, camping and biking. She also has an appreciation for good food and says “If you cook it, I will eat it!”
Education: She graduated from West Virginia University with her BSN, She also acquired her MSN in 2013 from Western Governors University.
Work History: Kristine’s career began with the United States Air Force, working active duty as a registered nurse. Her professional background is quite varied; from the emergency room to obstetrics, including 24-hour telephone triage. In 2001, she moved to South Carolina and joined DHEC/WIC, specializing in clinic and home visits for postpartum and newborn care. This was the beginning of her love for supporting breastfeeding mothers. She has also served as adjunct faculty for Central Carolina Technical College and Francis Marion University.
Work Focus: After 15 years of work in community hospitals and OB offices, always focusing on breastfeeding support, Kristine knew the path she wanted to take. During this time, she went from breastfeeding helper, to clinical lactation counselor, and finally IBCLC. “This is my dream job. I just want to help baby’s breastfeed and mothers to have confidence.”
Personal: Meredith has always called Columbia home. Married with three children, Meredith spends her evenings attending her children’s various extracurricular activities. In her free hours, she enjoys time spent on her screened porch enjoying a strong cup of coffee and a good book. Her other interests include travel, yoga and meditation.
Education: Meredith graduated from Lander University with a degree in Special Education, but also has a nursing degree from Charleston Southern University.
Work History: After a brief time working as a Special Education teacher, Meredith found her calling in healthcare, and has worked as a staff nurse at a community hospital ever since. Her focus has always been mother-baby care, and she is one of those rare people who actually likes working nights. She has also served as a childbirth and breastfeeding community educator.
Work Focus: As a bedside nurse, Meredith is in a unique position to assist new mothers as they practice breastfeeding. Often asked for help with feedings, Meredith identified a need for increased personal education to better serve the needs of her patients. She found herself seeking out her own learning opportunities to be a better support for breastfeeding mothers. “I have never met a mom who didn’t want to do what was best for her baby. If I can help her do that, regardless of her decisions, that is what I want to do.”