On November 3, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2017 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize the unsung heroes in our community whose actions, thoughts and words have had a transformative impact in our region. For the rest of the month, we will be highlighting our ten honorees in our Community Heroes Series.


LaurieMisaki_smName: Laurie Misaki

Occupation: Breastfeeding Promotion Coordinator, County of Fresno

Nominated by: The Department of Public Health

Laurie Misaki has led a dedicated 45-year career as a registered nurse, providing services in the area of maternal and child health, as well as mental health. She has a strong passion for both areas that is evident in her tireless work, where she strives to provide the best treatment possible for the region’s most vulnerable residents.

In 2000, Misaki –  at the time the breastfeeding promotion coordinator for the County of Fresno  – established the Babies First Breastfeeding Task Force, with the goal in mind of increasing breastfeeding rates in the region through community-wide efforts. Under her guidance, breastfeeding rates have doubled in Fresno County from 32 percent in 2000 to 60.9 percent in 2015.

Among her accomplishments, Misaki worked to successfully apply and coordinate First 5 Fresno County’s breastfeeding grant that funded education of providers, training of lactation counselors and promotion of breastfeeding. Through her efforts, she set up provider education though conferences and physician seminars with internationally recognized breastfeeding physicians and providers.

She also helped launch the Babies First Walk and Celebration, held annually for the past 11 years to promote breastfeeding and increase public awareness.

Since 2012, Laurie has facilitated the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative project that works with Fresno County birthing hospitals to implement the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and to become a Baby Friendly USA Certified hospital.

Prior to Babies First, Misaki worked at the County of Fresno Behavioral Health Department, providing crisis intervention in the community and outpatient mental health services – as well as with the County of Fresno’s Department of Public Health in the area of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health.


The 2017 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held on November 3, 2017 at Fresno State. For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at 559.278.3603 or bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.