WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFLCMC) – Megan Kane, a Mechanical Engineer with the Armament Directorate at Robins AFB, Georgia, led the effort to develop an app that locates suitable spaces for nursing mothers who need to pump breast milk on a regular basis.
The creation of lactation spaces either from converting existing rooms or the installation of “pods,” is one of many programs led by the Women’s Initiative Team which is part of the Department of the Air Force Barriers Analysis Working Group. Specifically, WIT is charged to identify barriers to women’s service that influence and impact women’s propensity to serve and advocate to eliminate those barriers through policy change.
Kane first became involved with the Robins WIT after attending the first Women’s Air and Space Power Symposium in 2021. More information about WIT can be found searching WIT on the Air Force Portal.
While traveling after having her first child, she noted how using a commercial app to locate lactation spaces in airports was a great stress relief.
“That was my inspiration for doing something for the Air Force,” Kane said.
She combined that experience along with a Spark Tank proposal submitted by Maj. Alexandra Bissey, now at Nellis AFB, Nevada, to build the current map.
“We first went out to all of our facility managers, and I would see some facility managers for the same building, giving different answers for our questions on if there was or wasn’t a lactation room,” Kane said. It seemed that units weren't necessarily communicating together and the map gave an option for
units to see that Yes, there is a room in this part of the building and maybe we can work together to share resources.”
Robins turned out to only be the starting point for the map. Kane worked with WITs at Hill AFB, Utah and Tinker AFB, Oklahoma to add to the map which resides on the AFMC Portal. There is also a PDF summary of rooms with points of contact and information on how to access the map on AF Connect under Resources.
“I told them about the map we were building and they loved the idea,” Kane said. “Now they're building a map for their bases as well. The goal really is an Air Force-wide system.”
To hear the full conversation, you can watch Leadership Log on YouTube at https://youtu.be/ECAzDVKCUvY. You can also listen by searching “Leadership Log” on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Overcast, Radio Public or Breaker.