June 25, 2022

Subramanian Published in Washington Post Magazine

Associate Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Associate Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Associate Professor of Communication and Digital Studies Sushma Subramanian penned an article, She Pioneered the Sale of Breastmilk, Then Lost Everything: What the rise and fall of entrepreneur Elena Medo reveal about how we value women’s labor, which ran on May 13 in the Washington Post Magazine. 

About a week before Christmas in 2014, Elena Medo received the opening salvo against her latest breast milk company. She was at her new office in Lake Oswego, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, when she got a cease-and-desist letter. Prolacta Bioscience, the breast milk product company she founded in 1999 and then parted ways with in 2009, was instructing her new company, Medolac, to stop using its trade secrets.

Medo, then 61, was used to dealing with adversity. As the veritable founding mother of the breast milk industry, she had spent her life charting a controversial path to selling breast milk to hospitals. Medo had been accused of exploiting women to make money and of creating inequalities that hurt babies from poor families. But the products that she’d sold have also been credited with improving the outcomes for tens of thousands of premature babies in hospital neonatal intensive care units. Read more.