Theresa Landau, MS, RDN, CDN, CLC

Ms. Landau is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Lactation Counselor. Prior to being the Chairperson of BFUSA, she held the offices of Vice Chairperson and Secretary.  She also was a BFUSA Assessor before joining its Board.  She has worked at the Morrisania WIC Program for over 40 years (since 1978) and has been the Director of the Program since 1981. She received her Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition from Columbia University. Ms. Landau has served in a variety of capacities in the management, leadership, nutrition and breastfeeding arenas. She was recently the Chairperson of the National WIC Association (NWA) and had been on the NWA Board for 11 years. She was the Chairperson of The WIC Association of NYS, Inc. for 10 years, a member of its Board of Directors for 20 years and founded the NYC Metro WIC Association. She has had a leadership role or participated in numerous committees and task forces on the local, regional and national levels. Ms. Landau is the Chairperson of the NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council, Inc., the Co-Chair of the Bronx Breastfeeding Coalition and is on the Executive Committee of New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition.

Vice Chair

Ann Brownlee, MA, PhD

Dr. Brownlee is a medical sociologist who has worked in the fields of breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding for over twenty-five years.  She received her B.A. at Pomona College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology at Boston University.  She has an appointment as Clinical Professor in the Division of International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine at the UCSD Medical School. She has worked as a staff member and consultant in the areas of breastfeeding, infant and young child feeding and international health, specializing in evaluation and applied research.  Dr. Brownlee served for eight years as Planning, Evaluation and Applied Research Coordinator for the Project for Strengthening Health Delivery Systems in Africa (a 20-country project), for ten years as Senior Technical Advisor for Program Development, Evaluation and Research at Wellstart International, and taught at UCSD for sixteen years.  She worked extensively with WHO and UNICEF to develop the assessment strategy and tools for the WHO/UNICEF Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a course for hospital administrators working to become baby-friendly, an assessment tool to accompany WHO’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, and a revised version of the BFHI assessment tools.  She also helped to launch the US Baby-Friendly program and develop its first assessment tool, while on the staff of Wellstart International. She has served as team leader on a number of health program evaluations and lead trainer for “training of trainer” workshops in Africa and Asia and has published extensively in the fields of breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding, cross-cultural health, health systems research, and health assessment.


Mary Applegate, MD, MPH

Dr. Applegate is a public health physician, with special interest in maternal and infant health.  Promoting breastfeeding as a vital public health issue is one of Dr. Applegate’s long-time priorities.  She served for 15 years as medical director in the Division of Family Health at the New York State Department of Health, overseeing programs in maternal, infant, child and adolescent health.   She then served for 10 years as Associate Dean at the University at Albany (SUNY) School of Public Health.  Throughout both periods, she taught in the Department of Health Policy Management, and Behavior at the School, and she directed the New York State Preventive Medicine Residency Program, preparing physicians for leadership careers in public health.  She recently retired from the University, but retains a position as Clinical Professor of Social Behavior and Community Health.  In retirement, she is helping the school to strengthen its offerings in maternal & child health, and she is active in state and local organizations promoting breastfeeding and birth justice.  Dr. Applegate holds a BA in biochemistry from Smith College, an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She completed preventive medicine residency training at the New York State Department of Health and is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.  She is a past member of the Boards of Directors of the American College of Preventive Medicine and the American Board of Preventive Medicine.


Kinkini Banerjee, MS

With over two decades of experience in clinical and public health practice as well as program development and policy advocacy at all levels, Kinkini has worked on a broad range of issues impacting the health and economic well-being of children, women and gender expansive persons, families and communities of color. She is the Founder and Principal of Sage Transformations, and partners with government, philanthropy, academia, social movements, communities, non-profit organizations and corporations to bring about organizational and leadership transformations to advance social, health and economic justice. Prior to this, Kinkini was Director of Community-Centered Design and Network in the Education Initiative of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a philanthropy with a Whole Child Approach to student success, managing a significant portfolio of partnerships and grants. She was the Director of Coalitions at the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), where she co-led the organization’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI), belonging, and justice journey from its inception. Kinkini is committed to building ecosystems which advance new narratives and center the wisdom, leadership and decision-making power of individuals and communities which bear the greatest brunt of inequities in opportunities and access.

Pamela Berens, MD

Dr. Berens received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Texas, Houston where she subsequently joined the faculty. Currently she serves as Professor and Vice-Chair of Clinical Affairs at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. She has an active clinical practice and teaches medical student and residents. She is an IBCLC and sees mothers referred for consultation with difficult breastfeeding complications. Her area of academic and educational focus has a foundation surrounding pregnancy and postpartum care, breastfeeding and breastfeeding complications. She is active in the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine previously serving as a board member, meeting co-chair and contributing to 3 separate ABM protocols. She has participated in various research projects related to breastfeeding. She is also active in outreach multidisciplinary breastfeeding education across the state of Texas with the Texas Department of State Health Services. She served as a physician co-leader for the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality Texas Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative. In this role, she worked to encourage hospitals and providers across Texas to incorporate Baby Friendly Hospital Practices. She participates with the ACOG Breastfeeding Expert Work Group formed in 2014 and assists with their various endeavors to promote breastfeeding and educate Obstetricians further about the topic. She has written book chapters and published research on breastfeeding topics primarily relating to the maternal perspective and maternal breastfeeding complications.

Casey Bland, RN, MSN

Since 2018, Casey has provided leadership for the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Maternity Quality Model. In this role, she collaborates with Network Hospitals and Providers across Mississippi to help implement evidence based best practices in maternal and infant health across care settings with a goal of improving health outcomes. Prior to joining Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, Casey served in several progressive leadership roles from 2009 to 2018. During her hospital tenure, Casey had management responsibilities for Medical Surgical services, Neonatal Intensive Care and Women’s Care specialty areas. Her most recent hospital leadership role was as Director of Nursing Services before transitioning to Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Casey attended college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she received a Bachelor of Nursing degree and graduated with honors. Casey continued her education at the University of Southern Mississippi earning a Master of Science in Nursing with an emphasis on Nursing Administration.

Yvonne Cafik Harrison, BSN, MPA, PhD

Yvonne D. Cafik (formerly Harrison) is a social scientist with expertise in organization theory and behavior, nonprofit leadership and governance and adoption of modern information and communications technology. Dr. Cafik has held nonprofit leadership and public management tenure track, term, clinical and adjunct appointments in teaching and research-intensive universities in the USA and Canada, including the School of Social Work at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, USA where she teaches courses in nonprofit leadership and governance as clinical faculty. Dr. Cafik is Founder of Board Checkup, Self-Assessment Software Services Inc., a Canadian software as a service (SaaS) company being incubated in the Conexus Cultivator in Regina, Saskatchewan to help nonprofit boards of directors around the world improve leadership and governance through the practice of online performance assessment. In addition to the BFUSA board, Dr. Cafik serves on the board of Triathlon Saskatchewan and is Past Chair of the Governance Section of the Association for Research in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). She is a proud UVic alum with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Public Administration and Ph.D. in Public Administration all from the Faculty of Human and Social Development. She is author of the 2014 SUNY Open Textbook, Guidelines for Improving the Effectiveness of Boards of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations, peer reviewed research journal articles, book chapters, research reports, and other publications. In her spare time, Yvonne loves to swim, bike and run.

Brianna Clark DO, MPH, CNPM, CLC 

Dr. Clark is an Osteopathic Physician and Certified Lactation Counselor. Prior to attending medical school, she worked as a public health professional and AmeriCorps Community Healthcorps member. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Baylor University and her master’s degree from the Texas A&M University  School of Public Health, formally known as the School of Rural Public Health. In addition, she attended The Bush School of Government and Public Service where she earned a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management. She completed her medical training at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas Campus. Dr. Clark has a passion for rural health and is a champion of policies that support diversity in healthcare.  She actively works to promote sustainable Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) and Anti-racism efforts in healthcare through policy development and education. She is an advocate for the inclusion of breastfeeding as an integral part of full-spectrum primary healthcare.

Sarah Coulter Danner, RN, MSN, CNM, CPNP

Ms. Danner is a registered nurse and nurse midwife educator. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Castleton State College, Castleton, Vermont. She received her BSN from Skidmore College, her Masters Degree in Nursing/Nurse-Midwifery from Case Western Reserve University and is currently working on her PhD in nursing at South Dakota State University. She has a forty year history of assisting families in both the US and England as a lactation consultant, pediatric nurse practitioner and a nurse midwife. Ms Danner has been involved with Baby-Friendly USA since its start in the US and served as a founding member of the board of directors. She represents the American College of Nurse Midwives on the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC). She worked with the founding group of the IBCLE exam and assisted with the first exam at Georgetown University. She is an international speaker, and an author of numerous publications and journal articles.

Brian Dittmeier, Esq.

Brian is the Director of Public Policy at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), where he advances safe and inclusive learning environments for LGBTQI+ students. A New Jersey native, Brian is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School. He has more than a decade of experience in federal policy, having worked to secure new civil rights protections, increased investments in the annual appropriations process, and improvements to federal programs. Brian served as the inaugural advocacy chair of the National LGBTQ+ Anti-Poverty Action Network and has previously worked in the anti-poverty, child nutrition, and disability rights communities. Most relevant to BFUSA is Brian’s work for six years at the National WIC Association. There he led a policy portfolio to strengthen nutrition and breastfeeding services for WIC families and was the leading public spokesperson for the Association during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 infant formula shortages. Brian fought to expand the value of the WIC benefit, enhance the nutritional quality of foods provided through WIC, shift program services to telehealth and online shopping as well as protect immigrant access to WIC services. In this role, he worked to elevate breastfeeding through increased investment in peer counseling services and advocating systems-level change in the wake of the 2022 infant formula recall.

Lawrence M. Gartner, MD

Dr. Gartner received his undergraduate education at Columbia University and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University. After completing his internship in Pediatrics at Hopkins, he continued his training in Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, specializing in neonatology and pediatric liver disease. His basic laboratory and clinical research focus has been in the area of neonatal jaundice, with particular reference to its relationship to breastfeeding. At Einstein, Dr. Gartner rose to Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of Neonatology and Pediatric Hepatology and Gastroenterology, and Director of the Children’s Clinical Research Unit. In 1980, Dr. Gartner was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at The University of Chicago and Director of Wyler Children’s Hospital. He also held a joint appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He continued his combined work in bilirubin metabolism and breastfeeding in Chicago and has published more than 200 papers on this subject and on other aspects of breastfeeding. He has also lectured on the modern history of premature infant care and its origins as public exhibitions of premature infants in incubators at World’s Fairs and amusement parks. In 1998, Dr. Gartner retired from The University of Chicago. His current academic title is Professor Emeritus, Departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology at The University of Chicago. In addition to being a founding and current member of the Baby-Friendly USA Board of Directors, he was Founding Chair of the Executive Committee of the Section on Breastfeeding of the American Academy of Pediatrics from 1998 to 2006. He is also a Past- President of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, of which he is a founder, and a Past-President of the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, which he also helped found. He is currently Chair of the ABM Ethics Committee. He lectures regularly on breastfeeding issues.