Board of Directors

Board of Directors2018-10-20T20:50:29+00:00

Officers

Chair

Theresa Landau, MS, RD

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.

Treasurer

Robert H. LeFever

Mr. LeFever received his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and was a graduate of the Financial Management Program of the General Electric Company. He recently retired from a second career as the Director of Development for Mercer Street Friends where he was responsible for the fundraising activities of the organization. Prior to that he spent more than 30 years in advertising, first in senior management positions (CFO and COO) at two of the largest advertising agencies in Philadelphia, then as a financial and management consultant to small and mid-sized advertising, public relations and marketing firms. Mr. LeFever has served in a variety of leadership capacities on numerous boards of directors throughout his career. These include Chandler Hall, Temple University Health System, Jeanes Hospital, and the Volunteer Trustees, a national organization of healthcare trustees dedicated to promoting not-for-profit healthcare. He recently served a three-year term on the American Hospital Association’s Committee on Governance, followed by a three-year term as a member of the AHA’s Leadership Development Committee and a two-year term on the AHA’s Regional Planning Board #2. In addition to his service on the Board of Directors for Baby-Friendly USA, his current volunteer activities include serving as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Temple Physicians, Inc., which is an owner/manager of community-based primary care physician practices, serving as Chair of the Board of Jeanes Hospital, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Secretary

Laura McBride, JD

Ms. McBride is a Deputy General Counsel at The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio, the public safety-net health system for Cuyahoga County, Ohio.  Among her responsibilities in that role, she manages risk for the System, which includes a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Level III NICU, and three freestanding emergency departments.  She supports the clinical staff and System leadership in promoting quality of care.  Previously, she was in private practice as a corporate litigator for approximately 9 years at firms in Cleveland.  Her unique background includes her experience as a Program Analyst in the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services overseeing federal health programs, including those of the FDA and NIH.   Ms. McBride received her law degree from George Washington University Law School and her Master’s Degree in Evaluative Clinical Sciences from Dartmouth College (a program focused on health policy considerations for improving clinical outcomes).

Directors

Mary Applegate, MD

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.

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.

Meaghan Combs, MD, MPH, IBCLC

Dr. Combs is a Family Medicine physician at MetroHealth, and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Her practice of Family Medicine includes a focus on care of the mother-child dyad both prenatally and after birth. She cares for patients in the MetroHealth Breastfeeding Clinic and also teaches Family Medicine residents and medical students. Dr. Combs completed medical school at Tulane University, where she also earned a Master’s degree in Public Health. She completed residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she was also a Fellow in the Integrative Medicine program. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

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.

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.

Yvonne D. Harrison, BSN, MPA, PhD

Dr. Harrison is Associate Professor and Director of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network at Luther College at the University of Regina. A former nurse and lactation consultant, Dr. Harrison’s roots are in community development and breastfeeding as a health promotion practice. Her scholarship focuses on the leadership role nonprofit and voluntary sector organizations play in society with particular emphasis on organizational, inter-organizational, and network governance, board performance, and information systems success. In addition to service on the Baby-Friendly USA board, Dr. Harrison serves on the board of directors of the Association for Nonprofit and Social Economy Research (ANSER) in Canada and is a member of the Association for Research in Nonprofit Organization and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA).  Dr. Harrison is co-author (with Vic Murray) of the 2014 book, Guidelines for Improving the Effectiveness of Nonprofit Boards of Directors as well as author of a number of peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, research reports, and other publications. Dr. Harrison has a Bachelor of Science (Nursing), Master of Public Administration and PhD in Public Administration from the University of Victoria, BC, Canada.

Viola Lujan

Ms. Lujan has held various executive-level management positions at La Clínica, a California health center, including Fiscal Officer and Regional Director over the past 40 years. Currently, she is the acting Director of Business and Community Relations where she leads agency-wide community health education efforts and is primarily responsible for providing community-based development and relationship management for internal and external stakeholders. Additionally, Ms. Lujan works across community, business, and functional lines to build and strengthen relationships and promote La Clínica’s brand recognition. Prior to La Clínica, Ms. Lujan worked in an array of community-based organizations where she provided administrative and fiscal support. Ms. Lujan plays a leading role in a variety of collaborative efforts focused on strengthening the health care safety net and serves as the Project Director for the Latino Cancer Collaborative of Contra Costa. Ms. Lujan is an advocate and activist with a passion for preserving community health care for all. Ms. Lujan studied Finance, Accounting, and Education at the University of California at Berkeley and Irvine.

Aysha Pamukcu, JD

Ms. Pamukcu is an attorney specializing in equitable, inclusive law and policy. As the health equity lead at ChangeLab Solutions, she oversees the organization’s health equity strategy, innovation, and implementation. She focuses on law and policy solutions that strengthen community health and close the gap in unjust health disparities. Through research, training, and technical assistance, she builds capacity in communities to promote health and inclusivity. Ms. Pamukcu’s public health expertise includes maternal and child health, and she served as a lead researcher for a national scan of state laws and regulations related to any of the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Before joining ChangeLab Solutions, she worked as policy counsel at the Greenlining Institute, where she used civil rights strategies to advance equitable community development and investment. Ms. Pamukcu’s volunteer work includes providing representation for people seeking asylum through the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and assisting judges at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia. She graduated from Stanford University with honors and from USC Law School.