Click/tap on any of our illustrious speakers to learn more about them and their wonderful work!
Thursday Keynote Speaker
Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN
At the University of California, San Francisco, Monica McLemore is a tenured associate professor in the Family Health Care Nursing Department, an affiliated scientist with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, and a member of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. She retired from clinical practice as a public health and staff nurse after a 28-year clinical nursing career in 2019, however, continues to provide flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Her program of research is focused on understanding reproductive health and justice. To date, she has 93 peer reviewed articles, OpEds and commentaries and her research has been cited in the Huffington Post, Lavender Health, five amicus briefs to the Supreme Court of the United States, and three National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine reports, and a data visualization project entitled How To Fix Maternal Mortality: The first step is to stop blaming women that was published in the 2019 Future of Medicine edition of Scientific American. Her work has appeared in publications such as Dame Magazine, Politico, ProPublica/NPR and she made a voice appearance in Terrance Nance’s HBO series Random Acts of Flyness. She is the recipient of numerous awards and currently serves as chair for Sexual and Reproductive Health section of the American Public Health Association. She was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2019 and was named the Thelma Shobe Endowed Chair in 2021. She became the Editor in Chief of Health Equity Journal in 2022.
Friday Keynote Speaker
Joia Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG
Joia A. Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG is a physician, policy expert, thought leader and advocate for transformational justice. As the founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC), she identifies and challenges racism as a root cause of health inequities.
She is a highly sought-after trainer and speaker who has been featured in national and international publications including Essence and Ms. Magazine. In 2020, Dr. Crear-Perry was honored by USA Today in its “Women of the Century” series and featured on ABC Nightline’s Hear Her Voice.
Dr. Crear-Perry has twice addressed the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to elevate the cause of gender diversity and urge a human rights framework toward addressing maternal mortality. A proud recipient of both the Congressional Black Caucus Healthcare Heroes award and the Maternal Health Task Force at Harvard University Global Visionary Award for Commitment to Advancing Women’s Health, Dr. Crear-Perry’s most notable efforts include the removal of race as a risk factor for illnesses including premature birth.
Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the Birthing Project, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Jefferson Community Healthcare Center and as the Director of Clinical Services for the City of New Orleans Health Department. In that role, she was responsible for four facilities that provided health care for the homeless, pediatric, WIC, and gynecologic services within the New Orleans clinical service area.
Dr. Crear-Perry has been celebrated for her work improving the availability and utilization of affordable health care for New Orleans citizens post the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005.
Dr. Crear-Perry testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee as the Democratic witness in support of the only Maternal Health Bill signed into law under the Trump administration. She has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to work with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and develop a Standard for Respectful Maternity Care. She also serves on the National Quality Forum Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Committee and the Joint Commission Perinatal Safety Project Technical Advisory Panel.
Dr. Crear-Perry currently serves as a Principal at Health Equity Cypher and on the Board of Trustees for Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Community Catalyst, National Clinical Training Center for Family Planning and the UCSF PTBi. She is an Adjunct Professor at Tulane School of Public Health.
After completing undergraduate studies at Princeton University and Xavier University, Dr. Crear-Perry received her M.D. from Louisiana State University and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tulane University’s School of Medicine. She was also recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
She is married to Dr. Andre Perry and has three children: Jade, Carlos, and Robeson.
Her love is her family; health equity is her passion; maternal and child health are her callings.
Saturday Keynote Speaker
Mr. Patrick Patterson, MSW, MPH
Patrick J. Patterson is President of Global Partners for Fathers and Families Consulting, LLC, a national consulting firm that equips schools, hospitals, Head Start, Healthy Start, public and private sector agencies with the tools to authentically serve fathers, men, boys, and their families.
Patrick has launched and managed community, statewide, and national fatherhood programs during his 20-year career, including serving as contract manager for the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse during President George W. Bush, President Barack H. Obama, President Donald J. Trump, and President Joseph R. Biden Administrations. As an expert working with fathers, men, and boys, Patrick has been a featured fatherhood keynote, workshop leader or trainer in 46 states, the US Virgin Islands and 7 different countries.
He is married to his high school sweetheart, Sherani Ashford Patterson, and they have 2 beautiful daughters, Peyton (16) and Lorin (14), with whom Patrick has co-authored two children’s books entitled “I Love When Daddy Reads to Me” and “Unplugged – A Day of Family Fun without Devices” which are sold on Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Books a Million websites.
Patrick earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Benedict College (an HBCU) and dual Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from the University of South Carolina.
Kathleen Arcaro, PhD
Kathleen Arcaro, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Veterinary & Animal Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She received a BS from Douglass College, a PhD from Rutgers University and conducted postdoctoral research at both the State University of New York at Albany and the Wadsworth Laboratories of the New York State Department of Health. Dr Arcaro studies breastmilk as a means of understanding how modifiable risk factors for breast cancer can be altered to reduc breast caand to develop a non-invasive tool for early detection of breast. Dr. Arcaro’s research on the epigenetics of cells in breast milk has been funded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, the Avon Foundation for Women, and the National Institutes of Health.
Melissa Bartick, MD, MSc, MPH, FABM
Melissa Bartick, MD, MSc, MPH, FABM is an internist and Assistant Professor in Medicine at Mount Auburn Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She has authored numerous breastfeeding publications in peer-reviewed journals. She was chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition from 2002 to 2014, and served on the Board of the US Breastfeeding Committee from 2009-2015. She was founder of the American Public Health Association Breastfeeding Forum, and served two terms as chair. She served on the Board of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine from 2018-21 and was the senior author of the Bedsharing and Breastfeeding protocol that was published in January 2020. Dr. Bartick holds an MS from University of California, Berkeley, an MD from University of California, San Francisco, and an MPH in epidemiology from Harvard University.
Camille Clare, MD, MPH, CPE, FACOG
Camille A. Clare, MD, MPH, CPE, FACOG is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist. She received her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, and completed her obstetrics and gynecology residency at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She obtained a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management at New York Medical College. In May 2018, Dr. Clare was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, Iota Chapter, New York, New York Medical College as a Faculty member. Dr. Clare is Chair and tenured Professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of SUNY-Downstate Health Sciences University College of Medicine and School of Public Health, a role that she began as of January 2021. She previously served as the Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at New York Medical College and attending physician at New York City Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan.
Dr. Clare is an active member of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), serving in leadership roles on the section, district, and national levels, and previously on several national committees. She currently serves as the ACOG District 2 Chair, and ACOG Chair of the Industrial Exhibits Committee. She is also is a member of the Social Media workgroup for ACOG. Dr. Clare is the National Advisory for the Junior Fellow College Advisory Council for the past 2 years.
Dr. Clare is also an active member of the National Medical Association (NMA), and has served in
leadership roles on the local, regional and national levels. She is also the Chair Elect of the NMA
Obstetrics and Gynecology Section. Dr. Clare has received the National Medical Association Obstetrics and Gynecology Section Award for Best Practices in Breastfeeding in 2017. She is an active member of the NMA Obstetrics and Gynecology Section Breastfeeding Alliance, advocating for the elimination of disparities in breastfeeding in African American women.
Nichelle Clark, IBCLC
Nichelle Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), wife, and mom of two residing in Chesapeake, Virginia. She is the owner of SonShine & Rainbows Lactation Services. Born and raised in Upper Marlboro, MD, Nichelle joined the United States Navy in 2010 and served honorably for 7.5 years. When she’s not spending time with family, she serves as a United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) Advisory Board Member and Clinical Lactation Journal Social Media Editor. She also serves as the Virginia Breastfeeding Coalition Member-At-Large. In her spare time, she admins multiple online support groups for People of Color, providing breastfeeding support and lactation education to her community. As an exclusive pumping mom herself, Nichelle is a champion for breastfeeding parents to write their own rules and breastfeed their way.
Kristen Frey Cole is a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with 16 years of experience in the role as an advanced practice provider. She has 5 additional years of practice as a surgical nurse. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with her Bachelors in Nursing in 2000 and Masters in Nursing in 2005. She has practiced in various primary care offices in North Carolina before spending her last 11 years within the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at the NC Children’s Hospital as part of the UNC Feeding Team. For the past two years, she has served as the Clinical Lead of the UNC Feeding Team. She and her colleagues have presented numerous lectures at conferences across the country, have participated in multidisciplinary quality improvement initiatives and have provided countless hours of preceptorship for learners from various medical backgrounds. While not working, she spends time with her husband, three kids, one dog and two cats. She is also an avid runner and baseball fan.
Jennifer Day, IBCLC, CLE, CLS, RLC, BD
Jennifer Day is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Doula, and Childbirth Educator serving families throughout Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario, Canada within her private practice, Feed the Babes, LLC. Her journey into the field of lactation stemmed from her own rocky beginnings breastfeeding her two children. After receiving insufficient support that centered around cultural practice, she became passionate about the importance of community and skilled lactation support. Jennifer centers herself on listening, trusting, learning, and advocating alongside her clients, and is committed to disrupting unjust systems in birth and breastfeeding. She and her husband reside in the Metro-Detroit area with their two children, where they enjoy growing their own food, traveling, and serving the community. Additional spaces she serves include, co-founder of the Southeast Michigan IBCLC’s of Color (SEMI), Community Building Manager with the Michigan Breastfeeding Network (MIBFN), and Board Director with International Board Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE).
Reginald Day, CLC
Reginald Day is a Certified Lactation Consultant, creator of Get At Me Dad podcast, Fatherhood Expert, Southeast Michigan IBCLCs of Color, and co-Facilitator, Nature’s Playhouse Fatherhood support group. The married father of two children, who were breastfed, has made it his mission to change the narrative of how fatherhood, in BIPOC populations, is viewed. He has a passion for people, serving as an associate Pastor at his local church. He is a fatherhood and family advocate who believes that great communities begin with strong families. Collectively as a family, he, his wife, and two children reside in Metro-Detroit, Michigan.
Monica Esparza, CLC, Community Interpreter
Monica Esparza is currently the Executive Director of the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force. She is a trained Certified Lactation Counselor and Community Interpreter who previously served families as a breastfeeding peer counselor for more than 10 years, providing peer-to-peer support to lactating families through the WIC program both individually and in the hospital setting. She participated as a Leader in the Health Connect One Birth Leadership Academy and the NM Women of Color Leaders in Non-profit. She has served on different boards and currently sits on the National College of Midwifery Board and the NM CNM Board. As a Mexican, Immigrant woman living in the south valley of Albuquerque, she brings a grassroots community approach and an equity lens into her every aspect of her work. She understands the importance of centering families and BIPOC communities is a crucial step into achieve birth equity. She enjoys hiking and gardening with her husband and 2 children.
Camie Goldhammer, MSW, LICSW, IBCLC
Camie Jae Goldhammer, MSW, LICSW, IBCLC, (Sisseton-Wahpeton) is a Clinical Social Worker and Lactation Consultant. Camie is the founder and chair of the Native American Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington. She is also a founding mother and President Elect of the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color. In 2013 she became Washington state’s first Native American IBCLC. She is a member of the Center for Social Inclusion’s First Food Racial Equity Cohort. Recently she worked as a Campaign Director with MomsRising working to bring paid family and medical leave to Washington State which was signed into law in July 2017. In fall 2017 Camie launched the Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor Certification (IBC) which is a 45 hour foundational lactation counselor program for those that identify as Native/Indigenous/First Nations. In November 2018 Camie was elected to the board of the United States Breastfeeding Committee. Most days you will find working as the Program Manager for United Indians of All Tribes’ Daybreak Star Doulas. She is a National leader on topics of racial equity and first food justice.
Dr. Tyra Gross
Dr. Tyra Toston Gross is an Associate Professor of Public Health at Xavier University of Louisiana, where she has worked as a public health instructor, researcher and mentor since August 2015. Her research expertise is in maternal & child health disparities. Prior to joining Xavier, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in reproductive women’s health at University of Texas Medical Branch. Given her interest in maternal & child health, the majority of Dr. Gross’ research has focused on the health of reproductive-age women. Her current research projects explore the health of Black postpartum women in Louisiana, infant & young child feeding during emergencies, and smoking cessation needs for low-income pregnant women. Dr. Gross is a member of the American Public Health Association (APHA), Academy Health and Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM). She is a proud wife and mother of three spunky kids and also an aspiring entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Kenn Harris currently is Executive Project Director and Engagement Lead at the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) in Boston, MA, and his immediate past job was as Vice President for Community Engagement and Director and Principal Investigator of the New Haven Healthy Start program at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in New Haven, CT. His professional career in MCH and public health spans over 30 years.
Before starting his job in CT, Kenn worked with the Boston Healthy Start Initiative in Boston, MA, one of the original Healthy Start projects. There he established and maintained the Community Consortium and helped create the Father-Friendly Initiative. During his time in Boston, he also served on the “For Fathering Advisory Council” of the Medical Foundation, working with fragile families supporting responsible fathers.
Kenn is a past president of the National Healthy Start Association and helped establish the Association’s Dads Matter Initiative: Where Dads Matter, Washington, DC. He is co-creator of the Core Adaptive Model for Fatherhood (CAM©), an evidenced-informed model for fatherhood/male involvement programs. He is currently working on creating an evidenced-based home-visiting program for men and fathers that builds on the lessons learned from the CAM model for Fatherhood.
Kenn is a national expert in the field of maternal and child health, public health, fatherhood/ male involvement, and community engagement. He worked on “My Brother’s Keeper”, President Obama’s initiative to address the health of boys and men of color. He also has the expertise and interest in topics of the impact of racism on health outcomes, equity and addressing men’s health in the age of mass incarceration.
Kenn co-authored and published the article “The Health of Young African American Men” in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, 2015). He continues researching Black men’s health and focuses on the integration of health services into programs for men and fathers.
Kenn remains passionate about women’s health, children, fathers and families as well as the health and well-being of the communities in which they live, learn, play and pray.
Natalie Hernandez, PhD, MPH
Dr. Hernandez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine and the Executive Director of the Center for Maternal Health Equity at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Hernandez received her Master of Public Health from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Stony Brook University in New York. She earned her PhD in public health as well as a graduate certificate in interdisciplinary women’s health from the University of South Florida. Dr. Hernandez was a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) maternal and child health leadership trainee and epidemiology trainee.
Dr. Hernandez’s previous research experiences and contributions to science have been dedicated to rigorous methodology using community engagement approaches to advance health equity through research and practice. She has more than 16 years of experience in developing community partnerships and implementing population health that engages diverse stakeholder groups including health care providers, patient populations, organizational leaders, and policymakers. She also has expertise in conducting robust qualitative research using a broad array of research methods.
To advance science toward the elimination of women’s health inequities, Dr. Hernandez has obtained extramural funding to develop multiple lines of research in the context of maternal and women’s health, specifically with Black and Latinx populations. The research approach in these local and nationally funded initiatives encompassed utilization of CBPR approaches, and takes a multi-sectoral and multi-level translational, health disparities research approach to understanding the myriad causes of women’s health inequities. Additionally, her research explores the integration of technology to advance women’s health and provides easy access to maternal and women’s through patient navigation, mobile health interventions, telehealth approaches, and remote monitoring. Dr. Hernandez has laid the groundwork for research in maternal health by establishing partnerships with local and national organizations dedicated to maternal morbidity and mortality disparities, evaluating maternal health interventions and programs, and validating effective measures of maternal mental health, medical mistrust, as well as psychosocial factors.
Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Hernandez worked as a Program Manager for UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) leading all their national maternal health projects. With these projects she has established strong ties with diverse stakeholders and as a result of her work, she has received a number of awards including the MundoHispanico Latinas Poderosas (Powerful Latinas in Atlanta) Award, American Association for Cancer Research-Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council, Minority & Minority Serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Award, Rising Scholar in the field of sexuality by The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Rolling Out Sista with Superpowers, Health Disparities Scholar of the NIH National Institutes on Minority Health and Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program and the Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance Team Science Award of Distinction for Early Stage Research Teams, and the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia 2021 Carolyn Wetzel Continuum Award.
Dr. Hernandez currently sits on Georgia’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, Georgia PRAMS Steering Committee, Georgia Improving Postpartum Care Affinity Group, and on various maternal and child health organizations including Postpartum Support International-Georgia Chapter Advocacy Group and Georgia Maternal Health Stakeholder Group. She also sits on national organizations including the American Public Health Association Committee on Health Equity, Health Disparities Taskforce of the National Preeclampsia Foundation, and many others. Dr. Hernandez has presented her work at various international, national, state, and local conferences.
Tameka Jackson-Dyer BASc, IBCLC, CHW, CLE, CLS, CLC is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant and Community Health Worker whose passion is community outreach. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Studies from Siena Heights University, multiple lactation certifications and has been honing her counseling and clinical skills in WIC agencies, OB/Gyn offices and Baby Friendly hospitals throughout the metro Detroit area for almost 20 years. Her work as Manager of Community Collaboration with Coffective and Breastfeeding Subject Matter Expert with the EMU Center for Health Disparities, Innovations & Studies allows her to provide a voice for the populations who are historically underrepresented in conversations about breastfeeding support. To ensure she reaches as many families in her community as she can, the wife and mother of three owns a private practice, Crazymilklady Lactation Support Services, LLC, serves as Chair of the Metro Detroit/ Wayne County Breastfeeding Coalition, is a co-founder of the Southeast Michigan IBCLC’s of Color (SEMI) and volunteers as a Sisterfriend mentor with the Detroit Birthing Project.
Dr. Clifton Kenon
Dr. Clifton is a public health professional working in international reproductive health and lactation. A lactation consultant also, Dr. Kenon enjoys working with families on supply longevity issues. Dr. Kenon has spoken worldwide on the importance of breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes. He has published in numerous journals and works actively with multiple domestic and international organizations. He has been recognized by the Surgeon General, Former Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative.
Nekisha Killings MPH IBCLC is an equity strategist and maternal and child health advocate who speaks, teaches, and facilitates on topics related to equity and dismantling bias across various sectors. She acts as a Director of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and consults organizations on creating and implementing strategies to better support marginalized communities. Nekisha penned the chapter titled Cultural Humility in the latest Core Curriculum for Interdisciplinary Lactation Care. Coined the Aha! Moment Maven, Nekisha works to wow audiences with new realizations that will impact their approach to business and life positively. Nekisha is on a mission to normalize brown breasts in health provider education, thereby better equipping providers to accurately diagnose and treat people of color. Accordingly, she founded The Melanated Mammary Atlas® in 2021. Nekisha‘s work is rooted in compassion and candor that could only have been cultivated in years of supporting new parents through their first days of parenthood. To eager audiences, she extends her own brand of wisdom, wit, and eureka moments to shift the way they approach life and work.
Sekeita Lewis-Johnson, DNP, FNP-BC, IBCLC
Dr. Sekeita Lewis-Johnson is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Birth Doula. She is the Accredited Provider Program Director and Instructor for Lactation Education Resources.
She is one of the Founding Members of Southeast Michigan IBCLCs of Color and Mama’s Mobile Milk and owner of Mommy and Me Lactation Consulting, LLC, and serves as a Board Director for The United States Breastfeeding Committee. She sits on The Maternal Infant Health, Health Equity Action Committee for the State of Michigan.
Dr. Lewis-Johnson has received multiple awards during her career. In 2021 she was the recipient of The Award of Excellence from the United States Lactation Consultant Association and The Alumni Service Award from The College of Nursing at Michigan State University. Dr. Lewis-Johnson is an avid advocate for equitable and just policies and practice especially related to black maternal-child health inequities.
Glenis is a Certified Lactation Consultant in the state of Georgia and has been helping families breastfeed for over 7 years. She is very passionate about breastfeeding advocacy and enjoys supporting all families, but her specialty is working with families that are inducing lactation. She is a proud wife and mother of three children, two by birth and one carried by her wife that she breastfed for 2+ years.
Kim Moore Salas
Kim is born for Naakaii Diné (Mexican People) and from Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak People) clans. Born in Tuba City, maternally from Tolani Lake, AZ located in the southwestern area of the Navajo Nation. Growing up on and off the Navajo Nation, and residing in various tribal communities throughout her life, Kim is passionate about utilizing her education and experience to promote healthy living through kinship values.
Kim has over eight years of experience in peer-counseling, clinical and educational lactation. Kim’s work has been inclusive of Tribal and culturally diverse communities serving the needs of prenatal, newborns, and post-partum mothers and families. Her current work at the hospital with Valleywise Health Medical Center and prior experience in private practice with Arizona Breastfeeding Center is clinically intensive. Kim co-teaches the Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor training course geared towards American Indian/Alaska Native tribal communities throughout the nation. This course provides foundational lactation education to Native people so that they provide clinical breastfeeding support in their communities. Kim also independently consulted with Changing Woman Initiative out of New Mexico, a free access birth center serving Indigenous women to reproductive wellness. She currently serves, and is one of the first Indigenous woman, on the Board of Directors of the United States Breastfeeding Committee, a non-profit independent organization of more than 50 professionals, educational and government organizations supporting breastfeeding across the nation. Prior to this new role she was an also active member and served as co-chair planning committee for USBC’s National Conference Convening 2018 in Atlanta, GA. Kim just ended her two year service as Vice-President for Central Arizona Lactation Consultants of Arizona.
Kim’s extensive experience in this field has led to opportunities in consulting, which along with her husband synthesized their consulting business in Tribal Indemnity. Within three years, Tribal Indemnity has assumed responsibility of complex projects and strategic planning with one of the largest Tribes in Arizona. She recently established her own small business, Indigenous Breastfeeding Az, LLC and is founder of Arizona Intertribal Breastfeeding Coalition.
Kim enjoys spending time with her husband of twenty-three years and three daughters of whom she breastfed until they were 2 years old. She also loves early morning runs, hiking, boxing and yoga.
Dr. Edwin Nichols
Experienced Director with a demonstrated history of Organizational Development for the 21st Century Globalized Marketplace: restructure organizations to achieve systemic congruence in process through cultural competence in leadership development. The paradigm: The Philosophical Aspects of Cultural Difference affords insights into the essence of ethnic difference from the philosophical disciplines of Axiology, Epistemology and Logic. The awareness of self and others facilitates cultural competence in leadership, which affords the full utilization of their Multi-ethnic, Pluralistic and Linguistically Diverse workforce. This 21st Century team orientated workforce is the value added; it restores the competitive edge and increases the market share.
Chauntel Norris is a DONA trained birth doula, Lamaze trained childbirth educator and a Certified Lactation Counselor. She serves as the Manager of Advocacy, Forward Vision, & Change for the Alabama Prison Birth Project where she works to ensure that incarcerated mothers are supported both physically and emotionally and are able to express their milk and get it to their babies. Chauntel is the Co-Founder of Baobab Birth Collective, a Kindred partner of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, a Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) Community Transformer, and serves on the board for the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee.
Lillian Scott, M.S., CCC-SLP, IBCLC
Lillian Scott, M.S., CCC-SLP, IBCLC (she/her/hers) is a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) with experience with adults and pediatrics in the area of swallowing and dysphagia. While completing her master’s degree at Gallaudet University she discovered a passion for swallowing and dysphagia in the pediatric population. Curiosity regarding infant feeding practices in the neonatal intensive care unit, bias in favor of breastfeeding, and wonderful mentors led her to pursue knowledge and skills in lactation. She enjoys working with families in the inpatient and outpatient setting, and completing Videofluoroscopic swallow studies and Fiberoptic Endoscopic Examinations of Swallowing. She views success as when families meet their infant feeding goals. Lillian strives to foster collaboration between the fields of SLP and IBCLCs through professional education, and interdisciplinary discussions. She is the Lead SLP in SLP & Lactation Clinic and a member of UNC Feeding Team at UNC Health and serves on the board for the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network.
Kevin was released from prison after spending 30 years incarcerated. He was born and raised in New Orleans uptown. At an early age he got into street crime, which led him to being shot then incarcerated at the age of 15. While incarcerated he began to educate himself and became a spokesperson for young men entering the prison system. Once Kevin was released, he continued his work with the youth by ensuring every young man and woman has the opportunity to avoid the pit-falls of the so-called street life. Kevin has an exceptional background as a youth and adult mentor, as well as a fatherhood and substance abuse peer facilitator. In 2015 Kevin led the Unity Project in Baton Rouge as the Youth Program Director. There he taught adult basic life skills and empowerment courses, parenting classes, mentored 250 youths and assisted them in obtaining a GED and facilitated instructional and valuable trips to Angola Prison. Kevin now facilitates the Male Fatherhood Program for Healthy Start New Orleans and NOLA for Life. He also is a Community Outreach Worker for Healthy Start.
Vanessa A. Simmons
Vanessa A. Simmons is a first-generation Ghanaian-American photographer, speaker, and author.
In 2014, Ghanaian-American mother and photographer, Simmons authored the Normalize Breastfeeding® movement to address the taboo of public breastfeeding in modern society. Her mission was to document diverse variations of normal infant feeding, across cultures and delivery methods of human milk.
As a Lactation Educator and Certified Blactivist, Simmons is speaking at conferences and events to eliminate general miseducation around the topic. Simmons is a public speaker focused on transforming the modern mindset around the natural, yet difficult task of breastfeeding.
Vanessa trains lactation professionals to better understand and connect with millennial families online. She creatively motivates and inspires the transformation of the mindset of modern mothers, teaching them to ambitiously pursue their dreams while simultaneously prioritizing joy and rest as they serve their family and community.
Simmons resides with her loving husband and three children in San Diego, CA.
Dr. Sarah Verbiest
Dr. Sarah Verbiest is a public health social worker who has spent the last 20 years working to improve the health of women and babies in North Carolina and the southeast. She has taken on this challenge from many angles – as a program leader, strategic planner, educator, lobbyist, fundraiser, connector, systems-thinker, manager, researcher and partner.
Dr. Verbiest is a clinical associate professor in the UNC School of Social Work, co-founder and director of the Every Woman Southeast Coalition and senior advisor to the National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative. She has served as director of the Center for Maternal and Infant Health for 11 years. She has her DrPH, MPH and MSW – all earned at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.