Healthy Children Project faculty are leaders in the field who are recognized for their evidence-based scholarship as well as their clinical experience.

Karin Cadwell, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANLC, CLC, IBCLC

Karin is a nationally and internationally recognized speaker, researcher and educator. She is the Executive Director and Lead Faculty of Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding, and convened Baby-Friendly USA, the organization implementing the UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States. Dr. Cadwell counsels breastfeeding mothers at the Center for Breastfeeding, a community-based lactation clinic on Cape Cod. Dr. Cadwell is a delegate to the U.S. National Breastfeeding Committee. She was a member of the faculty of Union Institute & Universities Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees in maternal child health-lactation consulting. She was Visiting Professor and Chair of the Health Communications Master’s Program at Emerson College (a joint program with Tufts University School of Medicine and Public Health). She is the author of numerous books and articles, including: The Pocket Guide for Lactation Management, Breastfeeding A – Z: Terminology and Telephone Triage, Case Studies in Breastfeeding, Maternal and Infant Assessment for Breastfeeding and Human Lactation and Reclaiming breastfeeding for the United States. She has led delegations focusing on Breastfeeding and human lactation to China, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Romania, Latvia, Cuba, Egypt, and Israel. Dr. Cadwell was awarded the designation IBCLC in 1985 for “significant contribution to the field” and has also certified by exam.

Cindy Turner-Maffei, MA, ALC, IBCLC

Cindy is lead faculty and lactation consultant at Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding, where she has worked for more than 20 years. From 1997-2011, she served as National Coordinator of Baby-Friendly USA, overseeing the implementation of the UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in the United States. An IBCLC since 1988, Cindy has extensive experience as a nutritionist and breastfeeding coordinator in WIC and other Maternal Child Health programs. She serves on a member of breastfeeding coalitions on the local, state and national level, including the US Breastfeeding Committee, and taught at the bachelor’s level for 17 years at Union Institute & University. She has been honored to work alongside those working to help new families overcome breastfeeding issues throughout this country and in Egypt, Latvia, and Sweden. Cindy is an author, co-author, and editor of several articles and books, including her favorite, Case Studies in Breastfeeding: Problem-Solving Skills & Strategies. In addition to breastfeeding, a focal area of her work is raising awareness of the critical importance of appropriate, timely complementary feeding.

Kajsa Brimdyr, Ph.D., CLC

Kajsa is an experienced ethnographer, researcher and international expert in the implementation of continuous, uninterrupted skin-to-skin in the first hour after birth. She is the Lead Ethnographic Researcher for Healthy Children Project. She is a published author and the award-winning director of The Magical Hour: Holding Your Baby for the First Hour After Birth, produced with Ann-Marie Widström and Kristin Svensson, and together the three also created and produced the groundbreaking DVD Skin-to-Skin in the First Hour after Birth: Practical Advice for Staff after Vaginal and Cesarean Birth. Her current research involves using video ethnography to change practice in hospital settings to improve continuous skin-to-skin for the first hour after cesarean and vaginal births, and the implications of labor medications on this vulnerable time.

Anna Blair, PhD, IBCLC, CLC

Anna is the Director of Academic Programs at Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding, where she is also on the faculty and a researcher. Dr. Blair spent nearly two decades in academia in addition to her work in clinical practice. As a lactation care provider, Dr. Blair works in a community-based lactation center answering a breastfeeding warmline for three counties and offering face-to-face visits. Her research on sore nipples and positioning/latch solidified the premise that the two are intricately related. She is the author of many research articles and publications, including Maternal Infant Assessment for Breastfeeding and Human Lactation and 100 Questions & Answers about Breastfeeding. She served on the expert panel of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative data for the United States. Dr. Blair speaks nationally and internationally on issues surrounding disparities of care, resilience, breastfeeding, loneliness and motherhood.

Jacquelyn Benson, RN, CLC, ANLC, IBCLC

Jacquelyn is a registered nurse and Certified Lactation Counselor. Her work has focused on maternal/child nursing with an emphasis on the newborn nursery, OB, NICU, and pediatrics. As a hospital-based nurse, Jacquelyn has been helping mothers and babies with breastfeeding during their hospital stay. Jacquelyn currently resides in New Jersey due west of Manhattan, and works with moms and babies in the community.  She is blessed with a wonderful husband, two grown children, and a delightful granddaughter.

Donna Ellis, RN, MSN, CLC, IBCLC

Donna began her nursing career as an Army Nurse Corps lieutenant. She has served US military families in Germany for the past 30 years as a Department of Defense civilian registered nurse, primarily working in Public Health, focused on maternal child health and family health education. Donna developed and implemented a lactation program for the Heidelberg Army Hospital and coordinated the facility’s successful journey to Baby-Friendly designation. When Heidelberg closed its inpatient obstetrical services, Donna was hired by Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where she expanded lactation support to the NICU and out into the community. She enjoys travel, gardening, home improvement and knitting. Donna lives in Maine with her husband of 39 years, a Department of Defense Middle School teacher.

Shari O’Brien, RNC, ANLC, IBCLC

Shari is a nurse and lactation consultant with 30+ years of experience caring for well and high-risk mothers and babies in settings ranging from a small rural community hospital to a large urban teaching hospital.  She was instrumental in the implementation of several of the 10 Steps in the Boston hospital where she spent the majority of her career.

Patricia Officer, BS, CLC, IBCLC

Patricia has over ten years of experience in public health and health education. She has worked within the community and in hospital settings, creating breastfeeding programs and partnering with other community programs to bridge gaps and best serve clients. Patricia is currently a breastfeeding peer leader with Women, Infants and Children in Indiana. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. Patricia is also a certified YMCA group fitness trainer and coach.

Carin Richter, RN, MSN, APN-BC, IBCLC, CCBE

Carin has worked with mothers and babies in the acute care setting for 27 years, including 17 as the clinical nurse specialist in charge of staff education and special projects and as maternal/child nurse/ physician liaison. Carin developed a nurse-run postpartum care follow-up clinic specializing in the assessment and support of the postpartum mother/baby couplet.  The clinic focuses on breastfeeding issues as well as screening for newborn jaundice and maternal postpartum depression. The clinic also serves as a clearinghouse for community information and education on breastfeeding. Carin coordinated her facilities initial steps toward Baby Friendly designation. As a member of her regional breastfeeding coalition, Carin participated in the coalition’s taskforce to contribute to the writing of the State of Illinois Blueprint for Breastfeeding.  The coalition also hosts a bi-yearly breastfeeding conference for health care professionals. On a national level, Carin has served on the ANCC panel of experts for Perinatal Care.  She has spoken nationally on various topics of women’s health, breastfeeding promotion and nursing research at AWHONN and Magnet yearly conferences. She was also selected to be a podium presenter at various national Nursing Research Symposiums. Carin serves as a frequent guest lecturer for maternal/child nursing topics at Saint Anthony College of Nursing. On the home front, Carin and her husband Charlie ​enjoy gardening, traveling, and entertaining “domestic goddess style” for friends and family.

Jenny Spang, CPM, IBCLC, ALC, CLC

Jenny has been working with mothers and babies for over twenty years. Jenny’s midwifery practice has given her extensive experience with healthy pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care. She has worked as a WIC breastfeeding peer counselor, childbirth educator, doula, family planning specialist, and community health educator. She lives near Belfast, Maine, where she has provided home visit support prenatally and postpartum to first time and teen parents, specializing in developing counseling relationships to help parents reach their breastfeeding and parenting goals. Jenny has been on the faculty of the Birthwise Midwifery School and is an editor of the 5th edition of the 20 Hour Curriculum in Support of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

Kristin StewartKristin Stewart, BS, CLC

Kristin has been teaching the art of communication for over 20 years with an expertise in non-verbal communication. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Brown University in Political Science and has had a long and varied career involving travel, performance, and teaching. Kristin has been working with Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding for eight years and is fascinated by the unspoken communication in the breastfeeding dyad. Recent projects include the research of popular culture surrounding birth and breastfeeding and its impact on adolescent women and discourse analysis of breastfeeding in popular culture for the past two decades.  ​​


Donna has been a registered nurse for 45 years, and for 43 years has worked with pregnant and new parents. She became a certified childbirth educator in 1984 and a certified lactation consultant in 1987. She joined Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding faculty in 2010 and continues to practice as a clinical lactation consultant. She was the project leader for the successful Baby-Friendly designation at Southview Hospital in 2008 and serves as the representative to the United States Breastfeeding Committee for the International Childbirth Education Association, where she serves as the Director of Lactation . She is active in her local breast cancer task foundation, developing education on breast cancer prevention. In 1997, she graduated as a master herbalist from the Australasian College with a Diploma Degree in Herbal Sciences and in 1998 became a certified aromatherapist. She published her first book “Natural Families – Healthy Homes” in 2007, and second book “growing Green Families in 2016, focusing on the connection between the health of the environment and personal health. At home in Dayton, Ohio, Donna enjoys time with her husband, three children, and six grandchildren. ​

Liz Westwater, MSM, CLC

Liz has been in the world of breastfeeding advocacy and women’s health for over thirty years. Prior to joining the Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding faculty, Liz was the Accreditation Director for Baby-Friendly USA. During her tenure at BFUSA, Liz worked on several nationwide programs, including the CPPW and Best-Fed Beginnings, where her work included assisting hospitals and communities to improve breastfeeding outcomes by implementing maternity care practice changes.  She has served in a variety of program management roles for private and public agencies, including the Cape Cod WIC Program and several Title X Family Planning Programs including North Shore Family Planning, Boston Family Planning Project and Cape Cod Family Planning Program. She is an active volunteer and has served as a board member and president of the Cape Cod Center for Women and on the board of the Waldorf School of Cape Cod. Liz holds her MSM in Health Systems Management from Lesley University as well as a BS in Social Work from the University of New Hampshire. Liz lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her husband and her rescue dog.

Eira Yates, MSSA, CLCEira N. Yates, MSSA, CLC

Eira has a rich, successful, and committed history in health, social service, and education. She has a lifelong tie and commitment towards community service, community growth, and the development and progress of vulnerable and underserved populations. Eira has over 15 years’ experience in healthcare and social services. She has served in leadership roles for The Cleveland Department of Public Health, Moms First Program in Washington, DC, Fatherhood Initiative, Invest in Children of Cuyahoga County, Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation, Ohio Guidestone Organization, and Development of Curriculums and Paternal Depression Screening. Her expertise lies in program planning/management locally and nationally, minority infant mortality education and prevention, healthy pregnancy, Maternal and Child Health, Healthy Fathering, and community-based participatory research.

Faculty Emeritae

Lois ArnoldLois Arnold, PhD, MPH, ALC – Faculty Emerita

Dr. Arnold was a recognized international and national expert on donor milk banking policy and practice as well as breast milk collection and storage techniques. Dr. Arnold was a founding member and served as the Executive Director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, Inc. for many years. She coordinated of the National Commission on Donor Milk Banking, a special project of the American Breastfeeding Institute, and focused her energy on the development of health policy related to donor human milk banking. A founding member of the National Leadership Roundtable and then a founding member and delegate to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, she was a  member of the Healthy Children Project Faculty for more than 20 years, Dr. Arnold developed curricula, taught workshops, and presented her work internationally and in all 50 states. In addition she served on breastfeeding and human lactation delegations to China, Latvia, Russia, Romania, Cuba, Sweden and Denmark and Egypt. She also created continuing education modules for La Leche League and presented at the LLLI International Conferences, the LLLI Physicians’ Seminars and the Traveling Workshops. Among her many publications was the book Human Milk in the NICU: Policy into Practice. Dr. Arnold died in 2016.

Elyse Blair, RN, BSN, ANLC, IBCLC – Faculty Emerita

Elyse actively taught for the Healthy Children Project for more than two decades, beginning in the late 1990s. She has also worked as a Clinical Nurse Educator at a large university teaching children’s hospital in Atlanta, played an integral role in the NICU as a lactation consultant in an Atlanta hospital that delivered 17,000+ babies in 2016 and has a 100+ bed NICU. Elyse was a member of the Eisenhower Foundation Delegation on Breastfeeding and Human Lactation to Russia and Romania and has also traveled to Latvia, Egypt, and Germany, teaching and supporting new moms and their babies. She wrote the monograph A Guide to Breastfeeding Your Special Care Baby, and co-authored the 2nd edition of Maternal and Infant Assessment for Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. Elyse’s biggest pleasures are her family – husband Ken, sons Bradley and Michael, and her amazing granddaughters, Millie, Charlotte and Goldie. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

Barbara O’Connor, RN, BSN, IBCLC, ANLC – Faculty Emerita

Barbara taught actively for the Healthy Children Project for more than 20 years, beginning in the late 1990s. She holds degrees in nursing and elementary education. She has worked in a variety of settings as a newborn nursery nurse, school nurse, HIV/AIDS educator, WIC coordinator, and training consultant. Barbara was a member of the first International People to People Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Delegation to Russia, Romania, and Cuba, and has taught lactation courses to physicians in Latvia and Egypt.  She is an author of the 2nd edition of Maternal & Infant Assessment for Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. Having participated in breastfeeding task forces at both the local, state, and national level, Barbara designed and authored the Grandmothers’ Tea Project for the Illinois State Breastfeeding Task Force. Barbara served as a Baby-Friendly hospital assessor for over 10 years and served as assessment manager for Baby-Friendly USA. She  was part of a national expert team that completed the first national assessment of the state of Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding using World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi).