Healthy Children Project interactive competency team members are leaders in the field who are recognized for their evidence-based scholarship as well as their clinical experience.
Jacquelyn Benson, RN, CLC, ANLC, IBCLC
Jacquelyn is a Registered Nurse and Certified Lactation Counselor. She is a competency evaluator for the Lactation Counselor training course and has been involved with Healthy Children for nearly two decades in various capacities. 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.
Anna Blair, PhD, IBCLC, CLC
Anna is the Director of Academic Programs at Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding. 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. Dr. Blair spent nearly two decades in academia in addition to her work in clinical practice and research. She is the author of numerous books and research articles.
Elyse Blair, RN, BSN, ANLC, IBCLC
Elyse, an RN since 1975 and an IBCLC since 1996, has been a dedicated member of the Healthy Children Project team since 1998. Her extensive nursing career has predominantly focused on providing compassionate care to the tiniest and most medically complex infants. Her unwavering passion has driven her to take a pivotal role in the development and implementation of NICU lactation programs. Elyse has served as a lactation provider for over a hundred NICU beds, initiating crucial dialogues with Neonatologists regarding human milk and breastfeeding. Beyond her NICU work, she has contributed as a Clinical Nurse Educator at a prominent university-affiliated children’s hospital in Atlanta, GA. Elyse’s global perspective on breastfeeding has been enriched by her role in the Eisenhower Foundation Delegation, where she explored breastfeeding practices in Russia and Romania. She has also journeyed to various countries to educate and support new mothers and their babies. Elyse is an accomplished author, having written “A Guide to Breastfeeding Your Special Care Baby” and co-authored the 2nd edition of “Maternal and Infant Assessment for Breastfeeding and Human Lactation.”
Tangela L. Boyd, PhD, MA, CLC, CLE, CCCE, CPD
Tangela is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), Certified Lactation Educator (CLE), Certified Childbirth Educator (CCCE) and Certified Postpartum Doula (CPD). She has a passion for working with breastfeeding mothers and helping others achieve lactation education by serving as a part of the Competencies Faculty for Healthy Children Project, Inc. Tangela has a PhD in Ethical and Creative Leadership. Tangela has a Master of Arts degree in Health and Wellness with a concentration in Human Lactation and is certified in Infant, Child, and Adult CPR as an Instructor. She has been working with breastfeeding mothers for the past 16 years. Tangela’s vision is to see breastfeeding rates and perinatal education increase in our society, especially among women of color. Tangela has a small private practice and has published 2 books and recently breastfeeding greeting cards. She loves spending time with family and hanging out at the beach!
Kajsa Brimdyr, PhD, 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 a published author and the award-winning director of The Magical Hour: Holding Your Baby for the First Hour After Birth and 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.
Karin Cadwell, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANLC, CLC, IBCLC
Karin has worked in the field of breastfeeding and human lactation for more than 50 years. Dr. Cadwell is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and counsels breastfeeding mothers at the Center for Breastfeeding, a community-based lactation clinic on Cape Cod. She is the author of numerous books and research articles.
Julie Campbell, CLC, CD, HBCE, CEIM, RYT200, RPYT
Julie Campbell is a Competency Evaluator at the Center for Breastfeeding. Passionate about all things birth, babies, and breastfeeding, she is a Certified Lactation Counselor, HypnoBirthing Professional Doula, HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator, Licensed Dancing For Birth Instructor, Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance, and a Certified Educator of Infant Massage through IAIM. Julie is devoted to supporting families through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. A mom of three, Julie loves living in the Northeast and enjoying all the region has to offer with her family.
Becky Fischer, MA, CLC
Becky is a Cape Cod mom of three young adults. She is a Certified Lactation Counselor and trained as a postpartum doula. With Healthy Children Project, she assists with interactive competency trainings, curriculum building and office hours. With a M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Becky worked as a mental health therapist for 12 years. She facilitates a weekly MOMS group and is involved with the Perinatal Wellness Alliance on the Cape and Islands. In her free “empty nesting” time, Becky enjoys yoga, walks in the woods with her dogs, and most especially – time with her husband and visiting her kids.
Nikki Lee, RN, BSN, MS, ANLC, IBCLC, CCE, CIMI, CKC, RYT500
Nikki has been working in the field of breastfeeding and human lactation since 1975.
She is a published author of two books, a nurse, a teacher, a holistic lactation consultant, a craniosacral therapy practitioner, an infant massage instructor, and a yoga instructor. She is mother to 2 wonderful (breastfed for a long time) daughters, and a grandmother of 1. She enjoys playing back-up rhythm guitar, hiking and gardening.
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.
After retiring from hospital nursing, Shari spent 10 years teaching the in-person versions of the LCTC and Advanced Issues in Lactation courses. Currently she does interactive competencies for the on-line LCTC course, and has worked on an educational project for maternity care providers in Egypt. In her spare time, she enjoys motorhome and cruise travel with her husband, reading, and playing with her dog.
Barbara O’Connor, BSN, ANLC
Barbara O’Connor, BSN, ANLC, holds a degrees in both education and nursing. She authored the Grandmothers’ Tea Project and has co-authored a text as well as several reports, studies and trainings in the field of breastfeeding and human lactation. In her professional career, Barbara has worked in a variety of positions including maternal-child health nurse, school nurse, WIC coordinator and assessor for Baby-Friendly USA. For more than 20 years, Barbara has worked as an educator both nationally and internationally with the Healthy Children Project. She currently serves as a competency evaluator for the LCTC and also is part of numerous other programs at the Healthy Children Project.
Melissa R. Reyes, CLC
Melissa is a lactation counselor at the Center for Breastfeeding, supporting breastfeeding families on the Cape & Islands. She is a competency evaluator and is involved in developing lactation-related educational offerings. On several local and national committees, Melissa is committed to improving birth and breastfeeding practices in the US and around the world. She has worked for WIC as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor and as Community Coordinator. In 2019, Melissa was awarded Massachusetts WIC Peer Counselor of the Year for excellence in commitment, leadership, and participant service. Melissa was born and raised in Brazil. Melissa is a mother of two daughters whom she breastfed for a total of 4 1/2 years.
Carin Richter, RN, MSN, APN-BC, IBCLC, CCBE
Carin has worked with mothers and babies in the acute care hospital setting for 27 years, including 17 years as the clinical nurse specialist in charge of staff education, special projects and as the maternal/child nurse/ physician liaison. While hospital-based, she developed and implemented a nurse-run postpartum care follow-up clinic specializing in the assessment and support of the postpartum mother/baby couplet. The system-wide clinic model focuses on breastfeeding issues as well as screening for newborn jaundice and maternal postpartum depression. Carin coordinated her facility’s initial steps toward Baby-Friendly designation. As a member of her regional breastfeeding coalition, Carin participated in the coalition’s task force to contribute to the writing of the State of Illinois’ first Blueprint for Breastfeeding. On a national level, she has served on the ANCC panel of experts for Perinatal Care. Carin has been invited to present at AWHONN and Magnet conferences on various topics of women’s health, breastfeeding promotion, and nursing research. Carin serves as a frequent guest lecturer for maternal/child nursing topics at Saint Anthony College of Nursing. On the home front, she and her husband Charlie enjoy traveling, and entertaining friends and family “domestic goddess style”.
Kristin 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 since 2009 and is fascinated by the unspoken communication in the breastfeeding dyad. Kristin is a lactation counselor at the Center for Breastfeeding.
Donna Walls, RN, BSN, ICCE, IBCLC, ANLC
Donna has been a Registered Nurse since 1972, and since 1974 has worked with pregnant and new families. She became a Certified Childbirth Educator in 1984 and a Certified Lactation Consultant in 1987, working as a clinical lactation consultant from 1987-2017. She developed and opened the Family Beginnings Birth Center, a center for natural birth within a hospital in 1996. She also served as the team leader for the successful Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative designation in 2008 at Southview Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. She has served on the board of the International Childbirth Education Association from 2009 until 2018, the last 4 years as Director of Lactation. She has worked with Healthy Children Project in various capacities since 2010 teaching breastfeeding-related courses. Donna is faculty at Sinclair Community College teaching holistic and environmental health classes. She serves as the representative to the United States Breastfeeding Committee from the Healthy Children Project. 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 her second book “Growing Green Families” in 2016, both focusing on the connection between the health of the environment and personal health. Donna is married and has 3 children and 6 grandchildren who she helped breastfeed! She enjoys volunteering for a local food pantry.
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, 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 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.
Lois 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.
Cindy Turner-Maffei, MA, ALC, IBCLC
Cindy served as lead faculty and lactation consultant at Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding 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 has been raising awareness of the critical importance of appropriate, timely complementary feeding.