Letter from the Director

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


Annamarie Tully, Amanda Petry, and Doug Tully at the World of Difference Dinner.

As we bring 2016 to a close we would be remiss if we did not thank all of you for your ongoing support of our work.  You have continued to lift us in spirit after the loss of our founding director, Dr. Miriam Labbok. We appreciate your gestures of kindness and for your generous donations to the Miriam Labbok Program Research CGBI Acceleration Endowment.  In November I was able to attend the World of Difference Dinner with one of our scholars, Amanda Petry and donors, Doug Tully and his wife Annamarie. We had a wonderful time sharing stories and trying foods from around the world. Doug and Annamarie continue to support the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative (MRTTI) through giving and time. Doug serves on our MRT-TI advisory board.

The CGBI team has been quite busy wrapping up the year.  In this issue you will read about our presence at the WABA 25th Anniversary meeting in Malaysia, receive program updates, and learn about our ongoing work in the areas of safety and sleep practices.  The CGBI speaker calendar for this fall didn’t slow down. Dr. Stuebe was a featured presenter along with MRTTI graduate Lindsey Hurd, MS, RD, IBCLC, DONA at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Expo in Boston, Massachusetts. The “4th Trimester” presentation was the spotlight session for the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group. We were excited to present about our EMPower work with our collaborators from Abt Associates and Carolina Population Improvement Partners at the American Public Health Association Meeting in Denver, Colorado and the Blue Cross Blue Shield and CHAMPS sponsored System Approach to Baby-Friendly Designation Meeting held in Jackson, Mississippi.  We had two concurrent sessions at the Annual Art of Breastfeeding (see presentation list) this year and Gigi Lawless teamed up with long-time colleague Beth Mahon to offer a day long workshop in the State of Georgia.

We will start the new year off on a positive note.  MRTTI students, clinical preceptors, CGBI staff and a select group of partners will be participating in a Racial Equity Training. The training will be facilitated by Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) leader Simran Noor, CSI Vice President Policy and Programs and led by Mona Liza Hamlin, MSN, RN, IBCLC and Brenda Reyes, RN, CLC who are both participating in CSIs Racial Equity Cohort.

First quarter activities will include revamping our website to increase easy access to our program materials, improve user experience, simplify navigation, and have a similar aesthetic to other School of Public Health webpages.  As we move closer to filling our faculty vacancy we will embark on revising our strategic plan for our next decade of excellence in research, service and training.  We will be incorporating equity into our core values.


Program Assistant Abby Smetana’s son Dominic

I would like to end with sharing our celebratory news.  As was noted in my last newsletter, Dominic Meissner, son of Program Assistant Abby Smetana made his debut in late September. At the time of the last BFE we didn’t have a picture of our newest family member who we loving refer to as Quattro (4th in the Meissner-Smetana clan). Also, Abby has been selected to serve on the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee Board of Directors!

In November Kathy Parry, Project Director married her longtime love, Mel DeJesus.  We are absolutely thrilled for her and are not-so-secretly hoping they will be expanding the CGBI family!


Newlyweds Kathy and Mel


CGBI team members at Kathy Parry’s wedding.

Lastly, it is with both sadness and profound gratitude that I announce that Kathleen Anderson, Director of Community Breastfeeding will be retiring March 1, 2017.  Kathleen has been a dedicated leader for CGBI in the areas of child care, responsive feeding, and breastfeeding friendly communities. She has strongly represented the voices of mothers and families in her daily work. We cannot thank her enough for her service to CGBI. Kathleen will be spending her time “grandmothering” and continuing to serve the NC Breastfeeding Coalition and La Leche League.  A position announcement is pending and Kathleen will help orient our new staff member for a seamless transition.  Again, thank you to Kathleen for her longstanding commitment to improving the lives of mothers, babies and families. You will be missed.

Wishing you a season filled with love and peace.


About Katherine Lewandowski

Maternal & Child Health - Ops
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