The primary purpose of the UNITAR Division for People Specialized Experts Committee on Breastfeeding is to provide expert knowledge and technical guidance as well as adequate support to the UNITAR’s Breastfeeding Education Initiative; to ensure that the Initiative responds to the real capacity-building needs of both individual and institutional beneficiaries by validating the learning tools, and platform resources of the Initiative.
Dr. Michael Abou-Dakn
Dr. Michael Abou-Dakn is the medical director of the department of gynaecological and obstetrics in the hospital St. Joseph in Berlin and a professor in the Evangelische Hochschule Berlin Obstetrics bachelor sc. of midwifery. Michael, orignary from Syria, completed his medical studies in Freie Universität Berlin. He is a member of the national breastfeeding commission – Germany, the working group FIGO "breast diseases", the FIGO well-woman healthcare committee, the Board German obstetric – group AGG – DGGG, the Board German society of gynecology and obstetrics (DGGG), the Board German society of neonatology (DPGM) and the Board Berlin society of gynecology and obstetrics (GGGB). Previously he acted as the President of the UNICEF / WHO "Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative" for Germany. He has drafted more than 40 PubMed-listed publications during his extensive professional career and has been the lead author of various German guidelines: Sectio Caes. Vaginal birth, Induction of birth, breast disease in breastfeeding. His scientifical specialization is obstetrics, women's health and lactation problems, and postmenopausal problems.
Dr. Meghan Azad, PhD
Dr. Azad is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba, where she holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease. Her research program is focused on the role of infant nutrition and the microbiome in child growth, development and resilience. Dr. Azad co-Directs the new Manitoba Interdisciplinary Lactation Centre (MILC) and leads the new International Milk Composition (IMiC) Consortium. She serves as Deputy Director of the CHILD Cohort Study, a national pregnancy cohort following 3500 children to understand how early life experiences shape lifelong health. Research in the THRiVE Discovery Lab is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Azad serves on the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation Executive Council and the joint US/Canada Human Milk Composition Initiative. She is a Fellow of the CIFAR Humans and the Microbiome Program and an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars. Dr. Azad received the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation Erlich-Koldovsky Early Career Investigator Award (2018) and the International Human Milk Genomics Mid-Career Investigator Award (2020). She was named among the WXN Canada Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2020) and Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (2021).
Ms. Maria Berruezo
Maria Berruezo co-founded the femtech company LactApp, one of the main Femtech companies in Spain and also in the world, together with IBCLC Alba Padró. Since 2017, LactApp has already attended to more than 19 million consultations about breastfeeding and maternity in Spanish, English and Portuguese, being present in 89% of the countries of the world with more than 625,000 users.
She set up her own communications agency at the age of 25 after studying a Public Relations & Advertising Degree. She also has a Master Degree in knowledge management. In 2010, motherhood completely changed her interests but not her initiative. She first trained to become a breastfeeding consultant at Alba Lactancia, a non-profit organisation of which Maria soon became a member of the Board of Directors. That was the seed of what is now LactApp.
She is a lecturer at the postgraduate course in breastfeeding at Blanquerna University and is the coordinator of the LactApp Medical Congress, an international event for maternal and child health professionals.
She has been chosen as one of the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise by the European EUCLID Network and the Government of Spain has included her in its guide of the Women Referents of Innovative Entrepreneurship in the country.
Dr. Maria Carmen Collado
PhD in Biotechnology (2005), Research Scientist at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology-Spanish National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), Valencia, Spain.
Her research work is multidisciplinary and includes microbiology, food science and nutrition areas. Her interests are focused on probiotics, microbiota and health and nutrition during pregnancy and early life period. She has published over 200 papers in peer-reviewed and indexed scientific journals on the subject of microbiota, Probiotics, diet and health. She has collaborated as an author in multiple book chapters, as well as has participated in more than 100 communications to prestigious national and international conferences. She leads various national projects as well as a Project of Excellence for young researchers of the European Research Council (ERC Starting grant), the supervision of a Marie-Curie IEF-H2020 grant. She supervised 6 PhD Theses (plus 5 ongoing) and over 10 MSc Theses and several student supervisions. She was involved in external expert working groups and also, develops activities in various national and international committees for the evaluation of research projects (BBSRC, ANRS, FWO; CNRS, DCRS, FNRS UEFISCDI, BSF etc) as well as in specific excellence EU calls (ERC, EUROSTARTS and COST actions). She has received research awardees as ESPGHAN Young Researcher award (2015) from the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) and “Scientific Young Research in Nutrition-2021” from Fundación Jesus Serra. She is involved in the Executive Committee- International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML), Spanish Society of Microbiota, Probiotics and Prebiotics (SEMiPyP). In addition, she is member of various scientific societies (SEMiPyP, ASM, ASN, ISRHML) and she chaired and co-chaired scientific and organizing committees of congresses with international relevance (FASEB, KEYSTONE, IHMC, ISHRML) as well as a Board member of “Microbiome Virtual International Forum” (MIV-F), a monthly virtual conference.
Ms. Alejandra Gutierrez
Alejandra Gutierrez holds a degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla in Mexico. Her areas of expertise include perinatal and pediatric nutrition. As a private practitioner, she helps her clients on the journey from conception to postpartum, including nursing. She is passionate about empowering parents to make informed decisions about their eating habits, thereby creating a nourishing environment for their children.
Alejandra assists families in the implementation of Complementary Feeding for their babies, focusing on achieving adequate nutrition for their optimal physical and cognitive development as well as the formation of healthy eating habits from an early age. Alejandra is an International Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who conducts seminars and courses to educate women and their families on the benefits of breastfeeding. She supports mothers through their pregnancy and lactation journeys by providing them with tools to optimize their breastfeeding until weaning. Alejandra has been a featured speaker at international nutrition and nursing events and has also advocated for the importance of prenatal nutrition and breastfeeding on several podcasts and television shows.
Dr. Moenie (Martha) van der Kleyn, MPH
After qualifying as a midwife in 1990 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Moenie van der Kleyn worked as an independent midwife in the Netherlands and since 1991 as a caseload midwife in Vienna (Geburtshaus Nussdorf). and in her private practice in Styria in Austria. As an IBCLC lactation consultant she developed a special interest in breastfeeding sciences. Moenie also received a master’s degree in public health at the medical university of Graz in 2014. Over many years she was engaged as director / lactation commissioner of the Austrian Midwives’ Board, Member of the Austrian State Lactation Commission as well as member of the Advisory Board of the Austrian Birth Register, initiating the Austrian homebirth register.
Since 2011, Mrs. van der Kleyn has been employed by the FH JOANNEUM university of applied sciences in Graz, as head of institute of midwifery and degree programme, since 2021 head of the department of health studies. She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.
Currently, she is also the director of the Josef Ressel Centre for the Investigation of Early Life Metabolic Programming regarding Dispositions of Obesity, with a focus on early life nutrition and its impact on infant growth. Her academic interests include all aspects of midwifery, with a particular focus on midwifery evidence and politics related to normal childbearing, breastfeeding and public health. Moenie is married and has two children.
Dr. Meng MAO
Dr. Meng MAO is a professor of pediatrics, chief physician and doctoral tutor at West China Women's and Children's Hospital of Sichuan University. She is currently the Honorary Head of the Children's Health Group of the Chinese Medical Association, a member of the Humanity Committee of the International Pediatric Association, and Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Chinese Journal of Pediatrics.
Professor Mao is committed to the clinical and applied research of early childhood growth and development, child nutrition and nutritional diseases. She is the editor-in-chief of national planning textbooks such as Textbook of Pediatricsand Textbook of Child Health, and the chief translator and reviewer of the Chinese version of the 19th edition of Nelson’s Textbook of Pediatrics in the United States.
Professor Mao has served as an advisor to the Scientific advisory group of the Sichuan Provincial People's Government, Vice Chairman of the Society of Pediatrics, CMA. She was the former Director of The Foreign Affairs Department of West China University of Medical Sciences (Sichuan University), president of the West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University (2001-2010), president of Chengdu Women's and Children's Central Hospital (2011-2014).
Dr. Shelley McGuire
Michelle (Shelley) McGuire, Ph.D., is Director and Professor of Nutrition in the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Idaho (USA). Dr. McGuire received her BS in biology and MS in nutritional sciences from the University of Illinois and her PhD in human nutrition from Cornell University. She has a background in human physiology and nutrition, with specific expertise in maternal/infant nutrition, human milk composition, nutritional assessment, and milk and fecal microbiomes. Dr. McGuire has conducted studies related to myriad human milk components including minerals, hormones, lipids, pesticides, allergens, bacteria, and most recently SARS-CoV-2. She has overseen a variety of projects related to human nutrition and lactation funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Agriculture, as well as a variety of industry and commodity sources. Shelley has twice served on the executive committee of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, including secretary and treasurer, and has served on the executive board of the American Society for Nutrition. A seasoned science writer, Dr. McGuire is author of two college-level introductory nutrition textbooks and in 2018 she received the Excellence in Nutrition Education Award from the American Society for Nutrition.
Ms. Puleng Ngubane
Ms. Ngubane is the Deputy Manager of Competency Learning and Development in the eThekwini Municipality of Durban, South Africa.
She has spent 12 years in the field of training and development, driving community empowerment initiatives. She is responsible for managing operations related to the development and delivery of competency, learning, and development interventions. She previously managed the outreach and capacity building department, driving strategic skills development projects for youth and communities, playing a key role in the development of operations systems to support community training initiatives and stakeholder relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to increased capacity building demands.
Prior to joining the local government, Municipality, she spent six years in the field of agriculture, driving capacity building for farmers and land care projects. She produced articles on women in agriculture. Most initiatives led to farmers organizing themselves, increased subsistence farming and conservation practices, and farmers gaining access to financial assistance and markets for their production.
She earned a post-graduate diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation from Stellenbosch University, a Master’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Free State, a Post-graduate diploma in rural resource management, and a Bachelor of Agriculture from the University of Natal. Currently enrolling for a Master of Management in Public Monitoring and Evaluation through Wits University.
Ms. Heather ONeal
Heather ONeal, APRN, CNM, IBCLC is the founder and CEO of Maezer, LLC (DBA: Breastfeeding for Busy Moms), professional podcaster, author, influencer, and clinical faculty at West Virginia University School of Nursing. Heather hosts and manages a Facebook support group for lactating parents with 16k members worldwide where she provides online breastfeeding education and virtual community support. She also cohosts the Milk Minute Podcast- An inclusive evidence-based podcast for lactating parents and their partners all over the world.
Affiliations: West Virginia University School of Nursing Secretary of the WV Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives Voting member of the West Virginia Nurses Association Member of the Infant Health Advisory Board for Evolve BioSystems
Dr. Rafael Pérez-Escamilla
Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., is Professor of Public Health, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and Director of the Global Health Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health. He is the PI of the Yale-Griffin CDC Prevention Research Center (PRC). His global public health nutrition and food security research program has contributed to improvements in breastfeeding and other maternal, infant and young child nutrition outcomes, iron deficiency anemia among infants, household food security, and early child development. His health disparities research involves assessing the impact of community health workers at improving behavioral and metabolic outcomes in vulnerable communities. He has published over 280 research articles, 3 books/monographs, and numerous journal supplements, book chapters, and technical reports. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (elected in 2019) and served in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Food and Nutrition Board from 2012-18. He has been a senior advisor to maternal-child community nutrition programs as well as household food security measurement projects funded by the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the U.S. Agency for International Development, The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH),The World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Governments in Latin America & Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Europe . He obtained his BS in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and his MS in Food Science and his PhD in Nutrition from the University of California at Davis. His postdoctoral training at UC Davis focused on the link between nutrition and early childhood development.
Associate Professor Kirsty Pringle
Associate Professor Kirsty Pringle is Assistant Dean Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing and a teaching/research academic in the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy and at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Kirsty completed her PhD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Adelaide before joining the University of Newcastle in 2008. She is a member of CIFAL Newcastle, Deputy Director of the Mothers and Babies Research Centre and Scientific Director of the largest Indigenous pregnancy through early childhood cohort worldwide (Gomeroi Gaaynggal). Kirsty’s research focusses on the developmental origins of health and disease and she is passionate about improving outcomes for mothers and their babies. Kirsty has published >60 original research articles and attracted >$3.5M in research funding.
Dr. Horacio Reyes Vázquez
Horacio Reyes Vázquez is a Doctor of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital Federico Gómez in Mexico and a Profesor at the School of Medicine of the Autonomous National University of Mexico.
After his medical studies, he completed a postgraduate program in Breastfeeding at the University of San Diego, California. He is currently the President of the Association for Breastfeeding (APROLAM) and a Member of the Mexican Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Bernd Stahl
Bernd Stahl is the R&D Director of Human Milk Research & Analytical Science at Danone Nutricia Research, Utrecht, and an Associate Professor within the Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery Group at the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at the Utrecht University, Netherlands. Furthermore, Bernd Stahl is currently a visiting researcher at the Department of Biochemistry, Center for Biomedical Mass Spectrometry at Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, USA.
He received his PhD (Dr.rer.nat.; summa cum laude) in the area of analytical glycobiology at the University of Muenster, Germany. Bernd Stahl is a recipient of the Mattauch-Herzog Award for Mass Spectrometry of the German Mass Spectrometry Society (DGMS). He has a strong background in biochemical research and has been making a significant contribution to human milk science for more than 30 years. Bernd Stahl is the author and co-author of more than 100 scientific publications, reviews and book chapters. Currently, his research focuses on understanding factors that influence and are influenced by breastfeeding and human milk, beyond nutrition. This will pave the way for the creation of innovative, specialized nutritionally or therapeutically relevant solutions.
Understanding the normal variation within human milk and its impact on breastfed infants is important for global public health. The benefits of breastfeeding and the composition of human milk relies largely on the complex interaction of nutrients and bio-actives. The structure-function insights are not only relevant for health in early life, but also for the entire lifespan of an individual. Progress in this exciting area can only be achieved in strong public- private research networks. Bernd Stahl is fascinated by the power of science and the opportunity to apply in-depth scientific insights to maintain or improve human health.
Bernd Stahl is a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS), American Chemical Society (ACS), Society for Glycobiology (SFG), German Biochemical Society (GBM), European Milk Bank Association (EMBA) and the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML).
Dr. Man Sau Wong
Prof. Man-Sau Wong received her undergraduate degree in Food Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her doctorate in Human Nutrition and Nutritional Biology at the University of Chicago. Dr. Wong is the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles, and Professor at the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Dr. Wong is interested in the study of the relationship between diet and diseases, osteoporosis, hormonal and dietary control of vitamin D and Ca2+ metabolism and use of traditional Chinese medicine; and recently, maternal nutrition, breast milk quality, infant gut microbiota and impact on child health. She is a Registered Nutritionist (AfN) and a Certified Food Scientist (IFT). She is currently members of Committee on Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food as well as Advisory Council on Food and Environmental Hygiene of the HKSAR Government and Chairperson of the Expert Group on Maternal and Child Nutrition of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association. She has served as members for the Council on Human Reproductive Technology (2015-2021), Expert Committee on Food Safety (2010-2016), Working Group on Diet and Physical Activity (2008-2014) as well as Study group on Childhood Nutrition (2008-2014) of the HKSAR Government. Dr. Wong has published over 161 original articles and 4 book chapters.