Inaugural Cohort of Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute Announced

Contact Information
Kiddada Green

Leaders across the United States will participate in the virtual program

DETROIT, MI, July 13, 2022—Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) has announced the inaugural cohort for its Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute. Fifteen leaders with professional backgrounds ranging from policy to healthcare were selected:

Marika Baptist, M. Ed, CLS – Indiana Department of Health, Indianapolis, Indiana

Kerry-Ann Dixon, MSN, RN – Florida Department of Health – Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, Florida

Tierra Emerson, LMSW, CCM – InkWell Therapy and Consulting, LLC, Chesterfield, Michigan 

Amirah GrastyPhiladelphia Department of Public Health, Maternal Child + Family Health Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tenise Hordge – Mother’s Magical Milk, Mansfield, Texas

Ashley Taylor Jacobs, IBCLC  – Genuine Embrace Birth Services, Durham, North Carolina

Lorenda Lewis, RN, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor  – Healing with Dignity, LLC, Dearborn, Michigan 

Sokhna Heathyre Mabin, Doula, CLC, EYT, Herbalist, B.A. Psy, B.S. Edu – Bronson Healthcare Group, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Nandi A. Marshall, DrPH, MPH, CHES, CLCJiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia 

Tanya G. Mason – Queens Village Dayton, Dayton, Ohio

Denys Symonette Mitchell, MSW – National Women’s Health Network, Washington, D.C.

Natatia Peterson, MS.Ed, CD – Alliance for Children and Families, Canton, Ohio 

Marchelle Pettit, AA, BA, CCHW, CLS, CD-L – Goodwill Industries of Michiana, South Bend, Indiana

Ronnetta Thompson, MHA/Ed., CBE, CHW – Uzazi Village, Independence, Missouri

Sunday Smith – Sundaze Birthing ‘N Beyond, Inc., Stockbridge, Georgia 

The Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute is a six-month development program designed to better Black birth and breastfeeding outcomes by leveraging social capital in Black communities. The program is the vision of BMBFA’s Founding Executive Director, Kiddada Green, and supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which awarded the organization a 3-year grant in 2019.

“We are thrilled to announce the first cohort of leaders for the Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute,” said Green. “It is an honor to have such an esteemed group blaze the trail for future cohorts.” 

Participants will learn across 8 modules including Communications/Messaging, Advocacy & Policy, and Program Development. Podcasts, webinars, readings, and panel discussions facilitate education. Upon completion, leaders will be recognized in a pinning ceremony and receive a Certificate of Advanced Leadership in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Victoria Reese, Co-founder of the Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute, looks forward to the leaders’ professional development.

“I am excited about the activation of leaders,” said Reese. “I anticipate local and national change in birth outcomes as a result of the personal and professional growth sparked by this Leadership Institute.”

The following cohort of the Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute will begin this fall. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, visit  

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About Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association 

BMBFA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community-based organization and the leader of many national programs aligned with the organization’s mission to reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding support for Black families.

BMBFA’s signature success is the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Club (BMBFC). BMBFC has run without interruption for nearly 15 years and has been replicated throughout the nation. BMBFA also boasts a school for community-based doula training, nationally accredited by HealthConnect One and approved by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

In addition to the Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute, BMBFA is the high tech inventor of the BMBFA B’Right Hub, the virtual community for parent clubs. BMBFA is also the anchor organization for the Black Breastfeeding Caucus and co-creator of Black Breastfeeding Week. Amongst this distinguished work, BMBFA served as a contributing expert for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention by providing recommendations for the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding; awardee of 2 Spirit of Detroit awards by the mayor and city council; and recipient of a Special Tribute from the State of Michigan for health equity leadership.

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