#ILCA18 Speakers



NILS BERGMAN, MB ChB, DCH, MPH, MD  (South Africa)

Skin-to-Skin Contact: Current Research and Mediating Mechanisms

Nils Bergman graduated from the University of Cape Town, and has worked in South Africa, Ciskei, and Sweden, before working seven years as Medical Superintendent and District Medical Officer at Manama Mission, Zimbabwe. Here he, together with Midwife Agneta Jurisoo, developed and implemented Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) for premature infants right from birth. This resulted in a five-fold improvement in survival of very low birth weight babies. He introduced KMC to South Africa in 1995, and after 5 years, KMC became official policy for care of premature infants in the hospitals of the Western Cape province. He has given keynote addresses on KMC at international conferences in six continents, and published articles on a variety of subjects in medical journals. He now researches and promotes KMC full-time.

For 6 years, he was Senior Medical Superintendent of the Mowbray Maternity Hospital (with 7000 deliveries per year) and five Midwife Obstetric Units (with 11000 deliveries per year). Dr Bergman continues to live and work in Cape Town as a Consulting Public Health Physician. He is also an Honorary Research Associate at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Apart from his original degree, he holds a Diploma in Child Health, a Master’s degree in Public Health, and a Doctoral degree in Clinical Pharmacology on the effects of scorpion stings.

He is married to Jill and is father to Rebecka, Simon, and Emma.



Advocacy Needs, Strategies, and Outcomes: Applying Lessons Learned by ILCA’s Global Partner, ACCLAM, in Your Setting

Mariana Colmenares was born and lives in Mexico City, Mexico. She decided to study medicine when she was a child and has always been passionate about health and life. After earning her medical degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, her love for children inspired her to complete her specialty in pediatrics in Mexico City in 2010. Two years after her marriage in 2006, her first child came to teach her about breastfeeding. She always loved breastfeeding and natural processes, but she realized there is very little education available to healthcare professionals. So, she decided to prepare, not just personally but professionally, by becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2011. Since then, she has engaged in teaching, writing, and helping many families achieve their breastfeeding goals through her work in private practice, hospital setting, academic, and teaching settings. Her second child reaffirmed her love of the breastfeeding process and strengthened her commitment to help others through their own journies.

THOMAS HALE, RPh, PhD  (United States)

Cannabis, Endocannabinoids, and Lactation: What Are the True Levels of Marijuana in Human Milk? 

Dr. Thomas Hale is a Professor of Pediatrics, Assistant Dean of Research, and Director of the Clinical Research Unit at Texas Tech School of Medicine in Amarillo, Texas, USA. He holds degrees in Pharmacy and a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology and has spent the last 20 years teaching pediatric drug therapy in pregnant and breastfeeding women. He has published numerous papers, abstracts, and book chapters. He is a frequent consultant to the United States Food and Drug Administration. He is best known for his work in the field of human lactation, where he has published five books including a major textbook of human lactation. His more famous book, Medications and Mothers Milk, a 1400-page drug reference, is now in its 17th edition and has been translated into 3 foreign languages. It is the worldwide best seller in this field and has sold more than a million copies since it was introduced in 1992. He is a well-known international lecturer in the field of breastfeeding pharmacology, and has spoken virtually everywhere in the world on this topic. He is considered by most to be the world's leading authority on the use of medications in breastfeeding mothers.


Empowering Transgender and Non-binary Parents: Gender Dysphoria Research, Coping Strategies, and the Impact of Lactation Support

Trevor MacDonald is a transgender man from Manitoba, Canada who birthed both his children at home, nursed his first child, and now nurses his second child. In 2011, he began a blog, milkjunkies.net, which is popular with both transgender individuals and healthcare providers looking for information on transgender reproduction and infant feeding. He recently led a University of Ottawa study, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, that explored the experiences of transmasculine individuals with pregnancy, birth, and infant feeding. Trevor is the first openly transgender person to become a La Leche League Leader, and he is the author of Where's the Mother? Stories from a Transgender Dad.



Where’s the Evidence? Results of a Cochrane Study on Galactogogues

Lisa Marasco has been working with breastfeeding mothers for over 30 years and has been Internationally Board Certified since 1993. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Development with specialization in Lactation Consulting and was designated a Fellow of ILCA in 2009. Lisa is co-author of The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk, a contributing author to the Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultants, and a new Cochrane Collaborative author. She is employed by WIC of Santa Barbara County while she continues to research, write and speak. In addition, Lisa is an Associate Area Professional Liaison for La Leche League of So. Calif/Nevada, and serves on the Breastfeeding Coalition of Santa Barbara County.


JAMES MCKENNA, PhD  (United States)

The Return of Breastsleeping: Humankind’s Oldest and Most Successful Sleep and Feeding Arrangement

James McKenna pioneered the first behavioral and electro-physiological studies documenting differences between mothers and infants sleeping together and apart and has become known worldwide for his work in promoting studies of breastfeeding and mother-infant cosleeping. He is a biological anthropologist and Director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, United States. He began his career studying the social behavior and development of monkeys and apes with an emphasis on parenting behavior and ecology. He has published over 150 articles and six books, including a popular parenting book Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide To Co-sleeping. He has co-edited Ancestral Landscapes In Human Evolution, Evolutionary Medicine, and a more recent co-edited volume Evolution and Health: New Perspectives. He won the prestigious Shannon Award (with Dr. Sarah Mosko) from the National Institutes of Child Health and Development for his Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) research and is the United State's foremost authority and spokesperson to the national press on issues pertaining to infant and childhood sleep problems, sleep development, and breastfeeding. Most recently, Dr. McKenna has published a new paper with Lee Gettler proposing a new concept, breastsleeping, to promote the idea that 1) breastfeeding-bedsharing infants are acceptably safe compared with bottle-feeding or formula-feeding infants, and 2) breastsleeping is part of the same inextricable, adaptive system that makes studying normal healthy infant sleep, maternal sleep, or normal breastfeeding patterns separate from each other inaccurate and/or invalid.


NIGEL ROLLINS, MD, PhD, MPH  (Switzerland)

Current Research on Preventing HIV Transmission during Lactation

Nigel Rollins joined the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health of the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2008 and is a member of the Research and Guideline Development Team. He trained as a paediatrician in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and his work focuses on interventions to improve child survival, growth, and development. This includes research to improve the coverage and quality of infant feeding practices, optimizing linear growth of children, preventing child obesity the risk of non-communicable disease, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV with a focus on breastfeeding. Prior to joining the WHO, Dr. Rollins was Professor and Head of the Centre for Maternal and Child Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban, South Africa, where he lived and worked for 14 years.



Step Up and Step Back: Guidance for Individuals and Institutions Addressing Inequity

Catherine Sullivan is the Director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Maternal Child Health at the Gillings School of Public Health in the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill in the United States. She is a registered/licensed dietitian and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with 20 years of public health nutrition and breastfeeding experience. Catherine serves as course coordinator for the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative, facilitates the National Collaborative for Advancing the Ten Steps, and serves as breastfeeding expert on the Centers for Disease Control's EMPower Breastfeeding Initiative. Catherine is an Elected Director to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, Co-Chair of the North Carolina Lactation Consultant Association, and Immediate Past Chair of the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.



The WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes: Global Relevance and Contemporary Challenges

Terrie Wefwafwa is currently the CEO of Karibuni – Kenya, a Kenyan civil society organization and the Chairman of International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) – Africa. Additionally, she serves as a member of ILCA’s International Code Committee. She is a former Head of the Division of Nutrition, Ministry of Health Kenya, having served as a civil servant for over 35 years as a public health nutritionist before retirement. She was a member of the drafting team for Kenya’s National Food Security and Nutrition Policy and championed passage of various food and nutrition legislations to advance nutrition among them the Breast Milk Substitutes (Control and Regulation) Act. During her tenure, Kenya made substantial progress on nutrition, and was declared the only country globally to be on track on all World Health Assembly nutrition indicators (Global Nutrition Report 2015). Her leadership effort for nutrition improvement was recognized by Government of Kenya and was awarded Head of State Commendation (HSC), and globally received the Transform Nutrition Champion award for 2013. She continues to be an active breastfeeding advocate and defender of good nutrition practices.