DETROIT, MI ( Black PR Wire)— 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 Grasty – Philadelphia 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, CLC – Jiann-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, Baltimore, Maryland
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
Ronetta 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