FORT WORTH, Texas, January, 2018—The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) is pleased to highlight its newest board members, Diana Derige and Ngoc Kouzmitch.
Diana and Ngoc were chosen through a process that was focused explicitly on adding board expertise to help HMBANA increase its institutional capacity for focusing on increasing donor human milk access, equity, and incorporating non-dominant cultural perspectives.
Diana Derige, DrPH, National Director of Health Initiatives, Urban Strategies
Diana leads Urban Strategies’ national health strategy development, program implementation and evaluation of the organization’s broad health equity agenda. She is also co-director of the Center for Latina Maternal and Family Health Research at the University of Houston.
Prior to joining Urban Strategies, Diana was a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she created the foundation’s First Food portfolio, which supports increased breastfeeding to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities and improve the health and wellbeing of mothers, children and communities. Her first involvement with HMBANA was shepherding the organization’s current, multi-year grant from the Foundation, which focuses on building capacity for safe, equitable sourcing and distribution of donor human milk for vulnerable babies.
Diana holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and women’s studies and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan and a doctorate of public health from the University of North Carolina.
I am excited to apply my extensive strategic grant-making, policy development, program management and capacity building in the field of health equity and social justice to help advance HMBANA’s equity agenda. Additionally, my educational training in health policy and health leadership affords me a unique analytical perspective for understanding healthcare and public health that I hope will contribute to HMBANA’s further advancement.
Ngoc Kouzmitch, Program Manager
Ngoc is an experienced Program Manager who previously worked with Microsoft, Expedia, and RealNetworks. She takes ideas from their initial conception stage and leads teams to create a final product. Her skills have supported successful outcomes in the areas of online advertising and marketing, email marketing, user experience, and even video production.
Ngoc holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington with a focus on Sociology and Law, Societies and Justice. Ngoc brings a fresh technology perspective to HMBANA and has jumped in with both feet forward, agreeing to co-chair HMBANA's Marketing Committee and help promote our upcoming 2018 International Congress.
I look forward to putting my well-honed communications and technology skills to work supporting HMBANA. I am a mother of two children and have had very successful experiences in breastfeeding. So successful in fact, that I am a second-time donor with the Northwest Mother's Milk Bank. I have also participated in peer-to-peer milk donation to help local moms and babies in need.
I have consistently noticed that there is very little support and information for new mothers regarding breastfeeding and its benefits, as well as the benefits of human milk. As a member of both Russian and Vietnamese communities, I have heard ill-informed advice being passed down to new mothers regarding breastfeeding, and even regarding breast milk itself.
I am eager as a HMBANA board member to drive change through educational campaigns that address such misconceptions. I am excited to share my experience with others, guide community outreach, and drive forward the mission to expand human milk access to babies.
Thank You to Our Outgoing Members
HMBANA’s expresses a heartfelt thank you to departing board members, April Fogleman, PhD, RD, IBCLC Professor North Carolina State University, and Pauline Sakamoto, MS, RN, PHN, Executive Director, Mothers' Milk Bank, San José, CA, for their service. HMBANA is a stronger organization for their work and looks forward to their continued involvement.