We will improve breastfeeding education and support through pregnancy, the period following childbirth, and early childhood in four selected communities on Long Island in order to help families meet their breastfeeding goals and reduce racial, ethnic, and community differences in breastfeeding rates.
We hope for a majority of mothers in New York State Department of Health-selected Long Island communities to continue breastfeeding for a minimum of 6 months, with a notable percentage doing so exclusively.
Original artwork by Dondei Dean
Promote evidence-based breastfeeding education/management
Support mothers in meeting their breastfeeding goals
Establish policy and community support for breastfeeding
Increase breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity, and duration within the selected communities.
Increase breastfeeding support during the care process.
Promote well researched breastfeeding education among our community partners.
Create a partnership in support of breastfeeding families on Long Island
We'd love to hear from you! Please visit our Contact Us page to connect with us.
Meet the BFREE Team
The BFREE Team, based in Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center (CCMC), was 1 of 6 teams awarded $1.2 million by the New York State Department of Health to create breastfeeding friendly communities throughout Nassau and Suffolk County . Our team is made up of people who care and know a lot about breastfeeding. We also have prior experience promoting breastfeeding in clinical practices through our New York State Department of Health grant from 2011-2016 addressing pediatric obesity prevention.
Henry (Hank) Bernstein, DO, MHCM, FAAP
Dr. Bernstein is a professor of Pediatrics at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. He is involved in a broad range of clinical, educational, research, and advocacy activities and has notably enhanced pediatric clinical practice. He is a published representative of nationally established groups and has directly influenced national policy. In 2013, he created FeedingYourBaby.org, a unique online educational tool available in English and Spanish, to support individualized maternal education, provide guidance, and time management to promote breastfeeding during the baby's first 6 months of life. Dr. Bernstein will oversee all activities, budget, and reporting functions of the grant.
Jennifer L. Giordano, MS, APRN, FNP, IBCLC
Jennifer L. Giordano is the Director of Latch With Love, Inc., East Setauket, NY and Lactation Consultant for Peds First Pediatrics, Medford, NY. Jennifer is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and known as an expert in the field of lactation management. She was the Lactation/Perinatal Education Coordinator for St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center and Lecturer/Board Advisor for Prepared Childbirth Educators, Inc She taught a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor course nationally which focused on preparing hospitals for Baby-Friendly designation and is a member of the Association of Lactation Providers, Long Island, NY. Jennifer is excited to assist increasing breastfeeding community support as the IBCLC of the New York State Department of Health-Northwell BFREE Grant Team.
Pamela Reichert-Anderson, MA, RDN, CLC
Pamela is a registered dietitian for General Pediatrics at CCMC and is the project coordinator. She has extensive experience with implementing health interventions in various settings. In a similar role on our previous grant, she coordinated training and quality improvement projects in nine pediatric practices to help change their breastfeeding culture. She played an instrumental role in helping Dolan Family Health Center successfully become the first NYS designated Breastfeeding Friendly practice in the Metropolitan region. For this project, Pamela will coordinate all aspects of the project including outreach, provider training, follow-up, assist in implementation and evaluation of operational activities, work closely with project staff to connect organizations and develop strong coalitions, and report any collected data.
Anastasia Schepers, MS, RDN, CDN, CLC
Anastasia Schepers is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Master's degree in clinical nutrition. Most of her 35 years in the field have been spent educating youth and parents on making healthy lifestyle choices, focusing particularly on food and beverages. Anastasia provides a variety of interactive and educational programs in Queens, Nassau, and Western Suffolk under the Kohl’s Cares Keeping Kids Healthy Program, a grant aimed at reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. Programs focus on including more fruits and vegetables, eating breakfast, making healthy beverage and snack choices, and engaging in physical activity. For this project, Anastasia will coordinate all aspects of the project with Pamela, work closely with project staff to connect organizations and develop strong coalitions, and report any collected data.
Dawn Kempa, RN, IBCLC
Dawn has served as a RN IBCLC for 22 years and is the project administrator. She has been the CCMC WIC program manager for 14 years has vast experience in supporting under served mothers with breastfeeding. Dawn also serves on a number of committees within Northwell Health to make breastfeeding the norm, which includes making clinical practices and hospitals breastfeeding and baby friendly. For this project, she will utilize her expertise to provide comprehensive staff administrative support, host breastfeeding training sessions, and help staff Baby Cafés®.
Associate Program Coordinators
Alix Rosenberg, BS
Alix graduated from Duke University in 2022. She designed her own major, entitled “Health and Illness: Gene-Environment Transactions,” which analyzed the influence of genetic and environmental modifiers on health. Outside of class, Alix worked in a research lab striving to understand why a high-fat diet correlates with colon cancer. Alix is very excited to work with the BFREE team, and she is looking forward to developing relationships with community partners to promote breastfeeding throughout Long Island.
Maria Fernanda Machicao, BS
Fernanda graduated from Duke University in 2022 with a bachelor of science in Environmental Science and a minor in Chemistry. While at Duke, she conducted research on the impact of heavy metal pollution due to gold mining on cognitive development in Peru, and she traveled to Madre de Dios in the Peruvian Amazon to conduct fieldwork. Fernanda looks forward to joining the BFREE team and working with community members to support breastfeeding education and initiatives this year.
Sarah Yashar-Gershman, AB
Sarah graduated from Princeton University in 2022 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Global Health and Health Policy. She has previously conducted research on indigenous women’s health in Ecuador as well as researched bilingual children’s language learning in a developmental psychology lab. She is looking forward to working with BFREE and the communities on Long Island to promote breastfeeding initiatives.
Muskaan Sawhney, BS
Muskaan graduated in 2022 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology Honors and a minor in Chemistry. She has conducted research in interventional and sustainable obesity prevention in underserved populations and transdisciplinary research determining predictive risk factors of childhood obesity. Muskaan is passionate about increasing preventative medicine accessibility and awareness to the public. She is excited to join the BFREE team and looks forward to helping increase accessibility to breastfeeding education and resources across the New York area.
Former Associate Program Coordinators
Michiyah Collins, BA, CLC
Michiyah graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in Biology. She has previously interned and conducted clinical research in pediatric cardiology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as well as performed wet-lab research on archaea motility. She looks forward to working with community members in Queens and Long Island on breastfeeding promotion initiatives.
Janvi Shukla, BA
Janvi graduated in 2021 from the University of Pennsylvania with majors in Neuroscience and Nutrition Science and minors in Chemistry and Hispanic Studies. She has conducted research in obesity treatment and prevention, specifically in aiming to individualize obesity treatment. She is excited to join the BFREE team and looks forward to working with the communities in and around New York City on combating childhood obesity and breastfeeding promotion initiatives.
Caroline Castleman, AB, CLC
Caroline graduated from Princeton University in 2020 with a degree in history of science and a minor in neuroscience. She spent the last year as a program evaluator at a workforce development nonprofit in Chicago; in prior years, she interned at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics in the Bronx and in a neurodegenerative disease research lab at the University of Pennsylvania. She looks forward to learning from the BFREE team & community members while supporting breastfeeding education this year.
Gloria Zhao, BA, CLC
Gloria graduated from Bowdoin College in 2020 with a major in Sociology. She has previously interned in a maternity ward and in the Emergency Department of a public, urban hospital where she conducted research on expanding access to health services for the community. She looks forward to working with communities in Long Island on childhood obesity and breastfeeding promotion initiatives.
Chisom Chigozie-Nwosu, BA, CLC
Chisom graduated from Princeton University in 2020 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Global Health & Health Policy. She has conducted research on promoting antenatal care utilization among underserved communities in Nairobi, Kenya. She looks forward to working with our site partners to promote breastfeeding initiatives.
Heesu Park, BS, CLC
Heesu graduated from Duke University in 2020 with majors in Biology and Spanish. She has performed cancer research in a hematologic malignancies lab, clinical research on smoking cessation, and palliative care research on patient-reported distress. She looks forward to working in community-engaged research on breastfeeding promotion in Long Island with the BFREE Team.
Tara Mathias-Prabhu, BS, CLC
Tara graduated from Georgetown University in 2020 with a bachelors of science in Global Health. She has conducted research on maternal health and infectious disease in Tanzania, has worked on cancer prevention clinical studies, and has experience working in health policy and public health. She is excited to join a team of forward-thinking, passionate people who are committed to promoting and supporting breastfeeding initiatives throughout Long Island.
Abby Coco, BA
Abby graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2020 with a major in Comparative Literature and a minor in Biology. She has previously interned with genetic counselors in a Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and conducted clinical research in a pediatric Emergency Department. She is excited to join the BFREE Team and work to support and promote breastfeeding initiatives throughout Long Island.
Michelle Chen, BA, CLC
Michelle graduated from Dartmouth College in 2019 with a major in Anthropology modified with Chemistry. During her undergraduate years, she did research in biochemistry and structural biology, danced in Asian and urban dance groups, and interned through the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact at D-Rev, a healthcare technology nonprofit in medical device design. During her time working on the BFREE team, Michelle also explored her interests in vaccine advocacy, preventable childhood illnesses, and health education through social media and design. She is currently an MD Candidate of the Class of 2024 at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
Maggie Sherin, BA, CLC
Maggie is a 2018 graduate from Dartmouth College who majored in Biology and minored in Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. During undergraduate, she spent her off-term interning at a rural medical clinic in Mt. Elgon, Kenya, studied abroad in Hyderabad, India, and played on the Varsity Field Hockey team. After graduating, Maggie moved to New York City and joined the BFREE Team to pursue her interest in women’s health and breastfeeding. During this time, she also researched and wrote about long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) for adolescents, worked as a community birth doula for underserved women living in Manhattan and the Bronx, and volunteered as a coach for Girls on the Run. She is currently an MD Candidate in the class of 2024 at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.
Pearl Subramanian, BA, CLC
Pearl Subramanian is from Edison NJ, and was a Research Associate with the BFREE and PHIT teams from 2019-2020. She is currently in medical school at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. She pursued a major in Health and Societies with a concentration in Global Health at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2019. Aspiring to a career in pediatrics, Pearl has a strong passion to study and bring awareness to the social determinants of health. Combining the two fields she loves the most- education advocacy and medicine- she volunteered at Puentes de Salud’s after-school bilingual literacy program, Puentes Hacia al Futuro in South Philadelphia. Additionally, she conducted clinical research in renal and prostate cancer at the Hematology-Oncology Department at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, Pearl was a Tour Guide for the University, a Calculus tutor, Vice President of the Women in Leadership Series and a member of the Penn Association for Gender Equity. She is a life-long Girl Scout and has earned her Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards. In previous summers, Pearl has worked as a Clinical Research Assistant in the Department of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York, and in the Medical Oncology Branch of the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. In her spare time, Pearl loves to learn new languages, to travel, and to experience new cultures (and foods!). Pearl worked in health economics and outcomes research at Pfizer Oncology in summer 2018 as well, and was a part of the Perelman School of Medicine's Neurology Pipeline program too.
Victoria Chi, BA, CLC
Victoria graduated from Dartmouth College in 2017 with a double major in Biology and Government. She previously worked as an intern in the global health policy office of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She also has experience in public health research and biomedical research.
Shannon Cleary, BA, CLC
Shannon graduated from Dartmouth College with a major in Biology and a minor in Anthropology of Global Health. She has done community health research and quality improvement projects to promote healthy lifestyles in under-resourced populations, as well as research on influenza epidemiology and ligand-binding in cancer-associated proteins. Shannon is a certified lactation counselor and was the lead in implementing all program activities and providing miscellaneous administrative support to community partners throughout Southampton.
Angie Lee, BA
Angie graduated from Dartmouth College in 2017 as a Hispanic Studies major. She has performed global public health research in areas of Latin America and Vietnam, looking at health disparities in different populations. She was the lead in implementing program activities and providing miscellaneous administrative support to community partners throughout Glen Cove.
Irene Song, BA
Irene graduated from Dartmouth College in 2017 with a major in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Statistics. Before joining the BFREE team, she interned at a healthcare non-profit in China to help evaluate and improve their community health programs. She also has extensive research experience in developing solutions to complex human diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. She worked with our site partners in Islip to implement breastfeeding promotion initiatives.
Yingna Wang, BA
Yingna graduated from Dartmouth College in 2017, having studied Classical Languages and Literatures and Global Health. She previously worked at a community health center in Boston, MA and conducted health policy research at think tank in Washington, DC.
Casidhe-Nicole Bethancourt, BA, CLC
Casidhe-Nicole graduated from Dartmouth College with a major in Neuroscience and Hispanic Studies. She has research experience in educational psychology, neuroanatomy, and qualitative social analysis. Additionally, Casidhe-Nicole is a certified lactation counselor and is currently attending Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Ling Jing, BA, CLC
Ling was an associate program coordinator from 2016-2017. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2015 as a Biology/Anthropology Major. She researched the genetics of bipolar disorder and inherited prion disease as an undergraduate student and studied student mental health at Chinese universities as a Fulbright Scholar. Ling is a certified lactation counselor and is currently attending medical school.
Tiffany L. Wang, BA, CLC
Tiffany was an associate program coordinator from 2016-2017. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2016 with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Chemistry. She conducted peptide synthesis research as an undergraduate student at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, NH and has worked to improve business operations at a healthcare information company. Tiffany is a certified lactation counselor and was the website designer for bfreecoalition.org. She is currently attending the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell School of Medicine.