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Our Advisory Board Members

The members of our Childbirth Graphics Advisory Board are recognized childbirth and lactation experts who dedicate themselves to the health and well-being of mothers and their babies. Together, we share the mission of nurturing healthy babies and growing healthy families.

We are so grateful for the many contributions of each of these recognized childbirth and lactation experts who have graciously donated their time and expertise to our advisory board.

Please click on the links below to learn more about each of these amazing, dedicated professionals, and check out our Ask the Advisory Board Q & A.

Tonja D. Carpenter, IBCLC, RLC, PCD(DONA), CIMI

Tonja Carpenter is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, Registered Lactation Consultant, Postpartum Certified Doula with DONA International, and a Certified Infant Massage Instructor. She has completed the Master IBCLC Class, has completed training in Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy with a focus on breastfeeding infants, and has completed a course in infant massage with a focus on basic myofascial release. Tonja is trained to assess oral lingual function in the breastfeeding infant using the Hazelbaker and Martinelli assessments, the Tethered Oral Tissues Screening assessment, and the Murphy Sweep. She has been serving families and making moms happy in Waco, Texas as a postpartum doula since 2015 and in lactation care since 2017. Tonja owns Postpartum Doula and Lactation Services of Waco which partners with the Waco Birth Center to provide skilled lactation care and support for patients using Superior Medicaid as well as several other major health insurance companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, United Health Care, Tricare, and Cigna to name a few. Lactation Services of Waco is in-network with Aetna insurance separately from the birth center. Tonja has a team of doulas who work with her through the non-profit organization she founded, Community Doulas of Waco, and has Laura Jouret, IBCLC on her team at Lactation Services of Waco. She is a Baylor University graduate and has been married for over 28 years to Vincent Carpenter, Sr. who has been serving in pastoral ministry for over 30 years. Tonja’s passion is supporting the whole family, surrounding them with care, and making moms happy!

Erin Coppenbarger, MS, RD/LD, CLC, CLS

Erin Coppenbarger received her Bachelor of Science degrees in both Nutrition, Exercise, Health Sciences as well as Dietetics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, completed her dietetic internship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and received her Master of Science degree in Nutrition from the University of Central Arkansas. She is a registered dietitian dedicated to empowering families through evidence-based practice and individualized support.

Erin has over a decade of experience spanning healthcare, nonprofit management, and community engagement. She has developed a passion in advocating for health equity and compassionate care. Erin lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

Theresa Erichsen, RN, BSN, LCCE, FACCE, IBCLC

Theresa Erichsen is a Registered Nurse and French hornist who began playing music at the age of 5 in Indiana. Growing up with a strong family background in music and science, Theresa fell in love with both at a young age. She combined her passion for music and science during her Nursing studies at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame while playing in the University of Notre Dame marching band, pep band and brass ensembles. Continuing to perform in music became a natural progression after college and beyond as Theresa performed in Chicago while pursuing advanced nursing certifications in childbirth education at the University of Chicago and later in lactation education. She is a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of the VCU Health Orchestra which began in 2017. This ensemble has been featured on the Today Show, NPR, Richmond Magazine, and local media outlets. Theresa performed in the Richmond Pops Band and Richmond Philharmonic Orchestras for many years prior to beginning the VCU Health Orchestra. Within the field of nursing Theresa has specialized in maternal and public health working in hospitals, health departments and nonprofits. Theresa has taught childbirth, newborn and lactation classes for many years with an academic health center.

Sara Herbelin, MS, MCHES, CD(DONA), LCCE

Sara Herbelin is a seasoned health educator with a wealth of experience working with hospital-based programs and developing educational materials that empower individuals to lead healthy lives. As a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), Sara has dedicated years to empowering individuals and communities with the knowledge and skills necessary for optimal health outcomes.

Sara began her health education career in hospital-based women’s health education programs, focusing on reproductive health and maternal wellness. During this time, Sara obtained certifications in Lamaze and DONA to further support families. Sara taught childbirth education, breastfeeding, and parenting support classes using evidence-based practices with compassionate care to guide expecting families.

In addition to her work in women’s health, Sara has also led a diabetes management inpatient and outpatient program. Through her leadership, the program flourished, providing invaluable support to individuals living with diabetes and their families.

Drawing on her skills managing health education programs along with her doula and childbirth educator experience, Sara now works with Childbirth Graphics as a health educator to assist with creating informative and engaging materials that educators use to empower individuals to take control of their health.

Her passion for empowering others extends beyond her professional endeavors. Sara is a devoted wife and mother of two sons. In her leisure time, she enjoys watching her children play soccer, exploring antique shops, trying the newest restaurants, and undertaking various home projects.

Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP

Dr. Laura Jana is a pediatrician, social entrepreneur and award-winning author now on faculty at Penn State’s Prevention Research Center, having previously served as Director of Innovation at the University of Nebraska College of Public Health. She has a degree in Cellular Molecular Biology (University of Michigan) and a medical degree (Case Western Reserve University). Early in her career, Dr. Jana collaborated with Dr. Benjamin Spock and co-founded one of the first online health/parenting websites. In addition to pediatric practice, she founded her own consulting company, was 10-year owner/operator of a private educational childcare center, received a 40 Under 40 Business Award, and became internationally recognized as a trusted consultant for parents, news media, academic and government organizations, non-profits and corporations alike. Dr. Jana is currently a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, head of Mattel’s medical advisory council, consultant to Primrose Schools – a $1B US-based system of educational childcare centers, and member of Ready Nation/Council for a Strong America’s Speakers Bureau. Having helped launched consumer publications for the American Academy of Pediatrics with her award-winning first book, Heading Home with Your Newborn, From Birth to Reality, Dr. Jana has subsequently authored over 30 books, her latest, The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrowand Jumping Into Kindergarten focusing on the strategic cultivation of 21st Century skills. Dr. Jana has given more than 120 talks/keynotes (including 3 TED talks) addressing a wide range of cross-sector audiences – from the World Forum on Early Childhood, Delhi Public Schools, and Early Childhood Australia to the US Chamber of Commerce, the World Bank, and the British Parliament.

Michelle H. Kinne, BA, IBCLC, RLC, ICCE, CD(DONA)

Biography coming soon!

Lise Seger, BSN, RN, CCE

As a seasoned leader in the Life Sciences industry, specializing in Learning & Development and People Growth initiatives, Lise brings a wealth of expertise to the Advisory Board of Childbirth Graphics. With a background in Labor and Delivery nursing, coupled with extensive experience as a childbirth educator and consultant for Prepared Childbirth Education Programs, Lise has a profound understanding of the needs and challenges faced by expectant and new parents. Drawing upon this comprehensive background, she is uniquely positioned to contribute valuable insights and guidance to Childbirth Graphics' mission to providing educational resources that nurture healthy babies and grow healthy families.

Additionally, Lise’s experiences in the Life Sciences industry, particularly in Learning & Development and People Growth leadership roles, further enhance her ability to support Childbirth Graphics in delivering engaging educational materials for each stage of pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, and early parenting. With a shared dedication to imparting life-giving education with loving care, Lise is thrilled to leverage her diverse expertise and contribute to fostering the special relationship between expectant and new parents and their caregivers through her role on the Advisory Board of Childbirth Graphics.

In Memoriam: Penny Simkin, PT (1938 – 2024)

Penny Simkin, PT (1938 – 2024), was a renowned physical therapist who, starting in 1968, specialized in childbirth education and labor support. By her own estimates, she prepared more than 15,000 women, couples, and siblings for childbirth. She assisted hundreds of women or couples through childbirth as a doula. She was the author of many books and articles on birth for parents and professionals, including multiple editions of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide; The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Companions; and many more.

During her long tenure as an invaluable member of the Childbirth Graphics Advisory Board, our art and editorial staff members were privileged to have worked closely in collaboration with her on multiple childbirth education resources, including Penny Simkin’s Road Map of Labor.

Co-founder of DONA International and member of the editorial staff of the journal Birth, Penny was honored as the namesake for Basytr University’s Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations, which provides training for birth and postpartum doulas, childbirth educators, lactation educators, perinatal massage therapists, and more.

Preceded in death by her husband of more than 60 years, Penny was the mother of four, grandmother of nine, and great-grandmother of five.

Amy Spangler, MN, RN, IBCLC

Amy Spangler earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from The Ohio State University and her master’s degree in maternal and child health from the University of Florida. She is a Registered Nurse as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Amy has served as president of the International Lactation Consultant Association and chair of the United States Breastfeeding Committee.

She is a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Emory University School of Nursing and the author of numerous publications including BREASTFEEDING, A Parent’s Guide, BREASTFEEDING, Keep It Simple, BREASTFEEDING, Ready. Set. Go!, BREASTFEEDING, Your guide to a healthy, happy baby, and Guidelines for the Establishment of Exclusive Breastfeeding.

Amy currently serves as president of baby gooroo. She lectures extensively on a wide variety of maternal and child health topics. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Dennis. They have two sons and one grandson.

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