Stillbirth Summit Speakers

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We are honored to have such a distinguished panel of speakers for the Stillbirth Summit 2017.  The unique nature of the Stillbirth Summit allows participants the opportunity to not only hear about the important work of these individuals, but an opportunity to interact with and get to know their sincere passion for the prevention of stillbirth and the support for families who must endure this terrible tragedy.

 Lindsey J. Wimmer, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPLC — Summit Chair

Lindsey Wimmer is the Founder and Executive Director of Star Legacy Foundation. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN and a Master of Science degree in pediatric nursing from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner and recently taught pediatrics, public health, obstetrics, and leadership in the nursing department at St. Catherine University. Her clinical experience includes over 11 years practice in a primary care setting and 5 years in an emergency care setting. Ms. Wimmer serves on the advisory panel for the Fetal Infant Mortality Review under the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and is certified in Perinatal Loss Care (CPLC). Ms. Wimmer and her husband, Trent, are the parents of Garrett, their son who was stillborn at term in 2004, Grant, Bennett, and Austyn.

Kelly Farley

Kelly Farley was caught up in the rat race of life when he experienced the loss of two babies over an 18-month period.  He lost his daughter, Katie, in 2004, and son, Noah, in 2006.  Like many men, during these losses and the years that followed, he felt like he was the only dad that had ever experienced such a loss.  Kelly spent several years trying to put his life back together. He realized during his journey that society, for the most part, doesn’t feel comfortable with an openly grieving male. That realization inspired him to start the Grieving Dads Project and to write his book Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back. Kelly has a passion for helping people ‘pick up the pieces’ after a profound life event.  Kelly commits his time to connecting with and advocating for bereaved parents. He is currently working on the Parental Bereavement Act, a federal bill designed to help provide bereaved parents with unpaid leave from work after the death of a child. Kelly holds a BS in Civil Engineering.

Debbie Fischer, MA

Debbie Fischer, MA, LAMFT works with couples and individuals who are seeking therapeutic support while on their reproductive journey. A bereaved mom, who endured the roller coaster of infertility, she is dedicated and passionate about offering clients faced with the emotional trauma related to reproductive health issues, compassionate expertise and care. Debbie specializes in reproductive complications including infertility, pregnancy loss and alternative family building with donors and surrogates. She also works with Depression, Anxiety, Work life decisions.


Emanuel Gaziano, MD, FACOG

Dr. Gaziano, retired obstetrician in Minneapolis, MN. He completed his medical training at West Virginia University School of Medicine in 1969 and his fellowship in high risk obstetrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City in 1973 and is Board Certified in and Gynecology. Dr. Gaziano founded the Minnesota Perinatal Clinic in Minneapolis, MN in 1986 and served as President and Medical Director of the organization until his retirement in 2013. During his tenure the Minnesota Perinatal Clinic came to be known as the premier medical group for high risk pregnancies in the upper mid-west. Dr. Gaziano was Professor, Department of Ob-Gyn, University of Minnesota from 1994-2013.

In his retirement Dr. Gaziano is in the process of creating the online website OB Images ( devoted to obstetrical issues and conditions and the utilization of ultrasonography in diagnosis and treatment. In addition, Dr. Gaziano volunteers at the Minnesota Women’s Prison caring for inmates.  He is currently a member of the Star Legacy Foundation Medical Advisory Board.

Alexander Heazell, MBChB, PhD, MRCOG

Dr. Alexander Heazell is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and Clinical Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester, UK. Since completing his PhD in 2008 on the role of placental dysfunction in preeclampsia, his research has focused on stillbirth; his research portfolio includes a profile of basic science, clinical and qualitative research studies to give a better understanding leading to prevention of stillbirth and improving care for parents after stillbirth. He has received over £1.8M of grant income and has published over 110 research papers and received national and international awards for his work on stillbirth and placental dysfunction, and for improving care. He is leading the evaluation of the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle in collaboration with NHS England. He led the recent Stillbirth Priority Setting Partnership and was one of the team for the 2016 Lancet Ending Preventable Stillbirth Series. He is currently the Chair of the International Stillbirth Alliance and a member of the Star Legacy Foundation Medical Advisory Board.

Junichi Hasegawa, MD, PhD

Dr. Junichi Hasegawa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan.  He completed his MD in 1998 and PhD in 2004, both at Showa University School of Medicine.  Dr. Hasegawa is board certified by the Japan Society of Perinatal and Neonatal Medicine and Japan Society of Ultrasonics in Medicine.  He has been awarded the Scientific Award of both the Japan Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology and Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine.  He was also named a Best Reviewer for the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research.  His extensive research focuses on ultrasound evaluation of the umbilical cord and placenta, early detection of placental abruption, and ultrasound evaluation in early gestations.

Roberta J. Hunt, RN, MPH, PhD

Roberta Hunt PhD received a Master in Science in public health and PhD in community education both from the University of Minnesota. Over the last thirty-three years, she taught nursing and community health at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate level. From 1987 to 1989 she was the Director of Nursing Education at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital. Roberta developed and evaluated curriculum since 1984 when she created a course that eventually lead to her to write her first book in 1996. She is the author of two textbooks including Introduction to Community-Based Nursing. This book was named to the Brandon Hill list for small libraries in 2004 and as one of the AJN books of the year in 2012. In 1998, it was translated into Hungarian. She received a Fulbright Lecture Award to Budapest Hungary in 2005-2006 where she taught classes to undergraduate and graduate students, provided seminars for faculty and presented at international conferences. She published numerous articles and presented at local, national, and international conferences over the last 25 years. Community based nursing and working with under-served populations have been her greatest passions. In the last eight years, she has been active on various committees developing curriculum for the Baccalaureate entry level, Nurse Educator masters and the DNP programs for the Nursing Department as well as for continuing education courses for St Catherine University.

Allan Kember

Alan Kember grew up in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and earned a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton, Canada) in 2012. Following this he worked as a Senior Researcher Engineer in orthopedics research in Indiana until 2014 when he was accepted into Dalhousie Medical School (Halifax, Canada). Allan is currently in his third year of medicine. In 2016, he was awarded The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Award for Medical Students. Allan’s research interests are in maternal, newborn, and child health, particularly in low-resource settings. He is the Project Lead on the PrenaBelt Project, which includes a 30-member, multidisciplinary collaboration spanning four countries and three clinical trials investigating maternal positional therapy during third trimester sleep as a possible preventative strategy for stillbirth and low birth weight. Allan is the Director of Programs at Global Innovations for Reproductive Health & LIfe, a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to eliminate inequities in reproductive health care in low- and middle-income countries.

  Jennifer Kouri, RN

Jennifer Kouri is a labor and delivery nurse at Maple Grove Hospital in Maple Grove, MN.  She has been frequently recognized for her passion in working with perinatal loss families and in helping them begin their loss journey in order to minimize regrets.  This kind of passion and compassion is not taught in nursing school and her approach has been developed through her own experience and through the guidance of others like her. Recently Jen and other members of her team worked with Star Legacy Foundation to create a video of her memory making techniques that can be shared with others new to this work.  Jen was the 2016 recipient of the Star Legacy Foundation Star Award for Family Support.

Jennani Magandran, MB BCh BAO LRCPI &SI, MSc

Jennani Magandran is an Obstetric & Gynaecology trainee undertaking the MSc in Obstetrics & Gynaecology with an interest in pregnancy loss at University College Cork. She will be presenting her Obstetrics & Gynaecology dissertation on stillbirth risk factors. Ms. Magandran received her education at Taylors College Subang Jaya, Malaysia and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.  Her research background includes euthanasia of terminally-ill infants, the cumulative effect of prostaglandins on induction of labor, variability in CTG monitoring, and management of reduced fetal movements.


James McGregor, MD

Dr. James A. McGregor is a graduate of Dartmouth College and McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine. He has served as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology practicing at UCLA, USC and the University of Colorado Hospital. Dr. McGregor practiced as a fully engaged obstetrician and gynecologist for forty years at Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles County, Tucson Medical Center and University of Colorado Hospitals until his retirement in 2010.James McGregor MDCM

Dr. McGregor is an internationally known clinician, researcher, teacher, author, editor, and expert consultant. He is the author of over one hundred published papers, chapters, textbooks, and videos.

He continues to make leading contributions to the areas of infectious disease, Group B Strep disease prevention and prematurity prevention as well as pregnancy/breastfeeding nutrition and optimizing prenatal and early age brain development learning capacity and school preparation. McGregor has also contributed to and supported these notions:


 Lesley McCowan, MD FRANZCOG

Professor Lesley McCowan is a sub-specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine who became Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2009. In 2011 she received a New Year’s Honour (Officer of New Zealand Order of Merit) for services to health.

Her clinical work is in high risk pregnancy especially preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction, and she chairs the National Women’s Hospital perinatal mortality review process. She was a founding member of the National Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee which reports on perinatal mortality nationally. Lesley is also the secretary of the New Zealand Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

In 2004 Lesley McCowan and Professor Robyn North were awarded $6.2 million in funding to undertake the SCOPE study (Screening for pregnancy Endpoints Study) which aims to identify early in pregnancy, nulliparous women, who will later develop preeclampsia, preterm birth or have a growth restricted baby (  The SCOPE study has established one of the best pregnancy databases in the world and a unique high quality pregnancy biobank containing maternal, paternal and baby specimens.  These high quality resources provide ongoing opportunities for research collaborations both within New Zealand and internationally. A follow up study of Auckland SCOPE mothers and children, 6 years post birth, has just been completed.

Another key research interest is the epidemiology of stillbirth, in particular the role of maternal sleep practices.  She is the lead investigator in a multicentre New Zealand case control study which aims to identify modifiable risk factors for late  (>28 weeks’) stillbirth. The long term goal of this research program is to develop preventative strategies for late stillbirth.

Karen McNamara, PhD

Dr Karen McNamara is a specialist registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and a clinical research fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork. She graduated with honours from University College Dublin, Ireland in 2007. She is a member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (awarded 2010) and was one of the first graduates of the Irish master’s degree programme in


Obstetrics and Gynaecology based in University College Cork (awarded 2010).  She is currently undertaking a PhD in UCC focusing on the impact of intrapartum fetal death on healthcare professionals. Karen is currently involved in the introduction of a package of support tools for healthcare professionals in a large tertiary maternity hospital in Cork and her main research interests include intrapartum fetal death, staff burnout, resilience and support.

Margaret M. Murphy, MSc, BSc,  RM, RN, IBCLC

Margaret Murphy is a Lecturer in Midwifery at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork and a Member of the Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Cork University Maternity Hospital. Margaret is a Registered Midwife and Registered General Nurse with over 20 years extensive clinical experience and credibility in all aspects of senior midwifery, neonatal and adult intensive care. Her doctoral thesis qualitatively investigated couples experiences of pregnancy following perinatal loss utilising an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis methodology. Research interest s include pregnancy after loss, pregnancy loss, teaching and learning in higher education, lactation education and support, TEL for Health and preparation for parenthood education. Currently Margaret is a 1) Board Member, International Stillbirth Alliance; 2) Scientific Advisory Committee Member, International Stillbirth Alliance 3) Member of The Lancet Stillbirths in High-Income Countries Investigator Group, 4) Peer Reviewer, National Institute for Health Research (UK), 5) Management Committee Member (Ireland) COST Action IS1405 Building Intrapartum Research Through Health (BIRTH) 6) Past President of the Association of Lactation Consultants in Ireland 2012 -2014. Sat on several national breastfeeding policy boards. Contributed to the development of national breastfeeding policy documents. 7)  Involved with Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland in curriculum development for undergraduate and postgraduate midwifery education. 8) Member of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT). She teaches across undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development multidisciplinary programmes including: midwifery, public health nursing, PROMPT Obstetric Emergency programmes and Neonatal Resuscitation Programmes. Awards include: MSc in Nursing; PG Diploma in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant . She facilitates antenatal and postnatal breastfeeding education sessions for mothers and families.

James Nicholson, MD

Dr. James A. Nicholson obtained his undergraduate degree from Earlham College in 1977, his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981, and completed his internship and residency with the Duke-Watts Family Medicine Residency Program in Durham, North Carolina in 1984.

Following his residency, Dr. Nicholson joined a private practice in North Grosvenordale, Connecticut. In 1997, Dr. Nicholson returned to the University of Pennsylvania to join the Department of Family Practice and Community Medicine. While pursuing a Master’s Degree in Clinical Epidemiology, he published the AMOR-IPAT system of identifying pregnant women who would benefit from induction before 40 weeks of gestation. The publication was an editor’s choice paper in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The AMOR-IPAT concept was further developed and followed-up with a prospective, randomized clinical trial (RCT) of AMOR-IPAT (the HUP-POP Trial). In 2012, Dr. Nicholson moved to the Hershey Medical Center of Penn State University in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Medicine, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Pediatrics.

In the last few years Dr. Nicholson has become increasingly concerned about the rising numbers of stillbirths in the US and has studied the correlation between the ’39 week rule’ implementation and the rate of stillbirth. He is speaking to multiple organizations and institutions regarding his concerns about the 39-week rule implementation. His data was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine in Feb 2016.

Joann O’Leary, PhD

Dr. O’Leary, holds a B.E.S. and a Masters in Maternal-Child Health from the University of MN. She also has a Masters in Psychology through research from Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her Ph.D. is in Work, Community and Family Education and from the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation was The Meaning of Parenting During Pregnancy, After the Loss of a Baby: A Descriptive
Phenomenological Study of Parenting a Subsequent Baby Following a Perinatal Loss. She became certified as Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale examiner during her MPH course and moved into a hospital setting working within a High Risk Perinatal Center. Dr. O’Leary’s Ph.D. research was funded by the Bush Foundation. She does research and writing on prenatal parenting; pregnancy and parenting after the loss of a baby, including its impact on fathers and siblings, including adults who were the child in their family born after the loss of a baby. Joann formerly taught CEED online courses: Pregnancy and Birth: An Emerging Perspective on Children’s Development and Pregnancy’s Unexpected Outcomes: Death, Disabilities, and the Impact on Parents and Children–A Guide for Practitioners. Joann lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband, John.

Anthony Orsini, DO

Board Certified Neonatologist with more than 20 years of experience caring for critically ill newborns. He was the founder and former director of the New York University Infant Apnea/SIDS Program. He has presented multiple local and national lectures on such topics as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and communication in healthcare. Dr. Orsini developed the Breaking Bad News™ PROGRAM more than a decade ago, since then he has been teaching healthcare professionals how to communicate with patients and their families in the most effective and compassionate manner. He is considered an expert on the topic of communicating with patients and has taught seminars in improving patient satisfaction scores across the country.

Mana Parast, MD, PhD

Dr. Parast received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology (2000) and her M.D. in Medicine (2002) from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. During that time, she held the prestigious Medical Scien­tist Training Program fellowship. Dr. Parast then completed a six month postdoctoral research fellowship and residency training in Mana M. Parast, M.D., Ph.D.anatomic pathology at Emory University, Atlanta Georgia, from January 1, 2002 through June 2005. In July 2005, Dr. Parast moved to Brig­ham and Women’s Hospital in affiliation with Harvard Medical School in Boston. There, she completed additional clinical training in the area of Gynecologic and Perinatal Pathology, and later combined subspecialty sign-out with laboratory research, initially as a fellow and later as an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Parast’s clinical focus is in the area of gynecologic and perinatal pathology. In particular, I am interested in histologic changes in placentas in cases of perinatal morbidity and mortality.

Dr. Parast was the first to characterize palladin, a protein that associates with the actin cytoskeleton and with focal adhesions, regulating cell adhesion. This work was published in J. Cell Biol. Capitalizing on her emerging expertise in cell adhesion and migration, Dr. Parast published a second paper focusing on trophoblast giant cells in Developmental Biology. More recently, Dr. Parast is studying cell-signaling and differentiation pathways in trophoblast stem cells. Her work is directly relevant to major illnesses in the Obstetrics field.

Suzanne Pullen, PhD

Suzanne Pullen has a PhD in Communication Studies and a Social Work Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement. Her research focuses on improving patient-provider communication about stillbirth and pregnancy loss. Her research-based training modules incorporate the ATTEND model, narrative theory, and strength-based strategies. The former reporter and stillbirth mom also teaches creative workshops for community groups, bereavement organizations, and medical institutions.

Suzanne also creates performances about stillbirth, interruption of wanted pregnancies, termination and infant death.  Her dissertation focused on the power of personal narrative to improve awareness, advocacy and care for those experiencing the trauma and bereavement associated with pregnancy ending.  For numerous years she has been co-creating public memorial services and rituals for bereaved families whose children have died.

Uma Reddy, MD, MPH

Uma M. Reddy, M.D., M.P.H., joined the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch of the National Institute of Health in September 2003 as a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) and maternal-fetal medicine specialist. After receiving her undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University, Dr. Reddy completed her residency in OB/GYN at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Reddy then obtained her master of public health in biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and was also a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. Dr. Reddy completed her maternal-fetal medicine fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Prior to joining the Branch, Dr. Reddy was on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and in the maternal-fetal medicine division at York Hospital, Pennsylvania. Upon joining NICHD, she worked as a maternal-fetal medicine attending physician at National Naval Medical Center. Since 2010, Dr. Reddy has been a maternal-fetal medicine attending physician at Washington Hospital Center and is a professor of OB/GYN at Georgetown University.

Dr. Reddy manages diverse research studies focused on clinical obstetrics, reproductive epidemiology, and prenatal diagnosis. Dr. Reddy’s scientific responsibilities also include serving as the program scientist for the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network and for large research studies focused on adverse pregnancy outcomes such as the Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network and Genomic and Proteomic Network for Preterm Birth Research. She is also the program scientist for the Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers-to-Be (nuMoM2b) study, which will examine 10,000 women in their first pregnancies to understand the mechanisms of and to predict poor pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Reddy has published extensively on the topics of stillbirth and preterm birth including in leading journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and The Lancet. Dr. Reddy is the NICHD liaison for the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) Executive Board and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Obstetric Practice. She is a fellow of ACOG and a member of the SMFM.

 Noirin Russell, MD

Nóirín Russell is a medical graduate of University College Cork(2000) and a member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (2005) and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (2011). She received her MD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the University College Dublin in 2010, following studies on fetal cardiac function in pregestational type 1 diabetic pregnancy.

She completed the RCOG/RCR Diploma in advanced Obstetric Ultrasound in 2007 and pursued further specialty training in early pregnancy ultrasound, fetal cardiology and fetal surgery at Necker Enfants Malades Hôpital and Descartes University in Paris during 2011-2012.

At CUMH, she is the lead clinician for early pregnancy care and a member of the pregnancy loss clinical and research teams as well as the Perinatal Medicine team. Nóirín’s research has resulted in >20 peer-reviewed original papers and >80 published conference proceedings. Nóirín’s research interests include high risk obstetric care, prenatal diagnosis and screening, recurrent miscarriage and obstetric ultrasound including the effect of maternal diabetes on fetal cardiology.

Anna Maria Verling, CMS

Anna Maria Verling is a Clinical Midwife Specialist in Bereavement & Loss at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH). She has over 10 years experience in the specialist field of pregnancy loss focusing on clinical care including inpatient and clinic work which supports families who experience all aspects of pregnancy loss.  She also provides staff support and education while conducting audit and research within the service.

Anna Maria completed her General and Midwifery training at Cork University Hospital and Cork Unified Maternity Services respectively. Anna Maria has a Higher Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy from University College Cork.

Anna Maria also works as a Research Officer in the areas of pregnancy loss with University College Cork. She is a member of the Pregnancy Loss Research Group at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork.

Anna Maria is committed to and interested in all areas of pregnancy loss and has published abstracts on Registration of Stillbirth, Classification of Stillbirth, Perinatal Pathology and Perinatal Palliative.

Jane Warland, RN, RM, PhD

Dr. Jane Warland is a registered nurse/midwife and Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of South Australia. Since suffering the unexplained full term stillbirth of her daughter Emma in 1993, she has been a passionate researcher into preventative and modifiable risk factors for stillbirth as well as a strong advocate for promoting public and maternity care provider awareness of stillbirth.

Jane practiced as a nurse-midwife for 30 years before commencing work as an academic in 2008.  Her program of research is STELLAR (stillbirth, teaching, epidemiology, loss, learning, awareness and risks). Since becoming an academic in 2008 she has won more than 1/4 million (AUD) in research funding, has more than 60 publications and she has presented her research at more than 40 conferences both national (Australian) and international.


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