Committees and Chairs
Rachel Romero Cook CLC, ALC
Rachel is a mother of two boys, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for the Florida Department of Health- Hillsborough County WIC, and soon to be IBCLC. After dealing with her own breastfeeding struggles Rachel realized that there needs to be more breastfeeding support in the community and began helping other women facing breastfeed issues. Rachel is very passionate about breastfeeding support, education, protection, promotion, and the rights of breastfeeding mothers.
Mary Unangst, BS, IBCLC
Mary is a mother of two and a proud veteran and military spouse.
Her breastfeeding background began with the birth and breastfeeding of her children after which she began to get professionally involved in the lactation field. She has been a peer mentor both in the community and as a WIC peer counselor. She completed CLC and ALC training through the Healthy Children Program and then eventually went on to become an IBCLC. Her degree is in Maternal and Child Health with a focus in lactation. Mary is currently in Private Practice serving the Tampa Bay area as the owner of Sweet Songs Breastfeeding, LLC. She believes in providing research-based and compassionate care to the families in our community and Mary is thoroughly dedicated to promoting, supporting and protecting breastfeeding.
Ivonne Hernandez, PhD, IBCLC, ALC
Research Committee Co-Chair
Ivonne Hernandez has over 15 years of experience in maternal child health with a specialization in Lactation. During the last 3 years she was able to assist as lead content expert for the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) designation at TGH. She has developed and provided breastfeeding education for the NICU nursing staff and is currently an active member of the Human Milk Advisory Group for the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative, Mother’s Own Milk (MOM) Initiative. She has also had the opportunity to work interdisciplinary with USF’s College of Public Health, College of Medicine and the Department of Anthropology to assist in developing research projects and serve as a co-investigator related to her clinical experiences at TGH. She looks forward to continue to expand her research experience and to develop innovative methods to improve maternal child health outcomes in the community.
Elizabeth Miller, PhD
Research Committee Co-Chair
Elizabeth is a biological anthropologist specializing in human biology, with interest in evolutionary and biocultural approaches to maternal and child health. Her research program ranges from the study of human milk composition and infant feeding practices, infant immune function in diverse ecologies, maternal iron homeostasis, and early microbiome maturation; with field sites in Kenya and the United States. She is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida; please see her faculty webpage or her professional webpage for more information.
Emily Bronson, MA, MPH, CLC
Emily is an anthropologist, maternal and child heatlh professional, birth doula, Lamaze certified childbirth educator, lactation counselor, and owner of Birth Sister Childbirth Services. She has worked with families since 2010 and is a passionate advocate of safe and healthy evidence-based and patient-centered maternity care. Emily is web editor and social media chair for the Task Force.
Jessica M. Gordon, MS, ARNP, CPNP-PC, CLC
Jessie began her career in maternal-child health nursing over ten years ago working with pregnant mothers and High Risk Obstetrics. She is currently pursuing her PhD in nursing with an emphasis in maternal-child attachment and human lactation. Her current place of employment is at Pediatrics of Tampa Bay as a board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with certifications in lactation and infant family mental health. Her contributions to family planning range from perinatal consultations in private practice, educational seminars and mentorship through Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s Stork’s Nest Teen Parent Program in collaboration with the Hillsborough County Schools system. She has been published in Pediatric Nursing and Reflections of Nursing Leadership, and serves as the President of the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition, co-founder of the Hillsborough County Breastfeeding Task Force, Adjunct Faculty at the University of South Florida and has been recognized by the Tampa Bay Business ournal as a Health Care Hero finalist for her contributions to the health and wellness of women, infants and children in the Tampa Bay Area.
Allie Marron, CPH, CHES
Community Outreach for Hillsborough County
Allie is the Community Outreach Chair for Hillsborough County. She works at the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, in the Office of Health Equity. She was involved with the Office of Health Equity's Baby Cafe program, and works in community engagement and local policy change.
Maret Wachira, CLC
Community Outreach for Pinellas County
Maret is a mother of 2 boys 8 yrs and 10 mo. She moved to Pinellas County 3 years ago from Tucson, AZ. Marte has been a La Leche League Leader for almost 4 years now and part of the Breastfeeding Community for over 7. She is a Peer Counselor for WIC in the Pinellas County Health Department. Maret worked with the Arizona Breastfeeding Coalition and was the Chair for the Southern Region. She loves breastfeeding and wants to help mother in all areas of Breastfeeding, education before baby arrives to returning to work to nursing a toddler. She looks forward to reaching out to programs and services that help new and experienced moms.