INHA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mandy is a medical and disability underwriter and a parent of a preterm infant born in 2006. Since that time she has been advocating in the neonatal space and in 2013 she co-founded the collaborative multi-stakeholder platform, The Irish Neonatal Health Alliance.
Sharon is a mother of 4 children, 2 of whom are 29 weeker Monoamniotic twins, and Co-Founder of The Irish Neonatal Health Alliance. Sadly one of her twin girls passed away at birth due to cord entanglement, inspiring Sharon to set up a support network for families experiencing this type of twin pregnancy – Monoamniotic Twins Ireland. Sharon currently works in the charity sector, as Operations Manager in the Ronald McDonald House at CHI Ireland, Crumlin. Her vast experience spans across infant loss and bereavement support, with primary focus on family centered care. Sharon’s area of expertise within the INHA is in family support through our Breast Pump Programme, Angel Gown Project, and fundraising.
ELAINE NÍ BHRAONÁIN
Elaine is a parent of 3 boys. She suffered with severe obstetric cholestasis before her eldest son was born at 36 weeks. A year later, her second son was born at 30 weeks, due to Placenta Previa (grade 4) and her third son was born at 34 weeks, due to Placenta Acreta. Elaine specialises in fund raising for neo-natal units and is the Family Liaison Support for families in the NICU in University Hospital Waterford. She is also interested in the aftercare (particularly mental trauma) of parents who have had babies in the NICU. Her background is Irish-U.S Studies. She holds a BA, 2 MAs and and has completed her PhD in history. She lived in New York for 8 years where she gained experience in fund-raising.
Fiona is a Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist since 1997 with expertise in area of Early Childhood Development. She has been involved in the implementation of Early Intervention Teams throughout the country. She was the Child Development expert contributor on National 0 – Toddler Show and participated in a Government research study trip with Early Childhood Ireland to examine preschool education in Norway. She is the Child Development Expert Contributor to a Leading Parenting Magazine and has developed a series of scientific based workshops to help parents understand and maximise their child’s development potential, promote healthy sleep patterns and prevent fussy eaters. www.fionaofarrell.ie
Paul’s second daughter was born at just 25 weeks gestation (and 840g) in October 2012. Since then, he has been involved in several projects helping to raise public awareness of premature birth in addition to mentoring PhD Students undertaking research in the area of Neonatal Encephalopathy . Professionally, Paul is a Telecommunications Engineer works in IT.
Niamh is mother to three daughters. One of her daughters, a twin, sadly passed away a few weeks from hypoplastic left heart syndrome before she was born. Niamh has a Master’s Degree in Social Policy and all of her 20-year career has focused on working in the area of social care and making change through influencing social policy decision making. Soon after her daughter’s passing, Niamh realised that there were very limited resources for bereaved parents in Ireland in relation to losing one or both twins. She decided to volunteer her time to ensure that these resources were made available to bereaved parents and to also bring baby loss issues onto the policy making agenda. Niamh also set up an awareness / advocacy group for bereaved parents who have experienced loss in a multiple pregnancy called Peas in a Pod: loss in a multiple pregnancy @peasinapodireland. Through this forum resources relating to loss in a multiple pregnancy are developed and shared.
ADVOCACY & POLICYMAKING
EDUCATION/RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD
Fiona is a Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist since 1997 with expertise in area of Early Childhood Development.
She has been involved in the implementation of Early Intervention Teams providing specialist services to babies and young children who present with developmental difficulties. Fiona has developed a series of workshops / seminars based on scientific research to help parents understand and maximize their child’s development potential, promote healthy sleep patterns & prevent fussy eaters. Additionally, Fiona also runs Development Milestone classes and provides Individual Assessment and Therapy & Sleep Clinics.
She was a child development expert contributor at the National 0 – Toddler show, participated in a Government research study trip with Early Childhood Ireland to examine preschool education in Norway, is the Child Development Expert Contributor to a leading Parenting Magazine and presents regularly at national conferences.
Amy graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2006 with BSc. Curr OT (Hons).
She has been working with children with special needs for the past nine years in the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) Dublin, as a community based OT in Belfast, in Temple Street Children’s University Hospital (TSCUH) on the Early Assessment Team, Orthopaedics Team, Plastics and Neurosurgery Teams.
Amy developed a special interest in developing the OT role with babies in TSCUH. She developed skills and implemented therapy programmes including developmental care approaches. As part of her continued professional development she has completed her Brazelton Neonatal Behavioural Observation training and level 1 NIDCAP Foundation Toolkit training. She is a member of the UK special interest group for OT’s working with neonates.
Amy is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM).
Nicola graduated with a BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since then she has worked in a variety of paediatric settings. Nicola currently works in Temple Street Childrens University Hospital as the Senior Occupational Therapist in Neurology where she is responsible for the assessment and treatment of infants and children presenting with neurological conditions.
Nicola has a special interest in infant development and as part of her caseload she works with high risk infants including premature babies. She is also involved with follow up post discharge. She has undertaken further training in developmental care, neurobehavioural assessment, neurodevelopmental treatment, sensory integration and infant massage.
While working with premature infants in the acute setting and in the community, Nicola has seen first hand the impact prematurity can have on a child’s development and functional skills. She is very passionate about early intervention and improving services for high risk infants and premature babies in Ireland.
Velta obtained her bachelor degree in Rehabilitation Science and Physiotherapy at Riga Strandins University, Latvia in 2013. Velta’s major passion is neonatology and early intervention, particularly neonatal intensive care. As part of her joint bachelor thesis in the Nordic and Baltic physiotherapy programme, Velta conducted research into the role of physiotherapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She served as the leading physiotherapist in the NICU in Latvia’s National Childrens Hospital, in the areas of Respiratory Care, Neurodevelopment, Positioning, Handling Sleeping and Feeding.
As part of Velta’s continuing professional development she has completed numerous courses in Latvia, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Velta is a member of the Musculoskelatal Therapy Group and Paediatric Group in the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists.
A big promoter of getting out and being active, Velta spends her spare time running, cycling and exploring the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.
Kasey graduated with a M.Sc. in Speech and Language Therapy from the University of Limerick in 2007 and has an M. Phil from Trinity in Linguistics where she wrote her dissertation on developing language in 2005. Kasey has worked with pre-school children on language, behaviour and early developmental milestones since 2002 through home tutoring programmes. She believes in a rounded and intense approach to therapy and works closely with parents to ensure they are fully trained to help their children learn. Kasey works with children up to adulthood.
Carrie is a Speech and Language pathologist working in private practice in the United States. She has a particular interest in reading and analyzing current research. This allows her to stay up to date on current research in the field and provides an opportunity to share that information with others through her website. Carrie breaks down research down into easy-to-understand tidbits that can be used by families to improve the communication skills of their children.
Her journey as a speech-language pathologist began in graduate school at Truman State University in Kirksvile, Missouri. She quickly learned that her passion in the field of speech-language pathology is with children. After graduation, she worked at the Columbia Public Schools in Columbia, Missouri in the 3-5 years program. Although she loved all of the children she worked with and enjoyed the job thoroughly, she found herself longing to be able to provide even more assistance to the families she worked with. Through the schools, she had very large caseloads and had very little access to their families. She has created an online speech and language resource providing education, information and activities for families www.speechandlanguagekids.com.
MARIA TERESA FERRER
Maria Teresa graduated as a Physical Therapist in 1987 started her own practice, Suprotec, in 1989 in Medellin, Antioquia. She completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa in 2006.
Maria Teresa has extensive experience in teaching and working with children of all ages with brachial plexus injury: she is certified in traumatic brain injury, Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT), and early intervention in addition to specializing in Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy, Neuromusic-connection (children and adults), Cerebral Palsy, Neuroplasticity, Neurokinesthetics, Developmental Delays, Mirror Therapy, Gait Abnormalities and Neuroconnection Method
Maria Teresa trains physical therapists and families to help prevent children from depending on assisted devices. She consults on a national and international level, following patients and families to provide education for those who are unable to travel for the treatment.
The philosophy of Ferrer Pediatrics is to not just to focus on the problems and limitations to provide assisted devices. Instead, she strives to prevent every child possible from having to rely on equipment. She looks at the entire picture, taking the highest consideration into what the patient’s top potential is.
MARGOT MCNELIS (RGN, RM, RNT) Certificate in Neonates, Bachelor of Nursing studies, MSc in Midwifery, Lactation consultant.
Margot has worked with neonates for 6 years at The Children’s Hospital in Boston, The National Maternity Hospital, Holles St, Dublin, The Coombe Women’s Hospital Dublin and The Rotunda Hospital, Dublin where she was also involved in teaching the neonatal course.
She currently lectures at Dundalk Institute of technology in midwifery and nursing where she teaches a module for second year student midwives on “The Normal Neonate” and for third year student midwives a module on “The Complex Neonate”.
She also provides 4th year midwifery students with an opportunity to complete “The Neonatal Resuscitation Programme” from The American Academy of Paediatrics.
Gretchen is a clinical nurse scientist who has worked in the area of newborn intensive care for 35 years and has 39 years experience as a nurse. She was a cofounder of the NIDCAP program and co-investigator in several of the early research studies supporting an individualized developmentally supportive approach to care of infants and families in the newborn intensive care unit.
She was co-investigator of the NINR funded Stability of Infant Responses to Painful Procedures study (1998-2002) and has extensive experience as a clinical nurse scientist and has authored numerous articles in her areas of expertise. Her most recent role was the liaison to nursing and clinical nurse scientist with program development including consultation with NICU staff and participation in clinical assessment and collaboration in the infant follow-up program.
She was responsible for the clinical implementation of developmentally supportive care in the NICU by provision of NIDCAP observational assessments, APIB evaluations, participation in clinical rounds with an emphasis on the integration of developmentally supportive care, and consultation and collaboration with families in the NICU. As President, NIDCAP Federation International, she is responsible for leadership and direction for the NFI. She was an active member of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Steering Committee and was also certified as a breastfeeding counselor.
Nikk Conneman, MD, is neonatologist on staff at the neonatal intensive care unit of the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He is also a Senior NIDCAP trainer and the Director of the Sophia NIDCAP Training Centre in Rotterdam. He specialises in brain development, and individualized and family centered care. He is very passionate about architecture, with special interest in NICU design.
Amanda is a H-Dip Children’s Nurse in Trinity College Dublin and the National Children’s Hospital Tallaght, Dublin. Amanda has 13 years general surgical nursing experience.