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PNWG Members

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Below are the biographies of the PNWG members.

J. Thomas Brenna, Ph.D.J. Thomas Brenna, Ph.D.
Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University

Brenna is a member of Cornell’s graduate faculties of chemistry and chemical biology, food science and technology and geological sciences. Brenna is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Community and Preventative Medicine and the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester Medical College in Rochester, N.Y. In 1980, he earned a Bachelor of Science in nutritional biochemistry from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn. In 1985, Brenna earned a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry from Cornell University.  Brenna’s research group focuses on the study of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) nutrition in the perinatal period and its role in neural and retinal development.  His studies on the efficacy of decosahexanoic acid (DHA) and related PUFA as building blocks of the central nervous system have helped define the mechanism by which these fats improve visual and neural function.

William H Goodnight III, MD
Assistant Professor in Maternal Fetal Medicine
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Goodnight is an assistant professor in Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Prior to his current appointment, he was a fellow of maternal-fetal medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C. In 1994, Goodnight received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. In 1990, he graduated with honors and a distinction in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; an associate member of the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine; a member of the South Central Obstetric and Gynecologic Society; and a member of the Ware-Dunn Society. Goodnight is currently researching insulin resistance and maternal metabolic rate as predictors of neonatal body composition; inflammatory cytokines and maternal obesity during pregnancy; computer-based IV insulin calculator for maternal glucose control in labor in gestational diabetes; the influence of insurance status and pregnancy outcomes; antenatal vascular doppler assessment of ductus venosus; middle cerebral artery flow in fetus; and congenital cardiac anomalies.

Mary Harris, Ph.D., RDMary Harris, Ph.D., RD
Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Colorado State University

Harris is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. In 1970, Harris received her Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. In 1974, Harris went on to receive a Master of Science in nutrition from Framingham State University in Framingham, Mass., and in 1982 she completed her Doctor of Philosophy in biological sciences at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I. Harris has received many awards and honors, including Phi Kappa Phi; Sigma Xi; Omicron Nu; a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health; Dietitian of the Year from Northern Colorado Dietetic Association in 1994 and 1998; and the John Cermak Undergraduate Advising Award in 2005. Harris is also a member of several professional organizations, including the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, and the Colorado Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. She is former president of the Colorado Dietetic Association and former president of the Northern Colorado Dietetic Association. Harris’ current research projects include the decosahexanoic acid (DHA) content of farmed versus wild fish as well as progesterone and DHA in the prevention of preterm labor.

Tracy Herrmann, Ph.D., RD, CD
Consulting Clinical Dietitian, Salt Lake City

Herrmann is a consulting clinical dietician in Salt Lake City. Previously, she was a clinical dietitian at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City. An expert in maternal and child nutrition, Herrmann has counseled and taught about healthy eating and optimal nutrition for more than 17 years. In 1989, she graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a degree in dietetics. In 1993, Herrmann completed her Master of Nutrition at the State University of New York at Buffalo and then completed a doctorate degree in nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She went on to complete a post doctoral research fellowship in perinatal genetics and nutrition at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She has conducted academic research studies, has been awarded several research grants and has published multiple scientific manuscripts in the area of maternal nutrition.

Calvin Hobel, MDCalvin Hobel, MD
Vice Chair and Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics 
Miriam Jacobs Chair, Maternal Fetal Medicine
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Hobel is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he holds the Miriam Jacobs chair in maternal-fetal medicine. Hobel is also a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and a professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. His primary research interest is in the area of pre-term birth and intrauterine growth restriction. He was recently funded to be part of a project grant to determine the role of genetics as a determinant of the stress response during pregnancy. He serves as co-chair of the General Clinical Research Center Scientific Advisory Committee at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Hobel has written articles for numerous peer-reviewed publications, such as the Journal of Infectious Diseases, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Journal of Pediatrics.

Laura Jana, MD
Practical Parenting Consulting

Dr. Laura Jana is an Omaha-based pediatrician, health communicator, and the award-winning author of Heading Home with Your Newborn and Food Fights. Having first served as a consultant to Dr. Benjamin Spock, Dr. Jana went on to co-found The Dr. Spock Company in 1999, and then subsequently founded her own company – Practical Parenting Consulting. Well recognized nationally for her ongoing efforts to promote healthy lifestyles for children and offer credible practical parenting advice to new and expectant parents, Dr. Jana serves as a media spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics; is on the advisory board for American Baby magazine, The Walt Disney Internet Group and Nancy Snyderman’s BeWell Expert Network; and serves as an expert consultant for academic organizations, non-profits, and major corporations such as P&G and Reckitt Benckhiser/Lysol. Having spent several years as a parenting expert on Omaha’s top morning radio program and as the parenting expert for Omaha’s NBC affiliate, Dr. Jana is also the proud mother of three, a published children’s book author and early literacy advocate, and the proud owner of Primrose School of Legacy – a nationally franchised, 200-student educational child care center.

Elizabeth 'Betty' T. Jordan, DNSc, RNCElizabeth “Betty” T. Jordan, DNSc, RNC, FAAN
Senior Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Nursing
USF College of Nursing

Elizabeth “Betty” T. Jordan, DNSc, RNC, FAAN is an associate professor and senior assistant dean of undergraduate nursing at the University of South Florida, College of Nursing, in Tampa, Florida.  Jordan received her Doctoral of Science degree from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, her Master of Science in nursing from the University of Delaware and her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Maryland, College Park, Md. Jordan completed her business of nursing post-graduate certificate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. With more than 30 years of clinical experience and significant research expertise in labor and delivery, Jordan is a recognized national leader in maternal and newborn outcomes research, education and practice. Her areas of expertise include high-risk maternal-newborn care; prenatal care; predictors of neonatal outcomes; outcomes measurements in perinatal care; secondary data analysis; legal consulting for perinatal nursing care; and educating nursing students as “doulas,” birth companions. She has been published in Nursing and Health Care Perspectives, and the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing. Jordan served on the board of directors for the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and also served on the board of directors for the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. She advocates for quality prenatal care services and education for women in the community and maintains an active clinical nursing practice.

Carol J. Lammi-Keefe, PhD, RD, LDN
Alma Beth Clark Professor, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Adjunct Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Louisiana State University

Carol J. Lammi-Keefe is Alma Beth Clark Professor of Nutrition in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences and Adjunct Professor at Pennington Biomedical at Louisiana State University (LSU).  She has taught across the curriculum and mentors undergraduate and graduate students in research.  Dr. Lammi-Keefe has devoted three decades to research in maternal/fetal nutrition with an emphasis on lipids.  Her current research project is assessing overweight in pregnant women and the effect on infant outcomes, including child weight and body composition.  She has been recognized by the American Dietetic Association Foundation with the Ross Award in Women’s Health and Award for Excellence in Dietetic Research.  She was named a Rainmaker at LSU in 2008.  She is lead editor for Handbook of Nutrition and Pregnancy published by Humana Press.

Ruth A. Lawrence, M.D.Ruth A. Lawrence, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division of Neonatology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine

Ruth A. Lawrence, M.D. is a professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of the Division of Neonatology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. She also is medical director of the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center and medical director of the Finger Lakes Regional Poison and Drug Information Center, the second such center to open in the country. Author of Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, the standard reference work since its 1979 publication, and many articles, chapters and reviews, Lawrence is a founding member and a past president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. As a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics work group on breastfeeding, she participated in the preparation of the Academy’s statement on breastfeeding and human lactation, and is now on the Executive Committee of the Academy’s Section for Breastfeeding.

James A. McGregor, MDCMJames A. McGregor, MDCM
Visiting Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

In 1966, he graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and completed his medical training at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 1970. In 1971, McGregor completed his internship at Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, Calif. He finished his residency at the University of California, Los Angeles, and LAC+USC Women’s and Children’s Hospital from 1972 to 1975. He continued his training as a fellow in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver from 1978 to 1981. McGregor has a special interest in infectious diseases and optimizing each child’s potential capacity for learning. In 2004, he joined the University of Southern California Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. McGregor has a particular interest and a series of publications on pregnancy and nutrition and is the convenor of the Society of Fetal Maternal Medicine’s Nutrition Special Interest Group.

Roger B. Newman, MDRoger B. Newman, MD
Professor and Vice Chairman 
Academic Affairs and Women’s Health Research, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Medical University of South Carolina

Newman is a professor and vice chairman for academic affairs and women’s health research, obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C. In 1976, he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in biology from Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J. In 1980, Newman completed his Doctor of Medicine as well as his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical University of South Carolina. In 1986, Newman completed a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. Currently, Newman holds the following positions: immediate past-president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine; board member for the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Foundation; and board member for the March of Dimes, Trident Region. He has also received the Society of Perinatal Obstetricians Excellence in Research Award; the Faculty Excellence Award for Medical Student Education and the Best Doctors in America; Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Woodward and White. He has been published in many peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology; American Journal of Reproductive Medicine, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Fertility and Sterility. Newman’s research includes: Integrating Systems for the Identification and Care of Women with Post Partum Mood Disorders: A Community Approach; Performance Implications of Prolonged Work Hours in an Obstetrics and Gynecology Training Program; A Celebration of Multiple Births; the March of Dimes Preterm Birth Prevention Project and an ongoing study on the safety of N-acetylcysteine in maternal chorioamnionitis.

Paul L. Ogburn, Jr., MDPaul L. Ogburn, Jr., MD
Clinical Chief, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Sidra Medical and Research Center

Paul Ogburn is the Clinical Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sidra Medical and Research Center in Doha, Qatar.  He previously served as director of maternal fetal medicine and a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in Stony Brook, N.Y.  Dr. Ogburn helped reestablish the nationally-recognized clinical practice of maternal-fetal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, N.Y.; developed an antenatal unit for mothers with complicated pregnancies as a clinical improvement and economically significant alternative to the newborn intensive care unit; developed and maintained an obstetric/perinatal database for quality assurance, education and research; helped develop the obstetric ultrasound unit to meet the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine criteria for accreditation; helped develop the certified nurse midwife service at the Mayo Clinic to promote access to the clinic for a more diverse obstetric population; and developed an innovative undergraduate course: Research in Women’s Health Care, at SUNY Stony Brook.

Ashley S. Roman MD, MPHAshley S. Roman MD, MPH
Assistant Clinical Professor, NYU School of Medicine
Medical Director, NYU-Langone Maternal Fetal Care Center

Dr. Ashley S. Roman is a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist with subspecialty certification in Maternal Fetal Medicine.  She is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Maternal Fetal Care Center at NYU Langone Medical Center.  After graduating from Princeton University and receiving her MD and Masters in Public Health from Tulane University, she completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCLA Center for Health Sciences and her fellowship training in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at NYU Medical Center. Dr. Roman has published widely in the area of preterm birth and is the author or co-author of more than 70 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, abstracts and book chapters. She is co-editor of the textbook, CURRENT Diagnosis and Treatment:  Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Her research interests include the prediction and prevention of spontaneous preterm birth.  Dr. Roman has been the recipient of multiple research and teaching awards.  Dr. Roman was selected by her peers to be included in the “Best Doctors in America” database from 2007 to present and is listed among Castle Connolly Top Doctors in Maternal Fetal Medicine. She lectures nationally on prediction of preterm birth and nutritional issues in pregnancy.

John M. Thorp, MDJohn M. Thorp, MD
Distinguished Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division Director

University of North Carolina Women’s Hospital

Thorp is the interim director of the North Carolina Program for Women’s Health Research. He is a distinguished professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and division director for Women’s Primary Healthcare. Thorp is also a professor of maternal and child health in the School of Public Health and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Radiology. Thorp is the director of the Maternal-Fetal Care Unit at the University of North Carolina Women’s Hospital, the medical director for the Horizons Perinatal Substance Abuse Program. He is also the co-director of the Institute for the Generalist Physician in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Steven S. Witkin, Ph.D.Steven S. Witkin, Ph.D.
Professor of Immunology and Director 
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology 
Division of Immunology and Infectious Diseases 
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Witkin is a professor of immunology and the director of the Division of Immunology and Infectious Diseases in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. Witkin received his undergraduate degree from Hunter College of the City University of New York, a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before joining the Cornell faculty in 1981, Witkin spent eight years as an associate at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. Witkin has more than 240 publications in peer-reviewed journals, is on the editorial board of journals published in the United States, Europe and South America and is a member of the National Institutes of Health Obstetrics Study Section. Witkin’s expertise spans the areas of genetic, immune and infectious aspects of women’s health. His work highlights the importance of the fetal genome, not only the genome of the mother, in influencing pregnancy outcomes. His studies have uncovered immune regulatory mechanisms in the fetus that protect against premature expulsion birth. He is currently investigating the influence of genetic variations on the consequences of exposure to infectious and non-infectious agents in pregnancy as well as the effect of fatty acids on immune functions in the amniotic cavity. In non-pregnant women, Witkin has identified specific genetic variations in some women that greatly increase their susceptibility to develop recurrent vaginal candidiasis and fallopian tube occlusion following a Chlamydia trachomatis infection. His work has also contributed to the understanding of genetic and immune factors that increase susceptibility to develop vulvar vestibulitis syndrome.



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