Yujuan Hua, CPA
Yujuan is a financial controller at National Oilwell Varco in Houston. She was introduced to MMBA as a new mom in 2019 by her local breastfeeding support group. As she learned about the benefits of lactation support and breastmilk for her own healthy daughter, she also became aware of such benefits for premature babies and mothers with lactation challenges and began donating her excess milk until her daughter was weaned. She has continued her commitment to the mission of MMBA by serving its Finance Committee beginning in 2019, and later, joining its board of directors. Yujuan holds a master’s degree in accounting from Indiana University and lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, running, drinking tea, and eating spicy food.
“I have been surprised and encouraged by the passion and dedication of breastfeeding advocates, first by the IBCLC's and breastfeeding support groups, and now by the MMBA staff and members. It’s an honor to serve on the board, and I look forward to contributing to an organization that makes positive impacts on the most fragile babies and their families.”
Julia Weatherby (Current board member and also a member of the President’s Council)
Julia Weatherby is a healthcare technology professional working to improve the lives of seniors with dementia. Julia volunteers to educate seniors and caregivers on technology. Julia was previously senior project manager in the Medicaid program at Texas Health and Human Services Commission and senior IT consultant for IBM’s healthcare industry clients. She holds a master’s degree in biomedical informatics from Oregon Health & Science University, and a computer science degree from St. Edward’s University. Julia has a renewed passion for the incredible value of donor human milk and lactation support since becoming a mother. Julia enjoys travel, photography, beekeeping and collecting eggs from her backyard chickens.
"I support Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin, because I believe every new parent should have the best alternative available for their child if they can't provide their own breast milk. I want to see MMBA, breastfeeding, and milk banking continue to grow so that worldwide, we can meet the need of every child who is in need of breast milk. I want to see donated breast milk continue to be available, safe and affordable for all fragile infants in need.”
Lakshmy Vaidyanathan, MD
Dr. Vaidyanathan is a Board Certified Pediatric Hospitalist at Ascension Seton Medical Center, Austin. She joined the University of Texas Dell Medical School Faculty as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in 2016. Dr. Vaidyanathan is a Fellow of Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine since 2017. She is also certified as an IBCLC since 2013. Dr. Vaidyanathan obtained her Medical degree from the University of Calicut, India and completed her Pediatrics Residency training at Children’s Hospital of Austin. She has been practicing in Austin with Seton Family of Hospitals since 2000 and has been a teaching faculty for Pediatrics and Family Practice Residency Programs. Dr. Vaidyanathan has been instrumental in establishing the Donor Milk program in the Well Baby Nursery at Seton Medical Center, Austin. Dr. Vaidyanathan and her husband have lived in Austin for the past 25 years and have 2 daughters.
“I am honored and excited to serve the MMBA and to promote breastfeeding, good health and well being of newborns. I am extremely proud of all of MMBA’s accomplishments and incredible life saving efforts”.
Founder at Austin Impact Capital, John brings to the MMBA Board of Directors twenty years of executive financial management experience. He has served in a variety of financial and operations roles in public and private technology companies. He is active in the Austin-area social impact investing space in the healthcare and education technology sectors. In addition to the MMBA, he serves on the boards of directors at Mission Capital, Charity Dynamics, and the Austin Community College Foundation. He earned an M.B.A. from UT Austin.
“I love the mission of MMBA, because it exemplifies the commitment of families in the community supporting other families. Moms volunteer and donate human milk that nourishes tiny preemie babies in need. And MMBA ensures that this life-saving milk is safe and effective for these at-risk infants.”
Jana Sharpe-Sanders is the daughter of Dr. George Sharpe, one of the cofounders of Mothers’ Milk Bank Austin, and the Milk Bank has been a very important part of her life from the beginning. Since Dr. Sharpe’s passing in 2006, Jana has increased her involvement with the Milk Bank, becoming a milk donor in 2009 after the birth of her second child. Jana works in physical therapy in the Austin area, and is married with two daughters: Kira and Keelin.
“Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin has been a part of my family since day one, and I am lucky to have been able to be a milk donor, financial donor, and now serve on the Board of Directors. I am proud of the work that my father started, and what the MMBA has done in reaching out to our local community and beyond, to the international community. The education about the benefits of breastmilk, medical research, and constant need for financial donations, to support us in our mission to save the lives of medically fragile infants, is vital to our success and health of the human population, worldwide.”
Elizabeth Polinard, PhD, RN
Elizabeth Polinard received her PhD in Nursing from The University of Texas at Austin and is currently the Clinical Professional Development Consultant for Perinatal and Neonatal Services for the Ascension Seton healthcare network. In this role, she creates and implements clinical education for both new and experienced nurses as well as other healthcare providers. Additionally, as co-founder and co-chair of the Ascension Texas Council on Racial and Health Equity, Elizabeth envisions a world in which health disparities no longer exist. Her membership on the MMBA Board is part of this work. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her exceptional family.
“What a privilege to serve the MMBA as a Board member. Not only is this organization’s mission a sacred one but - one of life’s many synchronicities - Dr. George Sharpe, co-founder of the MMBA, was my oldest son’s neonatologist 28 years ago.”
Veronica Hendrix, LVN, IBCLC, RLC
Veronica Hendrix is a nurse and lactation consultant who has been assisting mother-baby dyads to successfully breastfeed for over 18 years. She is passionate about bringing awareness to the community about the benefits of mother's milk and has been serving as the Program Coordinator in state government for the Texas WIC program's Texas Ten Step Program. This designation program aims to build support for breastfeeding from healthcare providers in hospitals and birth centers across the state through implementation of the WHO/UNICEF's Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a bundle of evidence-based practices that improve health and breastfeeding outcomes. Veronica joined the Board of Directors of MMBA in January 2019.
"I believe it is a basic human right for every infant to receive their mother's milk or donor human milk. There is so much more to learn about the benefits and uniqueness of this extraordinary fluid and it goes without saying that the most critical infants should be receiving this opportunity without question. I am eager to do what is needed to support the mission of Mother's Milk Bank at Austin, and look forward to the exciting work ahead."
Bailey Escarzaga, MD
Dr. Bailey Escarzaga is an OBGYN physician at Women Partners in Health in Austin, TX. She obtained her medical degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, TX and completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She has a passion for women’s health and advocates for women’s health issues both locally in Texas and nationally in Washington, D.C. She enjoys live music, hiking, and spending time with her family.
“As an OBGYN, I value my role in supporting women through their breastfeeding journeys and promoting Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin. I have seen the reduction in illnesses associated with prematurity through the use of donor milk. I am proud to be a part of an organization that fosters community amongst mothers and families.”
Danielle Plattenburg Arnold, MD
Dr. Arnold is a pediatric hospitalist at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in Round Rock. She earned her medical degree at the UT Southwestern Medical School in 2012. She completed her training in pediatrics at the University of Colorado Pediatric Residency Program. Dr. Arnold is passionate about educating families and future healthcare professionals, including medical students and residents, about the benefits of human milk. As a mother of color, she has a special interest in addressing health disparities and inequalities in care during the perinatal period. She joined the MMBA board of directors in January 2019, and enjoys exploring Austin with her husband and two children.
“I am excited to contribute to the milk bank because it serves such a crucial role for vulnerable patients who cannot speak for themselves. The science and service provided by MMBA protects fragile neonates and ensures optimal nutrition for many in need. In addition, if the milk bank continues to invest in the education of healthcare professions, it will make an impact on generations of babies to come. It is an honor to be a part of such a noble mission.”
Sikander Adeni, MD
Sikander Adeni has been a Neonatologist for almost 30 years now, and one of his greatest joys in practice has been observing, first hand, the significant decrease in NEC with increasing Breast milk usage in NICUs all over the country. He completed his training in Pediatrics and Neonatology in Philadelphia and Chicago, after which he spent a decade with Academic and Private Neonatology Practices in Chicago . He moved to Austin in 2001 and since then has been with the Mednax Neonatology group based at Ascension (Seton) affiliated hospitals in the Austin Metro area. He has served as the administrative Medical NICU Director for multiple NICUs in the Ascension system. He has a deep interest in Medical Ethics and has served, in the past, as a member and chairperson of the Ethics Committee at Dell Children’s hospital. Sikander is married to Shubha Adeni, a Pediatrician, for over 30 years and they have raised 3 children together (currently adults). The Adenis enjoy travelling, working out, contributing to charitable endeavors, reading and have a keen appreciation of the natural world.
“As a firm believer in the positive influence of Breast Milk in the care and development of preterm infants, I am very pleased to be practicing in a city that has access to high quality, dependable donor Breast milk. I am honored to be associated with a prestigious organization that essentially sets the standard for milk banking in the country."