Board of Directors

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Dr. Melissa Riley, Board Chair

About Dr. Melissa Riley

Melissa Riley (Mescalero Apache), Ph.D., is the owner/principal of Native Community Development Associates. Dr. Riley is also a consultant to several national/state/tribal agencies and public/private organizations.

Dr. Riley has managed federal projects within the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) such as the national Counseling & Faith-Based Services for Crime Victims in Indian Country (CFBSCV-IC) Training and Technical Assistance Grant and the Children’s Justice Act (CJA) Partnership in Indian Country Training and Technical Assistance Grant. The two DOJ, OVC-funded projects involved assessing grantee needs, evaluating training and technical services, and recording/analyzing performance measures for project sustainability. Dr. Riley has authored national, produced training and technical assistance videos, and published training guides for the CFBSCV-IC and CJA Projects. She has also serves as a technical consultant for the DOJ, OVC, Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) in areas of evaluation and crime victim services.

Dr. Riley has developed curricula for the New Mexico Department of Health, Gallup Indian Health Services, University of Texas at Arlington, and other organizations. She has also developed sexual assault protocols, behavioral health/social service policy and procedures, and other tribal multi-disciplinary policies and procedures that enhance victim service response and increase prosecution.

Dr. Riley’s experience with research includes her role as a field interviewer for the NIJ funded VAIW National Baseline Pilot Study and lead field investigator and researcher in her graduate studies, as well as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) Research Project. Additional experience in research includes Institution Review Board (IRB) applications, National Institutes of Health (NIH) certification, establishing research protocols, conducting research, and using digital equipment such as Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) and Audio Computer Assisted Self-Interviewing (ACASI).

Dr. Riley has also been responsible for developing and implementing wrap-around services for tribal programs that serve community members impacted by alcohol/substance abuse, crime, and other social issues. She also serves as a direct service provider for several New Mexico Tribal communities, including providing counseling, social work, home evaluations, guardian ad litem services, and family conferencing. She is an adjunct faculty member for New Mexico Highlands University, School of Social Work and serves on the committee for the Native American Social Work Studies Institute.

Dr. Riley also volunteers and offers her skills, knowledge, and abilities to local organizations such as the Roadrunner Food Bank, Joy Junction Homeless Shelter, and Child of All Nations, to name a few. She also is a sitting board member of Paralegal Group Services and has served as a board member to other local, state, and national boards.



Pip Howard, Board Secretary

About Pip Howard

Originally from England, Pip Howard has lived in the Four Corners area for the last 30 years. With a lifelong interest in health and birth, she is very happy to work professionally teaching prospective parents about healthy birth practices and assisting new parents in reaching their breastfeeding goals. She is the mother of two grown children who were each breastfed for a year.



Dr. William “Mac” Bowen, Board Treasurer

About Dr. William “Mac” Bowen

Mac is originally a New Yorker who obtained his BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina, worked jobs clerking for the various hospital emergency departments in the Northeast and volunteered in Ghana for six months before entering medical school at the University of Rochester (where he met his future wife).

      He trained in family medicine at Tacoma Family Medicine at Tacoma General Hospital, which made the transition to Baby Friendly during his second year of residency, so Mac was able to witness a culture shift and powerful community transformation.

      After graduation, Mac worked for four years at La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe doing full spectrum family medicine including OB and newborn care. He has been involved in improving breastfeeding policy and practices at Christus St. Vincent, including overseeing a resident research project surveying attitudes surrounding breastfeeding in our community and sitting on the committee to re-write hospital breastfeeding policies.

      He is currently the Program Director for the Northern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency, continuing with 50% clinical time to include obstetrics and newborn care.

      Mac is the proud father of a five-year-old son, Sam, and a two-year-old daughter, Lilly, and has been in awe of his partner as she managed to breastfeed the two of them while attending NP school and working part-time as a palliative care nurse practitioner (including a nasty 8-day nursing strike by their strong-willed daughter!).

      Mac’s advocacy for breastfeeding is born out of the knowledge that it is one of the most important evidence-based public health interventions that we possess and is thrilled to join a group that empowers our communities with knowledge and support to achieve the best health outcomes for all.


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Rosalba Ruiz

About Rosalba Ruiz

A Mexican American, Hispanic General Practitioner with a Master’s in Public Health (MD, MPH). She has worked in the area of Public Health for more than 20 years. Committed to improve the health of US- Mexico border residents and believes that we need to change the way we approach “mothers to be” in the area of breastfeeding not only to we need to increase knowledge but also create the environments that foster breastfeeding.

Has worked for more than 18 years in the area of diabetes and believe that if we could only do one thing to prevent diabetes and chronic diseases it is to breastfeed. She is a mother of two, a 20 year old boy that I breastfeed for 2 years and a 9 year old girl that I breastfeed for 4 years.

A founding member of the Binational Breastfeeding Coalition, established in 2012 its mission that all children born across the US- Mexico Border have an opportunity to be breastfeed. To achieve this we have been creating support networks for mothers to breastfeed such as mother friendly establishments, mother friendly worksites, mother friendly hospital. We do considerable amount of promotion and awareness including the Big Latch On.  

Founding member of the Latina Breastfeeding Leader’s (LBL), the group’s goal is to connect with other Latina leaders around the country in order to increase breastfeeding among Latinas.

She received a grant from the New Mexico State University/ Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center partnership to conduct a pilot study to measure increase in the intent to breastfeed among Hispanic women of childbearing age (18-44 years) that receive a brief education intervention that focusses on the important relation between breastfeeding and breast cancer. Initial analysis show that the Hispanic women participating in the BFBCCP learned more about the importance of breastfeeding, particularly as it relates to Breast cancer prevention, reported greater levels of intent to breastfeed, and reported more positive attitudes towards breastfeeding in the workplace compared to the control group.

She was selected by the Center of Social Inclusion to be part of a cross section of breastfeeding leaders, to effective build alliances across divisions and in delivering the message that racial equity impacts and can truly benefit all communities.

She currently works for the Alliance of Border Collaboratives, this non- profit has been designated as a mother friendly worksite by the State of Texas. She has worked extensible with Community Health Workers, and with Coalitions to improve health outcomes in both Texas and the Southern part of New Mexico.


Caroline Davis

About Caroline Davis

Born and raised in the Southwest, where she continues to live, Caroline Davis is a mother of 3 (2 children she birthed and breastfed and one bonus child she officially adopted in February 2022 after raising him for the last nine years).

Caroline is Diné, a member of the Navajo tribe, and received a Master of Public Health from New Mexico State University in 2013. She has been in the field of public health for nearly 10 years and has a particular passion for child and maternal health. An advocate for breastfeeding, specifically in creating baby friendly hospitals and breastfeeding friendly workplaces, she has previously served as a director for an Indigenous birth center and created or improved policies in previous places she’s worked. Caroline currently resides in Las Cruces, NM with her husband and their three children.



Maribel Lemus

About Maribel Lemus

Maribel Lemus is a licensed midwife, community health worker and Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) who has been working in maternal and child health since 2003 and is a former promotora with experience working with and serving multiethnic communities of color. Originally from Denver, Colorado, she has lived in New Mexico for four years; her father’s family hails from northern New Mexico, outside of Mora. A mother of four girls with two grandchildren, she is committed to helping women and mothers feel empowered throughout their pregnancies and postpartum period including throughout their breastfeeding journeys. Maribel volunteers at the Santa Fe jail providing prenatal and breastfeeding classes support to inmates.



Claire Bettler

About Claire Bettler

As both a midwife and a mother of two breastfed children, Claire Bettler believes breastfeeding can change communities and yes, even the world! She has had the honor of working as a midwife in a variety of settings: a community health center in Zuni NM, birth centers in the Rio Grande Valley, Virginia, and Guatemala, various hospitals, and homes in different parts of the US, and has seen how breastfeeding builds not only solid mother-child bonds but also strong, healthy families and communities. Claire believes passionately in providing respectful home-based, community-oriented healthcare and strives to incorporate these values into the care she provides as both a midwife and a hospice nurse. She is deeply committed to supporting women and midwives around the world and is actively involved with Midwives For Haiti and Maya Midwifery International. In 2015, she began the process of growing a small home birth practice, Anidar ABQ Midwifery. Claire feels it is an honor to join the work of providing expanded birth options and supporting breastfeeding initiatives and families in New Mexico’s many unique communities.


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Larissa Lujan Judd

About Larissa Lujan Judd

My name is Larissa Judd and I am 26 years old, born and raised in Grants, NM where I currently coach youth soccer for the AYSO teams. I have a beautiful 5-year-old girl, who is my inspiration. I am a full-time student through NMSU with their distance Education Program as well as a full-time FACE parent Educator for the Pueblo of Acoma where we provide services for Prenatal-3 years of age. I am a full-time Mother, Parent Educator, Soccer Coach, and Student. I enjoy being with kids and working with the community to provide services for the youth because they are our voices for the future.


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LaKendra Myers

About LaKendra Myers

LaKendra Myers is a nurse, wife, and mother of two. She is a passionate leader, motivated learner, and inspired lifetime member of New Mexico. She was born in Ruidoso, NM where
she was raised. She went to Albuquerque, NM to begin college in 2010 and returned home after the first semester to help care for her grandmother on hospice. She continued school
through the local community college. She then returned to Albuquerque where she finished nursing school at CNM in 2016.

She has been a nurse for three years in the operating room and recently received her BSN in 2019. She is currently attending GCU for her masters with an emphasis in public health. She now works in Labor of Love at Lovelace
Woman’s Hospital and has grown very passionate about helping mothers-to-be and beyond.


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Sunshine Muse

About Sunshine Muse

With over 20 years of academic and professional training, and a lifelong commitment and passion for social justice and equity, Sunshine Muse brings a unique perspective and
expertise to facilitation and program design for community, higher ed, health systems and social services. Originally from New York City, Muse grew up widely exposed to the
American Cultural Melting Pot and the complex gender, cultural, language, economic, and ethnic inequities within it. Muse has co-authored legislation, served as an instructor in the School of Nursing at Columbia University, designed curriculum for the department of probation in New York, and served as the educational coordinator of a violence intervention program at the (then) largest social service agency in the country. Today, Muse’s work focuses on understanding and navigating the raw dynamics of health inequity and identifying and creating community-centered solutions to address them.

She is committed to improving maternal and child health outcomes and staying present in a sincere exploration of the places where joy meets health. Muse skillfully facilitates groups and presentations, builds collaboratives, designs programs, and assists with the grassroots marketing of academic and social service concepts. She is the founder of Black Health New Mexico and leads the New Mexico Birth Equity Collaborative. She is trained in several modalities and care models including The Duluth Model for Domestic Violence Accountability, Systemic Constellation Coaching, Centering Pregnancy, and MyCD: a Stanford University Chronic Disease Self Management Program. In her spare time,
Sunshine spends her quieter moments soaking, sunning, and enjoying the exquisite beauty of the natural world around her.


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Francisco J. Ronquillo

About Francisco J. Ronquillo

Francisco J. Ronquillo has a dual role as Health Extension Officer and Hispano/Latino Health Specialist under the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Community Health with the Health
Sciences Center at the University of New Mexico.

He has worked in the public health sector, for more than 20 years and is dedicated to tackling the social determinants of health and the needs of marginalized populations. His multi-sector collaborators are community health workers/representatives, health council coordinators, community leaders, public and private school personnel, faith-based organizations and other health advocates in the southern and central areas of New Mexico.

Currently, his health equity efforts are aimed at building capacity between academic health centers and communities. As a bilingual educator, he applies popular education
approaches in his trainings with Latino, immigrant, and border communities on cultural humility, medical terminology, mental health first aid, and other community health topics.

He is an advocate and proponent of identifying the strengths and assets within the community to promote social and systemic change that strives for equity.