The MOMS Partnership's goals are accomplished through multiple levels of partners, stakeholders, champions and funders – locally, state-wide and nationally.
Coalition Guide Team
The Guide Team is a coalition of organizations who lead the MOMS partnership. Each organization represents both families and services that are critical to mothers in New Haven. Through their organizational partnership and capacity the MOMS partnership is well positioned to support mothers and families becoming healthier and creating healthy neighborhoods and communities.
Janet Stolfi Alfano, MSW currently serves as the Executive Director, The New Haven Diaper Bank, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides diapers to families in need in Greater New Haven, Hartford, Bridgeport and Middlesex County, Connecticut. Janet started at The Diaper Bank in 2007 as the Operations Manager and has been Executive Director since 2011, when she joined the MOMS Partnership Guide Team. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Diaper Bank Network, serving as its first president. She is a member of the New Haven Early Childhood Council and the Steering Committees for the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance and the Connecticut Alliance for Basic Human Needs. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut, School of Social Work with a concentration in Policy Practice and a BA in Social Work from Saint Joseph College.
Janice Currier-Ezepchick, LCSW works as the Area Director for the New Haven Office of the State of CT Department of Children and Families, a site for the Zero to Three Safe Babies Court Team. The Safe Babies Court Teams Project is focused on increasing awareness among all those who work with maltreated infants and toddlers about the negative impact of abuse and neglect on very young children, and changing local systems and practices to improve outcomes for very young children in foster care. Prior to working for DCF, she was a Clinical Coordinator for Yale Child Study's Family Support Services, supervising multiple home based initiatives within the New Haven area serving the needs of vulnerable families. These projects included, Minding the Baby for first time mothers, CIWI for substance abusing women of newborns, and Homeward Bound for chronically homeless families. She serves as a Guide Team member on the New Haven MOMS Partnership.
Maria Damiani, MS, serves as the Director of the Maternal, Child and Family Health Division, The New Haven Health Department, and has been employed by the City of New Haven since 1995. She currently manages a department that includes State and Federal Healthy Start programs, South Central Connecticut’s Regional HUSKY Insurance program for uninsured pregnant women and their families, the Nurturing Families Network Home Visitation program, a Fathering initiative and Pediatric Immunization Outreach. During her tenure with the City she has coordinated the Mayor's Task Force on AIDS, has served as the Director of various special projects including, the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program, (HOPWA), New Haven's Homeless and Special Needs Housing services, the City’s Emergency Management Task Force and as the Director of the Office of Women’s Health. In addition, Ms. Damiani has been the principal investigator for two federally supported perinatal research initiatives; the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR), and the Perinatal Periods of Risk Practice Collaborative (PPOR). She has served as a policy advisor to both the Mayor and the Director of Health, and has been an active member of various university and community advisory boards and commissions. Ms. Damiani holds Bachelor's degrees in Education and Business Administration and earned a Master of Science in Urban Policy and Planning. She serves as a Guide Team member on the New Haven MOMS Partnership.
Karen DuBois-Walton, Ph.D., currently serves as the Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of New Haven and is responsible for administrative, programmatic and policy direction of the public housing, housing choice voucher program, finance and planning and development activities. She has guided HANH in a journey of personal and professional commitment to the health of families, and views the hosting of MOMS Partnership groups as keeping with their mission and values, including the promotion of housing choice for low-income families, the promotion of individual and family self-sufficiency, and service provision within a measurably cost-effective and efficient manner. Karen is committed to establishing communities that support families through developmentally informed and community-based interventions. Prior to assuming her positions with the Housing Authority and the City of New Haven, she served in positions with the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Yale University Child Study Center. Dr. DuBois-Walton is herself a mother residing in New Haven, and is actively engaged in community service through the Bethel A.M.E. Church, the New Haven Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP, and several non-profit boards. In 2011 she was named one of the "100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut" by the CT State Conference of the NAACP. She serves as a Guide Team member on the New Haven MOMS Partnership.
Alice M. Forrester, PhD, is the Executive Director for Clifford Beers Clinic. Ms. Forrester has been at Clifford Beers Clinic for 15 years; she began her tenure there as a Pre-Doctoral Intern in Psychology and became Executive Director five years ago. She was Project Director for the Clinic’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Level 3 grant from SAMHSA, and founded the Wessel Trauma Center at Clifford Beers in 2005. Forrester’s leadership since joining Beers has been to create programming that addressed and reduced the impact of toxic stress in children and their families. Clifford Beers has integrated a full trauma assessment at intake for all children, parent support and wrap around care for victims of violence, implemented evidenced based practices such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has hosted a National Trauma Conference for the last five years - “Healing the Generations.” Most recently, Forrester has been the principal lead on a Breakthrough Collaborative to create a “Wellness Center for Chronically Stressed Families” that will provide trauma informed integrated primary and mental health care for the whole family. Additionally, Ms. Forrester contributed to the curriculum development used for the metal health group provided to MOMS in the Housing Authority sites, and co-led the initial pilot groups. Alice has been a member of the MOMS Partnership since the inception and is an active member of the Guide Team.
Joanne Samuel Goldblum, MSW is the Executive Director, The National Diaper Bank Network. Joanne is the founder of the Diaper Bank, formerly the New Haven Diaper Bank, where she served as the Executive Director from 2004- until 2010. The Diaper Bank distributes free diapers to needy families through a network of social service agencies, churches and educational institutions in New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport and Middletown CT. She also worked as a clinical faculty member at Yale Child Study Center Family Support Service from 1998-2005. Goldblum was chosen as a 2007 Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader for her work and in the same year was named the New Haven Register’s Person of the Year. Goldblum served as Co-Chair of the Connecticut Parents with Cognitive Limitations Workgroup from 2004-2011. She is a board member at Edith B. Jackson Childcare Center and the Foote School, both in New Haven. She served on New Haven's Early Childhood Council from 2008-2012 as the chair of the parent engagement committee and also served on New Haven's Homeless Commission as the Vice President from 2004-2010. Goldblum is herself a mother residing in New Haven and serves as a Guide Team member on the New Haven MOMS Partnership.
Kenn Harris, LMin, serves as the Project Director, New Haven Healthy Start, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. New Haven Healthy Start is a nationally renowned, community-based initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration that helps pregnant women and mothers deliver healthy and happy babies. Health Start’s primary goal is to reduce the infant mortality and morbidity rate in the city of New Haven, Connecticut. Mr. Harris has worked professionally in the maternal and child health field for over 20 years, and is passionate about ameliorating racial and ethnic disparities in health, both locally and nationally. He has strived for creative methods of community engagement, empowering the drive and creativity of his community involving both community/grassroots level and academic/medical levels. He helped design and implement a New Haven “Adopt-a-Doc” program which paired hospital residents with community health workers. He serves as a Guide Team member on the New Haven MOMS Partnership, and chairs the Social Marketing Committee.
Garth Harries, JD, was appointed Superintendent of the New Haven Connecticut Public School system on July 22nd, 2013. Since 2009, he has been the Assistant Superintendent in New Haven, responsible for designing and implementing the nationally-recognized School Change reform strategy. School Change seeks to ensure meaningful and coherent learning experiences for all 21,000 students in New Haven Public Schools, enabling every student to be successful in college, career, and life. Major strategies include a portfolio of schools initiative, a talent initiative, and a community and parent initiative. The initial years of School Change have led to growth in standardized test scores at double the state average, an 8 percentage point increase in graduation rate, and substantial improvements in district and school climate. Prior to serving in New Haven, Garth was a senior executive with the New York City Department of Education. In New York, Garth led the creation of new school opportunities and choices, including 333 new district schools and 63 new charter schools. In his last role in the New York City Department of Education, Garth designed recommendations for the reform of special education. Prior to joining NYCDOE, Garth led engagement teams at McKinsey & Company, specializing in Financial Industries and Non-Profit Management. Garth began his career with a year of teaching. Garth has a J.D. with Distinction from Stanford Law School and a B.A. in Ethics, Politics, and Economics Summa Cum Laude from Yale University. On the weekends, Garth moves rocks on his wife's organic farm.
Megan V. Smith, MPH, DrPH, is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Public Health at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Smith conducts clinical and community-partnered research in the area of maternal and child mental health and racial, ethnic and gender-based disparities in mental health and illness. She teaches in the Yale School of Public Health.
MOMS Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee is a group of stakeholders who are leaders in the institutionalization of gender transformative programs and policies on women's mental health.
Colette Anderson, MSW, LCSW
Rosa Biaggi, MPH, MPA
Lucy Brakoniecki, MSW
Marijane Carey, MSW, MPH
Mary Chervenak, MA, RD, CLC, CDN
US Representative Rosa L. DeLauro
Traci Lederer, MS
J. Nwando Olayiwola, MD, MPH, FAAFP
Todd Olmstead, PhD