We are honored to recognize Dr. John (Jack) Maypole, MD as our CHEER Champion of the Week. Dr. Maypole is the Vice Chair of the Pediatrics Department, and Director of Comprehensive Care Program at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. In addition to being a physician, Dr. Maypole is a widely published educator and writer on pediatric issues and a prolific cartoonist. He was nominated for his wonderful pediatric work and his efforts to uplift the department staff during the Coronavirus pandemic using cheerful communications and especially his pandemic inspired cartoons, aptly renamed “Cortoons.”
Dr. Maypole has been cartooning forever. Growing up, his mom had a small business sketching and selling greeting cards and soon he followed suit, occasionally selling cartoons on the side while studying at Yale and gifting sketches to family and friends. He constantly uses his art in his pediatric practice at BMC, where he creates cartoons to soothe and amuse young patients for whom the doctor’s office can be daunting. Blending humor with communication can diffuse tension around fraught issues or difficulty moments, and he has found using cartoons and a lighthearted touch to be an effective way to connect with others.
“The rendering and doing of cartoons is therapeutic and a way to process my own tension about things. I also use them to make social statements or try to call people‘s attention towards various issues and problems that arise in everyday life”- Dr. Jack Maypole
When asked about his creative process, Dr. Maypole stated that he generally likes to sit with his brain “out of gear” and just let the ideas flow, until he finds an idea “with a kind of music to it” to build on. “Cartooning involves making a lot of bad work before you get better. You have to read your audience and find what appeals to them,” he notes, “while walking that fine line between funny-yet-provocative and offensive.” He describes his craft as a tool that has to be used with nuance and thoughtfulness, which could mean sometimes turning situations upside down to find the humor that lurks within.
Dr. Maypole studied history in college and then went on to become a high school teacher. He soon realized that he enjoyed the kids more than the content and pursued a career in pediatrics. He currently directs a nationally recognized multi-disciplinary program for children with complex and chronic illness, the Comprehensive Care program. Prior to this, he worked at the South End Community Health Center for 7 years as a community pediatrician, a role he takes a lot of pride in. He is passionate about childcare, patient education and communication, and improving outcomes and support for children with special needs.
Dr. Maypole finds a lot of joy in his work. “I am motivated by the joy and unbridled energy that kids have…Watching kids and families overcome illness and watching the kids grow up is a humbling and joyful process.” He also enjoys running, spending quality time with his family, and embarking on new traveling adventures with them.
Congratulations Dr. Maypole! Thank you for using your wonderful humor and talent to brighten our days.
Follow Dr. Maypole’s work on Twitter (https://twitter.com/drmaypole) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/drmaypole/)
Today’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Dawn Kennedy, CLC, BA, and owner of Vital Milk, an accredited durable medical equipment company and perinatal support organization in Massachusetts.
“Vital Milk is the only certified minority and minority owned breast pump supplier in MA. Our primary goal is to provide mother-to-mother support, evidence-based lactation support, and insurance-covered breast pumps.” – Dawn Kennedy
Dawn began her career in 1999 as a breastfeeding peer counselor at Boston Medical Center, along with her WIC office in Jamaican Plain, MA. In this role, she taught breastfeeding classes on the postpartum unit, provided on-going phone support to discharged patients, and worked with CHEER Director, Anne Merewood, on a study that assessed the correlation between breastfeeding support and increased duration of breastfeeding. Soon after the study, she obtained her CLC certification and took on a managerial position with Bosom Buddies- a durable medical equipment (DME) company providing patients with hospital or in-home breast pumps and breastfeeding support in eastern MA. In 2002, she inherited the company and in 2013, she expanded the business to provide support to communities in central and western MA as well, and changed the name to Vital Milk.
Dawn was motivated to start Vital Milk because of her experience when her daughter was born in 1998. She felt empowered and supported by her workplace to breastfeed and wanted to provide the same for families in her community. “Replicating this experience for other young mothers is a core value of Vital Milk; which is to provide mothers with young children an employment opportunity to work alongside their children,” she stated. Vital Milk employs mothers/certified lactation counselors to provide free in-home deliveries and offer personal instruction and evidence-based lactation support to mothers in their own communities. The Vital Milk counselors pay special attention to marginalized mothers who typically fall through the cracks.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vital Milk employees have been working from home and ceased providing free in-home visits upon the delivery of the breast pumps. Instead, Vital Milk has offered no-contact home drop off (for urgent needs), no-contact store pick up, free shipping, free access to an online breastfeeding program, and free virtual support appointments with Vital Milk’s CLCs. When asked what she enjoys the most about her work? Dawn replied “I feel honored each time a woman invites me into her home and I get to share the precious moments of a pregnancy or new life. I witness the innate strength and wisdom of both mother and child.” She believes mothering is tremendously rewarding and extremely challenging and has dedicated the last 20 years to helping mothers discover the resources they need to thrive.
In addition to her work at Vital Milk, Dawn facilitates Mother Woman postpartum support groups and is the president of the Pioneer Valley Breastfeeding Coalition. She is also a member of the Hampshire County Perinatal Coalition, a Nursing Mother’s Council leader, and served as a clerk/board member of Quaker Bolivia Link, an international organization dedicated to reducing poverty among the indigenous peoples of Bolivia. She enjoys playing roller derby, exploring nature, and creating art with her family.
Congratulations Dawn, thank you for the community breastfeeding support Vital Milk provides!
Our CHEER Champion of the Week is Diane L. Spatz, PHD, RN-BC, FAAN, Professor of Perinatal Nursing and Helen M. Shearer professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. She is also a nurse scientist in lactation at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Founder of the CHOP Mothers’ Milk Bank. She was nominated for her lifelong work as a breastfeeding champion and advocate and her spectacular presentation on the CHAMPS COVID-19 webinar: “The COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Can Do to Protect Human Milk and Breastfeeding."
Dr. Spatz is an internationally recognized researcher, clinician, and educator who is known for her work on the use of human milk and breastfeeding in vulnerable populations. She has over 25 years of experience working in the breastfeeding field, and has authored or co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications and numerous book chapters related to human milk and breastfeeding. In 2004, Dr. Spatz developed her 10 step model for human milk and breastfeeding in vulnerable infants, a model that has since been implemented in NICUs throughout the U.S. and other countries such as Thailand, India, China, Mexico, Japan and most recently Botswana. Her nurse driven models of care are critical in improving human milk & breastfeeding outcomes and thus the health of women and children globally.
As a first-generation college student, Dr. Spatz had mentors at Penn Nursing who saw her potential. After she earned her PhD, she joined Penn Nursing’s faculty, where she mentors students and involves them in all of her research projects. Though she first discovered her passion for pregnant women and babies in college, her first exposure to breastfeeding was her first job as a staff nurse upon graduating from Penn Nursing with her BSN. While working as a staff nurse at a very busy birth hospital, she was also in school for her MSN in Perinatal Nursing. Through her MSN program, one of her mentors asked her to work on a study about factors affecting milk volume in mothers who had low birth weight infants. During this research study, mothers expressed their frustrations and heart break about trying to express milk for their sick children and not feeling supported by hospital staff and health care providers. This experience has shaped Dr. Spatz’s entire career to create environments where mothers/families can reach their personal breastfeeding goals. “I always wanted to utilize the evidence, to make sure that every family has equal access to evidence-based lactation support and care, and to make sure the healthcare professionals have the information to make it happen,” she shares. “It is about families but it starts with us as healthcare professionals.”
Despite having to pause some of her domestic and international research projects due to COVID-19, Dr. Spatz continues to provide virtual lactation education, assessment and support to families with infants with complex congenital anomalies through her clinical role. She also continues to teach 4 and 8 hour courses for health care providers and has done over 20 national and international webinars since the pandemic started. She expressed that she is even more worried about all families having equal access to the evidence and being able to make informed feeding decisions now than ever.
“Although all the teaching is now virtual, the education is just as important as ever. I encourage health professionals to focus on the science of human milk and the physiology of lactation, to prioritize the evidence on the short and long term importance of human milk and breastfeeding for mothers, babies, and the society at large.”- Dr. Diane Spatz
Dr. Spatz is the recipient of numerous awards including: the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Research Utilization Award from Sigma Theta Tau International and the Dean’s Award for Exemplary Professional Practice from the University of Pennsylvania, and Nurse of the Year from the Philadelphia Inquirer Influencers of Health Care Awards. Furthermore, she was recently elected to Executive Committee of the International Society for Research in Human Milk & Lactation (ISRHML). When she is not busy saving the world, Dr. Spatz loves to travel. She enjoys the ocean more than anything in the world because she finds it very healing for the soul.
Congratulations Dr. Spatz! Thank you for your immense contributions to the health of families and education of health professionals.
Some Relevant Links:
Today’s CHEER Champion is Zahra Koopaei, BA, WIC Bureau Chief for the Houston Health Department. Zahra was nominated for her long and outstanding service as a proponent of breastfeeding and leader for WIC Project 26 Houston and for honoring our invitation to speak at the last CHAMPS conference.
Zahra, an Iranian native, immigrated to the United States in 1979 to join her spouse and pursue higher education. She obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Food and Nutritional Science at Texas Southern University in 1985 and worked as a dietetic technician for six years. In 1992, she joined the City of Houston - WIC Project 26 as a Nutritionist, and she has worked there for the last 28 years. In 2016, she became the WIC Bureau Chief for Project 26.
“I always love seeing how WIC can meet the needs of the community. It is rewarding to be able to support those moms who may not have anyone to understand their concerns or needs about breastfeeding.” – Zahra Koopaei, WIC Bureau Chief for the Houston Health Department
Zahra has always been an ardent believer in breastfeeding, and after 27 years of working with WIC, she has observed how important breast milk is for child growth and development. The challenges she faced while breastfeeding her own sons motivated her to build a career in breastfeeding promotion and education. She is passionate about making breastfeeding training fun and interactive in a way that is compassionate and supportive of moms, especially first time moms. As the Houston WIC Chief, Zahra encourages creativity and collaboration within her department. She has spearheaded the production of multiple breastfeeding music videos and plays such as “Latch my Baby” and “Pump it Up”.
Zahra finds her work at WIC rewarding and very memorable. She described how the recent COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for WIC assistance and how apparent the role of WIC has become in the wellbeing of the community. “I was gratified to see how appreciative our clients were to receive these services, and how our team have come up with creative ways to serve the community while observing social distancing, which is hard for us because we love hugging,” Zahra shared.
Throughout her career, Zahra has earned multiple accolades in her field. She is passionate about cooking, which was what led her into the Nutrition field! She loves cooking for friends and family, as well as her staff at work. She feels blessed by the progression of her career throughout the last 28 years.
Congratulations Zahra, thank you for your many years of service to Houston families through the WIC program!
Read more about Zahra's team, Houston Health Department WIC here.
CHEER Champion of the week
Each Monday (besides public holidays), we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the support they have provided for CHEER, CHAMPS, or the general public.