Speaker Biographies

Maysa Leak | Maureen Doolan Boyle | Steve Berman | Diane Stanton | Amy Yarns

Maysa Leak
Jazz Vocalist and Mother

Renowned jazz vocalist, Maysa Leak was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She
began singing when she was a 3-year-old, using the coffee table as her stage and demanding that family and friends be her audience. Years later her drive to perform turned into an audition for Stevie Wonder. Blown away by the performance, Wonder asked Maysa to work on his next project, the Jungle Fever Movie Soundtrack. Soon after that happened, the winds of change, and a transatlantic phone audition, carried Maysa to London to be the lead vocalist for an acid-jazz band called Incognito. For several years, Maysa sang for the band, achieving international success.

During a performance in Japan when Maysa was six month’s pregnant, her
water broke while she was on stage. She had to be rushed to the hospital
where she gave birth 15 weeks early. Maysa’s baby, aptly named Jazz,
suffered complications from prematurity, including complications from
respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Now she is helping to raise awareness
about RSV risks and prevention in order to help new mothers learn about the
disease. Maysa’s heart-wrenching story is an inspiration for mothers.

Maysa has released three solo albums. The third album “Out of the Blue”
is dedicated to her son. She is again working with Incognito and will
begin touring with them this year while promoting her fourth album, "Smooth Sailing", due out this fall.

Maureen Doolan Boyle
Executive Director, PreemieCare and MOST

Maureen Doolan Boyle is the Executive Director and a founding member of PreemieCare and MOST (Mothers of Supertwins), Inc. This organization is an international support network of families of triplets or more and was founded in 1987. PreemieCare, a division of MOST, was established in 2001, as a support network for families of preemies, whether or not they’re multiples, and to raise awareness about respiratory syncytial virus. Boyle is acting editor for MOST magazine SUPERTWINS and is considered an expert in multiple births and RSV education.

Boyle authored The NICU Notebook: A Parents’ Journal and previously wrote for TWINS magazine. She helped write and introduce the Safe Motherhood Act to Congress in 1996 and was a consultant for the Learning Channel series SuperTwins. She was recognized as the 1999 March of Dimes Women of Distinction and has appeared many times as a guest on NBC’s Today show. She was also featured in a three-page article in People magazine.

Maureen Doolan Boyle is a graduate of Marist College and presently resides on Long Island with her husband and five children, three of which are triplets.

Steve Berman, M.D., F.A.A.P

Steve Berman, M.D. F.A.A.P. is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, head of Primary Care Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital in Denver and Director of the Children’s Outcomes Research Center. As a former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, he is a leader in child advocacy, child health policy, clinical and outcomes research, international health and pediatric education.

Dr. Berman has authored six child health bills to provide health insurance to low-income children, require seat belt use, and mandate immunizations and preventive care in insurance plans. His research has been supported by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization where he acted as an advisor of acute respiratory infections in more than 80 developing countries. He is the author of the pediatric textbook, Pediatric Decision Making.

Dr. Berman is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He completed his pediatric training at the University of Colorado. He has two sons Seth and Ben and his wife, Elaine Berman, currently serves as president of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education.

Diane Stanton, MA, RNC
Mt. Sinai Hospital, NY

Diane Stanton, MA, RNC has been a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse for 26 years and has a specialized certification in that area. She is a member of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses. Her clinical experiences include educating families and staff about issues related to the care of sick neonates and premature infants, co-leading a NICU parent support group and preparing families for discharge. She has presented various relating neonatal topics at Mt. Sinai conferences and Nursing Grand Rounds.

Diane is a CPR instructor and a Regional NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program) instructor. Currently, she is the Clinical Nurse Manager of a 35 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at The Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Amy Yarns
Mother of Premature Quadruplets

Amy Yarns is the mother of six. In February 1998, she gave birth to quadruplets at 31½ weeks gestation, Tiana at 3 lbs 7 ozs, Chase at 2 lbs 2 ozs, Rhys at 3 lbs 12 ozs and Trey at 3 lbs 8 ozs. The quadruplets had a healthy birth and three were discharged from the hospital after three weeks. The fourth remained for further monitoring.

Within a week of bringing her children home, all three fell ill one after the other. The babies were diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This escalated to double pneumonia in Trey. He had such difficulty breathing that Yarns had to his mouth open on the way to the hospital so that he could breathe. Ultimately, all three were admitted to the hospital for care and two were transferred to a children’s hospital two hours away. In the NICU, the preemies were isolated, put on ventilators and given vaporized mist and oxygen. All three of the babies that were re-admitted to the hospital with RSV recovered; the following year all four received Synagis, a preventative medication, which prevented them from contracting RSV again.

Yarns shares her experience with others so that new parents know how to safeguard their preemies, what the warning signs of RSV are and the preventive measures families can take to protect their precious babies. Yarns’ quadruplets are now five years old. Her other children Blaise and Ross are 15 and 12 respectively.

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