NEC Society Board of Directors

The NEC Society’s Board of Directors governs the organization and is dedicated to advancing our vision of a world without NEC. Our Board members include patient families, clinicians, researchers, advocates, and diverse stakeholders who share a commitment to improving outcomes for infants and their families. The Board collaborates with staff to accelerate NEC research, education, and advocacy. Our Board Members oversee the organization’s budget, provide strategic guidance, raise awareness and philanthropic support through their networks, and make personal contributions to support the NEC Society’s mission.

We are grateful to the NEC Society’s Board of Directors:

Martin Blakely, MD, MS

Martin is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt.  He is currently the lead PI of two federally funded national pediatric surgical randomized trials. His main research interest involves multicenter comparative effectiveness trials, especially those focusing on patient safety.  He also founded and currently leads the Pediatric Surgery Research Collaborative.

Samir K. Gadepalli, MD, MBA

Samir is a pediatric surgeon at the University of Michigan. His clinical practice encompasses all aspects of pediatric surgery, including minimally invasive surgery, non-cardiac thoracic surgery, neonatal surgery, hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, surgical oncology, abdominal, colorectal and genitourinary abnormalities, trauma and critical care. On a personal note, he has 4 children, from elementary to high school, who keep him well grounded and up-to-date on all the newest trends.

Jolene Jacobs, MBA

Jolene is the General Manager of Caliper Commercial Ingredients, a division of Caliper Foods. Prior to joining Caliper, Jolene had established a presence for herself as an award-winning medical marketing, sales, and operations professional known for leading with a passionate, entrepreneurial spirit and a keen focus on infant health & nutrition. Jolene was responsible for helping to start Evolve BioSystems, a spin-off from the Foods for Health Institute (FFHI) at the University of California, Davis, and launch their infant probiotic Evivo. She brings over 25 years of experience from leading retail, consumer packaged goods, and ingredient companies. A long-time supporter of the NEC Society, Jolene is thrilled to contribute to a world without NEC.

Adam Masin, Esq.

Adam is a partner at the law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, and has a national practice representing physicians, medical institutions, and pharmaceutical/medical device companies in negligence and product liability litigation. Adam represents Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University, and he was the lead lawyer in the case involving a contaminated probiotic in a baby with NEC who tragically died.

Amena Mebane, Esq.

Amena graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in American Studies Honors with an emphasis in Race, Law and Social Movements. After completing her undergraduate studies, Amena attended the University of Washington, School of Law where she graduated Order of Barristers. She served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Seattle for five years doing rotations in the District Court, Felony Trial and Domestic Violence units. After moving back home to California in 2016, Amena has enjoyed her work as a mother, wife and estate manager. In January 2019, Amena and her husband lost their youngest daughter, Makenna, to NEC at 7 weeks old. Amena is hopeful to use her advocacy skills to help create a world without NEC.

Rebecca Meuninck, Ph.D.

Rebecca is the Deputy Director for the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based non-profit working to protect human health and the environment. She has worked on environmental health and environmental justice issues for more than 17 years. Rebecca coordinates the environmental health work for the Ecology Center and the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health and serves on the steering committees of several state and national environmental health coalitions. In the wake of the Flint Water Crisis, Rebecca was appointed by Governor Snyder to the state’s Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission. Rebecca’s work centers around her passion for protecting children’s health. Rebecca holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a graduate specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change from Michigan State University, and a BS from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.

Susan Perez, MPH, PhD

Susan focuses research on understanding consumers’ decision-making processes in order to develop healthcare policies, information, and resources to promote high value decisions. Dr. Perez has conducted studies that classified approaches to processing Internet health information among vulnerable populations; addressed statewide overuse of healthcare services; identified approaches for patients and providers to discuss cost; developed a statewide campaign to address variation in C-section rates by working with both patients and hospitals; and illuminated consumers’ views of cost sharing, quality and network choice. Prior to her appointment as an assistant professor at California State University, Sacramento, Dr. Perez completed a postdoctoral fellowship in quality, safety, and comparative effectiveness research and earned a doctorate in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership program at the University of California, Davis.

Lindsay M. Pollak, MBA

Lindsay is the head of global programs and analytics for McKinsey & Company’s Diversity and Inclusion function; she is part of a global team focused on developing strategy and implementing key initiatives to ensure that McKinsey develops, advances, and retains the best talent. She has extensive consulting experience focusing on organizational transformation and design. Lindsay has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in international relations and a secondary major in economics from Stanford University. She lives in California with her family.

Jenny Quinn, PhD, NNP-BC

Jenny is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at NorthBay Healthcare and serves on the Perinatal Quality Improvement Panel for the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative. Dr. Quinn has practiced neonatal nursing for 20 years and has cared for dozens of infants and their families who have been affected by NEC.

Simone Rosito, MBA

Tom and Dani’s auntie, Simone holds a degree in Management and International Relations by the University of Aberdeen, a Masters in Middle East Politics, from the University of Durham and is currently specializing in Social Projects. With a long international career in Latin American Equities desks, Simone has lived in the UK and Australia and is a keen traveler with a taste for exotic locations. Her trips to places such as Syria, Bhutan and Algeria resulted in the book “Oh My Buddha” soon to be available in English and proceeds to be donated to Instituto PGG.

Noelle Sechrest, RDN

Noelle is a Regional Director for Cognoa, a pediatric behavioral health company. She is also a Registered Dietitian with over 20 years of experience that includes healthcare leadership and new business development in the infant nutrition and microbiome industry. Her passion for making a lasting impact on all infants and children is what keeps her motivated. Noelle is delighted to be supporting NEC Society’s mission, a world without NEC.


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