CPBF-FBPC was founded in 2012 by Katharina Staub together with experts and stakeholders. Katharina is the mother of preterm twins born at 27 weeks gestation in 2008 in Edmonton, Alberta. Her children were fortunate to have access to very good care. During the twins’ stay in hospital many experiences were distressing and new. Katharina was convinced that there needed to be an increase in public awareness about prematurity and better information and education of parents during pregnancy and after the birth of their baby. In 2009, Katharina decided that she wanted to become active with the NICU Family Advisory Care Team at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
Katharina and a number of stakeholders decided there was a need for a national Canadian organization for premature babies and their families. CPBF-FBPC has become a voice for premature babies and their families across Canada. Katharina is excited to see that the peer support community is growing, educational materials are being made available for families and the Foundation is participating in research projects. World Prematurity Day on November 17 has become a widely known event in many hospitals across Canada.
Board of Directors
Kate Robson, Executive Director
Kate is what some might call a “repeat offender”. Her first daughter was born in 2005 at 25 weeks, weighing 500 grams. Her 2nd daughter was a slightly more robust 32-weeker born in 2007. She has spent time as a patient and as a parent in 4 different hospitals and 3 different NICUs. She worked in one of those NICUs as a Family Support Specialist, offering support to families and helping the unit deliver family centred care.
Her background in Adult Education and Community Mediation, when combined with her personal experiences, helps her bring families and staff together as collaborators. She was co-chair of the Canadian Family Advisory Network, is a Family Faculty representative for the Vermont Oxford Network, and has had the opportunity to present at conferences such as the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses Annual Conference, the Gravens Conference on the Physical and Developmental Environment of the High Risk Infant, the International Conference on Patient- and Family-Centered Care, and the Annual Conference of the Australian College of Neonatal Nurses.
Denise Clarke, Director
Denise Clarke is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) in Edmonton, Alberta. She is employed with Alberta Health Services and works at the Stollery Children’s tertiary care Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the University of Alberta Hospital. She also works at the Sturgeon Community Hospital, where she and her colleagues mentor and assist the Labor and Delivery staff with neonatal resuscitations.
Denise has worked in the NICU since she graduated in 1993 and has been an NNP since 1999. Her passions include family centered care and quality improvement. She is involved in many quality improvement projects for the hospitals where she is employed Denise is married with two young boys and is extremely excited to be a board member of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation
Lisa Christie Torreggiani, Director
Lisa enjoys life in North Vancouver with her children, Luc (16), Ava (12), husband Paul and lab/retriever, Gabe. Although she has called North Vancouver home for most of her life, she and Paul lived in Montreal for three years, where they started their family Luc was born in 2000 and was 10 weeks early so they spent six weeks at the Jewish General Hospital where Luc received outstanding care. Although her preterm baby was born 16 years ago, Lisa is surprised that little has changed in terms of awareness, despite the increased number of preterm births in Canada.
Lisa has a degree in Communications from SFU and considers herself an amateur writer among other things. Her varied professional life spans three decades and includes sales and marketing in the ski and pharmaceutical industries. In addition to this she enjoyed a number of years working in the Vancouver Film Industry. She is currently appreciating the luxury of being at home full-time with her family and counts it as the most challenging, rewarding and important job of her career to date!
Lisa is passionate about sharing knowledge and values being a board member of the CPBF and working with key stake holders, the pre term community and the public to demystify and humanize the preterm experience.
Dr. Jennifer Toye, Director
Jennifer is a Consultant Neonatologist in the Northern Alberta Neonatal Intensive Care Program at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. She was born and raised in Saskatchewan. She completed her pediatrics training at the University of Saskatchewan and her neonatal perinatal medicine training at the University of Alberta. Jennifer attended the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, England to obtain her Masters in Public Health.
Her special interests are maternal and child public health, family centred care, perinatal epidemiology and early childhood development. As a neonatologist, Jennifer works with premature infants and their families on a daily basis; although she believes that medical advances will continue to help individual patients, she believes the key to reducing prematurity will be prevention at the community level.
She feels privileged to have been a member of the NICU Family Advisory Care Team (FACT) at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton in 2010-11. It is during this experience that she discovered the power and enthusiasm of parents of premature infants to advocate for their children and educate the public. Therefore she is very excited to become involved on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation to collaborate with parents and contribute to advocating for the interests of premature babies.
Carolyn Leighton-Hilborn, Director
Carolyn is a mother to three premature children. In May 2008 Carolyn’s first son was born unexpectedly and with no time to spare at 31 weeks and 3 days gestation in Cambridge, Ontario. His NICU stay was uncomplicated and did not prepare Carolyn or her husband for the arrival and NICU experience they went through two years later in 2010 with their identical twins, who arrived at 27 weeks and 5 days. Carolyn’s twins were also born in Cambridge and transported to McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, where they would spend 93 and 112 days before discharge. The twins’ hospital stay was filled with complications and uncertainty. Carolyn spent up to 12 hours a day in the neonatal intensive care unit, feeling her children would cope better with her by their bedsides, participating in all aspects of their health care and daily routine. Carolyn’s twins were discharged home and into the care of many specialists and service providers.
During her time off work with her young children, Carolyn began writing and communicating with organizations and interest groups discussing the topic of prematurity awareness and her passion for the promotion of prematurity awareness was born. Carolyn is an employment counsellor, working for a social service agency, supports families of multiple-births babies as a public health Peer Health Worker and works with Multiple Births Canada.
Carolyn is passionate about personal and family well-being; physical health and mental health, and enjoys researching supports and services regionally and nationally for families in need of answers and support. Carolyn graduated from York University with a BA, Sociology and Conestoga College with a post-graduate certificate as a Career Development Practitioner.
Amy Outschoorn, Director
Amy is the Director, Continuing Professional Development at The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). In this capacity, she is responsible for providing strategic direction and oversight of the MAINPRO® program to support and promote the continuous professional development of family physicians across Canada. Amy earned her Master’s degree in Education from York University, a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from the University of Guelph and holds her certified training and design professional designation from the Canadian Society of Training and Development.
In 2009, Amy’s twin boys Jonathan and Alexander were born unexpectedly at 30 weeks, and spent almost two months in the NICU at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. As an executive in medical education and the mother of premature twins, Amy was delighted to join the Board of Directors for the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation in 2014.