About Us

The California Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC) is a grassroots coalition of 43 community breastfeeding coalitions, as well as public and private partnerships that have broad reach within California’s communities. Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of Californians by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

To accomplish our mission, the CBC works to create and strengthen collaborative relationships among state and local organizations, government agencies, hospitals and health care providers, employers and community-based breastfeeding support organizations throughout California. The aim of these collaborative efforts is to remove all barriers to breastfeeding in California.

Our Story

In May 2003, facilitated by Dr. Jane Heinig of the UC Davis Human Lactation Center, representatives from community breastfeeding coalitions came together to discuss forming a statewide breastfeeding coalition to build a unified movement to increase California’s stagnant breastfeeding rates. Up until that time, local breastfeeding coalitions had been working independently on activities to promote breastfeeding in their communities. An agreement to form a statewide breastfeeding coalition was reached and a leadership team representing community breastfeeding coalitions was created.

In October 2007, under the fiscal sponsorship of the California WIC Association (CWA), the small and dedicated leadership team of breastfeeding advocates assumed responsibility to incorporate the coalition and apply for the nonprofit 501(c)3 status. The CBC was officially recognized as a corporation in April 2011 and received its official nonprofit 501(c)3 status in January 2013, with an effective date of January 18, 2011.

Since its formation in 2003, the CBC has focused its efforts on supporting the work of community breastfeeding coalitions, increasing workplace lactation accommodation programs, increasing the number of hospitals that adopt the Baby-Friendly Hospital Ten Steps and ensuring that women in California receive high-quality breastfeeding support services throughout the continuum of care.

Our recent accomplishments include:

CBC Board of Directors 2016

The CBC Board of Directors represent the length and breadth of California, and our diverse delivery systems for lactation services.

Ernie HeadshotErnelyn J. Navarro, DM, BCC, LCSW

  • As a social worker with 27 years experience,  Dr. Ernelyn J. Navarro is passionate about empowering and helping people and communities. As a leader  and a Board Certified Coach, she coaches/mentors other professionals to create, live, and leave meaningful legacies. She currently works at St. Joseph Health—St. Mary in Apple Valley, CA as Manager of Community Outreach and Education.  She served as the Project Manager for their Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and they earned their designation in 2008. She joined the CBC Board in February 2012. Ernie believes she is called to serve others for a common good!

Mary HeadshotMary Woelfel, MPH, IBCLC

  • Mary Woelfel is the Coordinator of San Joaquin County’s Public Health Breastfeeding Initiative. Mary received her MPH in Public Health Education from UC Berkeley and is an IBCLC.  She also serves as the President of the Breastfeeding Coalition of San Joaquin County.



Ifeyinwa Asiodu, PhD, RN, IBCLC

  • Ifeyinwa Asiodu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing. As a researcher, registered nurse, and lactation consultant, Ifeyinwa is extremely passionate about improving breastfeeding rates in the African American community. The overall goal of Dr. Asiodu’s program of research is to reduce infant feeding disparities in the African American community while developing culturally appropriate, evidence based interventions geared toward empowering African American families to make healthier infant feeding choices. She has been an active member of the San Mateo Breastfeeding Advisory Council since 2007 and participates in  various committees, community-based organizations, and national organizations aimed at achieving equity in breastfeeding and childbirth. Ifeyinwa received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Southern  California and her Master’s and PhD from UCSF School of Nursing.

GiniGini Baker, RN, MPH, IBCLC

  • Gini Baker has over 25 years experience in the medical and professional lactation field. Gini developed and coordinates the lactation programs for the University of California San Diego which includes Lactation Specialist for the Baby Friendly training, the Certified Lactation Educator program, and the LEAARC approved Lactation Consultant program. Gini developed and coordinates the first university based, fully online lactation education program. Gini is an active member of ILCA and serves on several professional development committees as well as being a speaker for the annual ILCA conference. She is an international trainer for the lactation profession and brings humor to learning and change. Gini has 2 daughters and 7 fully breastfed grandchildren. In her spare time, Gini, with her husband Don, is a member of the San Diego Swim Masters and competes in local, national, and international masters swimming events and competitive ocean swimming.

Denise HeadshotDenise Breheny, BSN, RNC-MNN, IBCLC

  • Denise Breheny, RN, IBCLC is currently the Baby-Friendly Project Director for Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. Prior to becoming a lactation consultant she was a Research Site Coordinator for Vanderbilt University. She was inspired to become a Lactation Consultant 20 years ago after she experienced her own breastfeeding challenges. As an IBCLC she has operated a private practice as well as worked in a variety of hospital settings. She is currently working towards a Master’s of Science degree in Nursing Education.


Susan Crowe, MD




Oky Gerell, MD

Kelly Philipson, MSN, RN, CNML, MBA

Devona Robertson, IBCLC

Grace YeeGrace Yee, IBCLC

  • Grace Yee, IBCLC, is the Breastfeeding Promotion Coordinator and the Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Supervisor with the San Francisco Department of Public Health WIC Program where she has worked since 2009 and for the department since 1987. She participates in various committees to support breastfeeding, advocate for lactation accommodation and support hospitals to move towards Baby Friendly designation. She is an active member on the Board of Directors of San Francisco Breastfeeding Promotion Coalition, charter member of the San Francisco Food Security Task Force Breastfeeding Promotion Committee, and member of the Healthy Mothers’ Workplace Coalition.

CBC Staff

Robbie Gonzalez-Dow, MPH, RD, CLE
Executive Director

  • Robbie Gonzalez-Dow, a registered dietitian and certified lactation educator, has been supporting and working with the CBC since the beginning. Robbie is a seasoned public health advocate with many years of experience in grass-roots engagement, community organizing and media advocacy around nutrition and breastfeeding issues. Her work experience ranges from providing direct nutrition and breastfeeding services to writing and advocating for breastfeeding policy and legislation. She is extremely passionate in forwarding action to remove barriers to breastfeeding so that mothers can fulfill their breastfeeding goals. Robbie received her Bachelor of Science from California State University, Fresno and her Master’s in Public Health from UC Berkeley. Robbie lives in Pacific Grove with her husband, two dogs and one cat where they own and operate a fitness studio.
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