2010 Presenter Biographies

March 24, 2010

Presenters at Drugs, Pregnancy and Parenting: What the Experts Have to Say Part II include:

Marylou Behnke, MD is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine in the Division of Neonatology and Co-Director of the North Central Early Steps, a part of Florida’s early intervention program. Dr. Behnke’s research focuses on the effects of perinatal risk, including medical, genetic, environmental, and psychosocial factors, on long-term outcomes for children. Dr. Behnke has served on the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Abuse, the Florida Medical Association Committee on Substance Abuse, and the Florida Pediatric Society Committee on Substance Abuse. She has served on numerous grant review committees for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Addiction Medicine, and is an ad hoc reviewer for numerous medical journals.

Fonda Davis Eyler, PhD is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine in the Division of Neonatology and Co-Director of the North Central Early Steps Program. Dr. Eyler’s research focuses on the developmental effects of early and on-going risk factors, including prenatal drug exposure. She has served on state committees developing regulations regarding substance-exposed newborns, including the Drug Exposed Infants/Families Committee of the Governor’s Drug Policy Task Force. Dr. Eyler has reviewed numerous grants for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and manuscripts for professional journals. She has been actively involved in governance at the departmental, college and university levels. Dr. Eyler was recognized as a “Woman of Distinction” by the UF Association of Academic Women and a “Distinguished Psychologist” by the North Central Florida Psychological Association.

Dr. Eyler and Dr. Behnke have been research partners since 1991. Together they have been awarded numerous grants to evaluate the long-term effects on children of maternal cocaine use during pregnancy. Their research, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and the University of Florida, has focused on a longitudinal cohort of 308 prenatally cocaine-exposed and non-exposed children from rural Florida. Both Drs. Eyler and Behnke have received UF Research Professorship, Sustained Academic Excellence and Top Funded Researcher Awards, and their research has resulted in three dozen published research articles, as well as numerous abstracts and presentations.

Martin F. Guggenheim, JD is the Boxer Family Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law. Professor Guggenheim has served as Director of Clinical and Advocacy Programs, Executive Director of Washington Square Legal Services, Inc., and for 15 years taught the Juvenile Rights Clinic in which students represented accused juvenile delinquents in New York’s Family Court. He later created the Family Defense Clinic, which represents parents and other adult relatives of children in foster care in New York City.

One of the nation’s foremost experts on children’s rights and family law, Professor Guggenheim has argued leading cases on juvenile delinquency and termination of parental rights in the Supreme Court of the United States. He has published more than 40 book chapters and articles in leading law reviews in the United States, and is the author of five books on children and parents. His most recent book, What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights, was published by Harvard University Press in 2005.

Carl L. Hart, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology in both the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University, and Director of the Residential Studies and Methamphetamine Research Laboratories at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. A major focus of his research is to understand complex interactions between drug abuse and the neurobiology and environmental factors that mediate human behavior and physiology. He is the author or co-author of dozens of peer-reviewed scientific articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology, co-author of the textbook Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior, and a member of an NIH review group. Dr. Hart was recently elected to Fellow status by the American Psychological Association (Division 28) for his outstanding contribution to the field of psychology, specifically psychopharmacology and substance abuse. In addition to his substantial research responsibilities, Dr. Hart teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and was recently awarded Columbia University's highest teaching award.

Sabra Jackson is currently the coordinator for the city-wide Parent Advocate Network, a professional network within New York City designed to cultivate and formalize the role of the Parent Advocates in the child welfare system. This network was created through collaboration between The Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) and the Parent Advocate Initiative. Ms. Jackson also has the distinction of being the only Parent Advocate on the New York State Child Welfare Court Improvement Project in Albany. Ms. Jackson is a graduate of CWOP's 2005 East Harlem Parent Leadership Curriculum. She has worked with Voices of Women, a self-help advocacy organization for survivors of domestic violence, with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Parent Advisory Work Group, and was formerly a member of the ACS City-Wide Head Start Policy Council. Ms. Jackson has an understanding of child welfare policy and practice as both a client and a service provider. She is the proud single mother of two children: Sabra Inez (12yrs) and Peyton Ulysses (5yrs).

Gretchen Lord, LCSW is an 18-year veteran of the Center for Family Life (CFL), an organization that has provided free comprehensive family support services to the residents of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for the past 31 years. Originally hired as a caseworker in CFL’s Neighborhood Foster Family Program, Ms. Lord currently serves as the Director of the Beacon Preventive Services program. In 2005, Ms. Lord initiated CFL’s ParentShip Program, which supports parents to improve parenting skills, and reduces social isolation by connecting parents and community resources. Ms. Lord provides both clinical and administrative supervision. The families she serves face difficult challenges such as family trauma, foster care placement, domestic violence, as well as issues involving drugs, alcohol and mental health. She has presented on CFL’s innovative programs, which have become blueprints for reorganizing the New York City foster care system, at national and international venues.

Lynn M. Paltrow, JD is the Founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women. A graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law, Ms. Paltrow has served as a Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, Director of Special Litigation at the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, and Vice President for Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of New York City. Her honors include the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellowship, the Georgetown Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship, the Justice Gerald Le Dain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law and the 2008 National Women’s Health Network’s Barbara Seaman Award for Activism in Women's Health. Women’s E-news selected Ms. Paltrow as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century in 2005.

Jane M. Spinak, JD is the Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law. A member of the Columbia faculty since 1982, she co-founded the Child Advocacy Clinic, which currently represents adolescents aging out of foster care. During the mid-1990s, Professor Spinak served as attorney-in-charge of the Juvenile Rights Division of The Legal Aid Society of New York City. From 2001 to 2006, she was the director of clinical education at the law school. In 2002, she became the founding chair of the board of the Center for Family Representation, an advocacy and policy organization dedicated to ensuring the procedural and substantive rights of parents in child-welfare proceedings. Professor Spinak is a member of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children. She has served on numerous tasks forces and committees addressing the needs and rights of children and families and has trained and lectured widely on those issues to lawyers, social workers and other mental health professionals. She has authored books and articles for child advocates and judges on child welfare and Family Court matters including a Permanency Planning Judicial Benchbook. Her current research focuses on Family Court reform as discussed in Adding Value to Families: The Potential of Model Family Courts (2002 Wisconsin Law Review 332) and Romancing the Court (Family Court Review, April 2008). In 2005, Professor Spinak was named a Human Rights Hero for her work on behalf of children by the ABA’s Human Rights Magazine. In 2008 she was awarded the Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare by the New York State Bar Association. Professor Spinak is currently co-chairing the Task Force on Family Court in New York City recently established by the New York County Lawyer’s Association.