Parent Advisory Board

Mandy Daly is a parent of a preterm infant born in 2006 and is a co-founder and Director of Advocacy and Policy Making with the Irish Neonatal Health Alliance (INHA). She has been advocating for improved, family-centred and standardised neonatal care in Ireland for the past 11 years. 

The INHA network created and facilitates the collaborative platform for Irish healthcare professionals, educators, industry partners, government officials and researchers to partner together. Mandy holds the patient collaborator role on several national and international research projects.

She oversees neonatal curriculum reviews, lectures to neonatal, medical and nursing students and is active on several health system review projects. Mandy Daly is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI and is a board member of the NIDCAP Federation International.

Paula Guerra is one of the founders of the Portuguese preemies association XXS – Associação Portuguesa de Apoio ao Bebé Prematuro, being an executive board member of XXS since the creation of the association in November 2008. She has two daughters, one born in 1993 as a term baby and a second one, an extremely preterm born girl, born in 2001 with 26 weeks of gestation and 615g of weight.

Since 1993, Paula worked in IT development departments of three diferent Portuguese banks and she is since 2010 the Head Talent Management of the IT Department in one of those Portuguese banks. Paula Guerra is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Dr Tomasz Makaruk is the founder and Chairman of the Polish Premature Baby Foundation (Fundacja Wczesniak Rodzice-Rodzicom), which has existed since 2004, shortly after Tomasz became a father to a preemie born in week 29 at 1600 g.

Tomasz holds a PhD in Economics from the Warsaw School of Economics and also completed a course in Managing Professional Service Firms at Harvard Business School Executive Education. During his work with the Premature Baby Foundation, Tomasz was also the co-creator of a highly successful fundraising campaign for the organisation in 2010.

Over the past 15 years Tomasz has worked in both management and executive positions within the marketing departments of top international corporations. Tomasz also co-owns and manages a marketing firm specialised in building brand loyalty. Tomasz is an active communicator and in addition to keeping a blog on marketing and economics, he has written a number of articles that have appeared in the press. Dr Tomasz Makaruk is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Livia Nagy Bonnard has been one of the founding members of Right(s) beside you Association. The Association brings together doctors, medical professionals, policy makers, NGOs and the parents of preterm children in order to improve the quality of care. She deals mainly with parental support, especially giving advice to parents who have special needs children.

Her work has been involved in different forums for parents of special needs children from 2006 onward. Though born in Hungary, she now lives on the French Swiss border, so she has a deep insight into the NICU system in Hungary, France and Switzerland. She is a mother of 4 children, 3 girls, and a preemie boy who was born at gestational week 27 and who suffered from PVL. Livia is a trained nurse, she worked mostly with babies and children in cardiac departments and a CICU (cardiac intensive care unit).

Livia Nagy Bonnard is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Dr Gert van Steenbrugge is father of two preterm children, born respectively at 34 and 26 weeks of pregnancy. He is former director of the Dutch parent organisation VOC (‘Vereniging van Ouders van Couveusekinderen’).

Gert holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and worked for many years in biomedical research. Having this background, his special interest and activities for the VOC organisation has always been focused at medical advocacy work. In close cooperation with care providers he is involved in aftercare and follow-up programmes, was member of several guideline committees, participates in research groups and represented parents in the Call-to-Action NL platform, a local continuation of the EFCNI initiative.

Along with parents and professionals, he was the founder of the ‘Neokeurmerk’, a quality mark for the Neonatology and the Mother and Child centres of the Dutch hospitals. This programme is based on the parent perspective, with the focus on developmental and family-centered care. Dr Gert van Steenbrugge is member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Dr Eleni Vavouraki is a pulmonologist with a PhD in pulmonary rehabilitation; she is also specialised in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. After becoming an aunt of triplets, that were born very prematurely (26+4), she together with the triplet’s parents co-founded the association Ilitominon, of which she is the President since 2011.

She has a wide teaching experience as a professor at Faculty of Health and Caring Professions of the Technological Educational Institute of Athens for 23 years. She is now working as a medical advisor in a Natural Products company, meanwhile she is teaching postgraduate courses in the Medical School of the University of Thessaly.

Eleni is also member of Therapeutic Riding Association of Greece, a NGO where children with disabilities (mainly due to prematurity) are helped to cope by improving their physical and psychological condition. Dr Eleni Vavouraki is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Yannic Verhaest is Chairwoman of the Belgian parent organisation VVOC (Vlaamse Vereniging voor Ouders van Couveusekinderen). She joined the VVOC in 2007 as an active board member and became Chairwoman in 2013. She is mother of two children, the oldest born at 30 weeks of gestation.

Yannic is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, infant mental health specialist and works as psychotherapist and researcher at the UPC KU Leuven, at PraxisP (therapy centre of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science of KU Leuven), as well as affiliated staff of the Centre for Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychology at the University of Leuven.

She has been representing Belgium within EFCNI since the first joint parent organisations meeting in 2008. She collaborates closely with EFCNI to improve prevention of preterm birth and for the best possible care for preterm infants and their families in Belgium and Europe. She is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Mónica Virchez is mother of triplets born in 29 weeks of gestation in London, UK. She has been supporting professionally the organisation PREMATURA in Spain for many years.

She is a clinical psychologist as well as a trainer in baby massage, infant reflexology, skin-to-skin care. She has a post-degree-course in prematurity at the Italian Hospital in Argentina. In her daily work, she is in contact with issues like: attachment, bonding, skin-to-skin care, baby massage, breastfeeding, follow-up, pregnancy, baby body language, stress and burnout in mothers with multiple births, Brazelton, and NIDCAP. She has working experience in the development of small babies and children as well as support of parents and families of preterm infants.

Mónica is a member of different Spanish and European associations and foundations related with prematurity and multiple births. She is in regular contact with professionals from other countries. Mónica is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.