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Advisory Board

Attachment Parenting International's Advisory Board members are experts in their professional fields, giving advice, lending their expertise, and supporting the mission and vision of API.

Stephen J. Bavolek, PhD

President of Family Development Resources, Inc.

Stephen J. Bavolek, PhD Advisory Board

Stephen J. Bavolek, PhD, is a recognized leader in the fields of child abuse and neglect treatment and prevention and parenting education. Dr. Bavolek's professional background includes working with emotionally disturbed children and adolescents in schools and residential settings and with abused children and abusive parents in treatment programs.

Dr. Bavolek has conducted extensive research in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. He has conducted over 1,000 workshops, has appeared on more than 50 radio and television talk show programs, and has published numerous books, articles, programs, and newsletters.

He is the principal author of the Nurturing Parenting Programs©, designed to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect, and the Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAPI), an inventory designed to assess high risk parenting attitudes. Dr. Bavolek is President of Family Development Resources, Inc., and Executive Director of Family Nurturing Centers International.


Sir Richard Bowlby, Bt.

Nurturings' Advisory Board

Sir Richard Bowlby, Bt. Advisory Board

Richard Bowlby, the son of Dr. John Bowlby who first developed attachment theory, worked as a scientific photographer in various medical research institutions where he produced visual aids for communicating research findings.

He retired in 1999 to promote a wider understanding of attachment theory to healthcare practitioners and interested lay people. His present concern is the psychological impact on babies and toddlers being cared for by unfamiliar people in day care who do not develop long-term secondary attachment bonds to one caregiver.

He also gives lectures to a wide range of health care professionals using video material and personal insights to promote a much broader understanding of his father's work on attachment theory. He focuses on wider audiences using video material to help communicate the emotional significance of "Attachment Theory," a potentially dry academic subject with very personally challenging significance.

He supports a range of organizations that address various attachment issues and is seeking ways to help the general public benefit from a better understanding of childhood attachment relationships. His eventual goal is to find ways of "crossing the species barrier" between academics and the general public, to liberate the professional knowledge of attachment theory into the population at large. He is developing a broader knowledge of associated subjects, especially the emerging research about the role of fathers and the long-term significance of their early relationships with their children.


Isabelle Fox, PhD

Psychotherapist & Author 

Isabelle Fox, PhD Advisory Board

Dr. Fox received degrees from Harvard/Radcliffe College and UCLA. For 35 years, she was a practicing psychotherapist at the Western Psychological Center, in Encino, California, specializing in parent-child relationships and developmental issues. For 10 years, she was the senior mental health consultant for Operation Head Start in Los Angeles, and she is a frequent lecturer on child development issues.

She is the author of Being There: The Benefits of a Stay-at-Home Parent (Barron's, 1996) and Growing Up: Attachment Parenting from Kindergarten to College (Sun Publishers, 2003) and The Prospective Spouse Checklist: Evaluating Your Potential Partner. Dr. Fox has posted two articles online dealing with custody and visitation issues involving infants and young children.

She lives in Sherman Oaks, California, and was a stay-at-home parent for ten years. She and her husband are the proud parents of two sons, one daughter, and seven grandchildren.


Lu Hanessian

Advisory Board

Lu Hanessian Advisory Board

Lu Hanessian is author of the acclaimed memoir Let the Baby Drive: Navigating the Road of New Motherhood (St. Martin's Press, 2004), veteran TV journalist and former NBC anchor of Real Life, Discovery Health Channel host of Make Room for Baby, weekly newspaper parenting columnist, national speaker, and workshop facilitator.

She is the founder of WYSH® (Wear Your Spirit for Humanity) - a unique brand of "socially-conscious" apparel and accessories for children and parents that promote attachment and connection - and is pioneering an educational approach and curriculum for gifted children with special needs called "ENGAGE." She and her husband are the grateful parents of two boys, ages 6 and 9.


Jan Hunt, MS

Child Psychologist & Director

Jan Hunt, MS Advisory Board

Jan Hunt, B.A. Psychology, M.Sc. Counseling Psychology, is the Director of the Natural Child Project, an attachment parenting/unschooling counselor, and a member of the Board of Directors of the CSPCC (Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). She is also a member of the advisory boards of Holistic Moms Network, Child-Friendly Initiative, and Attachment Parenting International.

Jan is the author of The Natural Child: Parenting From the Heart and the bilingual children's picture book A Gift for Baby, and co-edited The Unschooling Unmanual with her always-unschooled son, Jason. Many of her articles are available online at The Natural Child.

Jan envisions "a world in which all children are treated with dignity, respect, understanding, and compassion." She lives in central Oregon, and is available for telephone and email counseling worldwide.


William Sears, MD

Pediatrician and Author 

William Sears, MD Advisory Board

William Sears, one of America's most renowned pediatricians, is the father of 8 children, ages 15 to 40 years, author of over 40 books on childcare, and Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. A pediatrician for over 35 years, he currently lives and practices pediatrics along with his three sons Dr. Bob and Dr. Jim, and Dr. Pete in San Clemente, California.

Dr. Sears received his pediatric training at Harvard Medical School's Children's Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the largest children's hospital in the world, where he served as Associate Ward Chief of the newborn nursery and Associate Professor of Pediatrics. In addition to writing many books and scientific articles, Dr. Sears is a medical and parenting consultant to Baby Talk and Parenting Magazines. Dr. Sears is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Royal College of Pediatricians.

"Dr. Bill" (as his little patients call him) and Martha have been guests on over 100 television shows including 20/20, Donahue, Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS This Morning, CNN, The Today Show, Dateline, and, most recently, The Dr. Phil Show, where they are regular guests. Dr. Bill is the on-line pediatrician for William and Martha are best known for their Sears Parenting Library published by Little Brown: The Pregnancy Book, The Birth Book, The Baby Book, The Discipline Book, The Breastfeeding Book, The Fussy Baby Book, The A.D.D. Book, The Family Nutrition Book, The Premature Baby Book, The Baby Sleep Book, and The Healthiest Kid In The Neighborhood.


Mary Elizabeth Curtner-Smith, PhD, CFLE

Associate Professor, University of Alabama

Mary Elizabeth Curtner-Smith, PhD, CFLE Advisory Board

Dr. Mary Elizabeth Curtner-Smith received her PhD from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in Child Development and Family Relations with a doctoral minor in Psychology. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies where she serves as co-coordinator of the Developmental Science concentration in the Psychology PhD program.

Her primary research focuses on how parent-child relationships influence children's development, especially children's peer aggression and social competence.

A second but related area of research interest is in parents' disciplinary practices. Dr. Curtner-Smith teaches graduate courses in Parent-Child Interactions and Children of Divorce and is certified as a Family Life Educator by the National Council on Family Relations.


Jay Gordon, MD

Nurturings' Advisory Board

Jay Gordon, MD Advisory Board

 In the middle of his residency training, pediatrician Jay Gordon took an unusual step. Deciding that he needed greater knowledge about nutrition, vitamins, and alternative medicine in order to practice medicine the way he wanted to, Dr. Gordon took a Senior Fellowship in Pediatric Nutrition at Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City. After his residency at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Dr. Gordon joined the teaching attending faculty at UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Intensely interested in infant nutrition and breastfeeding, Dr. Gordon is the first male physician to sit for and pass the International Board of Lactation Certification Exam and has served on the Professional Advisory Board of La Leche League for twenty-four years.

In addition to treating patients, he participates in the training of medical students and residents, lectures all over the world, writes books, and writes a monthly column for “Fit Pregnancy” magazine. He has contributed to “New York Parent,” “Parenting” magazine and has been quoted in the L.A. Times, New York Times, and The London Times.

Dr. Gordon’s first book, the well-received Good Food Today, Great Kids Tomorrow, offers a life-changing plan for families who want to make dramatic changes in health and fitness through nutrition. Brighter Baby, examines the positive effect that attachment parenting, combined with infant massage, has on children’s health and intelligence. Other releases include: Good Night! The Parents’ Guide to the Family Bed and Hug Your Baby, a gentle guide through the first year, which were released summer, 2002. He also published, Listening To Your Baby: A New Approach to Parenting Your Newborn, which still gets great reviews from parents. His most recent book is The ADD and ADHD Cure, the Natural Way to Treat Hyperactivity and Refocus Your Child.

When the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Television and the Media named Dr. Gordon “the most influential doctor in America,” they were referring, tongue-in-cheek, to Dr. Gordon’s role, as the medical script consultant, in eliminating lollipops from the office of “Doctor Weston,” lead character on the sitcom “Empty Nest.”

After two years of consulting on television scripts, sets, and ideas, Dr. Gordon was named CBS TV’s Medical Consultant for Children’s programming. He also worked for five years on ABC Television as the on-air medical correspondent for the “Home Show,” and continues to consult regularly for television and movies. He’s appeared on Fox 11 News, ABC’s 20/20 and most recently on Larry King Live.

Dr. Gordon contributed and wrote the Forward to “Smart Medicine for a Healthy Child” and “The Encyclopedia of Vitamins and Supplements” (both published in 1999), is pediatric consultant for “Fit Pregnancy” magazine and a frequent contributor to “Parents,” “Parenting,” and other media outlets.
Busy as he is, Dr. Gordon finds that his most challenging job is “being a good husband and the best possible parent to my daughter.”


Dr. James McKenna

Notre Dame

Dr. James McKenna Advisory Board

Professor James J. McKenna is recognized as the world’s leading authority on mother-infant co-sleeping, in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS. In recognition of his work in 2009 he was admitted as a Fellow into the select body of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's most prestigious scientific society. That same year and in recognition of his extensive work with television, radio, and print media he received from the American Anthropological Association the “2008 Anthropology In The Media Award” one of the top three awards presented to anthropologists by the association in recognition of his distinguished work in educating the public to the importance of anthropological concepts. 

He received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970, his Master's Degree from San Diego State University in 1972, and his Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Oregon, Eugene, in 1975.

After teaching anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley as a Visiting Assistant Professor for two years, he accepted a tenure track position (in anthropology) at Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he was awarded an Endowed Chair, and remained for twenty years. Recruited by the University of Notre Dame in 1997, since then, as was true at Pomona College, he has won every teaching prize he has been eligible for, including most recently the College of Arts and Letters highest teaching award, the Sheedy Award, 2008. 

Initially Professor McKenna specialized in studying the social behavior of monkeys and apes but the birth of his son in 1978 he began to apply the principles of human behavioral evolution to the understanding of human infancy. At the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Department of Neurology his research team pioneered the first studies of the physiology and behavior of mothers and infant sleeping together and apart, using physiological and behavioral recording devices.

Professor McKenna has published over 139 refereed scientific articles in diverse medical and anthropological journals on co-sleeping, breastfeeding, evolutionary medicine and SIDS, and both here and abroad he gives over 20 lectures especially to pediatric groups and parents. Here in the United States he remains one of the primary spokesperson to the media on issues pertaining to sleeping arrangements, nighttime breast feeding and SIDS prevention. 

He has also published two monographs on SIDS and infant sleep, and co-edited two books:  Evolutionary Medicine (published by Oxford in 1999) and Evolutionary Medicine And Health: New Perspectives, also with Oxford University Press. His first trade book for parents was published in 2008 entitled: Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parents Guide To Co-sleeping, and was recently translated and available in Spanish and Dutch.


Marian Tompson

  LLLI co-Founder

Marian Tompson, one of the Founders of La Leche League International, was its President for 24 years. Wife of the late Clement Tompson, she is the mother of seven children, grandmother of 17 and great grandmother of fourteen.

Marian was the first editor of the LLL Newsletter, now Breastfeeding Today. She started the library of breastfeeding research that became the Center for Breastfeeding Information.  She initiated breastfeeding seminars for physicians, which were held annually by LLLI from 1973 through 2008 and were eventually accredited for continuing education credits by all the major medical organizations.

In 2001 Marian founded AnotherLook, a not for profit organization dedicated to gathering information, raising critical questions and stimulating needed research about breastfeeding in the context of HIV/AIDS. With their mission achieved and the needed research done, AnotherLook closed its doors in 2011. HIV+ mothers who previously were told not to breastfeed are now encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and to continue breastfeeding as additional foods are added.

Marian serves on the International Advisory Council for WABA (the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and the LLLI Board of Directors and continues to speak at Conferences around the world.   Marian was the first Living Treasure named by Mothering Magazine and in  1999 received the Ethical Humanist Award from the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

Her memoir, Passionate Journey: My Unexpected Life, was published by Hale Publishing in 2011.                  


Alice Miller, PhD (deceased)

Author & Childhood Researcher

Alice Miller PhD Advisory Board

January 12th 1923 - April 14 2010

Alice Miller received her PhD in philosophy, psychology and sociology, as well as a researcher on childhood, is the author of 13 books, translated into thirty languages.

Alice Miller received her PhD at the University of Basle and worked as a psychotherapist in Zurich for 20 years. In 1980, she decided to dedicate herself completely to her research on childhood and its tragic influence on the adult's life. Ever since, she is trying to share her knowledge of the decisive persistence of endured child abuse on the entire life and ways of healing.


Bruce Perry, MD, PhD

Psychiatrist & Neuroscience Researcher 
The Child Trauma Academy

Bruce Perry, MD, PhD Advisory Board

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., is an internationally-recognized authority on children in crisis. Dr. Perry is the Provincial Medical Director in Children’s Mental Health for the Alberta Mental Health Board. In addition, he is the Senior Fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy (, a Houston-based organization dedicated to research and education on child maltreatment. Dr. Perry has been consulted on many high-profile incidents involving traumatized children, including the Columbine, Colorado school shootings, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Branch Davidian siege.


Michael Trout, MA

Director, The Infant-Parent Institute

Michael Trout, MA Advisory Board

Michael Trout graduated from Alma College (B.A., cum laude, honors in Philosophy) and Central Michigan University (M.A., Psychology), and did his specialized training in infant psychiatry at the Child Development Project, University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry, under Prof. Selma Fraiberg.

In the mental health field since 1968 and in private practice since 1979, Mr. Trout has, since 1986 directed The Infant-Parent Institute, which engages in research, clinical practice and clinical training related to problems of attachment.

He was the founding president of the International Association for Infant Mental Health; was on the charter Editorial Board of the Infant Mental Health Journal; served as regional vice-president for the United States for the World Association for Infant Mental Health; served on the board of directors (and as editor of the newsletter) for APPPAH — the Association for Pre- & Perinatal Psychology and Health, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of Attachment Parenting International. In 1984 he won the Selma Fraiberg Award for “ . . . significant contributions to the needs of infants and their families.”

In 2010, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, for his decades of work with foster and adopted children and their families, at the ATTACh conference in San Francisco.

In addition to publishing a number of book chapters and journal articles, Mr. Trout has produced 14 clinical training videos that are used by universities and clinics around the world, including the six-hour video training series, The Awakening and Growth of the Human: Studies in Infant Mental Health. He has also written and produced four videos focusing on the unique perspective of babies on divorce, adoption, loss and domestic violence.

He is the co-author (with foster/adoptive mother Lori Thomas) of The Jonathon Letters; the author of Baby Verses: The Narrative Poetry of Infants and Toddlers; the producer of two meditation CD's, including See Me As a Person: Meditations for Sustaining Relationship-Based Care, and The Hope-Filled Parent: Meditations for Parents of Children Who Have Been Harmed; and co-author (with Mary Koloroutis) of the 2012 textbook for healthcare providers, See Me As a Person.

The most important part of Mr. Trout’s work continues to be in his quiet private practice where he sees individuals and families of all ages every week.


Minda Lazarov

Honorary RAC Member - (d. 2012)

Minda Lazarov Advisory Board

Minda Lazarov was a nutritionist whose professional career spanned a variety of positions with government and private nonprofit organizations serving low income families.

She served in several positions with the Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), including coordinator of the Tennessee Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance and Breastfeeding Promotion Programs and chair of a national committee to address the low rates of breastfeeding among women enrolled in WIC. Ms. Lazarov helped launch the U.S. Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) for the US Committee for UNICEF and Wellstart International. She also served as Director of the Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) Program for the Vanderbilt Center for Health Services form 1999 to 2006.

Please read API's tribute to Minda's life and work for families.