About Us

Evergreen Perinatal Education is committed to providing quality education and consultation to organizations, healthcare professionals and individuals working with expectant and new families, to ensure that new mothers have access to knowledgeable, compassionate and supportive resources throughout their childbearing journey.

Teaching Philosophy

Faculty at Evergreen Perinatal Education are deeply committed to the important role the healthcare system plays in nurturing healthy family outcomes. Our educational offerings emphasize the significance of breastfeeding in promoting these healthy outcomes and in fostering the unique and special relationship of mother and child. Our interactions with students, whether in-person or through our online training programs, are personal and memorable. Our instruction is delivered so that students grasp and appreciate the unique and facilitative role they play in helping a mother feed her child. Evergreen Perinatal Education prepares students to build on their knowledge and experience, and we lay the foundation for additional exploration and advanced practice. By providing students access to challenging case studies and innovative learning experiences in safe, yet realistic situations, we allow for this discovery and synthesis to unfold comfortably and at a student's own pace.

We are committed to ensuring that every student leaves feeling more confident, invested, and well prepared to provide exceptional support to expectant and new families.

What Do Our Programs Offer? Why Are We Different?

Evergreen Perinatal Education's comprehensive programs cover a wide range of topics in maternal and child health, with the greatest focus on infant feeding practices. Our goal is to improve the efficacy of healthcare delivery, while increasing consumer and staff satisfaction and improving health outcomes for women and their families. Our live programs can be customized to meet the education needs of hospitals, private and public clinics and community maternity and pediatric services.


Faculty

Molly Pessl, RN, BSN, IBCLC, FILCA

Molly is the owner/director of Evergreen Perinatal Education. She received her nursing degree from the University of Michigan where she first learned the importance of breastfeeding, during a time when few women were encouraged or chose to breastfeed. Throughout her long career, Molly has focused on family-centered maternity and pediatric care and then became a board certified lactation consultant in 1986, soon after the profession was created.

Before the formation of Evergreen Perinatal Education, Molly worked at EvergreenHealth from 1985 - 2003, following 5 years as a health educator, clinician and lactation consultant for a hospital-based nurse-midwifery service. During her years at EvergreenHealth, Molly developed comprehensive parent and professional education programs, a regional breastfeeding center, a postpartum follow-up clinic and Parent-Baby Groups. These programs contributed to EvergreenHealth achieving the first US designation of "Baby Friendly."


Merilee Brigham, RN, BSN, IBCLC

Merilee received her BSN from Seattle University in 1982 and became an IBCLC in 1991. Following 16 years in the Breastfeeding Center at EvergreenHealth, North America's first "Baby Friendly Hospital." Merilee joined the Lactation Services at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle where she led the way to their achievement of Baby-Friendly in 2013. She served as a hospital assessor for BFUSA and currently works for EPE as teaching faculty, online education developer and publisher and BFHI consultant.


Brandi Gates, IBCLC

Brandi graduated from California State University, San Diego. In 2010 she focused her education on lactation and received her IBCLC the following year. Brandi has co-founded a community awareness advocacy group, The Breastfeeding MAFIA (Mother's Against Feeding Infants Artificially). Their mission is to restore and normalize breastfeeding within the African American Community. Currently Brandi works for the West Oakland Health Council as the Breastfeeding Coordinator and Lactation Consultant for the WIC program and Health Center. Brandi joined the EPE faculty in 2014.


Jennifer Ingram Frankovic, MA, CLE

Jennifer began her career working in customer service, then transitioned into education where she has been since 2006. Jenni has won awards for her writing and research, and after the birth of her daughter she became an advocate for educating new mothers and their partners on breastfeeding and the importance of post-partum support. In January 2014, Jenni brought her writing and customer service skills to the EPE staff when she joined as the Administrative Assistant and Online Education Manager.


Christine Muenz, BA, MA, CLE

Christine transitioned from lecturing in drama at the university level more than 20 years ago to designing curriculum and teaching new parents in a healthcare setting. Her courses and curriculum development at EvergreenHealth, North America's first "Baby Friendly Hospital," include childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting programs. Christine also facilitates the very popular support groups for new parents, Parent Baby Time. Christine joined the EPE faculty in 2011.


Kris McHarg, RN, MN, IBCLC

Kris received her BSN from University of Maryland, a Master's degree (Maternal-Child Clinical Nurse Specialist) from University of Washington and her post-Master's Pediatric Nurse Practitioner certificate from Catholic University. Kris retired as a Commander in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps after 21 years of military service, and currently works in a large pediatric practice in Northern Virginia where she started a Lactation service. She has been certified as an IBCLC since 1990. Kris joined the EPE teaching faculty in 2014.


Donnianne Noble, RN, IBCLC

Donnianne received her RN degree in 2004, deciding at that time to dedicate her education, skills and expertise to working with new families in their transition to parenthood. In 2007 she became an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant and currently works at EvergreenHealth, North America's first "Baby Friendly Hospital". Donnianne joined the EPE faculty in 2011.


Ginna Wall, RN, MN, IBCLC

Ginna received her master's degree in nursing from the University of Washington in Seattle and has been an IBCLC since 1987. Ginna founded the lactation program at UW 25 years ago and continues there as coordinator of Lactation Services bringing evidence-based, family- friendly care to the hospital setting. She led the University of Washington Medical Center to Baby Friendly recognition in 2009. Ginna has served as faculty for EPE since its inception.


Marie McCarter Witherell, RN, BSN, IBCLC

Marie began her career working with new families in 1968 as a new nurse working in labor and delivery. Since then she has been involved with families in the childbearing years in diverse settings and with a variety of roles. In 1999, she joined the staff at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, Washington, the first Baby-Friendly Hospital in the United States. Marie has been on the faculty of EPE since its inception and teaches basic and advanced lactation courses for healthcare professionals.