Click here to download and print the Resume/CV of Lisa Saunders
Lisa interviews health and wellness experts on the Lisa Saunders TV Talk Show (SEC-TV, channel 12), which is also uploaded to YouTube.
- What Caregivers and Pregnant Women Need to Know About CMV
- My Story and CMV (includes research)
- Connecticut and Congenital CMV
- How a Parent Can Raise a CMV Prevention Message (including how to get a law passed)
From Lisa Saunders
I volunteer with the National CMV Foundation and other organizations that encourage a woman’s right to know how to protect her future and current pregnancies from the leading viral cause of birth defects, congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), which disables approximately 4,000 newborns each year in the U.S. I try to get laws passed to battle CMV and often ask the media to help raise awareness of CMV prevention. I offer presentations, books, videos, flyers and articles to educate the public about CMV, often excreted by otherwise healthy toddlers. Child care providers, preschool teachers, and mothers of children in group care are at increased risk for CMV but few know how to reduce their chances of contracting it. When I was pregnant with my daughter Elizabeth, born severely disabled by congenital CMV in 1989, I was a licensed childcare provider, church nursery volunteer and the mother of a toddler--I was never warned about CMV. I am currently asking the public to share and perhaps sign the Declaration of Women's CMV Rights and Sentiments (inspired by the Women's Rights Declaration of Sentiments signed in 1848). Despite my work over the last 30 years, and the work of other families and doctors, “Shockingly, 91% of women have never heard of cCMV, despite its prevalence..." (Colleran, 2020).
Recent CMV Awareness Successes:
In 2015, I helped Connecticut become the second state in U.S. to require CMV testing when an infant fails their hearing test.
In 2019, OSHA announced in its newsletter on workplace safety and health: "A common virus, Cytomegalovirus (CMV) affects thousands of workers in childcare centers and healthcare facilities. These workers are at the greatest risk of exposure because the virus is often spread through saliva and other body fluids of young children. OSHA's new webpage on CMV, explains how to minimize health risks associated with workers' exposure to this virus."
The MotherToBaby.org Education Committee updated their CMV fact sheet to add a question specific to occupational exposure.
My CMV work includes:
Lecturing on CMV prevention, legislation, and research.
Writing adult and children’s books on CMV prevention.
Interviewing health and wellness experts on my local access TV talk show
Coordinate the planning and delivery of CMV information through press releases, newsletters, Facebook ( Congenital CMV News); educational campaigns (workshops, public service announcement, "Had I Known about CMV”); health fairs and behavior change programs such as “Share a Meal, Not the Germs” and “Keep Your Cups to Yourself.”
Education: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: B.S. - Business Management and Marketing (1982).
Mother of child who suffered from congenital CMV for 16 years (1989-2006).
Former licensed child care provider (1986-1993) unaware of increased risk for CMV.
Commendations: Infection Control Nurses of Connecticut: Honored for “Unwavering dedication in her crusade to stop CMV (2013) and Cornell University President, Letter of appreciation for CMV work (2013)
International author of books providing a CMV prevention message.
New England Consortium on Deafblindness, online (Feb. 12, 2021)
Cytomegalovirus Awareness Day. Presentation: “An Inconvenient Truth: What Everyone Should Know.” Co-presented with Nellie Brown, MS, CIH, Director of Workplace Health & Safety Programs, Lead Programs Manager, Certified Industrial Hygienist, The Worker Institute, ILR School, Cornell University. Contact Tracy Evans Luiselli, Ed.D., Director, New England Consortium on Deafblindness (NEC), email@example.com
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Annual Meeting, Kansas City, Missouri (March 8-11, 2020)
Presentation: “Early Identification of Children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing Plus (D/HH Plus) Including those who are Deaf-Blind” Parent panel. Contact Tracy Evans Luiselli, Ed.D., Director, New England Consortium on Deafblindness (NEC), firstname.lastname@example.org
American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), Connecticut River Valley (Oct. 3, 2019)
Presentation: “What Child Care Providers, Teachers and Pregnant Women Need to Know About CMV”. AIHA works to provide information and resources to Industrial Hygienists and Occupational Health professionals. Contact: Nellie Brown, MS, CIH, Director of Workplace Health & Safety Programs, Lead Programs Manager, Certified Industrial Hygienist, The Worker Institute, Buffalo, NY 14203. ILR School, Cornell University, t. 716 852 1444 x111, email@example.com | www.ilr.cornell.edu
Siemens Healthineers, Healthy Mother/Healthy Baby Thought Leadership Webinar (Sept.18, 2019 Presentation: “Understanding TORCH Infections from both a Clinical and Personal Perspective”.Co-presented with Pablo J. Sánchez, M.D.,Professor of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University – Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Divisions of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Director, Clinical & Translational Research (Neonatology). www.siemens-healthineers.com/education/optimal-pregnancy-outcomes-proper-id-testing. Contact: Louise Loughran, Global Marketing Manager, Siemens Healthineers, Louise.firstname.lastname@example.org
Good News Radio Magazine: "Prenatal Infections". Co-presented with James A. McGregor, MDCM (obstetrician and gynecologist) and Marti Perhach, CEO, Group B Strep International. Contact: Andrea Jones, Projects Specialist, Healthy African American Families, AndreaJones@haafii.org
Prenatal Infection Prevention Symposium, online (Feb. 26, 2019)
Video presentation: “Help Child Care Providers Fight Cytomegalovirus (CMV): Protect Newborns From #1 Birth Defects Virus.” Contact: Marti Perhach, Group B Strep International (GBSI) Cofounder and CEO: email@example.com
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shewsbury, Massachusetts (Jan. 16)
Meeting presentation: “Connecticut Experience with CMV Testing Legislation: Barriers & Solutions". Contact leader of Massachusetts Congenital CMV Working Group: Laura Gibson, M.D., Associate Professor, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Chief, Division of Medicine-Pediatrics, Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts Medical School, firstname.lastname@example.org
CMV Public Health & Policy Conference, Burlington, Vermont (Sept. 24, 2018)
Poster: "Increasing Child Care Provider Awareness of Congenital Cytomegalovirus”, co-presented with Brenda Kinsella Balch, MD, Connecticut Chapter Champion for the American Academy of Pediatrics Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program. Contact: President, National CMV Foundation: email@example.com
Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Las Vegas, NV (January 26, 2017)
"Congenital CMV and Research" – Caesars Palace. www.smfm.org/meetings/2-37th-annual-pregnancy-meeting. Sabine Bousleiman M.S.N,M.S.PH, Program Director, Columbia University, OBGYN Department, (212) 305-4348, (917) 673-7790, firstname.lastname@example.org. See study: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01376778
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Coalition, Hamden, CT (December 13, 2016) “What Caregivers and Pregnant Women Need to Know About CMV”.
Women's Consortium: www.womensconsortium.org. Marijane Carey, email@example.com
Congenital CMV Public Health & Policy Conference, Austin, TX (September 27, 2016)
“As One Door Closed, Another Door Opened: CT Congenital CMV Initiative”, co-presented with Brenda Kinsella Balch, MD, CT pediatrician and Chapter Champion for the American Academy of Pediatrics Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program, firstname.lastname@example.org. http://cmvconference.org/.
Medical Assistance Program Oversight Council's Women’s Health Committee, Hartford, CT (July 13, 2015) “Connecticut and Congenital CMV”. www.cga.ct.gov/med/default.asp. Richard Eighme, Medical Assistance Program Oversight Council, (860) 240-0321, Richard.email@example.com
Connecticut Public Health Committee, Capitol Legislative Office Building, Hartford, CT (February 20, 2015). Public Testimony for H.B. 5525: “AN ACT CONCERNING CYTOMEGALOVIRUS”
CMV Public Health & Policy Conference, Salt Lake City, UT (September 26, 2014)
“How a Parent Can Raise a CMV Prevention Message”. CMVconference.org/archive/cmv2014/index.html. Contact Gail J Demmler-Harrison, MD, Professor, Pediatrics, Section Infectious Diseases, Baylor College of Medicine, Attending Physician, Infectious Diseases Service, Texas Children's Hospital, Congenital CMV Disease Research, Clinic & Registry, 832-824-4330, firstname.lastname@example.org
Infection Control Nurses of Connecticut Annual Spring Seminar, Plantsville, CT (April 2013)
“CMV: Threat to immunocompromised persons” - Aqua Turf Club. http://infectioncontrolct.org/.
Kris Magnussen, Communicable Disease Prevention Supervisor, KMagnussen@llhd.org
CMV 2012 Conference, San Francisco, CA (October 29-November 2, 2012)
“Raising CMV Awareness by Writing” - Conference Mission Bay Conference Centre. congenitalcmv.org. Lenore Pereira, Ph.D., Founder, Congenital Cytomegalovirus Foundation, and Professor, Cell and Tissue Biology Department, University of California San Francisco, email@example.com
Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Tarrytown, NY (2010)
“Living With Congenital CMV” (webinar). https://usa.healthcare.siemens.com. Katherine Soreng, Ph.D., Director, Clinical and Scientific Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org; Louise Loughran, email@example.com
Maternal-Infant Services Network, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties, NY (March 20, 2009)
“Pregnant Women Need to Know about CMV” - Perinatal Update 2009. www.misn-ny.org. Stephanie Sosnowski, BS, ICCE, CLC, Director of Community Health and Wellness, firstname.lastname@example.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA (November 5-7, 2008)
“Congenital CMV: My Daughter’s Life and Death” - First International Congenital CMV Conference held in the U.S. See: http://congenitalcmv.blogspot.com/2008/11/cdc-congenital-cmv-cytomegalovirus-and.html. Michael Cannon, Ph.D. email@example.com, a research epidemiologist at the CDC.
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD (Fall 1995)
“Raising my handicapped daughter” - Guest speaker to a graduate class of special education teachers, therapists, and social workers. Mary Goodin, M. Ed., OTR, Ssagoodin@cs.com
Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut, Waterford, CT (Oct. 4, 2017). “CMV: Protect Your Pregnancy.” www.vnasc.org. Contact: Deborah Buxton-Morris, M.S., R.N. Program Supervisor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Connecticut Public Health Committee, Capitol Legislative Office Building, Hartford, CT (February 28, 2014) Public Testimony for H.B. 5147: “AN ACT CONCERNING NEWBORN SCREENING FOR CYTOMEGALOVIRUS AND ESTABLISHING A PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR CYTOMEGALOVIRUS.”
The Woman’s City Club of Norwich, Norwich, CT (2015)
“How a Mother Raised Awareness of CMV and Got Connecticut to Pass a Bill.” Otis Library.
Eileen Nagel, email@example.com
Westerly Registered Nurse’s Club, Westerly, RI (April 22, 2014)
“Supporting a Connecticut CMV Bill,” Mermaid Café. Ida Manzella, firstname.lastname@example.org
State University of New York at Rockland, Suffern, NY (December 9, 2008)
Science Lecture Series, #2: “Anything But a Dog”: Story of my daughter born with congenital CMV. Series organized by a nursing professor.
BOOKS, VIDEOS, ARTICLES AND OTHER RESOURCE MATERIALS
Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV. A workbook for child care directors and policy makers (2018).
Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with CMV. A memoir (Unlimited Publishing, 2008, Japan: Thousand Books, 2017)
Surviving Loss: The Woodcutter’s Tale: Fairytale about losing a child plus moving forward (2013)
Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale. An educational coloring book for families and child care centers. "Grandma" uses Miss Cup to insist on germ prevention. She also discusses Mr. Knife's fear of the dish will running away with the spoon to teach table-setting. FREE Teaching Toolkit includes a "Color-me-in" placemat with tableware characters with Miss Cup's germ prevention tips.
Educational Video: Help Child Care Providers and Moms Fight CMV
"The Danger of Spreading CMV: How We Can Protect Our Children" (ChildCare Aware of America, June 2017).
“Help Childcare Providers Fight CMV” (National CMV Foundation, 2018, March 5)
CMV: The Virus Nobody Talks About. Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, p. 41. (Fall 2010).
Family Health: The Tragic Kiss--Suffern Mom Works to Spread Word About CMV. Rockland Parent Magazine. (2007, September).
Pregnant Women: Learn Risk of CMV. The Journal News, p. 4B. (2007, January 28).
Epilepsy: Elizabeth, Forever Sweet Sixteen. CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy) Newsletter, p. 5. (Summer 2006).
Elizabeth: A Christmas Blessing. Challenge Magazine, 2(4), pp. 14, 16. (1994).
Above-sink wall flyer, "Diaper Wipes Don't Kill CMV"
Wall Flyer For Women Who Care for Toddlers
Tri-fold Flyer for Daycare Directors/Providers
Warning Photograph for Wall/Sharing on Social Media
Music (collaborated with singer/songwriter Debra Lynn Alt)
Song, “Had I Known (about CMV)” by Debra Lynn Alt (2018). Inspired by my story.
Music/image video about my daughter’s life includes CMV prevention: Girl with congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) set to song, "Voice for Sam," by Debra Lynn Alt
ARTICLES & TV INTERVIEWS THAT INCLUDE MY COMMENTS OR CMV WORK
The Citizen, “Challenge for change: Auburn native walking canal trail to raise virus awareness,”David Wilcox, Mar 31, 2021
Cornell Alumni Magazine: In Memory of Elizabeth: Her daughter's death from a preventable disability spurs Lisa Avazian Saunders '82 into action (2015)
News 8: Mystic mother raises awareness of CMV, a risk for pregnant women and their babies (Sarah Cody, June 13, 2018)
Sarah Cody, News Reporter, Facebook CMV Prevention video (June 2018)
Connecticut Magazine: Mystic Mom 'Overwhelmed' by Governor Signing Law on ‘Stealth Virus’ That Can Catch Pregnant Women Unaware (2015)
Clinical Advisor magazine: “Connecticut passes cytomegalovirus screening law for newborns” (2015)
News 8 Medical/Health Report: "Mystic mom raising awareness about potentially deadly virus" (2015)
Fox CT, Hartford Courant: Mother Working to Protect Pregnant Moms From Dangerous Virus (2014)
Mystic River Press: Saunders seeks help with CMV ‘silent virus’ prevention bill (2014)
Times Herald Record: What every pregnant woman needs to know (2009)
New York Times: CMV Is a Greater Threat to Infants Than Zika, but Far Less Often Discussed (2016). Interviewed about the Connecticut CMV bill. My book about daughter’s life with congenital CMV seen in background of embedded “Questions & Answers About CMV on Facebook Live.”
Ongoing CMV Awareness Work
My goal is to make CMV prevention required training in child care centers in accordance with recommendations made by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in their book, Caring For Our Children. The section, “Standard 22.214.171.124: Staff Education and Policies on Cytomegalovirus (CMV),” states that caregivers/teachers should be informed about their increased probability of exposure to CMV and: “Hygiene measures (especially handwashing and avoiding contact with urine, saliva, and nasal secretions) aimed at reducing acquisition of CMV…The availability of counseling and testing for serum antibody to CMV to determine the caregiver/teacher’s immune status.”
I continue to:
Promote and market CMV prevention programs to target populations such as child care workers and women of childbearing age by utilizing existing resources such as those created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National CMV Foundation, Congenital CMV Disease Research, Clinic & Registry, Congenital Cytomegalovirus Foundation, and National CMV Registry for Pregnant Women (part of the CMV Research Foundation Inc.), in addition to other birth defects prevention organizations.
Share health promotion and disease prevention campaigns through national observances: June: National Congenital CMV Awareness Month, October: 15 - 21 International Infection Prevention Week; October 15: Global Handwashing Day; January: National Birth Defects Prevention Month; February: International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month; and April: National Public Health Week.
Consult regularly with the country's leading CMV medical experts. Contacting relevant organizations requesting CMV education be included in training materials, literature and websites. Consulting with legislators to create CMV prevention education laws--particularly in regard to child care centers. Maintaining an extensive bibliography with live links to resource articles and presentations.
INDEPENDENT WRITING/MARKETING CONSULTANT, Nov. 2010 – Present
Content Coordinator, Groton-Mystic Neighbors magazine (Best Version Media publication), since March 2018-October 2019.
New England/New York media and networking consultant. Write press releases, biographies, and marketing materials for clients that include:
National Field Service Corporation
New England Consortium on Deafblindness
Connie Howard Music.
MYSTIC SEAPORT, Mystic, CT, 2010 – 2019 (part-time)
Historical Interpreter: Orally present maritime history and artifacts to the general public.
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT ROCKLAND, Suffern, NY, 2006 – 2010
Campus Communications Assistant
Promoted events and programs to the media, authoring press releases, which resulted in newspaper coverage of the college and faculty. Wrote the alumni newsletter, SCENE, with quarterly circulation of 35,000. Used Twitter, Facebook, and RCC Speakers Bureau as additional promotional tools.
Awarded by the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations, District I: “Gold Medallion” for Academic Convocation Booklet (2010); Silver for Departmental Brochures (2010); and Bronze for ad print series, which featured noteworthy alumni (2009).
Received national coverage on Fox and Friends and in Associated Press through press releases relating the circumstances of individual students or faculty to current events.
NATIONAL FIELD SERVICE CORPORATION, Suffern, NY, 1998 – 2008 (presently consulting)
Recruiter / Marketing Specialist for consulting company
Interviewed approximately 80 candidates monthly and communicated with clients on employment needs in the utility, communications, and right-of-way industries. Represented company at job fairs and coordinated marketing events, including annual 100-guest Christmas party and sleepover event at West Point Academy. Placed many applicants with AT&T. Maintained database of applicants in People Trak.
LICENSED HOME DAY CARE PROVIDER, Rockville, MD, 1987-1993
Provided in-home care and educational programs for up to six children.
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy at the ceremonial signing for “Public Act 15-10: An Act Concerning Cytomegalovirus” at the Office of the Governor in Hartford, CT, on July 28, 2015. (L to R): Jane Baird, Government Relations, Connecticut Children's Medical Center; Dr. Wallis Molchen, Chief Resident, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; Jane Brancifort, Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Public Health; State Representative, John Hampton; Dr. Brenda K. Balch, American Academy of Pediatrics Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Chapter Champion; Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman; Lisa Saunders, parent rep, Congenital Cytomegalovirus Foundation, holding picture of daughter Elizabeth; Kevin Ryan, State Representative; Governor Dannel P. Malloy; Cathy Osten, State Senator; Ken Hiscoe, Pfizer, Government Relations; Jarred and his mother, Melvette Ruffin; DeVaughn Ward, Liaison, Department of Public Health; and Kinson Perry, lobbyist at Rome, Smith & Lutz.
I felt sick at what my lack of knowledge had done to my little girl. In milder cases, children with congenital CMV may lose hearing or struggle with learning disabilities. But Elizabeth's case was not a mild one. When my husband Jim heard Elizabeth's grim prognosis, he stared at her and said, “She needs me”—just like Charlie Brown with that pathetic Christmas tree.
CDC, Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Maternal and Child Health Coalition, and Infection Control Nurses of Connecticut.
|Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with CMV (cytomegalovirus) (my memoir about my daughter's life).|
|Survivng Loss: The Wooder's Tale (a fairy tale inspired by my daughter's death and belief we will all be reunited one day)|
|Once Upon a Placemat--A table setting tale: Coloring book and CMV prevention tips from Miss Cup. (Click here for video of me introducing book and here for placemats for downloading and coloring.)|
Mystic Seafarer's Trail: Misadventures trying to get thin and famous so people will hear about CMV (2012)