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Board of Trustees

Board Members

Sean Daneshmand

Sean Daneshmand, M.D., Co-Founder, Board President

Sean S. Daneshmand, M.D. is one of the busiest and most caring people you may ever meet. As the founder of the charity, Miracle Babies, as well as a full-time doctor, father, husband and business owner, it is hard to believe that he sleeps at all—or perhaps, he has found a portal to the 36-hour day. Dr. Daneshmand is a perinatologist (high-risk obstetrician) whose expertise includes obstetric and surgical management of invasive placentation, care of pregnancies following in-vitro fertilization, and management of maternal medical problems during pregnancy at the San Diego Perinatal Center. He was recognized by CNN, in their CNN Heroes segment, for his work with Miracle Babies and his dedication to his patients.

Marjan Mortazavi

Marjan Mortazavi, Esq., Co-Founder

Marjan Mortazavi has been an attorney for 13 years, with practice currently limited to the area of Bankruptcy Law. She is the founder and managing partner of Bankruptcy Legal Group for the past nine years. She graduated from University of California, San Diego in 1994. Thereafter, she attended the California Western School of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctor.

Mark A Gough

Mark A Gough

Mark A. Gough is the CEO of Maison d’Erte, and worldwide licensee of Erte Fashion, Accessories, and Fine Jewellery.

He is the director and interim CEO of The Meilleur Companies, a vertical manufacturing group that private labels intimate apparel, sleepwear, and swimwear. In addition, his company has exclusive contracts with premium manufacturers for marketing, franchise sales and distribution within North America. He and his partners have retail customers including major department stores, mass production, specialty retail, drug and convenience retailers. They collectively have over 55 years of experience distributing to the retail market.

He is also chairman of GWR Luxury Brands, a company that owns and acquires intellectual properties and licensing rights for development. He is the founding partner of Triune Capital and Cortina Capital.


Berenice Zamaro

Berenice is Vice President and Manager at Union Bank.

Kimberly O'hara

Kimberly O’Hara

Senior Account Executive at Microsoft Corporation and Children’s Book Author

She is a graduate of The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering; a degree program that did not attract a surplus of women at her time of attendance.

Kimberly also entered into the high-tech sector during a period when women were somewhat of an anomaly. Yet, she became a dynamic sales leader for industry giants such as Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, and her current company, Microsoft. She has provided a role model to those who have followed in her footsteps and demonstrated how a commitment to ethical representation and service can lead to extraordinary success.

Kimberly also strongly believes in giving back to her community. She was an active member of the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary for many years. More recently, Kimberly served as a member of the Board of Home Start, a charitable organization that focuses upon strengthening families and protecting children.

In 2010, Kimberly combined her concern for children and families with her love of animals when she authored the widely-acclaimed children’s book, Bugs Boodles’ Book of Basics: Teaching Children to Safely Interact with Dogs.

Kimberly remains committed to finding new ways to contribute to the world around her.


Micaiah Kenney

Director, Procedural Solutions Business Operations at CareFusion has joined BD

Micaiah spent 13 years in IT and business consulting working all over the world (Colombia, Mexico, Europe, Australia, and North America) for companies within a range of industries (high tech, software, chemicals, oil / gas, and pharmaceuticals / healthcare). Since 2012, she has been working at CareFusion, a healthcare manufacturer headquartered here in San Diego as Director of IT. As life would have it and by joining CareFusion it has created a “full circle” event in both her professional and personal life.

Micaiah was born almost 4 months premature and spent the first 68 days of her life in the NICU using a pediatric respirator developed by Dr. Forrest Bird. This ventilator was developed specifically for premature infants and small children. Micaiah was the first baby to use the ventilator (aka “babybird”) at Mother Saint Francis hospital located in Tyler, TX. This device saved her life and is credited with reducing the rate of breathing-related infant mortality from 70 percent to 10 percent worldwide. Through a series of acquisitions and consolidations, Dr. Bird sold his device to VIASYS Respiratory Care that became a part of CareFusion. His device is now sold within the CareFusion respiratory division.


Lance Stern

Lance Stern is currently the chief marketing officer at swell.com. Since 1999, Swell has made a commitment to be more than just a source for surf clothing, gear and accessories. As the top online surf shop and lifestyle boutique for men and women, our goal is to bring you the very best from established surf brands such as Billabong, RVCA and Quiksilver, as well as a hand-picked selection of styles from up-and-coming surf and lifestyle brands. The result is a carefully curated selection of swimwear, boardshorts, surf t-shirts, dresses, wetsuits, surfboards and more — all updated daily.

Here at Swell, we’re committed to supporting the waves and beaches that support the surf lifestyle. From the switch to recycled packaging for Swell-branded merchandise, to offering products that support the Surfrider Foundation and other eco-initiatives, we strive to do our very best in the fight for global greening.

Because the lifestyle doesn’t end at the sand…

Auxiliary President

Rita JoAnne Garcia-Szczotka

Rita JoAnne Garcia-Szczotka

Rita graduated from Hoover High School in 1976. She was crowned Miss San Diego, Fairest of the Fair in 1977 and a runner up to the Miss California pageant that same year. Rita holds a Bachelors in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from National University and San Diego State.

After 20+ successful years in the financial industry working in high level management positions with top tier brokerage firms Rita chose to start her own business. Rita is a Partner in The Global Partners Group and operates an international marketing & distribution team for Jeunesse Global. In addition to her business, she has held proud volunteer positions with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, ChildHelp USA, The Monarch School for homeless children, 2 years Board Chair and 7 years as a active Board member for Walden Family Services. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Miracle Babies as well as the Founder & President of The Miracle Circle Auxiliary.

She is happily married for 18 yrs to Micheal Szczotka a sole proprietor in San Diego. Our children have 4 legs and fur coats!

Advisory Board

Dr. Sean Newcomer

Dr. Sean Newcomer, Healthy Women Healthy Children – Board Member

Dr. Newcomer has spent over 20 years working in the area of exercise physiology. He began his training in 1990 at the University of Oregon, where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Exercise and Movement Sciences. He went on to receive his Masters of Science degree from Humboldt State University (’96), and his Doctorate degree from Pennsylvania State University (’04) in Kinesiology. Following his graduate education, Dr. Newcomer spent 4 years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Missouri in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. His research has primarily focused on the impact that exercise has on cardiovascular disease susceptibility, which has resulted in over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts in top-ranked physiological journals. Five years ago, while working as an assistant professor at Purdue University, Dr. Newcomer began studying the impact that maternal exercise during pregnancy has on the cardiovascular health of their unborn children. The results of these initial studies demonstrated that maternal exercise during pregnancy can beneficially impact their children’s cardiovascular health. These findings led Dr. Newcomer to be awarded a four-year American Heart Association grant in 2012. He has recently joined the Kinesiology Department at California State University, San Marcos as an assistant professor in Exercise Physiology, and is a member of the Miracle Babies Team as Director of Research and Program Development. Through his involvement in Healthy Women Healthy Children, and its affiliated Walking for Two program, Dr. Newcomer seeks to translate, disseminate, and provide scientific information to women regarding the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. These programs are based on the exercise recommendations for pregnant women that have been developed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Carlos Labarrere

Dr. Carlos Labarrere has broad background in pathology and immunopathology, with specific training and expertise in all key areas pertinent to this research. His career has been mainly dedicated to understanding the role of inflammation, coagulation and cell activation in the development of atherosclerosis-like lesions in pregnancy (atherosis) and transplantation (transplant coronary atherosclerosis). His research career began in the CONICET in Argentina, the equivalent of the NIH in the US, after completing my graduation in Buenos Aires medical school in 1976 and his residency in pathology in 1980, when he came to the US in 1987. Dr. Labarrere has funded his research through numerous grants from the AHA as a PI or co-Investigator. He has laid the groundwork for the proposed research by developing pioneering studies, published in prestigious journals (see below), for the detection of inflammation, coagulation and endothelial activation markers for placental atherosclerosis (atherosis) and transplant coronary atherosclerosis, both transplant-associated forms of native atherosclerosis.

He has recently joined 3DT (Drugs and Devices for Diagnostics and Therapeutics; an Institute dedicated to translational research) to focus entirely on the research topic of this proposal. The proposed collaboration with Dr. Kassab’s group is synergistic and exciting given Dr. Kassab’s interest in atherosclerosis and vascular biology and mechanics. The current research is a logical extension of his previous work in placental and transplantation research. He has demonstrated a solid record of accomplishing numerous research projects in an area of high relevance for transplant atherosclerosis to fill in specific scientific gaps recently recognized by a NHLBI working group as key research in heart transplantation.

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