Our People

Miracle Babies Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors who meet quarterly. The Board was formed in 2009 and originally Chaired by Morris Iemma. Miracle Babies Foundation staff are mostly based at head office at Chipping Norton, although several staff are based across Australia working in programs with hospitals and families. Our Ambassadors are a passionate and dedicated group, supporting the Foundation with their time to raise awareness and promote the Foundation.

Board, Staff, Ambassadors and Volunteers all work toward our vision of ‘better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness.’ 

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Kylie Pussell

CEO, Co-Founder, Board Director, & Consumer Representative

Kylie Pussell Co-Founded Miracle Babies Foundation in 2005. After suffering a miscarriage and losing twin babies at 16 weeks, Kylie gave birth to her daughter Madeline at 30 weeks and was diagnosed with Cervical Incompetence. Madeline was cared for in Liverpool Hospital’s NICU for 6 weeks. Two years later, following a further miscarriage, Kylie delivered twins at just 25 weeks. Both were resuscitated at birth and cared for by the NICU. Sadly Kylie’s son Marcus passed away due to complications from his extreme prematurity. Her daughter Scarlet required ventilation and surgery. Scarlet was cared for in the NICU at Liverpool and Westmead Children’s Hospital and was discharged home just before her due date, 4 months later. Kylie’s son Liam was born at 38 weeks through planned c-section following a transabdominal cerclage. Kylie, a qualified counsellor, has played an integral role in the expansion of the Foundation’s program NurtureTime, the introduction of Miracle Babies Foundation to hospitals nationally and the development of national resources. She developed and implemented Miracle Babies Foundation’s successful volunteer program, designing National Volunteer Induction and Training with TAFE NSW. Kylie was selected in the inaugural The Growth Project in 2015. Kylie delivers presentations and forums on the Foundation to community and corporate, both nationally and internationally and shares her personal journey with her children, delivering parent support and positive change for premature and sick babies. Kylie highlights the needs for parents and families in the NICU and the years ahead. Kylie leads support for our bereaved families and assists families and educational institutions in the learning, social and emotional challenges some of these miracle babies experience in the early years, school aged years and adulthood. Kylie has been an instrumental leader in many new services the Foundation delivers, most recently Nurture ‘E’ – The EEE Impact. This information hub is designed to assist families through different life stages of their growing and developing child beyond the baby, infant and toddler years and supporting families through primary and high school right through to adulthood. Nurture E - The EEE Impact has been created in collaboration with parents and health professionals to provide families with Evidence, Education and Empowerment. She is CEO of the Foundation and passionate in driving the expansion of services and resources across Australia for all families to be supported, educated and empowered. Kylie was Secretary of the Board from 2009 to 2017 and appointed as CEO by the Board in 2017. Kylie is a Co-Investigator on the POD Study, POD 2 and a previous member of the PSANZ Perinatal Palliative Care Special Interest Group. In July 2019 Kylie became a Founding Committee member of GLANCE and in December 2019 was appointed to the Chair Committee for GLANCE. During 2019 and 2020 Kylie was a member of the Working Group on the ICHOM Preterm and Hospitalized Neonates Standard Set and in September 2020 was named Western Sydney Women – 2020 Community Woman of the Year. Kylie was also awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the Western Sydney University Women of the West Awards for Community 2020. In July 2021 Kylie became a member of the World Prematurity Day Parent Advisory Board and the World Prematurity Day Global Planning Group. Kylie has been a Board Director since 2009.

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Melinda Cruz

Founder, Consumer Representative, Advocacy & Secretary of the Board

Miracle Babies Foundation was initiated and founded by Melinda Cruz in 2005. Due to a bicornuate (heart shaped) uterus, Melinda’s first son, Elijah, was born at 34 weeks, spending 2 1/2 weeks in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Her second son Dillon was born at 27 weeks and resuscitated at birth. He spent 9 weeks in hospital before being allowed to go home. Melinda's third son Jasper was born at 37 weeks and also spent time in the NICU. Having had all 3 babies cared for by the NICU, Melinda wanted to remain linked to other mothers of premature babies. She also wanted to give back to the NICU and thank the wonderful staff she credits for saving her babies’ lives. It was from those experiences that the Miracle Babies Foundation was born and has since helped and supported thousands of families. The Foundation has established a major global impact, and the incredible difference it has made supporting families through the birth of a premature or sick baby has seen Melinda win numerous awards including the 2011 EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year and be a regular guest on radio, TV, podcasts and at conferences. In 2015, she was a NSW Woman of the Year - Premiers Award finalist. She is a trusted consumer expert to medical professionals seeking to improve treatments and understanding of the impact a preterm birth has on the family unit. In 2012, she was appointed an Honorary Research Associate at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Clinical Trials Centre (University of Sydney, Medical School) and was the first parent to be an Associate Investigator (2012) and Chief Investigator (2019) on neonatal trials. In 2014, Melinda joined the Perinatal Society of Australia and NZ (PSANZ) Consumer Advisory Panel and the PSANZ Clinical Trials executive committee. In 2015, she joined the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Milk Bank Advisory Committee. Melinda has been instrumental in a number of other trials such as assisting in obtaining waiver of consent for the TORPIDO 30/60 Trial and facilitating the support of Australian parents during the FiCare Trial. To date, Melinda has co-authored 11 medical publications. Melinda is also a contributor to THRIVE Global in which she has published six articles to date. In 2014, she ran the New York Marathon with a group of 18 raising over $230K for the Foundation. For three years in a row, she was an EY Australian Entrepreneur of the Year Judge and she is currently working on releasing her first book. Melinda has been a Board Director since 2009.

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Rachel Taufer

Consumer Representative

Rachel holds a Bachelor of Education with Honours from the University of Sydney and is the proud mother of four young kids. In 2010 after the traumatic birth of her first child, Rachel worked hand in hand with the hospital involved to improve patient outcomes. In 2011 and 2012 Rachel was a featured writer for Midwifery Matters Magazine. In 2016 Rachel gave birth to her fourth and last baby at just 26 weeks gestation. After living in hospital for over a month herself after waking from an induced coma Rachel stayed by her baby’s side in NICU for three months. To give thanks Rachel raised $5,000 to donate three Kangaroo Care chairs knowing they are invaluable to parents in NICU. Later that year Rachel became a featured writer for Miracle Babies Foundation and following this became an advocate for neonatal care with the backing of Miracle Babies Foundation. In 2017 Rachel featured in local newspapers, Baby Love’s Preemie Proud Campaign, the Weekend Today Show and was appointed to the ANZNN Follow Up Committee as part of the first cohort of consumer reps. Following this Rachel became a consumer rep for Western Sydney Health and a guest speaker for Miracle Babies Foundation. In 2018 Rachel appeared alongside Melinda Cruz on ABC Nightlife and filmed a news report with Channel 9 about blood donation and Lifeblood. In April 2018 Rachel featured in That’s Life Magazine and became a guest speaker for Lifeblood for which she continues to do talks for at various events throughout the year. In 2018 Rachel also spoke on Vision Christian Radio as well as being an ambassador for the Coleman Greig Challenge. Rachel has also featured on Kidspot and sat on judging panels and a Clinical Ethics Forum with NSW Health. In 2019 Rachel spoke with Ten News about PTSD and anxiety for parents of premature babies. She then filmed with Waterwipes Australia and later was interviewed by 7 News. Rachel presented at a FICare session at the annual ANZNN Conference and was an ambassador for the Miracle Babies Foundation Moonwalk. Rachel featured on Lifeblood’s docu-series ‘Giving Life’ and in 2020 appeared on a segment for 7.30 Report. Rachel is an advocate for women’s and newborn health and is a firm believer in life-long learning and improving outcomes for patients by working in partnership with medical professionals.

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Emma Davis

Consumer Representative

Emma is a Mum of an ex 27 weeker, now 6, who has a complex medical history. Born with TOF/ OA (Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula & Oesophageal atresia) her son had surgery when born and suffered other life threatening complications during his time in NICU. She works full time in HR for a media company and has been a Consumer Representative with the Australia & New Zealand Neonatal Network (ANZNN) since 2017, and sits on the Clinical Practice Improvement Committee. Through the ANZNN she has been very much focused around Family Integrated Care and supporting and promoting this across both Australia and New Zealand. Through the network she has been given the opportunity to speak from a consumer perspective at several Neonatal Conferences. Having spent significant time in hospital with her son she is very passionate about being a consumer representative and having the ability to have a voice when it comes to the improvement of care and support for parents with premature babies.

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Natalie Merida

NurtureProgram Support Worker, NT & Consumer Representative

Natalie is passionate about ensuring voices of families are heard and considered in the research and the delivery and delivery of health services. She believes that research into premature and sick babies is key to helping: - understand the short to long term effects of prematurity; and - how we can improve outcomes for these babies and their families. Natalie is mum to ex 29 weeker twins and lives in Darwin. The twins, now 6 (and wild) experienced various medical challenges due to their prematurity and were in and out of hospital during their early years. As a result of her family’s experience, she is now dedicated to helping other families with high risk babies and the health professionals that care for these families. Since 2015 she has worked part-time for the Miracle Babies Foundation providing peer to peer support to families of premature and sick newborns. She sits on several health advisory committees (local and national) as a consumer representative on the ANZNN, Co-Chair of the PSANZ Consumer Advisory Committee, and consumer representative on Top End Health Services (TEHS) Health Advisory Committee and TEHS Clinical Innovation and Research Committee. To complement her consumer work, she is studying part time a graduate diploma in Health Research at Charles Darwin University. She also works as Snr Executive Officer, Policy and Governance in the NT Public Service and prior to that worked as an Exhibition Coordinator for an national art exhibition.

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Andrea Hendry

Consumer Representative

Andrea Hendry Co-Founded Miracle Babies Foundation in 2005. Whilst working at the Liverpool Public Hospital in NSW Haemodialysis unit as a Registered Nurse, Andrea went into early labour at 28 weeks and delivered her first son Steven at Liverpool Hospital. This hospital became more than a work place, it became home for the next 10 ½ weeks. Her premature labour was thought to be Polyhydramnios (the production of too much amniotic fluid and she has a family history of premature births). Three years later she became pregnant with her second child and was able to deliver Aiden at 30 weeks. He was discharged home after a 6 week stay. Liverpool Public Hospital was a significant place in Andrea’s life, it was a valued work place for her nursing career and also as volunteer in Newborn Care. Andrea worked in the development of the NurtureProgram while helping to develop NurtureTime and piloting the first NurtureGroup - helping to set the stage to what is now a national program. Her position of Practical Support Coordinator gave her the opportunity to plan and implement all things practical. For example: while working with the Nursing Unit manager and Paediatric Occupational and Physio Therapist she helped to customise items and develop new sewing and knitting items used in the Newborn Care Unit. Andrea is an ardent voice for awareness of the ongoing needs and problems of premature and sick newborns. She spoke at the NSW Association of Neonatal Nurses Annual Conference in Sydney October 2009 with her speech “Taking my Premature Baby Home”. She has presented at Sydney’s College of Nursing in Burwood, NSW as well as the Annual Development Conference at Liverpool Public Hospital on the Sensory Processing Problems of these children. She has spoken at other venues with the purpose of community awareness or to gain support. In 2010, Andrea was voted Volunteer of the Year for City of Liverpool, NSW. After a short break Andrea returned to the role of NurtureProgram Support Worker, running the NurtureGroup Brisbane in Paddington and NurtureTime at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital in Brisbane QLD from May 2019 to May 2021. Andrea is passionate about support and better, healthier long term outcomes for families.