Meet Our Educators:
They make SIDS of Illinois, Inc. run...
With compassion and professionalism, the staff of SIDS of Illinois, Inc.is made up of individuals who each bring something special to the organization because they have been touched by SIDS. Some of them have lost a child themselves, others became acquainted with SIDS through a friend or relative who suffered a loss. Their work is driven by the unwavering belief that SIDS deaths must be eliminated through education and research while bereavement support must be available to families and caregivers who suffer the sudden and unexpected loss of an infant. As a team, they bring executive managerial skills, nursing and education backgrounds, financial and fundraising stewardship and professional bereavement training to the organization and mission.
Natalie Farmer, DT is health educator for SIDS of Illinois, Inc. She obtained her BS in Psychology with a minor in Interpersonal Relations from Ball State University in Muncie, IN. Natalie is a certified Developmental Therapist and has worked closely with Nancy Maruyama, RN on Tummy Time for Baby information. Natalie’s son Holden, died in 2003; a victim of SIDS. Natalie and her husband John, have four beautiful children; two of whom were born after Holden’s death. Natalie has been with the organization as an educator since 2005. She is the primary educator for Childcare Providers and Law Enforcement Officials.
Erika Ruiz was born in Mexico City and has lived in Illinois for the last 16 years. Erika graduated from National Autonomous University of Mexico as a registered nurse and is currently acquiring her RN license here in the USA. Erika first heard of SIDS of Illinois through the Chicago Bilingual Nurse Consortium, an organization that she is a part of which helps foreign nurses acquire licensures in the states. Erika's passion is helping people whenever she can. Erika has a husband and two children.
Juan G. Valdez
Jennifer Kupitz is a bereaved sibling; her older brother died from SIDS. Jenny is one of the Health Educators for the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Special Beginnings program. Jennifer has her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Wisconsin. LaCross. Jenny and her husband, Steve, live in the suburbs and have a black lab named Rhaegar.
Marybeth Morrell has worked as a health educator for SIDS of Illinois since December of 2016. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Midwestern University in August 2017. She is currently expecting her first child due in June.
Kimberly Rowe, BS is a safe sleep health educator for families who are living in shelters or are incarcerated. Kim’s educational background is in Criminal Justice and Domestic Violence. Kim has been instrumental in making safe sleep a priority for infants in shelters. For mothers who are incarcerated, Kim educates mothers of infants on safe sleep practices for when they are released home. Kim has developed a number of educational games on safe sleep for baby that can be used in community baby showers. Kim has been with SIDS of Illinois, Inc since 2004.
Juan G. Valdez, MA is the primary bilingual educator for SIDS of Illinois, Inc. He has been with the organization for over 16 years. Juan holds a BA in Psychology and a minor in Religion from Blackburn University, Carlinville, IL, and obtained his MA in Public Administration from Governor’s State University, University Park, IL. Juan has strong communication, presentation, and organizational management skills and is fluent in both English and Spanish. Juan, along with Ramon Marrero, is responsible for the production and dissemination of a Safe Sleep for Baby Spanish language instructional video. He and Ramon also translate all SIDS of Illinois, Inc. educational and bereavement materials from English to Spanish. Juan and his wife are the proud parents of two wonderful boys.
Lisa is a Health Educator for the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Special Beginnings program. Lisa has a background in Psychology Child Development, and has special training as an EMT-B. Lisa has 3 beautiful daughters.