Core Staff

Get to know our NYS WIC team! Below are short biographies and contact information for our NYS WIC trainers and program staff.

NYS WIC Trainers and Program Staff

Program Director: Michelle Gerka, BA,is Vice President of Family and Community Education Projects at CAI. She has over 20 years of experience working in public health. Over this time, she has developed expertise in leadership development and stakeholder engagement and their role in supporting the implementation of population-based health approaches to health improvement. A member of the Senior Management Team at CAI, Ms. Gerka also oversees CAI's curriculum and distance learning team, providing vision for the translation of evidence-based and -informed practices into training curricula, training-of-trainer curricula, online learning modalities, and web-based tools. In addition to administering the NYS Center of Excellence for Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services, Ms. Gerka is the administrator and lead trainer for the NYS Tobacco Control Project, a population-based public health project where she led the development of Tobacco-Free School Policies in collaboration with Principals and Superintendents across New York State. Recently, Ms. Gerka has worked with an interdisciplinary team at CAI to implement the Institute for Health Improvement (IHI) collaborative for WIC and Office of Population Affairs Title X sub-recipient agencies, as well as CDC's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Email Michelle at

Albany Office Manager: Kelley King, works out of our Albany office, where puts her exceptional organizational skills into overdrive daily as she efficiently manages multiple priorities such as sending reminders for trainings, booking offsite events, updating the WICTC website, facilitates webinars and answering questions from WIC agencies. Kelley's strong technical and problem solving skills shine as she brings excellence to the NYS WIC Training center. Email Kelley at

Trainer: Joann Koeppel, CLC, joined CAI in March of 2009. She began her WIC career over 20 years ago. She worked at a local WIC agency for 7 years prior to becoming a NYS WIC trainer. Over the past 13 years, Joann has considered it her privilege to provide training and technical assistance to hundreds of WIC employees throughout New York State. Her love of the WIC program and expertise in the areas of income policy/assessment and WICSIS make her a true asset to our training team. Email Joann at

Trainer: Doreen La Duca, began her career in the field of nutrition approximately 30 years ago and has focused the majority of here time in community nutrition helping low income families live healthy lifestyles. She has worked on the NYS WIC Training Center contract since 2006 and has built her expertise in training development and delivery with specializations in NYS WIC Program policies and procedures, participant-centered nutrition assessment/skills, maternal and child health, high risk care, behavior change,rapport building, motivational interviewing, WIC Learning Communities, webinar development and delivery. Doreen also oversees the provision of continuing education in which CAI is an accredited provided through the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Doreen's experience and knowledge as well as her friendly training style make her a unique part of the NYS WIC Training Center team. Email Doreen at

Trainer: Patricia Lane, IBCLC, has been working with breastfeeding women for more than 20 years. She joined in 2009, training WIC staff and other programs in the area of breastfeeding. Patty played a critical role in the development of the NYS Peer Counselor Curriculum and was instrumental in the development of, a nationally recognized breastfeeding website for breastfeeding families and professionals. Patty's background in early childhood education and enthusiasm about breastfeeding make her a perfect fit for the NYS WIC Training Center. Email Patty at

*WIC is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for USDA's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.