|Angela Doyinsola Aina, MPH is the Interim Executive Director of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, where she works to convene Black Maternal Health professionals and community-based organizations to develop trainings, programs, quality improvement initiatives, research projects, and black feminist advocacy strategies to advance holistic maternity service provision, policy, and systems change in global public health. She has over 14 years of public health experience, working in different capacities on projects focused on: incorporating health equity strategies into reproductive and maternal health initiatives; strengthening strategic planning and community-based workforce development; and data collection. Ms. Aina has served as a Public Health Analyst, Health Communications Specialist, and a Public Health Prevention Service Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for over 5 years, working on Zika and Pregnancy, scientific program management, and 2014 Ebola response staffing. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in International and Women’s Health from Morehouse School of Medicine where she conducted a sequential mixed-method analysis of the reproductive health attitudes and behaviors of Nigerian-born immigrant women in the U.S., and a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia State University in Psychology and African-American Studies. Angela’s expertise and perspectives on Black Maternal Health has been featured in media outlets, such as the Huffington Post, The Atlantic, the Root, and HLN/CNN. She is passionate about and committed to work that seek to achieve: the self-determination of women of African descent; the elimination of violence against women; the promotion of Black and African women’s rights and leadership; and womanist solutions to social and economic injustices. In her spare time, Angela enjoys singing, dancing, sewing, and dabbling in all things science fiction and fantasy.|
|Benita Baker is the Chief of the Perinatal Services Branch in the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s, Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services.
Ms. Baker began her career as a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense specialist in the United States Army. She received her BS in Food and Nutrition from Hood College, and an MS in Community Health Education from West Virginia University before eventually becoming a Clinical Nutritionist with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in West Virginia. After 5 years with WIC she entered the HRSA scholars program as a public health project officer, and has been with HRSA for 19 years.
|Cardora Barnes, MS joined the Division of Healthy Start & Perinatal Services (DHSPS) as a Project Officer in 2016. Currently, Cardora is assigned to Healthy Start projects located in Ohio and New York. In addition to performing program oversight to the projects, Cardora serves on the DHSPS’ Fatherhood Workgroup, provides mentorship to junior Project Officers, and serves as the liaison for the Grantees’ Mentoring Program within DHSPS. Prior to Healthy Start, Cardora worked with several HRSA programs including four years with the Federally Qualified Health Centers within the Bureau of Primary Health Care, Office of Planning and Evaluation and the Bureau of Health Workforce.|
|Lina Barrett is a Project Officer in the Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services, and is as a member of the Healthy Start Data and Evaluation team. Prior to joining HRSA, she served for three years as the program evaluator for South Phoenix Healthy Start, located within the Maricopa County Department of Public Health in Phoenix, Arizona. Lina is an experienced evaluator, having worked on projects across the non-profit and governmental sectors, and has a background in teaching and research.|
|Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP is the President and CEO of the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health at Brown University. Scott serves as principal investigator on three NICHQ-led multi-million dollar federal projects: the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network; the National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovation Network; and the Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Program. Berns is Co-Founder and Board Chair of The Progeria Research Foundation (PRF); he ensured PRF was a key force behind the Progeria gene discovery and has developed impactful international programs for Progeria families and researchers. In addition, he currently serves as Chair of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s Rare Disease Advisory Panel. Prior to joining NICHQ, Berns spent 14 years at the March of Dimes National Office serving as the Senior Vice President of Chapter Programs and the Deputy Medical Officer. He is Editor and Co-Author of “Toward Improving the Outcome of Pregnancy III: Enhancing Perinatal Health Through Quality, Safety and Performance Initiatives”. Berns received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from Boston University. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Rhode Island Hospital and completed a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Berns earned a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health with a concentration in health, policy and management. Berns also completed a one-year White House Fellowship where he served as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.|
|Matt Biewener is the Senior Manager for Technology and Business Solutions at the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ). Prior to joining NICHQ, Matt served for 8 years at Education Development Center (EDC)—most recently as Associate Director for Technology Solutions at SAMHSA’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies. He was responsible for ensuring that substance abuse prevention training and technical assistance services—and the internal management systems that support them—employed innovative, accessible, and integrated web technologies that could be feasibly implemented and maintained, yielded resource efficiencies, and promoted broad user engagement. Matt also served for 3 years as the administrator of subcontracts to enhance the evaluation capacity of community-based prevention programs, including the solicitation and award process, monitoring of program activities, and ensuring timely completion of contract deliverables. Previously at EDC, Matt led the team that hosted an international conference on mental health promotion, and developed training modules and other resources addressing pandemic influenza preparedness, HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean education sector and other health topic areas.|
|Dianne R. Browne, PhD, CFLE, CSE is the Project Director of the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative’s Camden Healthy Start. Dianne has been with Healthy Start since 2014. Her academic accomplishments include a PhD in Human Services Professions and an MEd in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University, Chester, PA; an MA in Administration & Supervision for the Educator/Trainer from Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ and a BS in Elementary Education from Trenton State College, Ewing, NJ. She left full time professorship at Widener (where she continues as an adjunct professor) in order to work with the community. Her goal is to put her knowledge into practice, focusing on helping underserved families and individuals to make informed decisions about family life and well-being. She is a published author, teaches about reproductive justice on the graduate level and serves as a facilitator in a faith based anti-racism team.
|Cathy Carothers, BLA, IBCLC, FILCA is co-director of EVERY MOTHER, INC., a nonprofit organization providing counseling and lactation training for health professionals across the United States. Cathy is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant since 1996; past president and Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association; and past chair of the United States Breastfeeding Committee. Cathy also serves as the national project director for numerous USDA Women, Infants, and Children curriculum development projects, including project director for the national WIC Breastfeeding Curriculum project launching soon. She serves as the Mississippi liaison and trainer for the W.K. Kellogg funded national initiative, Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices. Cathy is the mother of five healthy breastfed children, now ages 27 to 38, and “Nana” to seven beautiful breastfed grandchildren, ages 3 months to 10.|
|Joia Adele Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG – a thought leader around racism as a root cause of health inequities, Speaker, Trainer, Advocate, Policy Expert, and fighter for justice – is the Founder and President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative. She addressed the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urge a human rights framework to improve maternal mortality. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the Birthing Project, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Jefferson Community Healthcare Center and as the Director of Clinical Services for the City of New Orleans Health Department where she was responsible for four facilities that provided health care for the homeless, pediatric, WIC, and gynecologic services within the New Orleans clinical service area. Dr. Crear-Perry has been celebrated for her work to improve the availability and utilization of affordable health care for New Orleans’ citizens post the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005. Currently, her focus has expanded nationally and internationally as it relates to Maternal and Child Health. Joia, a proud recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus Healthcare Hero’s award and the Maternal Health Task Force at Harvard University Global Visionary Award for Commitment to Advancing Women’s Health, is most known for her work to remove Race as a risk factor for illness like premature birth and replacing it with Racism. She has been asked to train in Maternal and Child Health and is a sought-after speaker as a result of her articles in a number magazines including Essence, Ms. Magazine, as well as her publications around Structural Racism. Dr. Crear-Perry testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee as the Democratic witness in support of the only Maternal Health Bill signed into law since the new Administration came into office. Dr. Crear-Perry has received funding from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to work with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) to develop a Standard for Respectful Maternity Care and serves on the National Quality Forum Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Committee and the Joint Commission Perinatal Safety Project Technical Advisory Panel. Dr. Crear-Perry currently serves as a Principal at Health Equity Cypher and on the Board of Trustees for Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Community Catalyst, National Clinical Training Center for Family Planning and the UCSF PTBi. After receiving her bachelor’s trainings at Princeton University and Xavier University, Dr. Crear-Perry completed her medical degree at Louisiana State University and her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tulane University’s School of Medicine. She was also recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is married to Dr. Andre Perry and has three children: Jade, Carlos, and Robeson. Her love is her family; health equity is her passion; maternal and child health are her callings.|
|Wendy Davis, PhD, PMH-C is the Executive Director of Postpartum Support International’s (PSI), the world’s largest perinatal mental health organization. Wendy began her career as a psychotherapist and became a specialist in perinatal mental health after recovering from her own postpartum depression and anxiety. She is the Founding Director of Baby Blues Connection, Oregon’s first mom-to-mom support organization. Dr. Davis leads PSI’s delivery of vital perinatal mental health education, support, and services to pregnant and postpartum families and professionals. She also works with health care systems and government agencies, and serves on national advisory boards providing expertise on policy and practice for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Davis and PSI partner with advocacy and professional organizations to advance policy, training, and services, and are leading the Mind the Gap National Initiative with a coalition of stakeholders to ensure Perinatal Mental Health is a national priority.|
|Cynthia Dean has served as the Project Director for Missouri Bootheel Healthy Start program since 1997. Her professional background contains more than 25 plus years’ experience in grant funded programs and has broad experience in community-based prevention programs. Ms. Dean served as Past President of the National Healthy Start Association and is recognized as a leader for Perinatal Health Initiatives. Severed on many local, state and national Boards.
Co-authored eight journal articles targeting underserved rural communities. Selected as a candidate to attend a Harvard Kenney School Executive Education Leadership Program in Boston, MA; graduated December 2019.
|Ada Determan is a Public Health Analyst on Healthy Start’s Data and Evaluation Team. Prior to coming to MCHB, she served as a Senior Researcher/Health Scientist with SAIC contributing to two projects focused on health services research and program evaluation, and was the Team Lead/Researcher for a military health Federal Advisory Committee. Earlier in her career, Ada was on the Health Disparities Collaboratives team under HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care where she was the HRSA lead for the Perinatal and Patient Safety Pilot (with NICHQ) and the Cancer Prevention Collaborative. She also worked as a researcher/SAS programmer for an NIH epidemiological study examining diabetes outcomes at George Washington University’s Biostatistics Center. Ada has a PhD in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Maryland, a Master of Public Health from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Virginia.|
|Thomas Engels became Administrator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in November, 2019. HRSA is the primary federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for improving access to health care for people who are geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable. As the Administrator, Mr. Engels oversees the execution of HRSA’s $11.7 billion annual budget (FY 2019) that is used to expand access to quality health care through an array of grants to state and local governments, health care providers and health professions training programs.
Under Mr. Engels’ leadership, HRSA serves more than 28 million people across the country through the Health Center Program, where over 93% of health centers provide mental health services. The agency strengthens the healthcare workforce and connects skilled professionals to underserved urban and rural communities, including more than 14,900 clinicians in the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps who provide medical, dental and mental health services to over 15 million Americans. HRSA also supports public health services for nearly 56 million pregnant women, mothers, children and families. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program provides primary medical care, medications, and support services to over 535,000 patients diagnosed with HIV in the United States — 86% of those patients receiving HIV medical care are virally suppressed, meaning they have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus. Mr. Engels advances departmental priorities, including addressing the opioid epidemic through the integration of behavioral health into primary care and HIV care settings, growing the behavioral health workforce, increasing access to evidence-based prevention and treatment services, and increasing access to health care services in rural communities.
Before coming to HRSA, Mr. Engels was Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services from 2015 to 2019, managing a department with more than 6,000 employees and a $12 billion budget. In that role, he championed and oversaw the expansion of the state’s capacity to provide mental health services, the implementation of a statewide electronic health record system and the reduction in staff shortages at long-term care facilities. He was an active member of the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse and also chaired the Governor’s Human Resources Shared Services Executive Committee.
Previously, Mr. Engels was Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and Vice President of Public Affairs at the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin. He also served as the Government Affairs Director for the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association and previously held public service positions working as Governor Tommy Thompson’s Deputy Press Secretary and Communications Director for the Senate Republican Caucus.
|William England, PHD is director of the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) in the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at HRSA. Bill joined OAT in 2016. He started work in telehealth at CMS/Medicare, followed by work directing the FCC/Universal Service Rural Health Care Program. He is a Fellow and former Board member of the American Telemedicine Association and was a Robert Wood Johnson Healthcare Financing Fellow at Johns Hopkins. Prior to telehealth, Bill was an assistant professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a biomedical engineer at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis. He has a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Purdue. His law degree is from the University of Maryland.|
|Commander (CDR) Johannie Escarne, MPH is the Acting Senior Advisor for the Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services (DHSPS) in the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). She has been with the Division for 15 years and leads policy, program, and evaluation activities across the Division to include Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM), Women’s Preventive Services Initiative (WPSI), Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN), Screening & Treatment for Maternal Depression and Related Behavioral Disorders Program, and the Healthy Start Program.
In addition, CDR Escarne is a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) since 2004 and currently serves as the Logistics Chief of the Rapid Deployment Force Team #4. During her service, CDR Escarne has deployed to the Secretary’s Operation Center (SOC) in Washington, DC in 2005 for the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2010 for the earthquake relief efforts, Baton Rouge, LA for the 2016 flood relief efforts, and San Juan, PR for the recent hurricane relief efforts in 2017. She has also received several awards including the Outstanding Service Medal and the Commendation Medal for her achievements in the MCH field.
CDR Escarne earned a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Georgetown University and Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health from the George Washington University.
|Deborah Frazier currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the National Healthy Start Association. Ms. Frazier is a past member of the HHS Secretary’s Committee on Infant Mortality (SACIM), and the former Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health for the State of Arkansas. Ms. Frazier has a long and very rich history with Healthy Start and the Association serving as grantee evaluator, technical advisor to projects, Project Director for New Orleans Healthy Start, and founding member of the Association. In her role as Co-Chair of the Association’s Development Committee, she was instrumental in securing funding critical to the growth and expansion of the organization- establishing regional conferences, the Healthy Start Leadership Institute, and the Partnership Grant with AMCHP and CityMatCH. Ms. Frazier has lent her expertise and knowledge as a consultant to numerous national organizations including: The American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to develop and implement their National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Program (NFIMR); the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) to evaluate community based programs; and to the National School Health Workgroup to develop national standards and policies for school health programs. Ms. Frazier served as Agency Director for the Health Services Permit Agency under the gubernatorial appointments of both Republican and Democratic governors proving guidance for state health planning and policy with an emphasis on coordination and collaboration for long-term care planning. A firm believer in community involvement and engagement, Ms. Frazier has served on local and national boards and organizations including the United Way, National Conference of Christians and Jews (National Just Communities), Women’s Leadership Forum, FBI Leadership Academy, and The Links, Inc.|
|Craig Garfield, MD is a Professor of Pediatrics and of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He is also a practicing pediatrician at the Lurie Children’s Hospital (LCH) of Chicago where he is the Founder and Director of the Family and Child Health Innovations Program (FCHIP), which focuses on the notion that “Children thrive when families thrive.” After graduation with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Michigan, Dr. Garfield received his medical degree at Rush Medical College in Chicago and completed his pediatric training at Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital. He completed the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Chicago and concurrently obtained a Masters in the Art of Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy as a Harris Child and Family Scholar. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, his research focuses on improving the health of children and families by understanding the role parents play in the health and wellbeing of children (in particular the role of fathers) as well as how technology can support parenting.|
|Jana Glass LPC, MAC, PMH-C, BC-TMH began her career began working in private nonprofit agencies supporting children and families in the child welfare and juvenile court systems. She has experience in a variety of settings including in-home therapy, outpatient therapy, day treatment, and residential care. She founded Supportive Solutions, LLC, a private counseling practice that supports people managing depression, anxiety, substance abuse, trauma and abuse, infertility, and grief. Jana works with a wide spectrum of clients and her special interests include Healing Trauma, Substance Abuse, and Perinatal Mental Health. Jana is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) certified in Telemental Health (BC-TMH), Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C), Addictions (MAC), and Brainspotting (a brain and body based healing therapy). She experienced her own traumatic journey to parenthood and found healing through brainspotting therapy. Jana is passionate about helping individuals and families heal from traumatic experiences, regain hope, and enjoy their lives again.|
|Jodie Griffin is Deputy Division Chief in the Telecommunications Access Policy Division in the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau, where she leads the Lifeline universal service team. Prior to joining the FCC, Jodie was a Senior Staff Attorney for the non-profit organization Public Knowledge, where she advocated for consumers on telecommunications and copyright issues.|
|Kenn L. Harris currently serves as a Senior Project Director at the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ). His immediate past job was as Vice President for Community Engagement and Director and Principal Investigator of the New Haven Healthy Start program at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in New Haven, CT. Previously, Kenn worked with the Boston Healthy Start Initiative, one of the original Healthy Start project. There he helped establish the “Father-Friendly Initiative”, a fatherhood/ male involvement program. During his time in Boston, he also served on the “For Fathering Advisory Council” of the Medical Foundation. Kenn is the Immediate President of the National Healthy Start Association and the Association’s representative for the NHSA Dads Matter Initiative: Where Dads Matter, Washington, DC. He is co-creator of the Core Adaptive Model (CAM©), an evidenced-informed model for fatherhood/male involvement programs. He has worked on “My Brother’s Keeper”, President Obama’s initiative to address the health of boys and men of color; he contributed to the development of the “Dads and Diamonds” curriculum; he is a trained facilitator of the “24/7 Dads “curriculum of the National Fatherhood Initiative; and he is a researcher and advisor on men’s health and guest lecturer at colleges and universities on the topics of the impact of racism on maternal and child health outcomes and addressing men’s health in the age of mass incarceration.|
|Peter L. Holtgrave, MA, MPH is the Senior Director of Public Health Infrastructure and Systems at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), where he oversees the organization’s Performance Improvement, Workforce Development, Public Health Transformation, and Health Equity and Social Justice portfolios. Mr. Holtgrave brings over 19 years of public health experience, including serving as the National Health Manager at the OASIS Institute, a national nonprofit focused on healthy and productive aging, managing the evaluation of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities national initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and directing programs for the Boston Public Health Commission.|
|Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on naming, measuring, and addressing the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the nation.
She is a Past President of the American Public Health Association and was the 2019-2020 Evelyn Green Davis Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Rollins School of Public Health and served as a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Her allegories on “race” and racism illuminate topics that are otherwise difficult for many Americans to understand or discuss. Recognizing that racism saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources, she aims to mobilize and engage all Americans in a National Campaign Against Racism.
|Sheree H. Keitt, DrPH, MPH, CHES, is a Senior Program Manager at the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA). Over the past 15 years, Sheree has worked in public health on the local, state, and national levels. Prior to NHSA, Sheree was a Senior Administrator/Advanced Health Policy Analyst at the Maryland Department of Health (MDH). She served as an expert program and policy advisor in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Before MDH, Sheree was a Senior Program Analyst at the National Association of County and City Health Officials working across projects focused maternal, child, and adolescent health, injury and violence prevention, and chronic disease. Sheree is committed to advancing equity and community resilience by addressing the social determinants of health to reduce disparities and improve population health outcomes.|
|Vanessa Lee, MPH has been a Public Health Analyst at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) since 2009, where she currently serves as the Infant Mortality CoIIN Coordinator and the Project Officer for the Healthy Start TA Center in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)-Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services (DHSPS). Prior to this, she was a Project Officer for the Title V MCH Services Block Grant Program in MCHB. Before joining HRSA, Vanessa worked in HIV/AIDS prevention for 7 years coordinating federally-funded HIV counseling and testing programs at the California Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and the George Washington University Hospital Emergency Department. She has an MPH in health policy and management from the University of California-Berkeley and a BS in public health from Rutgers-the State University of New Jersey.|
|Dawn Levinson, MWS is the Behavioral Health Lead in the Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services within the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health at HRSA. In this role, Dawn provides leadership, coordination, subject matter expertise and recommendations on behavioral health policy, program, and technical assistance across MCHB divisions and programs. She provides guidance and oversight to the behavioral health-focused technical assistance for two cooperative agreement programs: the Screening & Treatment for Maternal Depression and Related Behavioral Disorders program, and the Supporting Healthy Start Performance Project. She is the project officer for the 2020 CARES Act award, Rapid Response for Moms: Increasing Services via Telehealth (RRMIST), and the Supporting Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Screening and Intervention program. She has served in the Department of Health and Human Services in various agencies over the last two decades. She is a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor. Prior to the government, she worked as a journalist, free-lance writer, and did direct practice social work in a home visiting program, a substance use treatment center for female offenders, and a tribal youth program. She and her husband live in Maryland and have two middle-school-aged boys.|
|Rochelle Littleton is a native of New Orleans and has lived in Baton Rouge for the past twenty years. She is married and the mother of two children. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Xavier University and Master’s degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University. She has been the Program Director for the Family Road of Greater Baton Rouge Healthy Start Program since January of 2018. She leads the program bringing new and innovative methods to increase program participation and sustainability. She has worked on various local, state and national initiatives including March of Dimes and Breastfeeding Coalition in addressing racial disparities in perinatal health and their impact on the community.|
|Robin McDonald, JD is the Division Director of State and Territory TANF Management within the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Family Assistance (OFA). OFA administers several key programs, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and the $150 million Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) discretionary grant program reauthorized under the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (CRA). As Division Director, Ms. McDonald oversees the implementation and oversight of the HMRF program. And in August 2019, her portfolio included the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)—an $85 million discretionary grant program that provides education and training to TANF recipients and other low-income individuals for occupations in the health care field that pay well and are expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand. OFA’s programs foster economically secure households and communities for the well-being and long-term success of children and families. Ms. McDonald has enjoyed a broad career in the non-profit community, as well as in the Legislative and Executive Branches of the Federal government. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from George Mason University School of Law, is a member of the Maryland Bar, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications, Speech, and Broadcasting from Anderson University in Anderson, IN.|
|Kacie McLaughlin, BA, MPH is a Public Health Analyst in the for the Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services (DHSPS) in the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). She currently serves as the project officer and lead for the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health- Community Care Initiative (AIM-CCI) and the State Maternal Health Innovation program. Ms. McLaughlin also supports the implementation of the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative. Prior to HRSA Kacie served as a Public Health Policy Research Fellow at CDC in the Office of the Associate Director for Policy in the Policy Research (OADPS) in the Policy Analysis and Development Office (PRADO). There she assisted with the development of policy briefs and a Surgeon General’s Call to Action.|
|Monica R. McLemore PhD, MPH, RN is a tenured associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, in the Family Health Care Nursing Department, an affiliated scientist with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, and a member of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. She retired from clinical practice as a public health and staff nurse after a 28-year clinical nursing career. Her program of research is focused on understanding reproductive health and justice. To date, she has 61 peer reviewed articles, OpEds and commentaries and her research has been cited in the Huffington Post, Lavender Health, three amicus briefs to the Supreme Court of the United States, and two National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine reports, and a data visualization project entitled How To Fix Maternal Mortality: The first step is to stop blaming women that was published in the 2019 Future of Medicine edition of Scientific American. Her work has appeared in publications such as Dame Magazine, Politico, ProPublica/NPR and she made a voice appearance in Terrance Nance’s HBO series Random Acts of Flyness. She is the recipient of numerous awards and currently serves as chair-elect for Sexual and Reproductive Health section of the American Public Health Association. She was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2019.|
|Donna Mertens, PhD is Professor Emeritus at Gallaudet University with a specialization in research and evaluation methodologies designed to support social transformation. She has authored, co-authored, or edited many books related to evaluation methods and human rights, most recently Program Evaluation Theory and Practice 2nd ed; Mixed Methods Design in Evaluation; Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology: Integrating Diversity with Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods 5th ed.; Indigenous Pathways into Social Research, and Transformative Research and Evaluation. She focuses on the intersection of evaluation with social justice and human rights within the philosophical assumptions of the transformative paradigm. Mertens served as the editor for the Journal of Mixed Methods Research 2010–2014. She was President of the American Evaluation Association in 1998 and served on the Board from 1997 to 2002; she was a founding board member of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation and the Mixed Methods International Research Association.|
|Tamela Milan-Alexander MPPA has more than 20 years’ experience in the MCH community working as a peer educator, developmental screener, and community health worker, as well as a Healthy Start case manager. She has worked at Access Community Health Network Westside Healthy Start for 15 years and is often asked to share her wealth of experience around family engagement and consumer buy-in as a Keynote or/and training specialist. 2016 she achieved her ultimate goal to get a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration. An accomplished public health professional, Ms. Milan-Alexander has received numerous awards and acknowledgments including the Chicago Healthy Start Award, the Access Community Health Network Award from Westside Healthy Start for 15 years of service, and recognition of achievement from the Raising Our Daughters Foundation. She made history as the first parent consumer on the National Healthy Start Association Board of Directors, on which she spent 7 years.|
|Catie Miller manages communications for Lifeline, including state and federal partnerships. Previously Catie served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). During her tenure, Catie made a conscious choice to work on the frontlines and improve services for residents of public housing in the Pacific Northwest. After several years, Catie moved to DC to work with the Deputy Secretary on operational initiatives to improve the agency for the people it serves. Catie holds a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.|
|Ben O’Dell is the Program Specialist at the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ben is a recognized expert on facilitating partnerships between faith-based, philanthropic, and community organizations and government at all levels. Ben’s interest in strengthening local faith-based and community leaders and community engagement principles to religious, community, and government interest has led him to develop deep relationships, knowledge, and expertise on a broad range of issues from strengthening fathers and families to strategies for bringing groups together in collaborative networks. Throughout his seventeen year tenure in the Center, Ben served in many roles including as Designated Federal Officer to the President’s Advisory Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a 25 member council of faith and community leaders making recommendations to the President and the White House. Ben received his Master’s Degree in Organizational Development and Knowledge Management in 2007 from the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. Ben resides outside of Washington, D.C. with his wife, Kristin, and practices his own personal fatherhood initiatives with their two girls.|
|Tonya Randall began her career with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 1993. She began working with the Division of Grants Management Operations as a Grants Management Specialist in 1995. As a Grants Management Specialist, Tonya has worked on several different programs including HIV and AIDS, rural health policy and currently, she is the Lead Grants Management Specialist for the Healthy Start Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health Program, amongst other programs.|
|Lynlee Tanner Stapleton, PhD is a Public Health Analyst with HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau in the Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems. She is a licensed clinical psychologist whose training and experience are immersed in early childhood systems, including childhood development, perinatal health, infant/toddler mental health, and innovative approaches to identifying and maximizing linkages across critical service systems. Her past work includes research, clinical services, policy, and program development at HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care, U.S. Department of State, USAID, and Boston Children’s Hospital’s Developmental Medicine Center.|
|Jane Taylor, Ed.D., MBA, MHA is an improvement advisor and learning designer. She has worked with NICHQ since 2001 and advised on a multitude of improvement projects, around the world. Her interest in equity spawned from her experience growing up in the rural south. Currently, Jane provides improvement support for the Supporting Healthy Start Performance Project, Safe Sleep Coiin, and Environmental Health (lead poisoning) Coiin for NICHQ. She also advises an Equity Health in Primary Care Innovation Project with Health Leads, an equity project on childhood screening with Generation Next/Twin Cities United Way and an equity project with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement on transitions between high school and post-secondary school for low income and Latinx students. Jane loves to learn and am is a fierce ballroom competitor and violinist. For fun, Jane loves to sail in the summer with her husband, Carl and Pepper, their dog. Jane strives to be a loyal friend and trusted colleague to many, a loving sister, and aunt.|
|Deborah Teplow, PhD is co-founder and CEO of the Institute for Wellness Education, which created the US national occupational standards and training curriculum for the US Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship in wellness coaching. She also is co-founder of Be Your Own Best Coach, a training company that helps people shift mindset and change behavior. Deborah’s recent work has been training staff in a variety of state and national programs including Healthy Start, the New Jersey Prevention Network, and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. She also trains professionals abroad in underserved communities, including 10 countries in Central Africa and Asia. She has worked with medical, educational, and social-service professionals in 23 countries. Previously, Deborah founded Health Focus, Inc, an educational partner with the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health and Indiana University School of Medicine.|
|Kathryn Umali, MPH currently serves as the Director of the Community-Based Division within the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In this role, she is responsible for providing leadership, management and programmatic oversight of community-based programs and initiatives within HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Ms. Umali holds a Master of Public Health degree in Health Education/Communication and Maternal and Child Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota.|
|Lee Warner, MD is currently Chief of the Women’s Health and Fertility Branch for the Division of Reproductive Health at the CDC, which houses a number of surveillance and research activities including the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, better known as PRAMS. During his nearly 30-year public health career, Dr. Warner has published more than 125 articles related to the reproductive health for women and men, including contraception, adolescent pregnancy, HIV prevention interventions, infertility, and male circumcision. He spearheaded the release of CDC’s National Action Plan for the Detection, Prevention, and Treatment of Infertility recognizing infertility as a public health issue for men and women as well as CDC’s first expert consultation on how we can further advance male reproductive health.|
|Michael Warren, MD, MPH is Associate Administrator of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. Dr. Warren manages MCHB’s $1.33 billion budget, providing vision and direction to ensure programs are planned and carried out effectively to achieve results. Before assuming his current role, Dr. Warren served as the Deputy Commissioner for Population Health at the Tennessee Department of Health. As a board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Warren previously served as the Tennessee Department of Health Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness and as the Director of Maternal and Child Health. Prior to joining the Department of Health, he served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt and as Medical Director in the Governor’s Office of Children’s Care Coordination. Dr. Warren graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors in Psychology from Wake Forest University and earned his medical degree from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed his pediatrics residency, Chief Residency, and fellowship in Academic General Pediatrics at Vanderbilt, where he also obtained a Master’s in Public Health. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Warren has served as President for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), the national professional organization for maternal and child health professionals. He was also appointed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality (SACIM).|
|Lee Wilson is serving as Acting Director for the Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services in HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. He has been a Senior Policy Advisor in the bureau for the last 6 years. Much of his recent effort has focused on women’s preventive services, maternal health, and maternal mortality issues. Prior to joining MCHB, Lee was the Associate Administrator for HRSA’s Office of Regional Operations, where he spearheaded the transition of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) efforts for HRSA at the regional and state levels. From 2006 to 2012, he directed the Public Health Services Policy Division within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), where he guided the development of the Essential Health Benefits design for healthcare plans under the ACA; he also launched the first Women’s Preventive Services and Screenings initiative, which is now being led by MCHB. Lee began his career at the National Institutes of Health as a Presidential Management Intern following the completion of his graduate work in public policy and economics at Duke University. He lives in Gaithersburg, MD with his partner, where they are very active in community service.|
|Brandon Wood was born in raised in Baltimore, Maryland and currently resides in Towson, Maryland. He attended the University of Maryland where he received a bachelors of Arts degree in History and Health Science and Policy. In, 1997 he matriculated from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health where he received a Masters of Health Science in Heath Finance and Administration. Brandon is a Lieutenant Commander in the US Public Health Service where he is the Project Manager for the Healthy Start maternal and Child Health Programs for the states of Illinois and Indiana. Prior to that Brandon served as Project Officer to 25 Louisiana and Texas Federally Qualified Health Centers at the Health Resources and Services Administration. In addition to his duties as project manager, he is a member of the Junior Officers Association of the Commissioned Corps, the Associate Recruiters, and the Commissioned Officers Association where he has held the position of co-chairman for the Awards and Historical Prospectives Committee. Outside of the Public Health Service, Brandon is also a member of the Reserve Officers Association, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, the National Association of Heath Services Executives, and the American College of Health Care Executives.
Brandon has had numerous experiences in the areas of managed care, provider contracting and network development, compliance, and health informatics during his career. He served as Provider Relations manager for United Healthcare in Baltimore where he managed a team of ten and Network Development Coordinator for a joint venture Medicaid managed care organization called CarePartners prior to the start of his federal government career. As his enthusiasm for healthcare grew he served as a staff consultant for the Seta Corporation which provided network development testing of the Medicare Part A and B claims payment software for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
Brandon currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Maryland State Boy Choir and the Vernon Dobson Headstart Center. He is also an avid gourmet cook and baker in his spare time. Additionally, he remains a devout student of History and enjoys traveling, tennis, baseball, and football. He resides in Ellicott City, MD with his wife Shauna and three daughters.