Jennifer L. Porter was appointed to serve as Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives (MOWPI) by Mayor Muriel Bowser in February of 2019. In this role, she serves as the Bowser Administration’s chief advocate for women and women’s issues in Washington, DC. As Director, Jennifer collaborates with local and national nonprofit organizations and public agencies to address the needs of women. Mrs. Porter advises Mayor Bowser on women’s policy and areas of need for women initiatives.
Director Porter holds a degree in Biology from Howard University; a Masters of Public Health from The George Washington University, Milken Institute, School of Public Health and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist. Prior to her appointment Jennifer led a public health career in government relations and adolescent health advocacy at Children’s National Health System. In that role she advocated for legislation, health policy and community resources that improve the health and wellbeing of our nation’s youth. As a clinical researcher Jennifer’s research focused on a range of adolescent sexual health issues including: economic influences of medical adherence for HIV positive adolescents, structural barriers to HIV prevention for youth and pregnancy prevention outcomes.
Mrs. Porter has held a number of volunteer leadership positions in local, regional and national community service organizations that support and empower women. She served as chair of the District of Columbia, Commission for Women; and serves on the National Policy Advisory Group for Girls Inc and has served on the planning advisory committee for the National Health Policy Conference. In her spare time she is a lecturer at The George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health Jennifer is a volunteer trainer for the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) Women’s Wage Negotiation training program and trains local women on tips and strategies to fight for economic equality and professional development. Jennifer is an active member of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. for Business and Professional women and the Metropolitan, DC Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.
Jennifer’s excellence in service and professionalism has been commended being named an AcademyHealth 2017 National Population Health Scholar. Jennifer was recently named among the National Minority Quality Forum’s 2018 Naitional 40 under 40 Leader’s in Minority Health. Jennifer is proud to live in Ward 5 of Washington, DC with her husband André.
Dr. Leana Wen is the President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care and education. As a national health care organization with over 600 health centers and a presence in all 50 states, Planned Parenthood provides vital community health care to nearly 2.5 million women, men, non-binary people, youth, and families every year. One in five American women have been patients at Planned Parenthood.
Dr. Wen is the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in nearly 50 years and its first AAPI president. She is an immigrant, a practicing ER doctor, a public health leader, and a passionate advocate for reproductive health and rights. Previously, she served as the Health Commissioner for the City of Baltimore, where she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department to fight the opioid epidemic, treat violence and racism as public health issues, and improve maternal and child health. She is on the faculty of George Washington University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. When she’s not working, Dr. Wen is spending time with her one-and-a-half year son, Eli.
Liuba has spent her career leading organizations to empower working families both at home and abroad. She has worked for the UN Foundation and was selected as a Global Champion for Women’s Economic Empowerment by UN Women. Together with UN Women, she launched the #IAmParent campaign for Parental Leave. She currently serves as the Founder and CEO of Vote Mama, the first PAC in the country to support Democratic moms running for office. Liuba has forged partnerships between government, businesses, and nonprofits to tackle issues including economic development, access to health care, and paid family leave. She has worked with diplomats, healthcare workers and government leaders across four continents, and fought to make the use of international aid funds more accountable and less corrupt.
In 2018, Liuba ran a historic congressional campaign to represent New York’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She received the highest vote share of any Democrat to run against Peter King in 25 years. Liuba raised over $2 million with no corporate PAC money and built a grassroots movement of volunteers that knocked over 250,000 doors. She became the first woman to receive federal approval to use campaign funds for childcare. The decision, which gained support from Hillary Clinton and 25 members of Congress, was unanimously approved by the FEC. Following her historic win, nine federal candidates used her FEC ruling to spend campaign funds for childcare— and candidates across the country followed her lead and petitioned their state and local governments for the same right.
Liuba holds an MBA with specializations in Management and Economics from New York’s University’s Stern School of Business, and a BA in Politics and Russian from NYU. She lives on Long Island with her husband Christopher and children, Mila and Nicholas.
Dr. Louis is the president-elect for the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine. She serves as the division chief and fellowship director for Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of South Florida. Her clinical and academic activities focus on maternal morbidity and mortality. Through her collaborative work with the USF College of Public Health, and the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative, she has led statewide programs to improve provider education and management of obstetric hemorrhage and hypertension in the state of Florida. She is passionate about making pregnancy safer for all women and in particular, improving maternal health across the lifespan.
Allison Yarrow is an award-winning journalist, speaker, and the author of “90s Bitch: Media, Culture, and the Failed Promise of Gender Equality” (Harper Perennial, 2018), named New and Noteworthy by the New York Times, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Press Club book award. She has written for many publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vox, Time, and Newsweek. Allison was a TED resident, a national magazine award finalist, and an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar. She is a grantee of the International Women’s Media Foundation, which supports her development of a podcast about birth science and politics. She produced the award-winning Vice News documentary “Misconception,” about reproductive healthcare access and policy, and gave a TED talk called “What to Expect Post-Expecting.” Her new book explores how patriarchy, sexism, and racism shape pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, and how we can change that. Allison was raised in Macon, Georgia, and lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, daughter, and son.
Chauntel Norris is a DONA trained birth doula, Lamaze trained childbirth educator and a Certified Lactation Counselor.
She is a native of Birmingham, AL and attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she completed undergraduate studies in African American Studies and Psychology. She serves as the Mother’s Milk Initiative Coordinator for the Alabama Prison Birth Project where she works to ensure that incarcerated mothers are able to express their milk and get it to their babies.
Chauntel is the Co-Founder of Baobab Birth Collective, a kindred partner with the Black Mamas Matter Alliance and serves on the board for the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee.
She also gets to be the mom to two amazing children Amaiya & Ozell.
Chauntel is a tireless advocate for breastfeeding in vulnerable communities, and strongly believes in the right of all women to be able to breastfeed their children.
Sarp Aksel, MD is a chief resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Throughout his medical training, Aksel has worked as a reproductive health advocate at the intersection of medicine, education and social justice. He served as the President of Medical Students for Choice in 2013 and currently serves as a board member for Physicians for Reproductive Health. He strives to cultivate an energized, educated and engaged next generation of young physician advocates through his work at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Lucy Martinez Sullivan is the founder and Executive Director of 1,000 Days—the leading advocacy organization fighting to make the nutrition and well-being of mothers, babies and toddlers in the U.S. and around the world a policy and funding priority. In her role, Lucy works with global leaders and policymakers, experts and parents to champion investments in mothers and children during the unique 1,000 day window of opportunity between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday.
Before founding 1,000 Days, Lucy worked with philanthropic and non-profit organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the UN Foundation on various strategic, communications and fundraising initiatives to drive social impact.
In her work as an advocate for mothers, babies and toddlers, Lucy draws on the marketing and finance skills she honed while working for Fortune 500 companies such as Merrill Lynch, L’Oréal, and L Brands.
She holds a M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. with distinction from the University of Florida. She resides in Washington D.C. with her husband and two young daughters.
John Cullen MD, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians, practices full scope family medicine in the frontier community of Valdez Alaska. He has been delivering babies and caring for families there for 25 years.
He has served on the the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services for HRSA where he toured the country, evaluating critical access hospitals and rural health systems, and served on the Alaska State Medical Board before being elected to the AAFP Board of Directors.
As president of the AAFP, Dr. Cullen represents over 136,000 family physicians, residents, and medical students. The AAFP is a strong advocate for the reduction of racial and geographic disparities in maternal and infant mortality and has recently convened a task force on this important subject.
John Cullen is as comfortable working to deliver babies in his small frontier town as he is delivering talks on health care policy on Capitol Hill. He enjoys speaking and advocating for patients on the national stage almost as much as he enjoys his adventurous life with his wife Michelle Cullen over the past 30 years.
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.
Recently, 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 Joint Commission Perinatal Safety Project Technical Advisory Panel. Dr. Crear-Perry currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Principal at Health Equity Cypher and on the Board of Trustees for Community Catalyst, National Medical Association, 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.
Alexandra Sacks, MD is a reproductive psychiatrist affiliated with the Women’s Program at the Columbia University Medical Center and a candidate at the Columbia University Psychoanalytic Center for Training and Research. A leading expert in “matrescence,” she is known for popularizing the concept in her TED talk with over 1.5 million views worldwide, and in her New York Times article “The Birth of a Mother,” the number one most read piece of 2017 for the “Well Family” section, where she is a regular contributor. Dr. Sacks was a scholar at the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry and serves on The American Psychoanalytic Association advisory board for media education and the advisory board for Parents magazine. Her work on matrescence and “mommy brain” has been featured in TIME, NPR, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The TODAY show. Dr. Sacks is the host of Motherhood Sessions, a podcast with Gimlet Media and coauthor of What No One Tells You: A Guide to Your Emotions From Pregnancy to Motherhood.
Angelina Spicer is a comedian, actress, social media influencer, wife and mother. A cum-laude graduate of Howard University, Spicer has smartly delved deep for comedy that’s authentic, transparent, and relatable. By using her social media platform, she became an outspoken advocate for maternal mental health after she was admitted into a psychiatric facility for treatment of postpartum depression (PPD). It was then that her journey to remove the stigma from the shame and guilt associated with PPD began. She became the 2018 Spokeswoman for The Blue Dot Project, has lobbied on Capitol Hill, helped pass three new pieces of legislation for new moms in California and been featured in USA Today & Essence magazine.
Dawn Godbolt is a health program associate at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she works to expand access to health care and advocates for federal health policies that eliminate racial health disparities and provide greater access to care for marginalized groups.
Prior to her work at the National Partnership, Dawn completed her doctorate in sociology from Florida State University and a fellowship with the OpEd Project. Her previous work examined race differences in mothers’ fear of allowing children outside, disparities in neighborhood factors, and the connection between stereotypes, religion and obesity.