National Team & Advisors

Board Members

Founding Committee

John Jennings, MD, FACOG
65th President, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist’s
Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
TX Tech Univ. Health Sciences (TTUHSC)

Kathleen Rice Simpson, PhD, RNC, FAAN
Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist
Editor-in-Chief, MCN The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing

Kim Pekin, CPM
Clinical Dir and Founder Premier Birth Center
North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) Dir Special Projects
Mother and advocate for maternal-child health

Cara Osborne, MSN, CNM, ScD
Founder & Chief Clinical Officer Baby + Co
Mama to Max and Tate

Hermine Hayes-Klein, JD
Women’s rights lawyer
Founder, Human Rights in Childbirth

Yuliya Labko, MSN, CNM
Women and Children’s health advocate
Research Assistant

Judie Wika, MSN, CNM
Assistant Professor, Nurse-Midwifery
Shenandoah University

Catherine Ruhl, MS, CNM
Director, Women’s Health Programs

Kara Williams, MPH
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Allyn Family Foundation
Women and Children’s Advocate

Anayah Sangodele Ayoka, MSN, CNM

Rachelle Hansen, CD (BAI)
Certified Doula
Creative Director and birth advocate, Improving Birth
Owner/Designer at iDesign, Fox Valley CA
Mother of 6

Carrie Murphy, CD (DONA), MFA
Certified Birth doula
Freelance writer on reproductive health and choices in childbirth

Lewis Booth, BA, Project Mgt.
Advocating for “Moms”
‘Who doesn’t love their mom?’

Reed Haynes
IT and Web Support
Because Mom asked

Sophia Smecker
Website Support

Tina Cassidy
Author of Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born.

Board of Advisors

Maternal Mortality

Christy Turlington Burns is a mother, advocate, social entrepreneur, and founder & CEO of the maternal health organization, Every Mother Counts. Having endured a childbirth complication herself, Christy was compelled to direct and produce the documentary, No Woman, No Cry about maternal health challenges that impact the lives of millions of girls and women around the world. Every Mother Counts was launched in 2010 to heighten awareness about our global maternal health crisis. While advocacy remains a key focus, Every Mother Counts has evolved into a 501(c)(3) investing in programs around the world to ensure all women have access to quality maternal healthcare.

Christy has been recognized as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People (2014) and one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year (2013). In March 2016, EMC was recognized as one of Fast Company magazine’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Not-For-Profit (2016).

Prior to her work as a global maternal health advocate, Christy enjoyed a successful career as a model while continuing her education and pursuing other interests. Christy has held positions on the Harvard Medical School Global Health Council, the Harvard School of Public Health Board of Dean’s Advisors and on the advisory Board of New York University’s Nursing School. She holds a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies and has studied Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. A six-time marathon finisher, Christy resides in New York City where she lives with her husband, filmmaker Edward Burns, and their two children.

Parental Support

Chitra Akileswaran, MD, MBA is Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of LUCY, a health tech marketplace that connects growing families with professionals in areas such as lactation, doula care, family therapy, and integrative wellness.  She an Attending Obstetrician/Gynecologist in the Alameda County Medical System and holds a Lecturer appointment at Harvard Medical School.  Prior to LUCY, Dr. Akileswaran was Medical Director at Kyruus, Inc., a healthcare technology company focused on patient access.  She served as Administrative Chief Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, where she led various operations improvement efforts and was honored for her collaborative approach with the midwifery faculty.  She has studied healthcare delivery in South Africa, India, the Caribbean, and Uganda and has published on topics including interprofessional collaboration, the medicalization of birth, and gender inequities in healthcare.  Her past work also includes serving as an associate at McKinsey & Company.  She received her undergraduate degree from Brown University, an MD from Harvard Medical School, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Morad Fareed is the Founder and CEO of Square Roots. Prior to founding Square Roots, Morad co-founded and served as Managing Partner of Delos Living where he helped to pioneer the WELL Building Standard™ and Wellness Real Estate™. As an industry creator, Delos Living partnered with an array of the finest medical, scientific, design, and philanthropic institutions to create the first building standard focused exclusively on improving health through an international portfolio of healthy homes, offices, hotels, schools, and health care facilities. In 2006, Fareed took time out to try out for, and then eventually joined the Palestine National Soccer Team. He helped the team qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany, and continued to play with the team for two years where he won 3 Caps from FIFA. He serves as an Advisory Board Member to several organizations, including the Smithsonian’s Science Education Center, the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, and’s the Foundation. He is the Founding Partner of the Clinton Foundation’s 2030 Initiative™ and a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Business Council. He is a native of New York and lives in Manhattan.

Perinatal Disparities

Jennie Joseph, a British-trained midwife and women’s health advocate, moved to the United States in 1989 and began a journey which has culminated in the formation of an innovative maternal child healthcare system, The JJWay®. She is the Executive Director of her own non-profit corporation Commonsense Childbirth Inc. which operates two health centers in Orlando, Florida. Due to the poor birth outcomes experienced by low income and uninsured women she has established outreach clinics for women who are at risk of not receiving prenatal or gynecological care. Her ‘Easy Access’ Prenatal Care Clinics offer quality maternity healthcare for all, regardless of their choice of delivery site or ability to pay and have successfully reduced perinatal disparities. Jennie’s school, Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery, trains and certifies midwives, doulas and perinatal paraprofessionals emphasizing culturally competent and community focused care.

Chanel l. Porchia-Albert, CD, CLC, CHHC is the founder and executive director at Ancient Song Doula Services a full spectrum community based organization in Brooklyn, NY after experiencing the birth of her first child at home.  She is now the mother of five children, Activist, Speaker, consultant on infant and maternal health and birth justice, Certified Labor & Postpartum Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Midwifery Assistant, Vegan Chef and Certified Holistic Health Counselor specializing in high risk pregnancies. She is a doula trainer for Ancient Song’s full spectrum doula trainings. She has spoken at numerous colleges, conferences and rallied for women of color and marginalized communities around equitable healthcare.  Most recently she serves as a consultant on birth justice for the New York City Department of Health and has worked with various researchers on the impact of racism on infant and maternal health outcomes.

Nicolle L. Gonzales BSN, RN, MSN, CNM, is the Executive Director and Founder of Changing Woman Initiative, a developing non-profit dedicated to renewing cultural birth knowledge to empower and reclaim indigenous sovereignty of women’s medicine and life way teachings to promote reproductive wellness and healing through holistic approaches that strengthen women’s bonds to her family and community. Nicole has over 12 years’ experience as a nurse and has been practicing as a full-scope Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) for over 6 years. Nicolle is Dine’ (Navajo) from Waterflow, NM. She has been an active board member for the last 3 years for Dar A Luz Birth & Health Center in Albuquerque, NM. She was a contributing author to the textbook “American Indian Health and Nursing” in 2015. Nicolle received her BSN and Master’s Degrees in Nurse-Midwifery from the University of New Mexico. She is a member of the American Collage of Nurse Midwives and is certified with the American Midwifery Certification Board.