Chanel L. Porchia Albert CD, CPD, CLC, CHHC is the Founder and Chief Operating Officer ofAncient Song Doula Services a reproductive health organization focused on providing resources and full-spectrum doula services to women of color and marginalized communities. Her work within infant and maternal health has led her across the globe to Uganda were she has served as a maternal health strategist in rural war-torn areas to address the lack of resources to birthing mothers, she is a certified lactation counsellor, midwifery assistant and vegan chef and has served on various advisory boards throughout the country. She has served as a consultant for the NYC Department of Health in Mental Hygiene and assisted in the creation of theRespectful Care at Birth document and other healthcare institutions engaging providers in birth justice and serves on the advisory board at Ariadne Labs at Harvard Medical School, Board ofDirectors for March for Moms, Board Member of The Foundation for the Advancement ofMidwifery and Village Birth Intl.
Most recently she has been appointed by Mayor DeBlasio as a Commissioner to the NYCCommission on Gender Equity and Advisory Board Member for Marymount College School ofPolitics & Human Rights. Her work in birth and reproductive justice continues to span into the research and methods of care of marginalized people and people of color bringing a human rights framework into birthing rooms and beyond into institutional reform and accountability measures within healthcare to address implicit bias and racism. Chanel and Ancient Song’s work is featured on CNN’s Champions for Change, the cover of Working Mother Magazine, NYTimes and more. When she is not working on legislative policy or facilitating workshop, you can find her spending time with her six children.
At the University of California, San Francisco, Monica McLemore is a tenured associate professor 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. She has 49 peer reviewed articles, OpEds and commentaries and her research has been cited in the Huffington Post, Lavender Health, two amicus briefs to the Supreme Court of the United States, and a National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report. 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. Her work was published in the 2019 Future of Medicine edition of Scientific American as a data visualization project entitled How To Fix Maternal Mortality: The First Step is to stop blaming women. She is an elected member of the governing council for Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) section of the American Public Health Association and is incoming chair-elect of the SRH section. She is the recipient of numerous awards and was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in October 2019.
Her program of research is focused on understanding the factors that influence the health, wellbeing and livelihood of low-income and people of color. Using the intersectional human rights middle range theory called reproductive Justice (RJ), enables me to design rigorous studies that answer novel and complex research questions because RJ is simultaneously a theory, practice and a strategy that is grounded in four principles. Simply put, RJ posits that every person has the right to decide if and when to become pregnant and to determine the conditions under which they will birth. Next, every person has the right to decide they will not become pregnant or have a baby and options for preventing or ending pregnancy are accessible and available. Third, individuals have the right parent children they already have with dignity and has the necessary social supports in safe environments and health communities without fear of violence from individuals or the government. Finally, individuals have the right to disassociate sex from reproduction and that health sexuality and pleasure are essential components to whole and full human life.
Quatia Osorio is a Rhode Island native born and raised. Bryant University graduate, certified (perinatal) community health worker, certified lactation counselor, community outreach perinatal educator, birth and postpartum doula. She is the founder of Our Journ3i a perinatal community-led and based center focusing on eliminating health determinants of communities of color through maternal support, education, advocacy, and awareness. Her organization works to expand and increase the doula workforce through doula training, professional development and legislative policy for doula care and access. The first facilitator of Chocolate Milk Cafe RI.Chocolate Milk Cafe RIisan International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE), approved breastfeeding peer support group to help encourage, support and educate Black/African American/Afro-Caribbean families. It was established to eliminate health disparities in our community due to social determinants and promote health equity.
Additionally, she oversees the other three Chocolate Milk Cafes in RI and MA. Co-creator and Lead of the Umoja Nia Collective, a doula collective of independently owned Black doula businesses focused on advancing better maternal health outcomes and promotion educational awareness of community perinatal care services. Annually, hosting a collaborative forum of health education and professional development for community members and partners. Throughout her years leading maternal change at a grassroots level, she continues to advance her education, seeking mentorship and developing her skills with national maternal health change-makers, training, and networking. A former CityMatch CityLeader and presenter, former Birth Equity Leadership Academy mentee with HealthConnect One, and member of the National Perinatal Taskforce. Recently, joining the National Black Midwives Alliance to learn how to engage within the Midwifery Model of Care and build deeper cohesive relationships with Doula partnerships.
Dr.Nakeitra L. Burse, is the Owner/CEO ofSix\Dimensions, LLC, a certified woman-owned, minority-owned public health consulting company dedicated to creating healthier communities through innovative, strategic, sustainable and culturally appropriate public health solutions. She also serves as the Community Engagement Director for Jackson State University’s School of Public Health. Dr. Burse has been a servant in the field of public health for over ten years. She has worked across various sectors such as nonprofit, government agencies, and academic institutions. She is an experienced facilitator and has conducted capacity-building trainings including program sustainability, grant writing, and program development and evaluation. Dr. Burse is passionate about addressing health disparities among minority populations utilizing an ecological approach. Examples of Dr. Burse’s recent work include, but are not limited to: developing and implementing training to sustain statewide teen pregnancy prevention programs; helping organizations become breastfeeding friendly; developing a documentary on maternal mortality among African American women; evaluating a teen health program; working with Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHCS) in the Mississippi Delta to decrease teen pregnancy through capacity building; increasing access to teen-friendly health centers; introducing additional contraceptive methods to communities; and determining approaches to the scalability of public health programs.
Dr. Burse holds a B.S in Biological Sciences and an M.S in Health Education/Health Promotion from Mississippi State University. She also holds a Doctorate in Public Health from Jackson State University. Dr. Burse is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).Dr. Burse has a passion for creating systems-level changes in organizations and agencies to ensure that populations that have been historically underserved, overlooked, and discriminated against receive equitable treatment in health and healthcare settings. She is currently focusing on work that aims to improve health outcomes for African American mothers and their babies.Dr. Burse is deeply committed to the community as she is involved in various philanthropic and civic activities locally and nationally. She is married to Dr. Creston Burse and they have two sons, Chandler and Cooper.
Shafia M. Monroe is a renowned midwife, doula trainer, motivational speaker, and cultural competency trainer. Shafia has been “Birthing CHANGE” all her life. In 2016, Madame Noir named Monroe “Queen Mother of a Midwife Movement” for her pioneer midwifery work in Boston, Massachusetts, her hometown. It was there she co-founded the Traditional Childbearing Group (TCBG), a non-profit organization, whose mission was to reduce infant mortality through homebirth services, training community midwives, and providing prenatal education. Monroe served as Boston’s primary African American homebirth midwife from 1978-1991.
Monroe positioned ICTC as an advocate for disseminating culturally competent midwifery education, achieving recognition for Certified Professional Midwives (CPM’s), and directing funds to improve maternal health and newborn care. Under her leadership, ICTC spread across the nation, increasing the number of midwives of color, giving midwives of color a seat at the decision-making table, promoting the profession, as well as researching and teaching the contributions of African descent midwives in world history. Monroe became president of Shafia Monroe Consulting/Birthing CHANGE in 2013, to aid health care professionals and doulas in achieving cultural competency, increasing clients, and improving perinatal outcomes. In the same year, she opened Doula Ready LLC to prevent premature births by reducing perinatal stress for professional women.
Monroe loves teaching and is a lifelong learner. She holds a BA in sociology, a Master of Public Health, and an Independent Primary Midwife (IPM) certification from the Massachusetts Midwives Alliance (MMA). She is a member of multiple coalitions to improve maternity care, through continuing education and training.
Jennie Joseph is a British-trained midwife, a women’s health advocate, the founder and executive director of Commonsense Childbirth Inc. and the creator of The JJ Way®. She moved to the United States in 1989 and began a journey that has culminated in the formation of an innovative maternal child healthcare system, markedly improving birth outcomes for women in Central Florida.
Jennie has worked extensively in European hospitals, American birth centers, clinics, and homebirth environments. She has been instrumental in the regulation of Florida midwives since the 1990′s and has been involved in midwifery education since 1995. She is the chair of Florida’s State Council of Licensed Midwives. Currently, she owns a Florida licensed midwifery school attached to The Birth Place, her nationally renowned birth center and maternity medical home in Winter Garden, Florida.
Jennie Joseph has built up a reputation across the United States and has given numerous presentations, including a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill, in order to discuss the statistical data as well as describe practical solutions to improving birth outcomes. Jennie is a regular presenter at maternal child health conferences and organizations; she has a leadership position amongst US and international midwives movements and is a subject matter expert on racial and perinatal disparities in the USA.
Jennie firmly believes in patient-centered, woman-centered care and works tirelessly to support the systems, providers and agencies charged with delivering that type of care.
Fatima Dainkeh is the Learning & Development Manager for She+ Geeks Out, specializing in topics about racism, sexism, and the intersectionality of social identities. Fatima has facilitated conversations and conducted trainings with leaders and members of schools, organizations and companies to help raise equity consciousness, while also providing knowledge, tips, and strategies to help support institutional change. As a facilitator who believes in the power of sharing our stories, Fatima uses storytelling as a tool for individuals and groups to connect with one another. This form of facilitation has led Fatima to co-produce a short film and launch a photo story project about the experience of Black Mothers in Boston and beyond. Fatima believes that things can shift between individuals or within an institution when people can begin to connect, understand each other and the systems and structures that impact our day-to-day lives.
Fatima received her MPH in Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation and Evaluation (CAPDIE) and Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health, and earned her BA in Religious Studies and Anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Marlene Boyette, a 300 RYT certified Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor, was raised between Central Massachusetts and Central Texas. She started on a meditative and yogic path in her teens, reading books such as “Siddhartha”, “How to Practice”, finding her deepest sense of peace while seated amongst nature, under the full moon at the Wachusett Reservoir. After moving to Boston in 2003 and beginning a personal yoga practice, Marlene first became certified to teach Children’s Yoga in 2013 and in 2016 was trained and certified by 4 Corners Yoga + Wellness in Dorchester as a Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor. Presently, Marlene teaches Yoga & Mindfulness full time at The Advent School in Boston’s Beacon Hill, has co-founded two yoga social justice initiatives (Peace in Boston and Blck+Blnd), and independently offers countless community classes and workshops, collaborating with organizations and institutions throughout the city of Boston. She is dedicated to using yoga, meditation, and overall wellness as a catalyst for supporting, empowering, building, and healing communities and believing in yoga as radical self-care and self-preservation, especially for people of color.
Dr. Meadows cares for women before, during, and after pregnancy to ensure positive pregnancy and birth experiences. As an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at The Brigham and Women’s Hospital and faculty at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Meadows teaches residents and medical students and devotes time to prenatal care practice innovation and advocacy. Her clinical, public health, and policy initiatives aim to prevent preterm birth and infant mortality, achieve health equity and create value. At BWH, she is the Director of Practice Quality and Innovation in the Ambulatory Obstetrics Practice. In Massachusetts, Dr. Meadows holds leadership roles with the Massachusetts Perinatal Quality Collaborative (MPQC) and PNQIN (the Perinatal Neonatal Quality Improvement Network of Massachusetts). Dr. Meadows completed the Commonwealth Fund Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard Medical School and obtained a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2008.
Driven by science, storytelling, and social justice, my work embodies what I call “intentional creativity for social change.” I am CEO and co-founder of EmVision Productions, a media boutique that helps forward-thinking organizations of all sizes and sectors convey how they are changing the world. Working at the intersections of media, public health, and business, I hold a Doctor of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where I teach about entrepreneurship and innovation, and a Master of Science from UMass Boston in Transnational, Cultural, and Community Studies. Most importantly, I am proudly and unapologetically a queer, mixed race Black/Afro-Caribbean Latinx woman, METCO graduate, and first-generation college student from a working class Dominican-German immigrant family in Boston. My life work is to expand opportunities for historically excluded communities in Boston and beyond.