A Family's Perspective on the Tragedy of Maternal Mortality
Charles Johnson has suffered an unimaginable tragedy that strikes too many families – and has made it his life’s mission to save others from the same fate.
In April 2016, Charles’ healthy and full-of-life wife, Kira, gave birth to their second beautiful child. But Kira immediately began struggling in ways that the hospital staff could not explain, even as Charles watched and implored the staff that something was horribly wrong. Kira died within hours.
Charles was understandably overcome by grief – grief that turned into outrage. He channeled his pain and his passion into founding a nonprofit, 4Kira4Moms, that is dedicated to changing systems to better prevent birth-related deaths. 4Kira4Moms advocates for improved maternal health policies and regulations; educates the public about the impact of maternal mortality in communities; provides peer support to victims’ family and friends; and promotes discussion of maternal mortality as a human rights issue.
Charles has shared his story and advocated for change through countless live events and media appearances all over the country, including at the March for Moms rally in Washington, D.C., last year. Last September he testified before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health about the need to pass the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017 – which, as you know, was indeed passed by Congress and signed into law.
He is joined in his advocacy by his mother, TV judge Glenda Hatchett. When he is not advocating to improve maternal health practices, Charles is busy raising his two sons, Charles V and Langston.
Birth Equity and Maternal Health: Where Do We Stand?
President, National Birth Equity Collaborative
Joia Crear-Perry, MD, is the founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative. Most 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. Dr. Crear-Perry continues to work to improve access and availability of affordable health care to New Orleans’ citizens after the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005.
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.
A proud recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus Healthcare Heroes award and the Maternal Health Task Force Maternal Health Visionary Award, Dr. Crear-Perry currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Community Catalyst, National Medical Association, and the New Orleans African American Museum. She is married to Dr. Andre Perry and has three children: Jade, 25; Carlos, 21; and Robeson, 7.
Panel: It Takes A Village: A Collective Investment in Addressing Maternal Mortality – national perspective
Associate Commissioner for Community Health Improvement
Texas Department of State Health Services
Manda Hall, MD, is the state’s point person on the development and implementation of TexasAIM, a new initiative focused on reducing maternal mortality and morbidity in Texas.
Hall received her Medical Degree from Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine and completed her residency and fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She graduated as fellow from the Maternal and Child Health Leadership Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a faculty member of the DSHS Preventative Medicine and Public Health Residency Program.
Lead Public Health Specialist
Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, Texas
Janet Jones is originally from Houston, Texas and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Child & Family Studies from Baylor University and a Master of Public Health degree from Walden University. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and works for the City of Waco as the Lead Public Health Education Specialist at the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District located in Waco, Texas.
Jones has been with the Health District for more than five years and serves as the supervisor for the Health Education Department, which has programs focused on maternal and child health/women’s health, chronic disease prevention and obesity reduction, and access to health care through use of community health workers. These programs focus on reduction of infant mortality and preterm births, increasing healthy eating and physical activity options, and increasing access to health and social resources in the community. Jones works to create and implement programs which help to better the overall health and wellness of the residents in the greater Waco area.
Jones is also a part of the state of Texas perinatal health collaborative, the Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers & Babies, and serves as the co-chair for the Community Health Sub-committee.
Vice President of Women’s Health
Johnson & Johnson
Susan Nicholson, MD, is responsible for medical safety oversight of consumer products worldwide for Johnson & Johnson. She is responsible for developing an overarching strategy for Johnson & Johnson in women’s health with a priority in maternal health.
Dr. Nicholson has been instrumental in building medical safety and risk management capabilities at Johnson & Johnson. She is recognized externally as a medical safety and risk management expert.
She maintains an appointment at the Weill Cornell Medical College in the Department of Medicine in Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Nicholson is a trained internist with fellowship training in infectious diseases and clinical pharmacology with nearly 20 years of healthcare industry experience. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania with a major in Biophysics, and her medical doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.
Monday, March 11
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD is a pediatrician working in the public interest. He blends the roles of physician, occasional children's librarian, educator, public health professional and child health advocate. With graduate degrees in public health, children’s librarianship, physician assistant studies, and medicine, he brings a unique combination of interests and experience together.
An associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and is director of the MD–MPH program there as well as the medical director of the physician assistant program. Clinically, he has practiced primary care pediatrics, with special interest in underserved populations. He is the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin. Dr. Navsaria is heavily involved in both training and in the practice of child health advocacy — writing and speaking publicly locally, regionally and nationally on early brain and child development, early literacy, and advocacy to a broad variety of audiences. He also has extensive involvement with the American Academy of Pediatrics at the state and national levels.
Committed to understanding how basic science can translate into busy primary-care settings via population health concepts and policy initiatives, Dr. Navsaria aims to educate the next generation of those who work with children and families in realizing how their professional roles include being involved in larger concepts of social policy and how they may affect the cognitive and socioemotional development of children for their future benefit.
Professor of Pediatrics and Family and Community Medicine, Clinician Educator
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Andrew Hsi, MD, is a professor and the director of the Institute for Resilience, Health and Justice at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.
Along with Dr. Sally Bachofer, Dr. Hsi developed a "family-focused medical home" two-generation model of primary care for families affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences such as substance use disorders, family violence, parental mental illnesses, and unsupported teen parenting. His research interests have included investigation into how primary care providers can structure patient encounters for primary and secondary prevention of complicated behaviorally-involved problems such as illicit drug use and domestic violence.
Kate Taft, MPH
Associate Director, Child and Adolescent Health
The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs
Kate Taft, MPH, is the associate director for child and adolescent health at AMCHP. She leads and supports the development, implementation, and evaluation of program activities related to child and adolescent health, including children and youth with special health care needs. Prior to this role, she led AMCHP’s grant portfolio and budget related to autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities, including the State Public Health Autism Resource Center. Taft has over a decade of experience working on issues that affect children's health, such as early childhood development, mental health, and injury prevention at the public health and individual levels. She also has coordinated the child fatality review team in Suffolk County, Mass.
Prior to joining AMCHP, Taft worked at the Association of Schools of Public Health, providing support to academic public health including the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health and the ASPH Maternal and Child Health Council. She received her Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in maternal and child health from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the College of William and Mary.
A well-respected physician and educator, Nzinga Harrison, PhD, is the chief medical officer for Anka Behavioral Health, Inc. and a member of the clinical adjunct faculty in the Nursing School at Emory University and Morehouse School of Medicine. She has written and presented several articles and workshops on the medical aspects of addiction and other psychiatric disorders.
Director of Health Policy and Legislative Affairs
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Tammy Boyd, MPH, JD, is an established health care executive with proven expertise in government relations, political compliance, and advocacy. She has extensive experience in creating and executing federal legislative policy strategy and facilitating outreach to members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
Boyd most recently served as managing partner for TKB Global Strategies, LLC /Watts Partners, where she successfully executed government affairs strategies through engagement of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, and Department of Veteran Affairs.
Boyd received a MPH degree from Emory University School of Public Health and a Juris Doctorate degree from American University, Washington College of Law.
Founder and CEO
Cherisse Scott has been working in the Reproductive Justice movement for more than 10 years. She came to know the framework of reproductive justice as a woman in need of a safe abortion. Her experience of being misguided by services offered through a crisis pregnancy center posing as an abortion clinic set in motion the work she would commit to and women she would fight for.
As a black woman, Scott knows exactly what it is not to have the necessary social supports in order to make informed decisions about her reproductive health. In that same spirit, Scott also knows how life changes positively when a woman is empowered with access and information about her reproductive and sexual health.
In 2011, Scott relocated to Memphis, Tenn., and founded SisterReach, the only Reproductive Justice organization in the state. With the visionary support of her mother and grandmother, SisterReach focused on empowering women and girls of color, poor women, rural women, and their families. Some of SisterReach’s accomplishments under Scott’s leadership include releasing its 2015 report on the need for comprehensive sexuality education for southern youth of color, its pro-woman billboard campaign in opposition to anti-abortion billboards erected in Memphis targeting black men, and the rollout of a state and nationally based clergy cohort partnering with and training faith leaders on social justice issues.
Public Health Specialist II
Alaska Division of Public Health, Section of Women's, Children's, and Family Health
Stacy Collins, MSW
Associate Director, Health Systems Transformation
The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs
Stacy Collins, MSW, is the associate director of health systems transformation at AMCHP. She co-directs the association's health reform policy efforts, educating state members about the evolving health reform landscape and its implications for maternal and child health populations. She also serves as core staff for federal and foundation-funded technical assistance programs to strengthen the Title V workforce and promote new service delivery models that reflect current MCH priorities. She has over two decades of experience in health care policy and programming related to women, children, and families, and she has worked in membership associations, advocacy organizations and direct practice settings.
Before her time at AMCHP, she was a senior associate at the National Association of Social Workers, where she led policy efforts related to Affordable Care Act implementation, including regulatory and legislative oversight and member education efforts. She also served as the associate director for child health at the National Association of Children's Hospitals, where she led NACH policy initiatives and educational programming related to pediatric preventive health, including injury prevention, immunization, home visiting, substance abuse and other issues. Collins holds a master's degree in social work from Catholic University and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Virginia.
Making Strategic Investments in MCH
New Jersey Division of Family Health
Lisa Asare assumed the role of assistant commissioner of family health Services in 2016. Asare has worked in the Department of Health for 18 years in several different divisions, including the Center for Health Statistics, Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, and Family Health Services.
She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Toronto and a Master of Public Health from the Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Most recently, she served as executive assistant in the Office of Deputy Commissioner in Public Health Services. As assistant commissioner, she oversees three units that provide extensive public health programs and services to promote and protect health: Maternal and Child Health, Special Child Health and Early Intervention Services, and WIC Nutrition Services.
Executive Director of Regional Expansion
Nurse Family Partnership
Chris Bishop, ScD, MHS, CPS, manages a team that is responsible for growing the Nurse-Family Partnership nurse home visitation program in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In South Carolina, he also leads operations of the Pay for Success project – a six-year, $30 million public-private partnership to expand nurse-family partnerships in that state. He has been involved in this project since 2012 and has been active all phases of the project’s design, contract negotiations, piloting, and full implementation.
Bishop’s background in the nonprofit sector spans 24 years, and he brings experience and expertise in the areas of community health, population health, public-private partnerships, community development, grassroots advocacy and organizing, and case management. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Guilford College and a Master of Public Administration degree from Villanova University.
Vice President, Social Investment Team
Nirav Shah works with nonprofits, governments, and private sector funders to develop and execute public-private partnerships to measurably improve the lives of people by scaling evidence-based social service programs. Shah is working on projects to improve maternal and child health outcomes, expand access to permanent supportive housing for the homeless, and improving recidivism and workforce development outcomes for individuals with recent criminal convictions. Shah has experience in the public and private sectors.
The MacQueen Lecture
Leading by Investing: Strengthening the Nation’s Families for a Stronger World
Senior Associate Vice President, USF Health
Dean, College of Public Health
Dr. Donna Petersen, ScD, MHS, CPS, is the author of numerous publications, book chapters, and a textbook on needs assessment in public health. She is a frequent lecturer on topics related to maternal and child health, health care reform, and systems change and leadership and has provided extensive technical assistance and training to over 25 state health departments in the areas of needs assessment, data system development, systems level accountability, and the development of population-based indicators. She has served on numerous boards, commissions, and task forces and is Editor Emerita of the Maternal and Child Health Journal, founding member and past president of the National Board of Public Health Examiners, Chair of the Council on Education for Public Health, and Chair-Elect of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.
Petersen also is a professor of global health at the University of South Florida. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in maternal and child health from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She has held faculty and senior leadership positions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Public Health; at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health; and served as Director of the Division of Family Health at the Minnesota Department of Health.