Meet Our Team
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Founder, Birth Justice Fund at Groundswell Fund and Independent Funder
Co-Founder & Managing Director, Orchid Capital
Director of Grantmaking,
Every Mother Counts
Senior Director of Grantmaking, Groundswell Fund
Raquel Mazon Jeffers
Co-Director, Community Health Acceleration Partnership (CHAP)
Program Director, Reproductive Health and Justice, Irving Harris Foundation
Co-Director, Community Health Acceleration Partnership (CHAP)
Pritzker Children’s Initiative
Senior Program Officer,
Yellow Chair Foundation
Betsy McNamara, Principal of Full Circle Consulting, serves as Strategic Advisor to Funders for Birth Justice and Equity, a group she helped start in 2012 as the Midwifery Funders Group. From 2007 to 2019 Betsy served as consultant to the Transforming Birth Fund, awarding $7 million in funding in support of making the midwifery model of care the norm in the US maternity care system. Betsy has also served as consultant program manager to the Bean Foundation and the Alexander Eastman Foundation, both in NH.
When not working in philanthropy, Betsy’s consulting practice focuses on fundraising for non-profit organizations. Betsy has raised tens of millions of dollars for organizations in education, human services, affordable housing, the arts, and land conservation. Betsy lives and works in Concord, NH and serves on the boards of the NH Community Loan Fund and Community Bridges.
Nakeenya Wilson has worked in Black maternal health advocacy since 2018 after experiencing a traumatic birth in 2016. Nakeenya has a Masters of Art in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation and is a DONA trained doula. Nakeenya served as the first full-time Director of Austin-based non-profit Black Mamas ATX, which is a Perinatal Safe-Zone as part of the National Perinatal Health Collaborative. Nakeenya is a founding member of the Maternal Health Equity Collaborative (MHEC), a Texas-based organization focused on maternal health outcomes, centering Black birthing people. In 2020, MHEC was awarded $1M Safer Childbirth Cities grant to provide perinatal childcare to Black birthing people during the prenatal, birth and 12-month postpartum period. Nakeenya serves on many boards and committees including the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee and Subcommittee on Maternal Health Disparities, and the Central Texas Region March of Dimes Board of Directors. Nakeenya enjoys working with members of the community, medical professionals, interns in undergraduate and graduate programs, media, and legislators to address Black maternal health and mental health issues. She has provided presentations, served on panels, and has appeared on shows and podcasts to increase community education and promote awareness campaigns.
Southern Birth Justice Network, Midwife, Executive Director, Florida
Jamarah Amani, LM is a community midwife who believes in the transformative and healing power of birth and that every baby has a human right to human milk… Read Full Bio
Community Organizer, Researcher, Connecticut
Originally hailing from a small Central Texas town, Haile has spent most of her adult life working and playing in Austin, TX. She has a B.A. in Sociology and… Read Full Bio
HealthConnect One, Executive Director, New York
Dr. Dillion has 10+ years of experience in the nonprofit sector spanning philanthropy, Medicaid reform, maternal-child health, data analytics, and academia… Read Full Bio
California Black Women’s Health Program, Executive Leader, California
Raena is an Inglewood native and Spelman College graduate who began in politics as a community engagement specialist with the California Democratic Party… Read Full Bio
Jackie Joy Ho-Shing
Access Esperanza Health Clinics, Community Health Coordinator, Texas
For the past 8+ years, Jackie Joy has worked in South Texas as an educator and advocate to help young folks access sexual reproductive health care… Read Full Bio
Alaska Native Birthworkers, Community Doula, Alaska
Helena Benozaadleyo Jacobs (Koyukon Athabascan) is the daughter of Dee Olin and David Hoffman, and the granddaughter of the late Lillian and Fred Olin… Read Full Bio
Black Health New Mexico, Midwife & Executive Director, New Mexico
A writer, advocate and anti-colonial health equity champion, Sunshine Muse leads Black Health New Mexico, a Black woman-led and founded non-profit… Read Full Bio
Mamatoto Village, Midwife, CEO, Washington, D.C.
Aza brings more than 18 years of experience in community organizing, reproductive justice, and program development. Aza is a licensed Certified Professional… Read Full Bio
Global Foundation for Girls, Doula, Board Chair, New Jersey
Tammea has spent 25 years as an operations and program leader utilizing an anti-oppression, racial equity, and feminist lens. Most recently she served… Read Full Bio
Birthing Detroit, CEO, Michigan
Leseliey (she/her) is a public health leader with a business mind and a visionary heart, holding love as a guiding value, a way of being, an action and a politic… Read Full Bio
Jamarah Amani, LM is a community midwife who believes in the transformative and healing power of birth and that every baby has a human right to human milk. Her mission is to do her part to build a movement for Birth Justice locally, nationally and globally. Jamarah is the architect of the Birth Justice framework, the Black Midwives Model of Care and the Birth Justice Bill of Rights. Jamarah identifies as Black, Femme and Queer.
A community organizer from the age of sixteen, Jamarah has worked with several organizations across the United States, the Caribbean and in Africa on various public health issues, including HIV prevention, infant mortality risk reduction, access to emergency contraception and access to midwifery care. As a birth worker and activist, Jamarah has been tackling issues of racial justice, including the epidemics of Black maternal and infant morbidity/mortality for over fifteen years. She is currently the Executive Director of Southern Birth Justice Network, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to expand the Birth Justice movement and to make midwifery and doula care accessible to marginalized communities. She is also the co-founder of National Black Midwives Alliance, the only national professional association in the U.S. specifically for midwives of African descent, and a founding member of the Queer and Transgender Midwives Association.
Jamarah is the recipient of the 2019 Trailblazer Award from the City of Miami, which proclaimed a day in her honor- Jamarah Amani Day, celebrated annually on March 14. She has been featured in a variety of media outlets including PBS, NPR, NBC and publications such as Vox, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Washington Post, among others. She has written for news outlets including the Miami Times and Miami Herald. Jamarah recently received the inaugural Umm Salaamah Sondra Abdullah- Zaimah Birthworker Award from Black Mamas Matter Alliance. In addition to parenting four children and watching the sunrise whenever possible, Jamarah offers midwifery care to families in South Florida and teaches workshops on Birth Justice to organizations across the United States.
Jamarah is currently producing a documentary entitled Legacy Power Voice: Movements in Black Midwifery with her partner, filmmaker Karyl-Lyn Sanderson.
Originally hailing from a small Central Texas town, Haile has spent most of her adult life working and playing in Austin, TX. She has a B.A. in Sociology and African-American Studies and received both her M.A. and PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. The concentration for her graduate studies focused on the African Diaspora and she also received a portfolio in Women and Gender Studies. Over the years, Haile has conducted research on alternatives to incarceration for mothers and their children in both Texas and New York as well as maternal and infant mortality for Black women nationally and in Texas. She has served on the faculty at a number of academic institutions including Texas State University, Amherst College, Northwestern University and the University of Connecticut.
Over the years, Haile has worked for both the state and local government assisting with research and program design, development and evaluation. She has served as a consultant and contractor to a number of non-profits and organizations with extensive experience in community engagement, training, curriculum development, group facilitation and UX research and design. She has spent the last 10 years devoting her time to community and social justice activism centered on the needs of poor and working class mothers and women of color in Austin, TX and is passionate about reproductive justice work. She is also a trained birth educator and birth companion (doula). In her free time, Haile likes to read, write, watch movies, try new recipes from the food network, and spend time with family and friends. She currently resides in the New England area with her two wonderful children.
Dr. Dillion has 10+ years of experience in the nonprofit sector spanning philanthropy, Medicaid reform, maternal-child health, data analytics, and academia. In her prior work, she has investigated the role of maternal personality in breastfeeding, led a data analytics team in Medicaid reform, served as program officer for maternal-child health programs, and led a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) project at Healthy Baby Network in collaboration with Black moms to identify contributors to and strategies for Black maternal mortality/morbidity. She is committed to birth justice and first food equity in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, focusing on community building and workforce development.
As a Black woman leader, Dr. Dillion is committed to promoting, cultivating, collaborating with, and embodying leadership reflective of the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities often served by the nonprofit sector. She received her Ph.D. in Health Services Research, Policy and Outcomes at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and her MBA from St. John Fisher College.
Marinah identifies as a first generation indigiqueer Chicana daughter born of a medicine woman from Chihuahua, Mexico, a Chicano musician father from the borderlands, and mother to mixed-race children and grandchildren.
Marinah is the owner of Phoenix Midwife and the founder of Parteras de Maiz, an umbrella organization for diverse advocacy and health justice projects which affirms the importance of traditional and indigenous midwives and assembles initiatives and coalitions nationally and internationally. She is also a sometime podcaster, public speaker and writer. Marinah is also the Director of Organizational Wellness for Birth Center Equity, an organization dedicated to advocacy and support of BIPOC owned and led birth centers around the country. Marinah has served as consultant, facilitator, board member, midwife and executive for health justice projects in the U.S., North America, Central America, and Uganda, facilitating policy initiatives on public health responses, indigenous/immigrant reproductive and primary healthcare access, education programs, birth center development, and workforce development. Marinah is a founder of Phoenix Allies for Community Health, a free clinic primarily serving immigrant families, a direct result of her active street medic work. Marinah is the past president of the Midwives Alliance of North America, and worked in a dedicated coalition with national midwifery groups for United States Midwifery, Education, Regulation, and Association (USMERA).
Marinah is a Culture of Health Leader, advisory board member for Birth Detroit, working on expanding the Medicaid workforce with the Institute of Medicaid Innovation, working alongside native communities on reclamation of birth sovereignty, and planning essential convenings for midwives and healers.
Marinah is a certified practitioner in Somatic Experiencing, with advance certification in the prenatal and perinatal period, as part of her dedication to traditional medicine and healing.
Raena is an Inglewood native and Spelman College graduate who began in politics as a community engagement specialist with the California Democratic Party and elected officials including Congresswoman Maxine Waters. After subsequent years in Child and Family Services, Raena experienced both stillborn loss, and a traumatic preterm delivery at 27 weeks gestation. This led to work supporting pregnant Black women and birthing people that includes: Perinatal Equity Initiative (PEI) Coordination for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH), support and advocacy curriculum creation for pregnant patients at Cedar Sinai Hospital and Watts Health Clinic, as well as work with Maternal Mental Health Now, Black Women for Wellness, and California’s Black Infant Health Program. In 2019, Raena was selected to the Women’s Policy Institute (now the Solis Policy Institute) LA County Health Justice Team where she co-wrote and helped pass a county wide doula expansion motion for those most impacted by birth disparities. Raena currently serves as a national Pritzker Fellow with a focus on equity and systems integration in Maternal Child and Adolescent Health programs at LADPH.
For the past 8+ years, Jackie Joy has worked in South Texas as an educator and advocate to help young folks access sexual reproductive health care through education. She develops, coordinates, and delivers community presentations on topics relating to reproductive health, including programming about healthy human sexuality and the reproductive health services available at Access Esperanza Clinics.
Jackie Joy is passionate about the intersectionality of race, nationality, gender, sexuality, housing stability, and all other aspects of a birthing person’s identity that may not often be voiced or advocated for. Her skills include expertise in nonprofit organizations, grassroots organizing, coalitions, fundraising, and community organizing.
Helena Benozaadleyo Jacobs (Koyukon Athabascan) is the daughter of Dee Olin and David Hoffman, and the granddaughter of the late Lillian and Fred Olin, the late Lorraine and John Honea, and the late Helen and George Hoffman. Born in Fairbanks with ancestral ties to Ruby and Kokrines, and raised throughout seven different communities in Alaska, she now lives and works in Anchorage, where she and her husband are raising their children.
Her upbringing in Ruby, Anchorage, Juneau, Nome, Utqiagvik, Sitka and Fairbanks, and her marriage to a Yup’ik man from Bethel has informed her worldview and connected her with Indigenous ways of being and knowing from many different cultures throughout Alaska. She uses this knowledge and experience in combination with her passion and commitment to serve others through her work as a birth helper, mother, auntie, friend and sister. She continues to gain knowledge as a birth helper from the families she has been blessed to serve, from other Indigenous birth helpers including her sister and mentor Margaret Davied and from Indigenous designed and led learning opportunities. She has completed the Full Spectrum Indigenous Doula training, Indigenous Childbirth Educator training, Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor training, and a Spinning Babies workshop all led by Indigenous birthworkers. She continuously seeks opportunities to learn from her community, grounded in cultural values and wisdom, to improve the level of care and service she is able to offer the families she is blessed to walk alongside during their childbearing years. She also readily shares what she is able to with others to help them grow in their own confidence and competence as birth helpers, as we all collectively call back these sacred roles. She is a cofounder of the Alaska Native Birth Workers Community.
A writer, advocate and anti-colonial health equity champion, Sunshine Muse leads Black Health New Mexico, a Black woman-led and founded non-profit, focused on providing greater access to policy, programing and paradigms that improve BIPOC maternal health over the life course and advance Black women’s leadership in public health.
With over 25 years of academic and professional training, and a lifelong commitment to social justice and equity, Muse brings a unique perspective and expertise to facilitation and program design for community, higher ed, health systems and local government. She is a member, co-founder and co-leader of several BIPOC led coalitions, including New Mexico’s Black and Indigenous Maternal Health Policy Coalition, which led the reform of New Mexico’s state Maternal Mortality Review Committee.
Originally from NYC, Muse grew up exposed to the American Cultural Melting Pot and the complex gender, culture, language, economic, and ethnic inequities within it. Muse has co-authored legislation, worked as director of sexual misconduct education and adjudication at a university, served as an instructor in the School of Nursing at Columbia University, designed curriculum for the department of probation in New York City, and served as the domestic violence accountability educational coordinator for what was once the largest violence intervention program in the country.
Using her strong written and spoken voice, Muse is committed to using her training, passion, and creative genius to help in the movement to end health injustice. Rooted in her love for positive change, she partners across systems and cultures to eradicate racism and its outcomes. Muse credits her voice to her matriarchal line.
Sunshine Muse is a divergent evolver committed to social change. Upheld by nature, she loves the sand, the sea, the mountains and all of the fine things that grow within them. She lives for the day that racism ends and colonialism expires.
Aza brings more than 18 years of experience in community organizing, reproductive justice, and program development. Aza is a licensed Certified Professional Midwife, Family Therapist, and the Co-founding Executive Director of Mamatoto Village. Aza is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Human Services with a concentration in Organizational Leadership and Management with an eye towards the sustainability of Black led-organizations and cultivating innovative and radical models of perinatal care delivery.
Tammea has spent 25 years as an operations and program leader utilizing an anti-oppression, racial equity, and feminist lens. Most recently she served at the executive level for a national social justice foundation; before that as chief operations officer of strategic development for a national intervention organization for women of African descent facing reproductive injustice, birth injustice, and sexual violence.
One of Tammea’s proudest achievements includes a partnership with the Commission on Human Rights, where she commemorated the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, receiving recognition from Community Counseling and Mediation. Another cornerstone of her experience includes partnering with the Obama Administration, most notably a racial equity project between the United States and South Africa.
An educator by nature, Tammea taught for over 10 years at the collegiate level, tackling birth justice, infant and maternal mortality in Black and brown communities, incarceration and criminal justice, child poverty, trauma, gender construction in childhood, child abuse, gender-based violence, and sex trafficking. Her credentials include a BA in education with a concentration on children’s rights and a master’s in social work, where she graduated cum laude with a concentration on community organizing. Tammea also earned a specialization certificate in global social work with a concentration on trauma and sexual violence. In addition, she has her MBA with a concentration in international business and is a Doctoral candidate focused on Health Equity & Maternal Health in communities of color.
Tammea is a trained birth and postpartum doula and a community birth justice educator and activist. Offering her services in Black and brown communities grounds her and centers her practice as a somatic practitioner.
Leseliey (she/her) is a public health leader with a business mind and a visionary heart, holding love as a guiding value, a way of being, an action and a politic. Leseliey is Co-founder of Birth Detroit and Birth Center Equity, a mom and a tireless advocate for work that makes communities stronger, healthier and more free.
Leseliey leads a team of birth workers, birth advocates and community leaders planning Detroit’s first freestanding community birth center Birth Detroit and is proud of the launch of Birth Center Equity to grow and sustain birth centers led by Black, Indigenous and people of color across the country. She has nearly two decades of leadership experience in city, state and national health organizations. She served as Deputy Director of Public Health for the City of Detroit, and consulted in the development of Michigan’s first comprehensive LGBTQ health center. Leseliey has taught at the university level for over fifteen years. She earned her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies, Masters in Public Health with a certificate in Women’s and Reproductive Health, and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.