Perinatal Equity Advisory Council (PEAC) Members

Council Members

Adjoa Jones, MBA

Adjoa Jones is a Birth Equity Unit Chief and Director of the African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative at the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Programs with the L.A. County Department of Public Health. Adjoa is also a Doula and Certified Lactation Education Specialist and has served in her L.A. County community and beyond as a Reproductive Justice/Maternal/Infant Health Advocate and Public Health Leader for over 25 years. In her current role and through her advocacy, she has traveled to many states to serve often as a speaker, panelist and moderator to address Black pregnancy and birth inequities, fighting for equity in services and resources to end preventable mortality/morbidity for Black moms and babies. Finally, Adjoa is a California native, a former teen mother, proud Mom and grandmother.

Jen Kamel

Jen Kamel is the CEO and Founder of VBAC Facts® whose mission is to increase access to vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Since 2007, VBAC Facts® has helped perinatal professionals, and cesarean parents, achieve clarity on the VBAC evidence through their educational courses, continuing education training programs, and consulting services. Jen is originally from Oregon and loves to be outdoors whether that is camping, hiking or backpacking. She currently lives in Southern California and envisions a time when every pregnant person seeking VBAC has the opportunity to make an informed choice.

Valerie Kowalski, MSN-RN Valerie Kowalski is a graduate of Western Governors University where she obtained her Masters of Nursing Education. After obtaining her BSN-RN for CSU San Bernardino she immediately began working in labor and delivery at Redlands Community Hospital where she has served on several committees and most recently as the Maternal Child Services Nurse Educator. She has two children (5 and 5 months) that were both complicated and early delivery pregnancies. These experiences have fueled her towards education of nurses, providers, and patients alike to give them the best chance for a healthy and smooth delivery.
Rashon Lane, PhD, MA

Dr. Rashon Lane (she/her) is a Senior Health Equity Scientist at Sutter Health and a Research Fellow at Harvard School of Medicine. She is motivated by developing research and program evaluation that centers marginalized communities in the research process, aiming for equitable research that focuses on justice and healing. Dr. Lane, is from and resides in Richmond, California. She has a Ph.D. in medical sociology from UC San Francisco, received post-doctoral training in sleep medicine at Harvard, a master’s from Claremont Graduate University, and a BA from Tuskegee University.

Adrienne McIntyre, DNP, RNC-NIC, CNS

Dr. Adrienne McIntyre is a Deputy Director of Nursing, Maternal Child Health Services, for San Joaquin General Hospital and specializes in quality, safety, emergency management, and hospital operations for the care of women and children. Adrienne is a recent graduate of the University of California, San Francisco Doctor of Nursing Practice program and has held numerous roles in healthcare including an advanced practice nursing role of Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist for community hospitals and large, academic medical centers. Currently, Adrienne resides in the Central Valley with her husband and three children. Adrienne is passionate about birth and health equity and the impact of maternity care deserts on birthing people.

Natasha Moskow, CD, PFc

Natasha Moskow is a Certified Full Spectrum Doula, Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator, Placenta Specialist and Herbalist. She believes that when women are educated about their options and rights, they feel empowered during their births and enter parenthood in the best position to care for themselves and their families. Natasha is dedicated to women’s reproductive rights’ advocacy and believes that women deserve to make well informed decisions about their care. She is passionate about improving health outcomes and empowering families throughout California and beyond through bettering their birth experiences.

Rafeal Newport, MA

Rafeal Newport is a traditional Midwife and consultant in the Bay Area. She has been a birth worker (Doula and Midwife) since 2007 with over a decade of experience working in non-profit. She is from the Bay Area, hailing from San Jose, CA with pit stops in San Francisco and Sacramento; but called Oakland home for 15 years. She is currently working to develop a Licensed Midwifery program for California.

Christine Perez, PhD, BSN, RN, CEIM

Dr. Christine Perez is a national NICU Clinical Improvement Thought Leader for Philips, where she oversees family-centered developmental care education and clinical transformation change programs. Christine has worked in over 18 NICUs across various states as a NICU nurse and has a neonatal and public health research background. Originally from Ontario, Canada, she has lived in the United States for thirty-six years and resides in San Diego. Based on her lived experience as a preemie and her professional expertise, Christine is dedicated to enhancing perinatal and neonatal care to support families and improve outcomes.

Whitney Pires

Whitney Pires is a mother, full spectrum doula, Certified Lactation Educator Specialist, founder of Two Little Hands Maternal Care, co-director of Beauty for Ashes Maternal Wellness, and a MSW graduate student. Whitney is a LA native that has worked as a birth worker across Los Angeles County providing doula support to families in her community for over 6 years. Whitney currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and is passionate about making access to doulas a right not a luxury.

Karisa Pruett, RNC-OB, CPHQ

Karisa Pruett is the Quality and Patient Safety Program Manager for the Quality Management Department at Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield. With over 12 years of nursing experience, she has a background in Maternal Child Health, Sepsis, Patient Safety, and Regulatory Readiness, bringing a wealth of expertise and dedication to improving healthcare outcomes. Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, Karisa spends most of her time outside of nursing with her family and three sons, further rooting her commitment to her community and hometown.

Elena Rhoads, MD, PhD Dr. Elena Rhoads is an associate clinical professor of OBGYN at the University of California, Irvine. Her research started in health education and behavior and has focused on health disparities, especially among birthing patients. In addition to patient care and research, she is also involved with patient safety and quality improvement. A transplant from Chicago, she has been living with her family in southern California for twelve years.
Kimberly Robinson Kimberly Robinson is a community leader, change maker, and speaker focusing on local policy and advocacy to elevate health equity. She served for years working in the primary care setting and overseeing the medical operations and behavioral health services for low-income communities and individuals experiencing houselessness. Kimberly is an activist for women’s health who works closely with colleagues, communities, and allies to build constituencies that demand reproductive justice for all. She is a Dr. Beatriz María Solís Policy Institute (SPI) fellowship recipient for activists and advocates. She recently completed the Women of Color Leadstrong program of Leaderspring Center that support leaders working for social justice and racial equity in the social sector.
Lindsay du Plessis, DrPH, MPH Dr. Lindsay du Plessis joined the CMQCC team in March 2022 as the California Perinatal Community Engagement Lead. She has an extensive public health background addressing health disparities, collaborating with community partners, and implementing intervention and prevention strategies that empower and improve outcomes among vulnerable populations. In her current role, she organizes and implements outreach activities in partnership with local, regional, state of California and national agencies to reduce maternal, fetal, newborn and child morbidity and mortality among at-risk populations.