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Steering Committee

Our Steering Committee guides this initiative, providing leadership and oversight. To date, the Steering Committee has developed the effort’s goals and focus areas with input from the community. The Steering Committee includes leaders from healthcare, education, community-based organizations, business, and other sectors that serve women and families:

Lynne AshbeckLynne Ashbeck, is the Senior Vice President of Community Engagement and Population Wellness for Valley Children’s Healthcare. In her role, Lynne is responsible for developing a system-wide strategy that will allow Valley Children’s Healthcare and all of its partners throughout Central California to extend the delivery of their world-class care across the entire continuum, from the traditional healthcare settings to neighborhoods, schools, and communities. In her civic leadership roles, Lynne is serving in her fifth term on the Clovis City Council. She founded the Clovis Citizen’s Academy, a five-week training program to help Clovis residents learn more about local government and is active with the League of California Cities Institute for Local Government initiatives around civic engagement and public participation. Prior to her election to the City Council, Lynne served on the City’s Personnel Commission (1987 – 89) and Planning Commission (1989 – 2000). Lynne teaches in the newly launched Health Care Administration degree program at Fresno Pacific University and has previously served as a Senior Mediator/Facilitator with the Center for Collaborative Policy, California State University, Sacramento, working on issues such as land use/transportation, water quality/supply in the Valley’s rural communities and higher education issues within the CSU system.

Brian Angus, CEO of Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission.For the past 40 years, Brian Angus has held responsible management positions in community action agencies (CAA) in four regions of the United States, including serving as CEO in three. As chief executive of Fresno EOC, Mr. Angus leads one of the largest community action agencies in the nation, by clients served and budget. He is widely regarded as a leader, innovator, and entrepreneur. The hallmark of his career has been building regional and national coalitions around urgent human and economic issues.

Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P. President, California State University, Fresno. Joseph I. Castro was appointed as the eighth president of California State University, Fresno on August 1, 2013. He is the first Central Valley native to serve in this leadership position. Dr. Castro is also a Professor of Educational Leadership in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development. Prior to his appointment at Fresno State, he served as Vice Chancellor, Student Academic Affairs, and Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) from 2006-13. Earlier in his career, he held faculty and/or administrative leadership positions at four other University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Barbara. He received a B.A. in political science and M.P.P. in public policy from University of California, Berkeley and Ph.D. in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University. In 2016, Dr. Castro was awarded the Ohtli Medal, which is the highest honor granted by the Government of Mexico to Mexican-American leaders in the United States. He was selected as the 2014 Alumnus of the Year by the University of California, Berkeley Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy. Dr. Castro is also the recipient of the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award at UCSF and the 2010 University of California Student Association’s Administrator of the Year Award. Dr. Castro is the grandson of farmworkers from Mexico. He was born and raised in Hanford, CA and is the first person in his family to graduate from a university. He and his wife, Mary, have three children, Isaac, Lauren and Jess.

Kathryn Catania, Ed.D., is the Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services for the Fresno County Office of Education. She has been in education for over 28 years, serving as a teacher, principal, district administrator, and county office administrator. She is co-author of the English Learner Professional Development program, in conjunction with the University of California San Diego Professional Development Institute. Dr. Catania has taught in the graduate programs at Fresno State University and University of California, San Diego. She has her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, a Master in Educational Leadership from California State University Fresno, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Alliant International University.

Dr. Sara Goldgraben grew up in Bethpage, NY on Long Island and went to Plainedge school district. She was an active member in the Adolescent Tobacco Undercover Prevention Act, a sting operation by Nassau County sponsored by the American Lung Association, in order to ensure that tobacco products were not sold to minors. She graduated from Stony Brook University’s undergraduate Biomedical Engineering program. While at Stony Brook she was a member of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and selected for numerous scholarships and National Institute of Health (NIH) research fellowships. She then attended New York Medical College in Valhalla NY. She did her internship year in internal medicine at Flushing Hospital in Queens, NY. She did a two-year residency in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health at Stony Brook University Medical Center. She was an American Cancer Society fellow in Cancer Prevention and Control. While at Stony Brook she did a dual Masters of Public Health and Business Administration. She is Board Certified in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health and holds an active California State Medical License. She was Lake County’s Public Health officer prior to coming to Fresno.

Jennifer Chou Jennifer Chou is a Reproductive Justice & Gender Equity Attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. Her current work focuses on expanding and protecting access to reproductive health care in the Central Valley. She also leads the ACLU-NC’s efforts to ensure implementation of inclusive, medically accurate, and comprehensive sexual health education across the Valley. Jennifer’s cases include a suit against the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement for funding religious organizations that deny immigrants access to legally required reproductive medical services. Before joining the ACLU, Jennifer was an If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellow with the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, where she represented NAPAWF in coalition leadership to reintroduce federal immigrant health legislation and authored a policy agenda about the reproductive health status and needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander women. Before law school, Jennifer was a paralegal with the litigation department of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Jennifer earned her law degree from the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law, where, as a student in UCLA’s Appellate Advocacy Clinic, she argued a case in front of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Jennifer earned her B.A. in Political Science and Women's Studies, with a concentration in Asian American Studies, from Wellesley College.

Kristi Hernandez-Barrientez is a stay at home wife and mother blessed with two beautiful daughters. She is a kidney transplant recipient of nine years and is currently back on dialysis. Her first pregnancy was full term though her second pregnancy did not go as planned. Her daughter came into this world at only 28 weeks weighing 1lb 10oz and was 12 inches long. The baby spent the first two months of her life in the NICU at CRMC. Considering how small she was she did very well for her first month. She then developed an intestinal infection and the doctors felt surgery was needed. Fortunately the surgery went well and nothing needed to be removed. While her little girl was in theNICU Kristi was given the opportunity to positively impact those dealing with premature births by becoming a member of the P.T.B.I steering committee. She is also a member of her church and works in the church nursery.  

Nicole Hutchings is the Community Connector for the Fresno EOC Street Saints. Originally from Hanford, California she moved to Fresno in 2003. After being a stay-at-home mother, Nicole decided to give back to her community by volunteering with the Street Saints. Nicole is a mother of threechildren, Tony, Hailey, and Adrian. Tony and Hailey were born three-weeks early and they both have asthma. Adrian was born seven-weeks premature with pulmonary trunk stenosis/pulmonic valve stenosis. At five-months old, Adrian had a cardiac catheterization performed. Adrian also has asthma but very healthy, happy, active and smart. Nicole is an active member of her community and church.

Kudzi Muchaka has served as the Vice President of Genetics, Neurosciences, Women and Children’s Services at Community Regional Medical Center since 2005. His work includes developing annual operating budgets, maintenance of the environments and equipment, development of strategic goals and implementation of quality assurance programs. During his career, Kudzi has held various positions at Community Medical including Director of Oncology Services and Manager of Quality Management/Medical Decision Support. In his current role, he also serves as Director of Medical Decision Support and Institutional Review Board. Prior to his work at CRMC he held positions at Fresno Housing Authority and Tri-Con. Kudzi holds a Masters in Public Administration, an MA in International Relations, and an MBA in Information Systems.

Dr Subhashini Ladella is the Medical Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine (Perinatology) for Community Regional Medical Center, UCSF Fresno, and Clovis Community Medical Center, in Central Valley, California. Dr Ladella is Associate Clinical Professor with UCSF and on faculty in the department of Ob/Gyn, UCSF Fresno, Center for Medical Education and Research. Dr. Ladella is actively involved in medical student and resident teaching and training along with conducting clinical research with UCSF Fresno’s Ob/Gyn residency program’s Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Her research areas of interest include: preterm labor, preeclampsia and thrombophilia in pregnancy.

Artie Padilla B.S., was born and raised in Fresno California. After earning a degree in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge, he returned home to Fresno and has worked in the nonprofit sector for 16 years. For six years he served as a volunteer ministry leader through his church where his work opened his eyes to the complexities of our school system, the diverse cultures in our community, and the many opportunities to serve in the city. In January 2008 Artie helped to develop Every Neighborhood Partnership. He currently serves as the Executive Director of ENP with a vision to mobilize all the sectors of our city to holistically serve its schools, neighborhoods, and families.

JANET PAINE As Program Director for Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal Health Plan, Janet is responsible for statewide County Account Management & Local Engagement strategies. She is accountable for the management of the Tulare County Local Initiative contract, ensuring consistency across program management staff with compliance for County Public Health and County Mental Health MOUs, and ensuring the health plan has high visibility with counties, community health centers, and targeted stakeholders. Additionally, Janet provides guidance on implementation strategies, leads program development to increase and retain membership retention, and builds and maintains provider relationships and community organization collaboration for the Anthem Medi-Cal Health Plan. Janet has over 30 years experience in the managed care field where she has worked with preferred provider organizations, county public / behavioral health departments and large Federally Qualified Health Centers. Her roles have included Managed Care Director, Integrated Services Director and Director of Community Outreach and Health Education and Director of Marketing / Grant Development. She has also played an integral part in implementing an integrated behavioral health and primary care program, complementary and alternative medicine program and patient center medical home in a primary care clinic setting. Janet holds a M.A. in Allied Health from California State University Los Angeles. She calls Visalia, CA her home.

Dr. Larry Rand, director of Perinatal Services at the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center, is an obstetrician and gynecologist who specializes in high-risk pregnancy and maternal-fetal medicine, with a special interest in fetal disorders. He counsels and coordinates care and participates in prenatal diagnosis, specializing in procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS), amniocentesis, intra-uterine transfusion and fetal biopsies, as well as interventions such as lung and bladder shunt placements, fetal bladder taps and multi-fetal pregnancy reduction. In addition, Rand cares for patients during labor and delivery. In his research, he has a special interest in complicated monochorionic twin pregnancies. He has presented research in the fetal treatment community internationally and was nominated for a Young Investigator Excellence in Research Award at the 2009 American Institute for Ultrasound Medicine national meeting. He holds leadership positions at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and serves on the Patient Safety and Quality Assurance Committee. He travels to West Africa and Central America several times a year to perform surgery and provide high-risk obstetric care to patients with limited access, and to create sustainable health programs in these countries.

Emilia Reyes, MBA, has been at First 5 Fresno County since 2003, and has been honored to serve the community’s young children and their families through her work at the agency. Under her leadership, First 5 Fresno County opened the Lighthouse for Children, a community space in downtown Fresno where young children and their families are supported and prioritized so they can reach their full potential. As First 5 Fresno County’s Executive Director, Emilia is highly involved in community efforts to combat the area’s preterm birth and black infant mortality rates. She also is a passionate advocate for the early years, and encourages all parents to trust their instincts when it comes to the development of their children. Emilia comes from a migrant farm working family and was born and raised in Mendota. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master of Business Administration degree from the California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Mark Salazar, Fresno P.D. Capt., was born and raised in East Bakersfield, California. After receiving a scholarship from the Kern County Sheriff's Department, Mark attended Fresno State and graduated with a degree in Criminology in 1993. At Fresno State, he met his wife who also attended and graduated from Fresno State. Mark was hired by the Fresno Police Department and served on many units including Internal Affairs, Violent Crime Suppression Unit, CrimeView Commander, Homicide Robbery Commander and Southeast District Commander. In 2016, Mark was promoted to Captain and was assigned as the Southwest District Commander. Over the years, he has been instumental in developing crime strategies that led to record-breaking crime reductions. As a Captain, community engagement has been a priority as he and his staff work around-the-clock to ensure its success. Mark is most proud of his duties as a police leader where he has trained, mentored and coached dozens of subordinates who now have been promoted to higher ranks within the Department. He served on the Big Brothers and Big Sisters board and is a current board member of Fresno PAL. Mark also graduated from the LAPD WestPoint Leadership program, the State of California Law Enforcement's Command College and Leadership Fresno. He went back to school and graduated with an MBA. His spark comes from his relationship with his wife, Virginia Madrid-Salazar, and his four children: Alexis, Isabel, Max and Luke.

Courtney Shapiro Ms. Shapiro joined CalViva Health in June 2015. She has served public and non-profit organizations in the Fresno area for the past 14 years, focusing on community outreach, training, public administration, leadership building, marketing and development. She has her Bachelor of Science in Communications from Notre Dame de Namur University and a Master in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Ms. Shapiro has a passion for working with youth organizations and school districts that focus on early literacy

Carla T. Stanley Carla’s experience with pre-term birth is a very personal one. The birth of her only child came 3 months premature, weighing 2 pounds and 4 ounces, taking her very first helicopter ride and spending 39 days in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). While Carla has experienced a fairy tale outcome, she is keenly aware that others are not. Her chosen profession, as well as, her personal experience prepared her to support The PTBi. Carla’s more than 25 years as an Registered Nurse (RN) in healthcare has afforded her the ability to refine her skill in seven states e.g. CA, AZ, TX, MS, IL, IN, and MI. Positions held in those states range from Charge RN on Step-Down Units to Divisional Director overseeing a total of 8 directors and 11 dept. to the C-Suite. Carla has a MBA-Healthcare (MBA-HC) from American Sentinel University; Bachelors in Nursing (BSN) from Valparaiso University; Associates in Nursing (AND) from Purdue and an Associates in Applied Science (AAS) from Commonwealth Business College. In Addition to her education, Carla is multi-board certified e.g. FACHE, HCM-BC, NEA-BC and NE-BC and was recently installed as Chapter President for The Central Valley Black Nurse’s Association (CVBNA) and University of California at San Francisco/Community Advisory Board (UCSF/CAB) Member - all of which she plans on leveraging to support The PTBi.

Tammy Townsend (Deputy Executive Director / CAO) is a dedicated leader serving as the Deputy Executive Director/Chief Administrative Officer of Fresno Housing. Tammy has a wealth of fiscal management and compliance experience. She joins Fresno Housing from the Fresno Unified School District where she served as the Executive Officer of State and Federal Programs. In her role at FUSD, Tammy was responsible for the development of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), fiscal management and compliance for the District’s Federal funding. Tammy has been a resident of Fresno for more than 30 years and has focused much of this time engaging with the Fresno community. Prior to moving to Fresno in 1990, Tammy graduated from California State University, Chico, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Tammy and her husband Kevin have four adult children. In her free time, Tammy enjoys time with her family, traveling, reading, fishing and gardening.

Dawan Utecht, B.S., M.S.. has been the Fresno County Director of Behavioral Health, and the Public Guardian, for over 3 years. Prior to this, she worked in hospital administration for Community Medical Centers for 13 years. Dawan also served as the CEO of the Community Behavioral Health Center, a 61-bed adult acute inpatient psychiatric facility, in Fresno, for 7 years. She is a member of the Governing Board of the California Behavioral Health Directors Association, the Vice President of the CalMHSA Joint Powers Authority Board, a Commissioner on First 5 of Fresno County and serves on Fresno’s Community Corrections Partnership.

Davena Witcher is the Executive Director of AMOR, a community based non-profit established in 2008. AMOR builds healthy communities worldwide by partnering with other organizations to cultivate dignity, empower neighborhoods, and provide opportunity in the communities we serve. Davena holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and worked at Valley Children’s Hospital in the neonatal and pediatric departments for 15 years. Since AMOR’s inception she has served on the Board of Directors, as the Development Director from 2011-2013, and most recently as the Executive Director. Under Davena’s leadership AMOR’s cornerstone project in Afghanistan doubled the number of children and families treated annually to 67,000, opened a state-of-the-art neonatal nursery, and began teaching health education to young girls and boys ages 10 -18 in three public schools. AMOR is currently working on a capital campaign to construct and operate a multi-structure, eco-friendly facility in Mendota, right here in our Central Valley. The Wellness & Enrichment Center will provide wraparound medical, social, and youth services in this underserved town and the surrounding communities.

Anthony Yang is Hmong American and his academic background is in philosophy, psychology, and experimental psychology. He has 7+ years experience in program assessment/evaluation and 3+ years telling and teaching doctorate students in psychology that conducting research is a fun and insightful process, i.e., dissertation consultation. Aside from research, he's a technologist, futurist, graphic designer, curriculum creator, audio and visual designer, and design thinker and facilitator. Lastly, this is blanketed by his introversion. TLDR; Anthony is a philosopher by nature and researcher by nurture.

Parent Council Advisory Committee

Allen Hodgkin Originally from San Francisco Bay Area, Allen has lived in Fresno for more than 20 years. He is a member of Carter Memorial Church and has served in various capacities. Allen began his journey in Fresno as a Site Coordinator for the U.S Department of Justice leading an initiative called Weed and Seed. This initiative is known today as, Bringing Broken Neighborhoods Back To Life. “Coming Together is the beginning, Working Together is the Progress and Staying Together is the Success.” Allen was asked to attend a PTBi meeting in 2016 and has been a part of the Parent Council Advisory Committee since. Allen is a co-facilitator for the Keeping It Real (KIR) Program designed for African American boys and men in Fresno.

Janice Sumler Janice Sumler was born and raised in Fresno, CA attending Lincoln Elementary, Irwin, Jr High and graduating from Edison High School —Class of 1976. After graduating from Edison, Janice attended Fresno City College, transferring to Fresno State University majoring in Business Administration and Accounting. Janice later became employed at the Dept. of Social Services in Eligibility/Out Reach Services and retired July, 2015 after 25 years of service. Currently, Janice has continued in outreach services as Co-Founder of the Take A Stand Committee (2010). Janice is also the Director-Coordinator of the Fresno Juneteenth Committee, organizing the annual celebration honoring the historical ending of slavery with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation with over 5000 community residents attending. Janice became a member of the Parent Council Advisory Committee in 2016 and is now preparing for training in the African American Youth Leadership Academy (AAYLA) program curriculum.

Laneesha Senegal began her work in Fresno in 2005 helping at-risk youth and their families. Motivated by her experiences as a child, living in poverty and becoming a mother of five by the time she was 22, she understood the issues facing many of our young people today. In 2012, Laneesha’s work was formalized and HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Excellence) became a 501C3. Laneesha has served on several community agencies like, The Children’s Movement of Fresno and the City of Fresno’s Mayor Academy and has been awarded for the Top Ten Professional Women and Leading Business. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Leadership from Fresno Pacific and is the CEO of Vision View. Laneesha became a member of PTBi’s Parent Council Advisory Committee in 2016 and has helped guide our work in Fresno’s African American community.

Pam Freeman-Fobbs, Ms. Fobbs is a former Deputy District Attorney for Fresno County and has served as a board member for many local organizations, including Valley Public Television, Community Hospitals of Central California, The Fresno Philharmonic, and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her passion is in healthcare and quality of life issues for women and children. For 28 years, Ms. Fobbs has worked to increase awareness and address heart disease, obesity, and breast cancer in the local and national community. She has been invited to serve on many health-related government panels. Ms. Fobbs serves on the Parent Council Advisory Committee for Fresno County PTBi. Ms. Fobbs has a law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law and interned for Representative Barbara Jordan (D-Texas).

Wendy MoultrieWendy Moultrie is a small business owner of Wendy’s Magical Touch, a cleaning business. Ms. Moultrie was born and raised in Fresno, California. She is member of Woodward Park Church of Christ. Ms. Moultrie is a mom with living experience. Ms. Moultrie is very active in the community and with Fresno County PTBi. She is a member of Fresno County PTBi Moms’ Council, Parent Council Advisory Committee, and Shared Measures Workgroup. She also co-facilitates the African-American Youth Leadership Academy (AAYLA). Ms. Moultrie has one daughter and one granddaughter. Her heart beats for both.

Matthew Gillian earned a Bachelor’s of Art in Music Business from California State University, Northridge in 2007. After 10 years in the music industry, and the birth of his son in 2015, his interest in Green Technology led him to start a non-profit organization called, Inspiration Transportation. His mission is to inspire the utilization and education of sustainable technologies, while helping to implement these technologies in underprivileged communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Matthew joined the Parent Council Advisory Committee in 2018 and has continue to guide us in our work within the African American community in Fresno.

Cherella Nicholson, Executive Director of Saints Rest Community Economic Development Corporation is passionate about improving the lives for all people. She understands that it takes collaborative effort, leadership and humility to tackle complicated issues, such as maternal health. Cherella has dedicated her life to fight for social justice issues across sectors, and has a particular interest in building resident power in distressed neighborhoods . Cherella Nicholson’s life motto is a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.” Cherella has been a member of the Parent Council Advisory Committee since 2016 and has continued to guide us through our work in the African American Community.

Hester Hensley, born in Oklahoma and raised in Southwest Fresno but better known as “the Golden West Side of Fresno,” Hester Hensley has been a proud resident since 1946. She attended Franklin Elementary School and Edison High – class of 1962. Ms. Hester worked for the Fresno County Department of Communications for 24 years. She retired in 2003. Ms. Hester enjoys cooking, spending time with her four children, 15 grandchildren and 33 great grandchildren. Ms. Hester has a strong love for elders in our community and spends a lot of her time visiting senior citizens. She is proud to live in the Golden West Side of Fresno and believes that the work Fresno County PTBi is doing will contribute to making Fresno a greater and stronger place to live. Ms. Hester joined PTBi’s Parent Council Advisory Committee in 2017, and continues to guide Fresno County PTBi's work to address disparities in the African-American Community.

Joby Jones was born and raised in Southwest Fresno. After losing his brother due to gang violence and being shot eight times, Mr. Jones founded Stop the Violence – Fresno. He has partnered with the Fresno Street Saints and holds an after school program at Gaston Middle School, encouraging young boys and girls to refrain from gang violence and provides support for making healthy lifestyle decisions. Mr. Jones has a burden to help the youth and those who have been affected by gang violence. Mr. Jones is a pastor and is very involved in the community on a grass roots, boots on the ground level. Hejoined PTBi’s Parent Council Advisory Committee in 2019, and will assist in leading the Keeping It Real (KIR) program.

Amber Daniels was born and raised in Fresno, California. She is a mom with living experience. Ms Daniels is a member of the Moms' Council and the Parent Council Advisory Committee, and is part of the Care and Support During Pregnancy workgroup. She also completed the African American Youth Leadership Academy (AAYLA). Ms. Daniels believes that being a part of Fresno County PTBi and working with other moms, who share the same goal in preventing preventing preterm births, is a great honor and a great learning experience. For Ms. Daniels, the partnership with Fresno County PTBi has opened her eyes to making better choices and positive changes in her life. Ms. Daniels has partnered with Fresno County PTBi since 2016.

Nicole Hutchings is the Community Connector for the Fresno EOC Street Saints. Originally from Hanford, California she moved to Fresno in 2003. After being a stay-at-home mother, Nicole decided to give back to her community by volunteering with the Street Saints. Nicole is a mother of threechildren, Tony, Hailey, and Adrian. Tony and Hailey were born three-weeks early and they both have asthma. Adrian was born seven-weeks premature with pulmonary trunk stenosis/pulmonic valve stenosis. At five-months old, Adrian had a cardiac catheterization performed. Adrian also has asthma but very healthy, happy, active and smart. Nicole is an active member of her community and church.

Hattie McCullar was born in Texas and raised in Phoenix Arizona. Hattie McCullar moved to Fresno in 1968 with her family. She attended Fresno City College and earned an AA in social services and worked as a social worker in foster care for several agencies in the Fresno area. Ms. Hattie later returned to college and earn two Masters Degrees; One in Divinity and another in Christian Counseling from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She graduated at the age of 52. Ms. Hattie currently serves as an associate minister at Saint Rest Baptist Church and has been a member of PTBi’s Parent Council Advisory Committee since 2017.

Andrea Avila is a mom with living experience. She currently serves on Fresno County PTBi's Parent Council Advisory Committee and is part of the Care and Support workgroup. Ms. Avila has partnered with Fresno County PTBi since 2016, and continues to guide Fresno County PTBi's work to address disparities in the African-American Community.

PTBi California

Dr. Larry Rand, director of Perinatal Services at the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center, is an obstetrician and gynecologist who specializes in high-risk pregnancy and maternal-fetal medicine, with a special interest in fetal disorders. He counsels and coordinates care and participates in prenatal diagnosis, specializing in procedures such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS), amniocentesis, intra-uterine transfusion and fetal biopsies, as well as interventions such as lung and bladder shunt placements, fetal bladder taps and multi-fetal pregnancy reduction. In addition, Rand cares for patients during labor and delivery. In his research, he has a special interest in complicated monochorionic twin pregnancies. He has presented research in the fetal treatment community internationally and was nominated for a Young Investigator Excellence in Research Award at the 2009 American Institute for Ultrasound Medicine national meeting. He holds leadership positions at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and serves on the Patient Safety and Quality Assurance Committee. He travels to West Africa and Central America several times a year to perform surgery and provide high-risk obstetric care to patients with limited access, and to create sustainable health programs in these countries.

Linda Franck, RN, PhD, FRCPCH, FAAN | Co-Principal Investigator, PTBi California. "My program of research focuses on health care for acutely and chronically ill infants and children, in primary, secondary and tertiary care settings, with a particular emphasis on pain assessment and management. This includes research on the assessment and management of side effects of analgesia and sedation as well as investigation of the long term consequences of pain and pain treatments on the developing child and family. My most recent research highlights the information needs of parents and suggests innovative strategies for enhancing the partnership between parents and professionals to ensure children receive optimal health care before, during and after a child’s hospitalization. Specialties: Nursing, neonatal intensive care, pediatric intensive care, advanced practice nursing education, clinical research, children's pain "

Jonathan Fuchs, MD, MPH, is the Director of the Center for Learning and Innovation at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. Over the past 14 years, Dr. Fuchs’s research interests have focused on biomedical and behavioral HIV prevention and the development of novel mentored research programs to engage early career investigators in clinical translational research, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds in science. He is the Director of the Mentoring Program of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research, and for the PTBi, is providing leadership to the New Minds, New Ideas initiative, which seeks to attract and retain academically- and community-based researchers who are dedicated to reducing the global burden of prematurity-related morbidity and mortality. During the PTBi planning phase, Dr. Fuchs has also served on the Northern California Collective Impact readiness assessment working group.

Quin Hussey is a public health professional with years of experience in maternal health. She currently serves as the program director for the California Preterm Birth Initiative. Prior to joining the team at UCSF, Wendy served as the assistant director of the Wallace Maternal and Child Health Research Center at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Wendy brings deep experience in place-based community transformation to PTBi-CA from her work as the national program manager for the Best Babies Zone at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, where she worked in support of infant mortality reduction. She was also the assistant director for the Maternal and Child Health program at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Wendy began her career in public health at UCSF and is thrilled to be back here supporting the work of PTBi-CA. Wendy holds an MPH from San Jose State University and a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University. 

FUNDERS

Our Funders gave us three mandates:

EMBRACE bold ideas.

DISRUPT current models of care and support across the reproductive life course.

REDUCE preterm births and improve preemie outcomes.

The Fresno County Preterm Birth Initiative is part of a multi-year Preterm Birth Initiative led by UC San Francisco. This comprehensive effort is led by Marc and Lynne Benioff and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Fresno State serves as the backbone organization for the Fresno Initiative. Working together with scientists in other regions of the world, the initiative will focus on the bio-logical, behavioral and social factors that drive prematurity—defined as being born before 37 weeks—and how to protect children from its consequences. They will explore the barriers at the family, community and society level that prevent good practices from being widely adopted, and they will contribute to the development of new drugs, diagnostic tools and medical devices.