Our team

Gene Declercq, Ph.D, LCCE

Gene is a Professor of Community Health Sciences and Assistant Dean for DrPH Education at the Boston University School of Public Health as well as a professor on the faculty of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Boston University School of Medicine. He has served as lead author of national reports on women’s experiences in childbirth and in the postpartum period entitled Listening to Mothers I, II & III and New Mothers Speak Out. He was a childbirth educator for almost 20 years and was technical adviser to the film documentary, The Business of Being Born. He developed and presented the short film, Birth by the Numbers, as well as this companion website. This video was followed by two more, Birth by the Numbers: the Update and Birth by the Numbers: Myth and Reality Concerning US Cesarean Sections. Gene is also a father and grandfather to eight grandchildren. By his own admission, he bears some resemblance to the above picture of the family pet.

Lee Ann Adelsheim


Lee Ann Adelsheim is a graduate of the MPH program in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Boston University School of Public Health. She was the MCH research fellow with Dr. Declercq for the 2018 academic year. Lee Ann’s interest in maternal and women’s health began when she interned with Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, KY. She is particularly interested in using research to support equitable access to reproductive health care for women of all backgrounds. Lee Ann previously served as an AmeriCorps member in the National Health Corps Florida at the Women’s Center of Jacksonville working with a breast cancer support group.

Isabelle Alexandre

MPH Candidate

Isabelle Alexandre is a current MPH candidate at Boston University School of Public Health specializing in Health Policy & Law and Maternal and Child Health. Her passion for Maternal and Child Health stemmed from her undergraduate senior thesis where she investigated the role of insurance in the maternal care experience of birthing persons in Connecticut. She is currently pursuing her MPH to gain a population level understanding of maternal and child health disparities. She hopes to use her MPH background to inform her approach as she pursue an OBGYN career, dedicated to centering the autonomy and agency of birthing persons. 

Ruby Barnard-Mayers

MPH, PhD Student

Ruby Barnard-Mayers is a current PhD student at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) in the Epidemiology department. She has her MPH from BUSPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics as well as Maternal and Child Health. As an undergraduate at Grinnell College in Iowa, Ruby found her passion for maternal and child health through a biological anthropology course focused on the evolution of childbirth through a biological and multi-cultural framework. She also developed an interest in big data analysis and pursued that interest through an undergraduate research fellowship with the Grinnell mathematics department. After receiving her B.A. in mathematics and anthropology, Ruby worked at a substance use outpatient treatment clinic in Washington, D.C. doing administrative and financial work.

Sydney Bauer


Coming soon

Samantha Burkhart

MPH Candidate

Samantha is a current MPH student at Boston University School of Public Health concentrating in Health Policy & Law and is one of this year’s MCH research fellows for Dr. Declercq. Her passion for public health started as a teenager when she witnessed the power of prevention through her sports teams. That passion led her to pursue a B.S. in Public Health at Northern Arizona University where she worked as a local fitness instructor and interned for the American Diabetes Association. After completing her degree Samantha interned at Girl’s On the Run and assisted the COVID-19 response efforts at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Both of these experiences solidified her belief that the health women and children is one of the greatest determinants for the health of a society. 

Corie Bussell Paz

IBCLC, Birth Doula, Family Planning Counselor, Portuguese Medical Interpretor, MPH

Corie Bussell Paz received her MPH in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University in 2014. Corie’s past experience includes working as a Certified Lactation Counselor in the hospital setting and as a Peer Counselor with the WIC program, impacting the course of breastfeeding for over 2,500 new and experienced mothers. Corie has volunteered as a Birth Doula and became interested in promoting and protecting normal birth while researching her undergraduate thesis on the birth experiences of Brazilian mothers in the United States. For the past two years Corie has resided in rural northern Brazil, managing an off-grid organic cattle ranch with her husband and two children (the oldest born in-hospital and breastfed for the first year and the second born in an empowering, planned home birth and still breastfeeding strong at four). Corie is currently available for off-site contract work and will be looking soon in Sao Paulo for a position in hopes of continuing her work in humanizing the birthing experience and protecting breastfeeding. Corie contributed to the researching of international birth data for the map section and research, and data input.

Lucy Dagneau


Lucy is a 2012 graduate of BUSPH and worked with Prof. Declercq as a HRSA Fellow for the 2010-2011 academic year. Currently, Lucy is the Associate Director of Communications at Community Catalyst, a health care advocacy nonprofit. Lucy provides strategic communications support to state advocates and federal partners across a range of Community Catalyst projects. Prior to joining Community Catalyst, Lucy worked for Spitfire Strategies, a communications firm that works with non-profits and foundations committed to social change. Before Spitfire, Lucy worked for former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd in his office and on his campaign for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. Lucy holds a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s in public health in Maternal and Child Health from the Boston University School of Public Health. Working closely with Gene Declercq, Lucy did much of the initial work to design and launch the Birth by the Numbers website.

Staige Davis


Staige Davis is a graduate of the MPH program in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). Staige found her love of data analysis while researching parasitism in bumblebees as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. She has since switched her focus to human health and social epidemiology. As a 2018 MCH Research Fellow, she was thrilled to have the opportunity to combine the power of number crunching with her passion for sexual and reproductive health. For the website, Staige focused on interpretation and dissemination of data reports, website design, and mapping with ArcGIS. She has worked as an advocate for sexual violence prevention and survivor support since 2010 and is the current president of STOP (Sexual Trauma Outreach and Prevention) at BUSPH. Prior to pursuing her master’s degree, Staige was an AmeriCorps service member focusing on college access for first-generation and low income high schoolers in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Maura Donnelly

MPH Candidate

Maura Donnelly is a current MPH candidate at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), focusing in Maternal and Child Health and Community Assessment, Program Design, and Implementation. Her interest in maternal and child health developed during her time at the  Boston Health Care Center for the Homeless Program, where she worked as a case manager for families living in the Boston shelter system. She is passionate about birth justice, respectful maternity care, and ending racial disparities in birth outcomes through advocacy and policy change that address structural inequities.  

Jordana Frost


Jordana Frost earned a doctoral degree at Boston University, focusing on Maternal and Child Health under the mentorship of Dr. Eugene Declercq. As a mother of two, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a DONA- and Birthing From Within-trained birth doula and childbirth mentor, a trained lactation counselor, and an experienced MCH program manager, she appreciates the complexity that families face every day as they make decisions about their own physical, emotional, and psychosocial health and well-being. She is interested in affecting broad system-wide dynamics impacting maternal and child health disparities, through research, teaching, program management, and advocacy. Jordana also enjoys providing personalized doula services to women, helping them create positive life-changing memories, one birth at a time.

Kylia Garver


Kylia was a 2013-2014 fellow and worked in conjunction with Allison and Dr. Declercq. Kylia’s interests lie in understanding the systematic underpinnings of health outcomes, including birth and postpartum care. Kylia has two children, ages 4 and 2. Prior to beginning the MPH program at BU, Kylia worked in the medical device industry in marketing and as a women’s advocate in a domestic violence shelter. Kylia built the Birth by the Number’s Pinterest presence, enhanced the site’s search engine optimization, and worked with the data from the LtM surveys.

Christina Gebel

MPH, Birth Doula (DONA), LCCE

Christina Gebel graduated from Boston University’s School of Public Health, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health and Social and Behavioral Sciences. She was an MCH department fellow for the 2013-2014 academic year with Dr. Gene Declercq and a 2013 MCH fellow with the American Public Health Association (APHA). Christina became interested in Maternal and Child Health when she became a volunteer doula and New Moms Group facilitator while living in Chicago. She also became certified in Lamaze and enjoys teaching about her passion, moms and babies. Christina is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer. Her primary contributions to the site include updating the state-by-state data tables, launching the blog and social media initiatives on the site, and co-producing the videos Birth by the Numbers: The Update and Birth by the Numbers: Myth and Reality of US Cesarean Sections.

Sarah Hodin


Sarah Hodin received her MPH from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health with a concentration in maternal and child health. She began studying childbirth as an undergraduate student in medical anthropology and interviewed over one hundred women across East Africa about their birthing experiences. More recently, Sarah has worked with Jacaranda Health, a maternal health organization in Kenya, and Ariadne Labs, a health systems innovation lab in Boston run by Dr. Atul Gawande. Sarah is also a certified birth doula and has volunteered with Birthing Gently, an organization that provides women in the Boston area with free doula services. When she’s not working on improving quality of care for moms and babies, she runs a nonprofit organization called Nyora Beads that sells fair trade jewelry and crafts to raise money for high school scholarships for children in Kenya.

Sheridan Larsell


Sheridan Larsell graduated from Boston University School of Public Health in 2015 with an MPH, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology. She was the 2014-2015 MCH fellow with Dr. Gene Declercq. In addition to her studies, Sheridan recently held internships at the National Network of Abortion Funds and Ibis Reproductive Health. Prior to pursuing the MPH in Boston, Sheridan interned and volunteered regularly with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon in her hometown of Portland, OR. She is an advocate for increased access to quality reproductive healthcare with particular public health interest in research, education, and policies that inform family planning programs and services. She is happy to be part of the Birth by the Numbers team and to assist in developing website content and design.

Annette Lee

MPH Candidate

Annette Lee is a current MPH student at Boston University School of Public Health concentrating in Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Maternal & Child Health and was the 2019-2020 MCH research fellow for Dr. Declercq. As an undergraduate, she completed her senior thesis on the effects of kangaroo mother care on neonatal immune responses, which solidified her interest in maternal and child health. Annette previously worked as a communications specialist for a nonprofit working towards implementing patient- and family-centered practices in all healthcare settings.

Katie Krebs


Katie Krebs graduated from Boston University School of Public Health in 2011 with an MPH in Maternal and Child Health, and was a fellow with Dr. Declercq in the 2010-2011 academic year. Currently, Katie is the Education and Development Coordinator for the University of Colorado Cancer Center, creating and implementing training and professional development programs for research staff, including MDs, nurses, clinical coordinators, data managers and regulatory staff. In her spare time, Katie teaches childbirth classes and serves as the President of the Board for a new non-profit dedicated to providing high quality childbirth, breastfeeding, newborn care, and gentle discipline education, and sleep support services to low-income families. Katie also occasionally does freelance writing projects and consults with maternal and child health providers to develop curriculum. With a background in research and medical ethics, Katie has a passion for providing education and support to help women make informed decisions and maintain dignity and autonomy while receiving medical care.  Katie’s contributions to the site included the Business of Being Born Classroom Edition toolkit for college and high school classrooms, as well as the initial concept planning for the BBN website. Katie lives in the Denver area with her husband and two lovely toddlers.

Nairi Kalpakian

MPH Candidate

Nairi Kalpakian is a Boston University MPH candidate studying Epidemiology and Biostatistics, with an interest in Maternal and Child Health. Her interests in public health began while she was interning as an Autopsy Technician for the Monterey County Coroners. After completing her internship and receiving her Bachelors in Biology from the University of California: Santa Cruz, she decided to dedicate her life towards preventing unnecessary deaths, particularly those related to pregnancy and childbirth. She’s very much looking forward to expanding her knowledge and skill set by working with the Birth By the Numbers team.

Allison Potter


Allison was an MCH department fellow for the 2013-2014 academic year at Boston University School of Public Health with Dr. Gene Declercq and is an MCH fellow with the American Public Health Association (APHA). Allison’s interests include ensuring access to quality prenatal care, childbirth education, and postnatal care to homeless and underserved women and families. Before pursuing her master’s degree she provided medical services, case management, and health education to the homeless population of San Francisco and worked as an emergency medical technician. Allison is currently working in case management for high-risk families in the San Francisco child welfare system. She is also a trained birth doula. Her contributions to the site include working with the Listening to Mothers data, writing content for blog posts, and reaching out to other MCH professionals.

Brittany Ranchoff


Brittany Ranchoff graduated with her MPH concentrating in Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology from the Boston University School of Public Health in 2017. She was the 2015-2016 MCH fellow with Dr. Gene Declercq. Brittany became interested in Maternal and Child Health after studying abroad with Semester at Sea during her undergraduate at University of Kentucky. On Semester at Sea, she studied Maternal and Child Health in Central and South America. Her interests include birth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and early infancy. Brittany looks forward to helping in assisting the Birth by the Numbers site in updating and design. She is very excited to be a part of the Birth by the Numbers team.

Jessica Turon


Jessica Turon graduated with her MPH in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University in January 2013. Her interests encompass all things birth and breastfeeding, as well as reproductive justice. Currently, she is getting some first-hand experience in these matters as a new mom to Frances, born in May of 2013. As a fellow on the Birth By The Numbers project, she worked on assembling the state-by-state data.

Veronica Vieira


Veronica’s research involves spatio-temporal analyses of health data for examining the contributions of known risk factors and environmental exposures to the underlying geographic pattern of disease risk. She works extensively with reconstructing historic environmental exposures using GIS and have an extensive knowledge of groundwater modeling, spatial statistics, and on persistent environmental contaminants including tetrachloroethylene (PCE, a dry-cleaning solvent), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, a perfluorinated compound (PFC) involved in the manufacturing of Teflon), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs, a common class of flame retardants). The current focus of her research is the spatio-temporal analysis of birth defects and infant morbidity in relation to air pollution using generalized additive models (GAM) in a geographic framework. As a researcher with the Boston University Superfund Research Program for the past 15 years, she investigates spatial and chemical/non-chemical patterns of cancer, reproductive outcomes, ADHD-related behaviors, and risky behaviors. In addition, she works with colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to examine geographic patterns of rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, autism spectrum disorder, and breast cancer among the participants of the Nurse’s Health Study (NHS) cohort. As a member of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, her current grant applies spatial statistics to assess geographic location as a barrier to receiving adequate ovarian cancer treatment in California. Her work also includes international collaborations with researchers in France, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, and Italy.

Kali Vitek

MPH Candidate

Kali Vitek is a current MPH student at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), focusing on Maternal and Child Health and Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation. She was MCH Research Fellow with Dr. Declercq for 2019. Kali’s interest in research began as an undergraduate research assistant on a project evaluating interracial dating in the United States. She has since been involved in research about the transition to motherhood and published an article on the effects of birth-related reality television on women’s fear of childbirth and childbirth self-efficacy. Kali hopes to combine policy work, research, and public health practice in a fulfilling career addressing maternal and child health issues, particularly those related to incarceration and corrections. Prior to entering her Master’s program, Kali earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and worked as a Behavior Technician at the LOGAN Autism Learning Center of Southwest Michigan.

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