AMCHP 2020 Board of Directors
Manda Hall, MD
Associate Commissioner, Community Health Improvement Division
Manda Hall, M.D. was named the Associate Commissioner for Community Health Improvement at the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in October of 2017. In this role, Dr. Hall oversees and provides strategic direction to four Sections within the Division: Maternal and Child Health, Environmental Epidemiology and Disease Registries, Vital Statistics, and Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention. Prior to this role, she served as the Interim Associate Commissioner for the Family and Community Health Services Division.
Dr. Hall began her public health career in 2012 as the Title V Children and Youth with Special Health Care Need Director at DSHS, where she oversaw a team responsible for the development of family-centered, community-based, and coordinated statewide systems of care for CYSHCN and their families. In March of 2016, Dr. Hall assumed the role of Title V Maternal and Child Health Medical Director for Texas and oversaw the Title V Maternal and Child Block Grant.
Dr. Hall graduated with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Lamar University and her Medical Degree from Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine. She completed her residency and fellowship at the University of Alabama at
Birmingham in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Allergy and Immunology.
Before her role as President, Dr. Hall served as the AMCHP Region VI Director from 2017 to 2020 and served on the Legislative and Health Care Finance Committee, and Conference Planning Committee. She graduated in May of 2014 as a fellow in the Maternal and Child Health Public Health Leadership Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Texas Health and Human Services Executive Leadership Academy in 2017. She is a faculty member of the DSHS Preventative Medicine and Public Health Residency Program.
Past President 2021-2022
Shirley Payne, PhD, MPH
Assistant Commissioner of Public Health Protection
Indiana Department of Health
Shirley Payne, MPH, has been an AMCHP member since 2013, serving in multiple volunteer capacities including as an active participant in the AMCHP Leadership Institute for CYSHCN Directors as well as the New Director Mentor Program. She joined the board of directors as the Region V Director representing Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Ms. Payne earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Bachelor of Arts in African-American and African diaspora studies from Indiana University in 2007, and later earned her Master of Public Health degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine with concentrations in epidemiology and behavioral health science. She is pursuing her doctoral degree in health behavior from the Indiana University School of Public Health.
Ms. Payne serves with the Division of Children's Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) within the Indiana Department of Health, where her primary responsibility is to administer Indiana's CSHCS program, which is a supplemental coverage program that helps families of children with serious, chronic medical conditions pay for treatment related to their child's condition. She also serves as the state's Title V Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) director and is responsible for managing the CYSHCN portion of the Title V Block Grant.
She has been dedicated to serving the special needs population for over seven years. Prior to working with the state, she worked as a team leader with St. Vincent New Hope (now New Hope of Indiana) in Indianapolis, Ind., and was instrumental in direct care coordination for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities on state Medicaid waivers. This experience gave her the desire to focus her career on maternal and child health, in particular working on behalf of the special needs' population.
Belinda D. Pettiford, MPH
Head, Women's Health Branch
North Carolina Division of Public Health
Belinda Pettiford, MPH is the President-Elect for AMCHP's board of directors. Ms. Pettiford has nearly 30 years of experience in public health. She has been with the North Carolina Division of Public Health, Women's and Children's Health Section (Title V) since November 1995. During this time, she has been the Program Manager for Healthy Beginnings (North Carolina's Minority Infant Mortality Reduction Program) and Healthy Start Baby Love Plus (3 federally funded perinatal disparities programs). She was also the Unit Supervisor for Perinatal Health and Family Support within the Women's Health Branch.
Ms. Pettiford was named the Head of the Women's Health Branch in March 2012; in this capacity, she provides oversight to the state's maternal health, family planning, preconception health, teen pregnancy prevention, sickle cell, tobacco use, and numerous programs focused on equity in birth outcomes. As part of state Title V, she has provided leadership in writing numerous grants and implementing programs with a focus on evidence-based and informed strategies.
On two separate occasions, Belinda has also served as the Interim Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities within the Division of Public Health. During this time, she provided leadership and stability to the office as it was going through numerous transitions.
Ms. Pettiford has provided leadership for numerous national, state, and local efforts. She currently chairs North Carolina's Perinatal Health Strategic Plan Committee and leads the state's efforts with the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to reduce infant mortality. Ms. Pettiford also co-chairs the Perinatal Health Committee of the Child Fatality Task Force (CFTF) within the state. The CFTF is a legislative study commission directed by the NC General Assembly.
Before her role as President-Elect, Ms. Pettiford served as Region IV Director for AMCHP's board of directors. Pettiford served as the AMCHP She received her MPH from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and undergraduate degrees from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.
Gina Pola-Money, A.S. Social Sciences, Mo.M.
Director, Utah Family Voices, Family Involvement Coordination
Utah CSHCN, URLEND, Medical Home
Gina Pola-Money, A.S., Social Sciences, has been an active AMCHP member since 2001. She is the Secretary for AMCHP’s Board of Director. Ms. Pola-Money has over 29 years of experience navigating the health care system for her children with special health care needs, including dealing with medically complex, hospice and mental health issues. She is the director of Utah Family Voices Family to Family Health Information Center, which provides support for family needs as well as information to families and professionals about resources and health care financing. Ms. Pola-Money is also a member of the family faculty of the Utah Regional LEND program, helping to bring the family voice to leadership education for professionals and gaining the perspective of her professional partners.
Ms. Pola-Money has also been actively involved with medical home and quality improvement initiatives, which include coordinating parent partner activities, family-centered care, and parent-professional partnerships. She shares that she has been fortunate to benefit from the ongoing mentorship, collaboration and technical assistance of Family Voices and Title V.
Karin Downs, RN, MPH
Director, Division of Pregnancy, Infancy and Early Childhood
Karin Downs, RN, MS, MPH, is the Treasurer for AMCHP's board of directors. Ms. Downs currently is the MCH Director for the Title V Program and also serves as the Director of the Division of Pregnancy, Infancy and Early Childhood (DPIE) within the Bureau of Family Health. Ms. Downs has worked with maternal-child health, systems of care, community and family economic development and relief and reconstruction in Massachusetts and internationally for 35 years. She has received the Distinguished MCH Alumni Award from Boston School of Public Health in 2012 and completed a fellowship at the Maternal Child Health – Public Health Leadership Institute (MCH-PHLI) at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Region I Director (2019-2022)
Deborah Garneau, MS
Chief, Office of Special Needs, Rhode Island Department of Health
Deborah Garneau, MS, is the Chief of the Office of Special Needs at the RI Department of Health. In this position, she is responsible for the supervision, management, and leadership of the Office's three program areas including Pediatric Specialty Services, Disability and Health and Family Support and Empowerment. The Office manages community performance-based contracts, the scope of which include medical home enhancement, youth medical transition, emergency preparedness for people with disabilities, service delivery system development, establishment of linkages between primary and specialty care, provision of parent support, health promotion for people with disabilities, resource development for parents and professionals, ensuring physical accessibility of healthcare facilities, and comprehensive surveillance of quality systems of care. Innovative programs receiving national best practice recognition include the Pediatric Practice Enhancement Project and Dare to Dream Student Leadership Initiative.
In addition to direct contract management, Ms. Garneau is responsible for collaborating with state agencies and community providers in establishing policy to ensure an integrated special needs service delivery system for the provision of direct services for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and their families. This collaboration has leveraged funding from health plans, Medicaid, and pediatric providers to enhance medical homes and coordinated systems of care.
As the Interim Team Lead, Ms. Garneau is responsible for overall program and policy management of the Office of Special Needs, Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, Office of Minority Health and Office of Women's Health. Ms. Garneau served as a mental health clinician and administrator with at-risk children and their families prior to state service.
Regional II, Director (2020-2023)
Lisa Asare, MPH
Assistant Commissioner of Family Health Services
Lisa Asare, MPH, assumed the role of Assistant Commissioner of Family Health Services in 2016. Ms. Asare has worked in the Department 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 to 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 including Maternal and Child Health, Special Child Health and Early Intervention Services, and WIC Nutrition Services.
Region III Director (2020-2023)
Marcus Allen, MPH
Director, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs
Marcus Allen is the Region III Director for AMCHP's board of directors. Mr. Allen is a native Virginian and a current resident of Goochland County. He is a graduate of Goochland High School, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (BS Biology), and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MPH). He has been with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) for more than a decade and has been a part of the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Unit since 2012 (serving as the program director since 2014). He is married with two daughters and enjoys spending time with family and following the Philadelphia Eagles and Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" football programs.
Regional V Director (2020-2023)
Eden Bezy, MPH
Director of the Maternal and Child Health Division, Indiana State Department of Health
Eden Bezy, MPH is the Director of the Maternal and Child Health Division (MCH) at the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). In this role, she oversees the development and administration of policies and programming related to improving the health of mothers, babies, and families across the lifespan. Eden has served in governmental public health since 2011, first providing direct service case management to pregnant and parenting teens at the county health department, then transitioning to the state health department to serve in administrative and leadership positions. Eden received her B.S. in Applied Health Science—Dietetics from Indiana University Bloomington, and her Master's in Public Health from the Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University Purdue University.
During her time at ISDH Eden has served in multiple roles across a wide variety of subject areas, including healthy eating and active living, policy development and review, public health accreditation, quality improvement, workforce development, and strategic planning. Over the past two years, Eden led the authorship of Indiana's State Health Assessment and Improvement Plan, ISDH's strategic plan, and deployment of impactful quality improvement projects.
In her current role as MCH director, Eden oversees the Genomics and Newborn Screening Program, MCH Epidemiology Team, state and federal home visiting programs, Title V funded maternal, youth, and adolescent programs, hospitals' Levels of Care and Perinatal Centers of Care, perinatal substance use, Mom's Family Helpline, and the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program. Eden hopes to use her experience in policy development and strategic planning to help plan for the future of MCH services in Indiana.
Region VI Director (2019-2022)
Janis Gonzales MD, MPH, FAAP
Director of Maternal Child Health, New Mexico Department of Health
Dr. Janis Gonzales is a mother, author, pediatrician, and public health physician and currently works as the Maternal Child Health Director/Title V Director in the New Mexico Department of Health, where she oversees several programs including Children’s Medical Services, Families FIRST, WIC, Family Planning, Maternal Child Health Epidemiology, and Maternal and Child Health.
Dr. Gonzales received her MD from the University of Illinois, her MPH from the University of New Mexico, and is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), received the 2017 Early Childhood Champion “Unsung Hero” Award from the AAP, and was appointed in 2019 to the UT Austin Prenatal-to-Three Policy Center’s Advisory Council, which works with the Pritzker Foundation to develop recommendations for evidence-based prenatal to three policies.
Dr. Gonzales is the current President of the NM Pediatric Society (NM Chapter of the AAP) and the AAP Early Childhood Chapter Champion for NM, as well as the Vice President of the NM Perinatal Collaborative. She has served for ten years on the Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) for the Family Infant Toddler (FIT) early intervention program and was previously appointed to the Early Learning Advisory Council. She is also a board member of Hero’s Path Palliative Care and a member of the J Paul Taylor task force, the CARA task force, and the Birth Equity Collaborative.
Region VII Director (2020-2023)
Marcus Johnson-Miller, CPM
Bureau Chief, Title V MCH Director,
Bureau of Family Health, Iowa Department of Public Health
Des Moines, Iowa
Marcus Johnson-Miller, CPM is the Region VII Director for AMCHP's board of directors. He currently serves as Iowa's Title V Director and Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Family Health at the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). Along with the Title V program, Mr. Johnson-Miller oversees the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation Program, Title X Family Planning, Abstinence Education Grant Program, Personal Responsibility Education Program, Newborn metabolic and hearing screening programs and other state-funded MCH related programs.
Mr. Johnson-Miller began his career in the Title V program as an administrative intern in 2002, assisting with the preparation of the Title V Application and Annual Report and implementing professional development opportunities for MCH staff at the state and local level. His first official position began in 2003 as the contract manager/claims processor for the Bureau of Family Health. Later, Marcus managed IDPH's Child and Adolescent Reporting System, the data system for Title V programs to report activities and services. Most recently, Mr. Johnson-Miller served as Iowa's Title V Block Grant Coordinator and State Coordinator for Iowa's 1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative. Through his experience, Mr. Johnson-Miller has well-rounded experience including fiscal management, data management, and program coordination.
Mr. Johnson-Miller is currently serving on the AMCHP conference planning committee and served on the legislative and finance committee from 2013-2014. He has also been actively involved in the MCH Workforce Development Center. Marcus also serves on Iowa's Early ACCESS (IDEA, Part C) State Council and Executive Committee, Early Childhood Iowa Stakeholders Alliance, PRAMS Steering Committee, Iowa's System of Care for CYSHCN Advisory Council and the Iowa MCH Advisory Council.
Mr. Johnson-Miller received his Bachelor of Science in child and family services in 2002 and a Graduate Certificate in Public Management (CPM) in 2003 from Iowa State University. He is interested in maternal and child health, public policy and administration, system development and early childhood issues.
Regional VIII Director (2021-2024)
Rachel Hutson, MSN
Branch Chief, Children, Youth and Families Branch
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Rachel Hutson, MSN, RN, CPNP, is the Region VIII Director for AMCHP's board of directors. She is the Director of the Children, Youth and Families Branch at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the state CYSHCN Director for the state's MCH Block Grant. In this role, Rachel provides oversight for programs and initiatives that support maternal and child health, such as medical home, developmental screening, pregnancy-related depression screening, healthy schools, care coordination and specialty care for children and youth with special needs.
Prior to working for CDPHE, Rachel provided primary care services in Denver as a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Stout Street Clinic of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Rachel received a Bachelor of Arts from Franklin and Marshall College and a master's in Nursing from Yale University.
Region IX Director (2019-2022)
Connie Mitchell, MD, MPH
Deputy Director, Center for Family Health at California Department of Public Health
Connie Mitchell, MD, MPH has a career that has spanned the spectrum from the highest acuity intervention to health policy for primary prevention. She is board certified in emergency medicine, and from 1989-2005 she was a faculty member at the University of California Davis with a joint appointment in Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics.
Her academic focus was on the precursors to intentional injury and more effective strategies for prevention and intervention in family violence. She authored California's clinical guidelines for recognition and treatment of intimate partner violence and was the Director of a statewide violence prevention initiative that trained over 8000 health professionals in both clinical and institutional practice change to provide better care to victims of violence. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the textbook Intimate Partner Violence: A Health-Based Perspective published by Oxford University Press, honored in 2010 with the American Medical Writers Association award for the best medical textbook of the year.
After earning a Master's Degree in Public Health, she transitioned to the California Department of Public Health to become the Branch Chief for Policy in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health overseeing maternal and infant health programs. She helped start the California Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review and was the principal author of the state's first report on maternal mortality. She also co-led a collaborative of advocacy, public health, and health care professionals to reduce non-medically indicated deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation. In partnership with March of Dimes, this work has culminated in a marked decrease in early inductions and reduced NICU admissions across the country.
In 2014, she was awarded the California Department of Public Health Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Health in recognition of her leadership. Dr. Mitchell now serves as the Deputy Director of the Center for Family Health and oversees the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division, the Women, Infant, and Child (WIC) nutrition program and the Genetic Disease Screening Program. Her focus is on transparent and collaborative partnerships to pivot public health attention to social determinants of health and related disparities in health outcomes for women and children.
Region X Director (2019-2022)
Lacy Fehrenbach, MPH, CPH
Director of the Office of Family and Community Health Improvement
Lacy serves as Assistant Secretary of Prevention and Community Health at the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The division collaborates with partners across the state to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities and to address systemic inequities. PCH focuses on policy, systems, and environmental changes that
- prevent illness and injury and promote wellness across the lifespan and generations
- improve access to preventive health services through community-clinical linkages
- are informed by public health science and community strengths, needs, and preferences
Major programs in the division include immunizations, nutrition services, chronic disease prevention, injury and violence prevention, maternal-child health, and family planning.
Lacy previously served as the Director of the Office of Family and Community Health Improvement at DOH. Prior to coming to Washington, she worked on national public health policy at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Lacy earned a Master in Public Health degree from George Washington University and is certified in public health.
Marilyn Johnson, MBA
Director, Family Planning and Title V/ Maternal and Child Health
Mississippi State Department of Health
Marilyn Johnson is the state Maternal and Child Health/ Title V Director and the Director for Family Planning/ Title X at the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH).
She has over 12 years of broad experience in the field of public health with specific experience in policy and evaluation, grant writing, management, professional development, quality improvement and maternal/child health. In addition to her other roles at MSDH Marilyn also serves as Office Director for the Bureau of Adolescent Health.
Marilyn has held numerous volunteer positions on various boards and committees. She is the Chair of the Public Health Education Policy and Research Section (PHEPR) of the Mississippi Public Health Association (MPHA) as well as the Chair for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs Workforce Development Committee (AMCHP). She also serves as Chair for the March of Dimes Maternal and Child Health Committee (MCH) Mississippi chapter.
Marilyn is a visionary and strategic leader with a strong passion for community work and social/reproductive justice. She is currently part of a local MS project called A.C.T. where she facilitates community dialogue sessions aimed at addressing systemic inequalities that disproportionately impact marginalized people throughout the Mississippi Delta. Her strong interest in health promotion, increasing access to resources, personal experiences, and support for marginalized communities are her motivation.
Kimberly Seals, MSPH, MPA
Director of the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Ms. Kimberly Seals is the Director of the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. As Director, Ms. Seals, oversees activities within the Divisions of Children’s Health and Perinatal Services, Women’s Health, and the Division of Children’s and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs. Prior to relocating to South Carolina, Ms. Seals, was the Maternal and Child Health Director for the March of Dimes Alabama office. In this role Ms. Seals led the state’s programmatic and mission related activities of giving every baby a fighting chance. One of Ms. Seals largest initiatives was to launch and implement Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait in Alabama as well as Texas, where she got her start with the organization. Her work in the nonprofit sector also involved several statewide initiatives such as “Go Before You Show” which focused on increasing early entry prenatal care. She led several 17P educational initiatives for providers and women to prevent subsequent preterm births and collaborated with Medicaid Managed Care Organizations around the U.S. to promote positive maternal health outcomes. Ms. Seals also served as a Public Health Advisor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia in the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. As a field assignee for the Galveston County Health District she worked as an Epidemiologist, managed breast and cervical cancer programs and investigated communicable diseases outbreaks.
Kimberly received her Master of Public Administration degree from Texas Southern University and her Master of Public Health degree from Meharry Medical College. She completed her undergraduate work from University of Alabama at Birmingham, with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Ms. Seals participates on several committees across the state of South Carolina and is passionate about racial/ethnic disparities research and evidenced-based programs.
Family Representative (2021-2024)
Family Advisory Council, Kansas Special Health Services, MCH Title V Program
Cassandra Sines is a passionate advocate for individuals with special health care needs, woman and infants, and children and adolescents served by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Through her advocacy, Cassandra has served on the Kansas Special Health Care Needs Family Advisory Council as an Executive Committee member for seven years, and is currently in her last year of her three-year term as the Kansas MCH Family Delegate. As a part of her role as the Family Delegate, Cassandra has attended several annual AMCHP Conferences, TA meetings, Kansas’ Block Grant reviews, been a member of Kansas’ MCH Council, and was appointed to the Early Childhood Recommendations Panel, a mandated panel, which is a part of the Kansas Early Childhood Governance Structure.
Cassandra, professionally, has a business that is about service to families. Cassandra is an IEP Coach and Advocate, working with families who have children with an IEP in school to review and breakdown the IEP, determine what the families desire for their child, and make decisions how they would like to proceed moving forward with the school. Cassandra finds her passion to help and to serve others through her family, and has been married to her husband, Tony for 27 years. Cassandra and Tony were blessed with two boys through the miracle of adoption, Caleb, age 19, and Steven, age 11, and both have special health care needs. While Cassandra and Tony have been able to afford the necessary care and services for , Cassandra’s heart breaks for the families that do not have that luxury. Her desire is to help in every way possible to make sure every family has the same possibilities that she and her family have had.
Family Representative (2020-2023)
Family Engagement Specialist
Office of Children’s Health/CYSHCN Program
Arizona Department of Health Services
Ms. Dawn Bailey is the Family Engagement Specialist 2015- Present. Has been an active AMCHP member since 2016. Ms. Bailey is a Member of AZ Long Term Care Services (ALTCS) Advisory Council 2017- Present. She joins the board of directors as a Family Representative.
Ms. Bailey is the mother of a 14-year-old daughter with complex medical, cognitive and physical conditions due to a rare genetic chromosomal abnormality. Having 14 years of experience learning to navigate the vast systems of care my daughter needs has given me a good perspective and lived experience to share. Over the last 5 years, I have been committed to using my experience to collaborate with and improve the systems of care for all families in Arizona. My experience has allowed me to serve on several councils, working collaboratives, taskforces and trainings for both providers and families. Over the last 5 years, she has been committed to using her experience to collaborate with and improve the systems of care for all families in Arizona.