Board of Directors
The Board of Directors list is in alphabetical order by last name. Board officers are listed first, then board members.
Ninia Baehr has worked for health and human rights for nearly three decades. After having an abortion In Montana in the early 1980s, she published Abortion Without Apology: A Radical History for the 1990s. In 1991, she became the named plaintiff in Baehr v. Lewin, the historic
Charlea Massion is a family physician who has worked in community clinics, Indian Health Service and now as a hospitalist (caring for hospitalized adolescents and adults in Santa Cruz, California). For over 20 years, Charlea has co-taught a women’s health lecture series at Stanford University Medical School that introduces medical students to the psychological, social, political, cultural and spiritual aspects of women’s health. Charlea is a co-founder and current President of the American College of Women’s Health Physicians. Charlea began volunteering with NWHN several years before she was elected to the board. She is a co-author of NWHN’s book, The Truth About Hormone Replacement Therapy, co-writer of the “Rx for Change” column in the NWHN newsletter, and was on the planning committee for the Women’s Health and Justice for All conference at UC Santa Cruz in March 2010.
Dara Mendez, M.P.H, Ph.D. is a Perinatal and Social Epidemiologist and visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health. She holds a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology Pre-Med from Spelman College and a M.P.H. and Ph.D. in Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina-CH. Her research and interests relate health inequities, reproductive health policy, environmental justice, and the effects of neighborhood context and social stress on pregnancy and birth. While at Spelman, she was a founding member of the Feminist Major Leadership Alliance, and as a graduate student, she helped to found the Rogers-Eubanks Coalition to End Environmental Racism. As a former Kellogg Health Postdoctoral Scholar, she conducted community-based intervention research related to doula services for pregnant women. She also has international public health experience in Jamaica, South Africa, and Kenya.
Administrative Vice Chair
Zipatly Mendoza is the Office Chief of the Arizona Health Disparities Center at the Arizona Department of Health Services, where she oversees programs that designed to foster systems of care for women. Special projects include pre-conception health materials, promotion of multi-vitamin use by women of childbearing age, and incorporating information about healthy life choices into childcare programs. As an undergraduate, Zipatly was a founding member of the first Domestic Violence Awareness Week. This was a springboard to her work in power dynamics and gender equality which led to a two-year fellowship at the CDC. Zipatly went on to earn an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Action Vice Chair
Cheri Pies, MSW DrPH is on the faculty of the School of Public Health at U.C. Berkeley as a Lecturer and also serves as the Community Co-Director of the DrPH Program. Her professional interests include the implementation of the Life Course Perspective into the field of maternal and child health in practice, policy, and education/training; community capacity building for families through economic development strategies; development of longitudinal data systems; the use of photovoice in practice settings; women’s health and reproductive health issues; and parenting support for lesbian and gay families. She is a longtime supporter of the NWHN and proud to serve on the Board.
Priscilla Huang, JD, is the Policy Director for the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), a national health justice organization which influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Prior to APIAHF, Priscilla served as the policy and programs director at the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum where she oversaw the federal policy advocacy and government relations for their immigrant rights, anti-trafficking and reproductive justice programs. She has also worked with women and children in domestic violence and emergency homeless shelters. Priscilla was a Georgetown Women's Law and Public Policy fellow, and served on the boards of Law Students for Reproductive Justice and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
Laura Kaplan was a member of Jane, the Chicago Women’s Liberation underground abortion service. She was a founding member of the Emma Goldman Women’s Health Center in Chicago. In rural Wisconsin she co-founded the LaFarge Birth Group as a lay midwife, and co-founded a rural shelter-based program for battered women, serving as its first director. In New York State in the mid 80s, she was a community organizer for a coalition of nursing home residents and the 90s, Managed Care Project Director for Citizen Action of NY, working on policy to protect consumers in HMOs. She wrote The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service and several chapters and articles about Jane. She continues to lecture about Jane to community organizations and on campuses.
Bindiya Gillenwater Patel, M.P.A. is a Technical Officer for the Tuberculosis Team at the Program for Appropriate Technologies (PATH), based in Seattle. Previously, she served as the Operations and Special Programs Officer of the Global Campaign for Microbicides, where she advocated for new HIV prevention options for women. She has also helped manage a child nutrition program in the townships of Cape Town, worked as a grants officer in England, and monitored World Bank projects for a watchdog group in Washington, D.C. Bindiya holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Cornell University and a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University. She is also the proud mom of two young feminists, Keya and Cimeren.
Susan F. Wood
Susan Wood served as Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health and Director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women's Health (OWH) from November 2000 through August 2005, when she resigned on principle due to the continued delay of approval of the emergency contraceptive, Plan B. She is now an Associate Professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. Previously, Susan was the Director for Policy and Program Development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. From 1990 to 1995, Susan worked on Capitol Hill for the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, Susan was a research scientist at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in biology from Boston University Marine Program. She has published a number of research articles in scientific journals, as well as articles on health policy.