MCAH Faculty

Core Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Faculty

Julianna Deardorff

Julianna Deardorff PhD

Associate Professor

MCAH Program Head

Dr. Deardorff is the Program Head for the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program and the Director of the Center of Excellence in MCAH.  Before training as a psychologist, Dr. Deardorff worked in Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer. She obtained her doctorate degree in clinical psychology at Arizona State University, completed her clinical internship at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, and completed a NIMH-funded fellowship in Health Psychology at UCSF. Before joining the faculty in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, Dr. Deardorff was Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF.

Research Interests: assessing the relationship between the psychosocial environment, family factors and timing of pubertal onset among ethnically and socioeconomically diverse girls; examining associations between sexual values and sexual-risk taking behaviors among Latino youth; and investigating short and long-term mental and physical health outcomes related to girls’ early pubertal timing.

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Professor Kim Harley

Kim Harley PhD, MPH

Associate Adjunct Professor

Director, Wallace Center for MCH Research

Dr. Harley is Associate Adjunct Professor in the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program, Director of the Wallace Center for MCH Research, and Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Research in Children’s Health (CERCH) at UC Berkeley. She is an epidemiologist whose research examines the impact of common hormone-disrupting chemicals, including pesticides on our food, flame retardants in our furniture, and chemicals found in plastics, on women’s reproductive health.

Research Interests: the role of common exposures to hormone-disrupting chemicals on fertility, timing of puberty, obesity, and pregnancy health, Youth empowerment and environmental health. Teen girls’ exposure to chemicals in make-up and personal care products, HERMOSA

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Professor Cassondra Marshall

Cassondra Marshall DrPH

Professor in Residence, MCAH Program

Dr. Marshall is Professor in Residence in the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program at the School of Public Health.  She is interested in the health of women of reproductive age. Her research has focused on identifying gaps in family planning and preconception care delivery and improving the quality of these services for women.  She is also interested in health and health care disparities, patient-centered care, patient engagement, and translational research. Prior to joining the faculty at UC Berkeley, Dr. Marshall was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and received training in delivery science research. She has conducted studies related to women's contraceptive decision-making, patient decision support tools, diabetes prevention among women of reproductive age, and cost sharing and contraceptive adherence. Dr. Marshall received her BA from Stanford University, her MPH from UCLA, and her DrPH from UC Berkeley.

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 Ndola Prata

Ndola Prata MD, MSc


Director, Bixby Center for Population, Health & Sustainability

Dr. Prata, a physician and medical demographer, is a professor at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. She is affiliated with the MCAH Program, the DrPH Program and the Joint Medical Program. Dr. Prata is currently the Director of the Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability in the School of Public Health, co-Director for Innovations for Youth, a campus-wide multidisciplinary research center, housed in the School of Public Health, and the co-Director for the University of California Institute for Global Health Center of Expertise on Women's Health, Gender and Empowerment.  Dr. Prata is also the co-director of the DrPH program at the School of Public Health.

Research Interests: maternal health and mortality, reproductive health, family planning and safe abortion, adolescent sexual sexual and reproductive health, ability to pay for goods and services, service delivery and financing strategies, women and girls empowerment.

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Professor Jaspal Sandhu

Jaspal Sandhu PhD, MS

Assistant Adjunct Professor

Faculty, Fung Fellowship for Wellness and Technology Innovations

Co-Founder/Partner, Gobee Group

Jaspal Sandhu  teaches in the Division of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health. Since 2016, he has been the lead faculty for the Fung Fellowship for Wellness and Technology Innovations. He is co-founder and managing partner at the Gobee Group, a social innovation and design consultancy that works globally and in the US. At Gobee, he manages the health portfolio, which encompasses public health and healthcare, and leads design efforts across sectors.

Research Interests: Innovation through design in public health and healthcare (human-centered design, design thinking), Mobile phones for community health (mHealth), Interactive data-driven tools for large-scale public health decision-making

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Affiliated Faculty

Patience Afulani, MBChB, MPH, PhD

Patience Afulani  MBChB, MPH, PhD

Assistant Professor, Epidemiology & Biostatistics


Dr. Afulani is Assistant Professor, Epidemiology & Biostatistics at UCSF School of Medicine.  She conducts research on the social and health system factors underlying disparities in reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH). Her research has extended the evidence on how RMNCH outcomes are shaped by quality of care in health facilities as well as by social determinants. In addition, she has contributed to improved measurement of person-centered reproductive health care, and to the development of evidence-based interventions to improve RMNCH outcomes and reduce disparities.

Dr. Afulani’s current projects include an NICHD K99/R00 award on addressing provider stress and unconscious bias to improve quality of person-centered maternal health care in Kenya; a UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative grant on measurement of PCMC among women at risk for preterm birth in California; and a Gates-funded project to improve quality of care (including PCMC) through low-tech simulation training of providers in India.

Research Interests:  social and health system factors underlying disparities in reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH), evidence-based interventions to improve RMNCH outcomes and reduce disparities

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Professor Lia Fernald

Lia C. Haskin Fernald PhD, MBA

Director, Public Health Nutrition

Dr. Fernald’s work has focused primarily on how inequalities in socio-economic position contribute to growth and developmental outcomes in mothers, infants and children, and on how interventions can address socio-economic and health disparities. Much of her work for the past decade has centered on looking at the effects of interventions (e.g. conditional cash transfer programs, parenting programs, microcredit interventions, and community-based nutrition interventions) on child development and maternal mental health, particularly focused on low and middle-income countries. She recently worked with a team of authors to write a review for The Lancet about strategies to address poor development among infants and children in low and middle-income countries.

Research Interests:  Psychosocial and biological determinants of health; obesity, overweight, and nutritional and epidemiologic transition; malnutrition, international child health and development; Immigrant health, inequalities and health disparities; early experience, stress hormones, salivary cortisol

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Anu Manchikanti Gómez

Anu Manchikanti Gómez PhD, MSc

Associate Professor, School of Social Welfare

Dr. Anu Manchikanti Gómez is associate professor at the School of Social Welfare and director of the Sexual Health and Reproductive Equity (SHARE) Program.

For more than 15 years, Dr. Gómez has worked as a health equity researcher with a focus on reproduction and sexuality throughout the life course. She has conducted research both in the US and globally on diverse topics, including contraceptive use, abortion, HIV prevention, gender equity, transgender health and violence against women and children. Dr. Gómez's current research focuses on three areas: (1) the measurement and meaning of pregnancy planning; (2) understanding contraceptive decision-making within social, relational and structural contexts; and (3) evaluating the impact of and evidence base for policies related to reproductive health. She also serves as a co-PI on SOLARS, a prospective, longitudinal cohort study funded by UCSF's Preterm Birth Initiative.

Dr. Gómez earned her PhD in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010. She also received an MSc in Health, Population and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from New York University.

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Professor Barbara Laraia

Barbara Laraia PhD, MPH, RD

Professor, PHN

Dr. Laraia is the Director of the Public Health Nutrition MCH Training Program at the School of Public Health. MCAH students with interests in MCAH nutrition are encouraged to connect with Dr. Laraia. Her research focuses on the influence of contextual level effects on dietary intake, cardiometabolic risk factors and pregnancy outcomes, especially among vulnerable populations. Contextual level effects refer to the household food environment, namely household food insecurity, as well as the neighborhood or built environment measured as one's food, physical activity and social environment. Her research focus populations are pregnant women, children, and adults with diabetes. Her research includes survey research, direct observation of neighborhood attributes, data collection using anthropometric, questionnaire, and a number of dietary intake approaches.

Research Interests: Household Food Insecurity, Food & Social Environment, Health Disparities, Perinatal Epi, Obesity, Diabetes and Dietary Assessment Methods

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Dilys Walker, MD

Dilys Walker, MD

Professor, Ob/Gyn, Reproductive Sciences


Dr. Walker works jointly in the Obstetrics and Gynecology and Global Health Sciences Departments at UCSF. Dr. Walker is also affiliate faculty in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she was Associate Director for the Center for Global Women Adolescent and Child Health. Dilys is also a visiting Professor in Reproductive Health at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, where she worked from 1998- 2009.

Dr. Walker and her team developed a novel approach to emergency obstetric training, PRONTO, using highly-realistic low-cost simulation and team training to improve both obstetric and neonatal outcomes. Dr. Walker is president and co-founder of PRONTO International, an NGO dedicated to making birth safer for mothers, infants and their providers. Dr. Walker collaborates with partners in Mexico, Guatemala and Kenya. She is collaborating with Care India on a mentor training program using simulation and team-training for midwives throughout the state of Bihar, India.

Research Interests: maternal mortality and morbidity, abortion, family planning, and adolescent reproductive health with a focus in Latin America. 

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Retired Faculty

Although the following MCAH faculty have retired from teaching, many of them continue to support the Center of Excellence in MCAH.

Brenda Eskenazi

Brenda Eskenazi PhD, MA

Professor Emerita

Director of the Center for Environmental Research in Children’s Health (CERCH) 

Dr. Eskenazi is Professor of MCAH and Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Environmental Research in Children’s Health (CERCH) at UC Berkeley and the Principal Investigator of a number of studies including CHAMACOS.   She received both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Psychology from Queens College of the City University of New York, and a Ph.D. degree (Neuropsychology) from the Graduate School and University Center, City
University of New York.

Dr. Eskenazi is a neuropsychologist and epidemiologist whose long-standing research interest has been the effects of numerous reproductive toxicants including lead, environmental tobacco smoke, dioxin, and pesticides.

Research Interests: the pathways and health effects of pesticide exposure in farmworkers and their children.

read more about Professor Eskenazi(link is external)

Sylvia Guendelman

Sylvia Guendelman PhD, LCSW 

Professor Emerita

Dr Guendelman is Professor of the Graduate Division and Founder of the Wallace Center for Maternal and Child Health at the SPH. She currently advises students in the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program and chairs several MCAH capstone projects.  Funded by Packard Foundation, she led a study for the Wallace Center examining Google search behaviors on family planning in the US and selected states. Sylvia is also involved in a study of the multiple determinants of preterm labor and preterm birth among women in San Francisco and a binational study of access to care for undocumented immigrants in Mexico and the US. She currently consults for John Snow International on a project on digital health use by mothers and pregnant women. Additionally, she serves on the UC Task Force for the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP) in the analyses of health bills; is member of the California chapter of the March of Dimes MCH committee, and is on the editorial board of the Maternal and Child Health Journal.

Research Interests: reproductive health, maternal health and birth outcomes, the health consequences of maternity leave, the health consequences of immigration,  access to care for children and families in the United States and Mexico.

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Nap Hosang

Robert (Nap) Hosang MD, MPH, MBA

Dr. Nap Hosang is a retired Ob/Gyn and physician administrator from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward, California affiliated with the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program. Dr. Hosang is Jamaican. He spent 4 years on faculty at the University of the West Indies, in Kingston, before coming to Berkeley. His international experience has been primarily in China, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the Caribbean. He was the past head of the Joint Medical Program,  the Interdisciplinary MPH program, and the Online MPH program at Berkeley. 

Interests: maternal mortality in developing countries and the management systems that mitigate this largely preventable disease burden, and Family Planning.

Cheri Pies

Cheri Pies, DrPh, MSW

Professor Emerita

Dr. Pies is the former Director of the Center of Excellence in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health and former PI for the Best Babies Zone (BBZ) Initiative, a place-based multi-sector approach that aims to improve community conditions to reduce infant mortality and improve child health outcomes. Through Dr. Pies's visionary leadership, she developed a sustainable program that is now administered by CityMatCH  She received her MSW from Boston University in 1976 and her MPH in Maternal and Child Health from U.C. Berkeley in 1985. She also earned her DrPH in Community Health Education in 1993 from U.C. Berkeley. 

Prior to her joining UC Berkeley's School of Public Health, Dr. Pies was the Director of Family, Maternal, and Child Health Programs for the Contra Costa County Health Services Department for 14 years. In this capacity, she was responsible for overseeing a broad range of programs, projects, and staff designed to improve and promote the health of women, children, adolescents, and families. In her role as the Principal Investigator on the Best Babies Zone Initiative, she led a multi-site, multisector project funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, aimed at reducing infant mortality through community transformation.

Research Interests: the practical application of the Life Course Perspective to MCAH practice, the intersection of developmental origins of disease and social factors, identifying ways to measure allostatic load and the impact of social determinants of health across the life course, reproductive health and ethics, qualitative research methods and participatory action research, and lesbian and gay health issues.

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Professor Malcolm Potts

Malcolm Potts PhD, MB, BChir, FRCOG

Professor Malcolm Potts was appointed to the Bixby Chair of Population and Family Planning in January 1993, and held this position until 2012. He was the Director of the Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability until 2012. He received his medical degrees from Cambridge University, England and specialized briefly in obstetrics before returning to Cambridge to complete a Ph.D. in the electron microscopy of mammalian implantation.  Dr. Potts has published eleven books and written more than 300 articles on aspects of human behavior and fertility.  He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, British, Canadian, German and US governments, working in nearly every country of the world. Dr. Potts was on the founding boards of Marie Stopes International, Family Health International, Ipas and Population Services International. Dr Potts is the Founder Chairperson of  Cadence Health, a company dedicated to his life-long desire to switch oral contraceptives from prescription to over-the-counter sale.

Research Interests: restoring priority to population and family planning on the international agenda; reducing maternal mortality; and using an evolutionary paradigm to help understand human reproductive behavior, violence and the origins of warfare and terrorism.

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