MCH Faculty

Maternal and Child Health Faculty

Julianna Deardorff

Julianna Deardorff, PhD

Associate Professor

MCH Program Head

Dr. Deardorff is the Program Head for the Maternal and Child Health Program and the Director of the Center of Excellence in MCH.  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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Brenda Eskenazi

Brenda Eskenazi, MA, PhD

Professor 

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

Dr. Eskenazi is Professor of MCH 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, LCSW, PhD

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 and Child Health Program and chairs several MCH capstone projects.  Funded by Packard Foundation, she currently leads 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.

read more about Professor Guendelman

Kim Harley

Kim Harley, MPH, PhD

Associate Adjunct Professor

Director, Wallace Center for MCH Research

Dr. Harley is Associate Adjunct Professor in the Maternal and Child 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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Cheri Pies

Cheri Pies, MSW, DrPH

Professor Emerita

Principal Investigator, Best Babies Zone Initiative

Dr. Pies is the former Director of the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health and the current Principal Investigator on the Best Babies Zone Initiative.   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 current role as the Principal Investigator on the Best Babies Zone Initiative, she leads a multi-site, multisector project funded since 2012 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 MCH 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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Malcolm Potts

Malcolm Potts, MB, BChir, PhD, FRCOG

Professor Emeritus

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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Ndola Prata

Ndola Prata, MD, MSc

Professor

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 MCH 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 Schhol 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.

read more about Professor Prata

Affiliated Faculty

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 and Child 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.

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Maureen Lahiff

Maureen Lahiff, PhD

Lecturer & Academic Coordinator, Biostatistics Program

Maureen is a lecturer and academic coordinator in the Division of Biostatistics. She’s been at the Berkeley SPH since 1991. Her areas of statistical applications include multivariate methods and analysis of data with complex survey designs. She is interested in acculturation and health. Maureen is a volunteer instructor for the Prison University Project, with whom she teaches statistics and a variety of math classes at San Quentin State Prison. In addition to all the time she spends in the Haviland computer labs, you’ll also see her at the RSF, staying in shape for hiking locally and in the Sierra Nevada.

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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. MCH students with interests in MCH 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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Julia Walsh

Julia Walsh, MD, MSc, DTPH

Adjunct Professor, Retired

Dr. Walsh's research focuses on developing and testing innovative public and private sector solutions to improve health among the poorest population and promoting the widespread market penetration of evidence-based health interventions. She has conducted an analysis of the market feasibility, costs, and cost-effectiveness of the new method of fortification of rice with multivitamins in Columbia and India and a cost effectiveness of improvements in health information systems to enhance information based decision-making in poor countries.

Research Interests: health policy and planning in developing countries, especially reproductive health and vaccine policies.

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2017-18 Postdoctoral Fellows

Rebecca Reno PhD headshot

Becky Reno, PhD

Dr. Reno is a Maternal and Child Health Bureau Postdoctoral Training Fellow. She has an MSW and PhD in social work from The Ohio State University, and a MA in education policy. Her research agenda is focused on bi-directional translational research, including the development and evaluation of culturally grounded interventions to address social and structural determinants of health contributing to disparate birth outcomes. Reno has clinical experience working with low-income, pregnant women of color, and extensive, interdisciplinary research experience related to understanding and addressing maternal and child health outcomes as a consequence of racial oppression and social injustice.


Research Interests:  social and structural determinants of birth outcomes, culturally-responsive MCH interventions

Photo of Jordyn Tinka Wallenborn PhD

Jordyn Tinka Wallenborn, PhD

Dr. Wallenborn is a Maternal and Child Health Bureau Postdoctoral Training Fellow. She has an MPH from North Dakota State University and a PhD in epidemiology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research primarily focuses on perinatal health including breastfeeding, contraception utilization, and mental health. Her research agenda focuses on causal pathways and identifying novel, translational targets for intervention development. Wallenborn has experience working with underserved populations both nationally and internationally.