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Meet the PBAC Members

The MDPQC Parent and Baby Advisory Council (PBAC) includes health professionals, educators, and advocates specializing in maternal and child health, public health, and family support. Collectively, these members bring diverse experience in improving health outcomes, addressing disparities, and empowering communities through education, support, and innovative health services. Learn about the MDPQC PBAC members below.

Dr. Marilyn Berchie-Gialamas is the Health Director and Founder of Trinity Wellness, an emerging medical concierge in Howard County, Maryland, offering prenatal and maternal health services and education to clients enrolled with Baltimore Healthy Start. She is also a nurse educator and researcher at Morgan State University focusing on racial disparities in material health and the role of doulas. Her goal is to promote equity in healthcare and nursing education.

Amanda Burgess is a public health advocate with eight years of experience working across disciplines bringing people together strategically to create change. She co-led efforts to bring together over 1,200 members of the international sexual and reproductive health community for bold conversations on how to shift and share power in global health. Previously, Ms. Burgess served as a technical resource for over 30 partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Currently, she is the project and training coordinator for the Data Innovation and Coordination Hub of the IMPROVE Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence Initiative. She holds a Master of Public Health from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University.

Ebony Ford, a mother of two former micropreemies, founded Miracle Mamas, a nonprofit supporting parents and caregivers of premature and medically fragile children. Through three weekly support groups, she has mentored over 130 families. Ms. Ford holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a Certificate in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University. She is pursuing a master’s in forensic psychology at Southern New Hampshire University. She serves on the Maryland Maternal Mortality Review Board and the Johns Hopkins Maternal Health Research Advisory Council, dedicated to improving birth experiences in Maryland.

Emily Frost, a Baltimore-based public health professional, specializes in maternal and infant health and program evaluation. She is as an Evaluation Manager at March of Dimes, focusing on community-based maternal and infant health initiatives in the United States and serves as a Birth Doula in the Baltimore area. She has a Master of Public Health from Emory University and is a Certified Doula through DONA International. Ms. Frost is passionate about supporting and amplifying the voices of women in all contexts.

Dr. Joi Gaddy Egbuniwe, a Columbia, MD native, has ten years of experience helping pregnant and postpartum patients manage pain. She recent founded T[her]apy: The Center for Perinatal Wellness and Physical Therapy, an integrative practice focusing on perinatal care. Services include chiropractic care, physical therapy, pelvic floor rehabilitation, lactation support, breech presentation techniques, childbirth education, doula support and nutrition services aimed at improving maternal and birth outcomes. Dr. Egbuniwe is a board-certified expert in perinatal chiropractic and physical therapy, committed to holistic health approaches. Her work emphasizes empowering parents through therapy and education to achieve better perinatal and maternal health outcomes.

Jackelyn Hirsch, is based in Western Maryland, originally from Harford County, Maryland. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a focus in Family and Child Welfare. Passionate about working with families and children, Ms. Hirch has worked in the three Maryland WIC clinics: two in Harford County and one in Cecil County. Starting her WIC journey eleven years ago as a WIC Service Associate, she later became Office Supervisor in Cecil County. Currently, Ms. Hirch is the Program Coordinator for Washington County, Maryland’s WIC Program, overseeing both the clinic and Maryland’s WIC Distribution Center.

Emily Luyo's passion for teaching began in the healthcare field. With a degree in Health Education, she has worked for Johns Hopkins Health Plans for 17 years as a community health educator. Ms. Luyo is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities, knowledgeable about health issues, and skilled at communicating complex information in accessible ways. In her current role, she works in various settings, including schools, community organizations, and healthcare facilities. She has created and implemented health education programs, conducted outreach to raise awareness about health issues, and provided support and resources to help individuals make healthier choices.

Kim Siegler moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland nearly 20 years ago after graduating from Penn State. In 2010, she earned her law degree from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law while working full-time. She currently works for a local university. Five days after her son's birth in 2018, Kim developed severe postpartum preeclampsia and was hospitalized. With excellent medical care and support from family and friends, Kim's son is now a happy and healthy five-year-old. This experience impacted Kim's long-term physical and mental health, inspiring her to join the PBAC to support new parents and families in Maryland.

Chynáe Vicks, a proud mother and health educator, hails from Southern New Jersey and moved to Maryland in 2007 to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Morgan State University. Ms. Vicks earned a Master of Science degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a certification in Maternal & Child Health. With experience working in local and state health settings and public education, Ms. Vicks has led initiatives on preterm births and child and adolescent injury prevention.

Download the PBAC At-a-Glance Brochure to learn more.

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