Jessica Albert, M.Ed. | Project Director
Jessica is a proud Temple Owl. She holds a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science both from Temple University. Her areas of interest include overall mental health and well-being, improving access to mental health care, eliminating the stigma behind seeking treatment for mental health concerns, and providing trauma informed care. Jessica currently serves as a Project Director for Dr. Herring’s #BabyBeHealthy study. In her time working with Dr. Herring, Jessica has worked on a variety of projects including both investigator initiated and industry sponsored trials. Her specific role has varied, but current job duties include; budget and inventory management, preparing and submitting IRB submissions, data collection and analysis, and creation of and adherence to study protocols. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son discovering new and different things to do in the Philly area.
Jane Cruice, RN, M.A. | Clinical Research Nurse
Jane Cruice is a Clinical Research Nurse with the Program for Maternal Health Equity since 2012. In this role Jane works directly with the study participants, most notably as a health coach in several programs designed by the team to positively impact pregnancy and postpartum health outcomes. Inspired by her own experience in her first pregnancy in 1997, Jane has been working with pregnant and postpartum clients since 1998 in various capacities. Prior to joining the team at Temple, Jane spent many years working as a natural childbirth educator, labor doula, and as a Certified Professional Midwife attending home-births in the Philadelphia region. In her time away from work Jane can be found spending time with her husband and, whenever possible, their two adult children.
Amanda Wessel | Research Project Coordinator
Amanda Wessel is from Takoma Park, Maryland. She came to the Philadelphia area by way of Bryn Mawr College, where she completed undergraduate degrees in Spanish and Geology. After spending a year in Atlanta, GA working on voting rights access with ACLU of Georgia through the Quaker Voluntary Service fellowship, she returned to Philly and joined the Program for Maternal Healthy Equity team as a Research Specialist for the #BabyBeHealthy program. She now coordinates the Spanish-language components of the #BabyBeHealthy program. She is passionate about food systems and environmental justice. She also enjoys guiding hiking trips, cooking, sharing meals with friends, and doing crossword puzzles.
Jabina Coleman, LCSW, IBCLC | Director of Health Equity and Training & Quality Improvement
Jabina Coleman, LCSW, IBCLC is a reproductive psychotherapist and board-certified lactation consultant. As an expert in the field of Black maternal health, Jabina’s work focuses on closing the gaps in breastfeeding and maternal mental health disparities. Her lived and professional experiences have been a guiding post in her work. She is the creator of Everyone Wants to Hold the Baby, Who Will Hold the Mother?® a call-to-action highlighting and finding action-oriented solutions for the gaps in Black maternal health care. Jabina is the past recipient of the United States Breastfeeding Cultural Change Maker award. She was the 2011 commencement speaker for her alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice. Jabina is the co-founder of Breastfeeding Awareness & Empowerment (BAE), co-founder and past president of Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color an organization within Postpartum Support International and founding member of the Maternal Wellness Village.
Sharon J. Herring, M.D., M.P.H. | Program Director
Sharon J. Herring, M.D., M.P.H. is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Directs the Program for Maternal Health Equity at Temple University. Trained as a General Internist, Dr. Herring spends the majority of her clinical work and research focused on the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease risk factors (e.g., obesity, hypertension, diabetes) in Black and Latina women and birthing people. Despite the fact that she’s been a physician and researcher for more than a decade, she’s learned that her expertise is limited by her lack of lived experience as a person of color in the U.S.. It is through the stories of Black mothers and birthing people that she’s learned that they are the experts, and that culturally relevant, evidence-based solutions for pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality reside in the lived experience of the people and communities facing these inequities. Her current approach aims to strongly amplify these voices and share leadership to sustain and grow a culture of health equity. She is a native Philadelphian and loves spending time outside of work with her husband and two daughters.
Gloria Lobato, IBCLC | Health Coach
Gloria Lobato is the proud daughter of Peruvian immigrants. After completing her bachelor's degree in nutrition, she started working for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). She fell in love with helping families and is passionate about fighting for health equity. Currently, she works with the WIC Program in Philadelphia as a Nutritionist and Lactation Consultant. She is also working with the Program for Maternal Health Equity on their #BabyBeHealthy study as a health coach. Outside of work, she likes to explore hiking trails, re-watch funny SpongeBob episodes, and eat her way around the city.
Miles Cruice-Barnett | Research Project Associate
Alberly Perez received her B.A. in Psychology from La Salle University. She works as a Project Coordinator on PHME’s #BabyBeHealthy study. In her role, she creates culturally-tailored content, conducts participant assessments, and translates study-related materials for Latinx participants. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in Psychological Research at Rutgers University. Her thesis work is focused on examining predictors of work-related passion. Her research interests include diversity, equity and inclusion, and employee wellbeing. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time hiking, cycling, and trying new places to eat.
Christy Santoro, CPM, M.A. | Director of Community Engagement
Christy Santoro, CPM joined the PMHE team in 2018 after serving as a homebirth midwife in the Philadelphia region for almost 20 years. In that capacity, she supported over 700 families through their pregnancies, births, and postpartum periods. Christy also sought to build community and connections amongst birthing families, advocate for legal recognition and licensure for Certified Professional Midwives in Pennsylvania, and to train and support Black community midwives in the region. She is passionate about reproductive justice and antiracism work and recently completed her Master of Arts in Urban Bioethics at Lewis Katz School of Medicine. After initially serving as a health coach for PMHE intervention participants, her current work is to cultivate and support community-academic partnerships that center community leadership and advance relationship-based models of perinatal care. She lives in Northwest Philadelphia with her husband, two vibrant children, and their puppy, and enjoys hiking, theater, growing food, and travel.
Ciara Smith, CLC | Health Coach
Ciara Smith is a New Jersey native, born to the roots of Caribbean (Barbados) parents. She pursued her Degree in Culinary Arts and Clinical Dietetics at Johnson & Wales University. Ciara has since been working at the Philadelphia WIC Program as a Nutrition Manager. She partnered with PMHE's #BabyBeHealthy program as a Health Coach in 2021. As a newer mom herself, she loves working with pregnant and postpartum moms to help them meet their health and wellness goals through dietary and behavioral modifications. Ms. Smith has a lot of experience working with culturally diverse and dietary restrictive backgrounds, and provides her unique culinary expertise to help people achieve realistic, measurable and attainable goals. Ms. Smith is passionate about her work with each and every mom and making strides toward healthier pregnancy outcomes.
Temple Medical Student
Temple Medical Student
Temple Medical Student