Community Advisory Committee
As one of its formative actions, the Alliance helped to establish a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to be thought partners and advisors to the Funders and complementary Funders to Community Based Organizations (CBOs). The CAC comprises community leaders and birth equity champions who will independently govern a Community Advised Fund for CBOs and community-led initiatives in New Jersey with the aim to improve outcomes for moms and babies.
The CAC members were selected from a pool of over 30 applicants and bring diverse backgrounds, geographic areas of focus, life experiences, and skillsets to the table.
Cecile D. Edwards
Cecile D. Edwards, Founder, MommyEvolve: Cecile Edwards, M.Ed has a passion for maternal/family wellness and believes it is a cornerstone to a well society. Cecile is a Postpartum Doula, Maternal Equity Consultant and Maternal Wellness Advocate, NJ Paid Family Leave Leader, Perinatal/Postpartum Family Coach assisting individuals, families, organizations and companies in creating space, systems and benefits that improve maternal wellness. Cecile’s looks forward to working with community organizations to build capacity for community work. Cecile has a 14-year-old and lives in Somerset, NJ. Cecile also blogs and is passionate about environmental concerns.
Ronsha Dickerson, Supervisor & Doula Trainer, Community Doulas of South Jersey: Ronsha Dickerson is a Certified Community Doula, Doula Trainer and Administrator for Community Doulas of South Jersey. Over the course of her career, Ronsha has highlighted the intersectionality of social justice and birth justice work in her community and with policy makers. Ronsha has helped push legislation that allowed Medicaid to cover Doula work throughout the state of New Jersey. She has worked with the state to designate the week of March 25th as Doula Week where doulas are honored and recognized for the services they provide. Moreover, Ronsha designed her own community driven doula program which provides continued education classes to women on topics such as childbirth, family planning, breastfeeding, postpartum, as well as help them see how their knowledge and consciousness contributes to the sustainability of their community. Today, Ronsha is working on expanding her training to more women of color so that there can be more prenatal, birthing, and postpartum doulas fostering reproductive justice and birth equity within communities of color. She is also in the process of developing innovative ways to bridge the gap between healthcare providers, hospitals and the community they serve so that there can be healthier sustainable outcomes and relationships in underserved communities.
Myriam McDuffie, CEO and Co-Founder, TruDoulas New Jersey: Myriam McDuffie is a certified Lactation Consultant, Full Spectrum Doula, and Certified Medical Assistant Certified Childcare provider in the state of New Jersey. Myriam founded TruDoulas of NJ, a non-profit organization that provides continuous, multiple support and positive outcomes for mothers and their babies. She is a wife and a mother of a beautiful 13-year-old boy.
Mehnaz Mustafa, Executive Director of Healthcare Quality and Informatics, New Jersey Department of Health: Mehnaz Mustafa serves as the Executive Director of Healthcare Quality and Informatics for the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), overseeing the offices of Vital Statistics and Registry, Center for Health Statistics and Informatics, Healthcare Quality Assessment, Health Services Research, and the Centralized Data and Analytics Hub. Currently, Mehnaz leads the Analytics and Reporting group across State agencies for Vaccination planning and implementation. Throughout the pandemic, Mehnaz has supported the State of New Jersey’s COVID-19 response on predictive analytic modeling that determines potential surge capacity needs for the State of New Jersey. Additionally, she has led the analytics efforts on disease progression, health system capacity and resilience, testing, and the suite of core metrics which inform safe reopening decisions. Mehnaz has previously served as the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist for the NJDOH Division of Family Health Services and the New Jersey Maternal Mortality Review Committee where she helped inform Maternal and Child Health strategies by utilizing health equity focused data analytics.
Kashieka Phillips, Community Health Worker, New Destiny Family Success Center: Kashieka Phillips was born and raised in Paterson, NJ. She attended Syracuse University and received her Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies. She completed her graduate degree at Holy Names University and earned her Master of Arts in Culture and Spirituality in Oakland, CA. Phillips has a passion for helping women, especially mothers, in the Paterson community and seeks to equip them with the tools necessary for their overall health and well-being. She currently serves as a Community Health Worker for the New Destiny Family Success Center in Paterson NJ and focuses her work in the Maternal and Child Health sector.
Erica Pulliam, Newark Site Manager, START: Erica Pulliam is the Newark Site Manager for START, The Center for Great Expectations’ community-based home visitation program. Erica is a graduate of Pillar College with an Associate degree in Biblical Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Counseling and Psychology a marriage and family concentration. Erica is a certified Domestic Violence Response Team member and a trained perinatal doula. She is currently developing a train-the trainer initiative for integration of doulas across CGE’s continuum of care. She has worked at The Center since 2012, with advancing experience in our Adolescent Residential program and the START Program. Erica is a demonstrated change agent for populations who are marginalized, mistreated and subjected to silence. She is a founding member of CGE’s Social Justice Committee and a member of the DMHAS Multicultural Services Advisory Committee. She is a Trainer at the Institute of CGE and has presented as a Panelist for the Brazleton Institute Annual SUD Conference and a trainer for “Abuse Across the Spectrum” at CGE’s New Employee Orientation. Additionally, Erica serves as the Vice President of the HOPES CAP, Inc. Head Start Policy Council. Erica values her self-care and prioritizes spending time with her husband and two children.
Tiffani Williams, Nurse-Family Partnership Program Director, Acenda Health: Tiffani Williams is a Registered Nurse and leader in the Maternal Health department at Acenda Integrated Health. She currently acts as the Program Director for the Nurse-Family Partnership program which has specially trained nurses regularly visit first time moms-to-be starting early in pregnancy and up until their child reaches their second birthday. Tiffani Williams has served mothers in the community for over thirteen years as both a Nurse Home Visitor and in the leadership capacity. Tiffani Williams actively seeks out solutions to improve the racial disparities surrounding maternal health and is an active member of Nurse-Family Partnership’s Maternal Health Innovations Advisory Committee. She is a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor whose desire is to increase breastfeeding rates amongst the African American community. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.