We also believe that no single individual or organization alone can stop this urgent issue. By rallying together as a community, we can transform San Francisco into a city where every child can be healthy, thrive and take part in our city’s vibrant future—not just now, but for generations to come.
Zea Malawa, Physician Director
Zea Malawa is a pediatrician and public health professional committed to improving health outcomes for children of color. Upon completing her undergraduate degree at Columbia University, she earned a medical doctorate from UCLA and a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley. Because Dr. Malawa recognizes that medical care will not close racial disparities, she has become adept at integrating political advocacy and anti-racism strategies into her practice. Currently, Dr. Malawa sees patients at Mission Neighborhood Health Center and she works for the San Francisco Department of Public Health leading a citywide collaborative to address maternal outcome disparities.
Solaire Spellen, Associate Director
Solaire Spellen is a Black maternal health advocate dedicated to improving birth outcomes for Black women in the United States. She received her MPH from UC Berkeley in 2018, where her graduate research explored the impacts of racism and discrimination on the relationship between stress and adverse birth outcomes among Black and Latinx women. Solaire brings a strong research and community engagement background to her work as Associate Director with Expecting Justice and is passionate about advancing multifaceted efforts that address racism as a root cause to improve the state of Black maternal health in the U.S.
Breezy Powell, Administrative Assistant
Breezy Powell is a soft heart yet strong-minded leader, visionary, teacher and more. She is a Certified Massage Therapist, Doula and Dance instructor based in the Bay Area. Her nurturing and vibrant energy inspires and opens people up to experience their own self-love, joy and healing like no other.
Michaela Taylor, Intern
Michaela Taylor is a registered nurse and graduate student at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Her clinical experience includes health promotion and disease management at La Maestra Community Health Centers and public health nursing with adolescents who were in the foster care system and/or were involved in the juvenile justice system at Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Through her clinical experience, she became aware of the ways discriminatory health and social policies often take advantage of, rather than support people who have been marginalized. Her passion to address the social and systemic injustices that create health inequities among communities of color in the U.S. is what drove her to pursue an MPH at UC Berkeley. She plans to use her degree to advocate for and support public health interventions that create systemic level changes to ensure equitable opportunities for wellness and health for marginalized communities of color.
The Steering Committee is comprised of community members, healthcare providers, and different city representatives across San Francisco. We meet on the third Wednesday, every other month in SF from 1:30p-3:30p to continue advancing birth equity for Black & PI San Franciscans through discussion and innovation.
Alameda County Family Health Services
Building Blocks for Health Equity Unit
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
First 5 San Francisco
Homeless Prenatal Program
National Compadres Network
Planned Parenthood Northern California
San Francisco Children, Youth and Families Community Behavioral Health
San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families
San Francisco Department of Public Health
San Francisco Health Network
San Francisco Health Plan
San Francisco Human Rights Commission
San Francisco Human Services Agency
San Francisco Unified School District
Sexual Health and Reproductive Equity (SHARE) Program
SFDPH Food Security Task Force
SFDPH Nutrition Services
SisterWeb Community Doula Network
Subject Matter Experts
Treasurer’s Office, Office of Financial Empowerment
UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative-CA
Young Women’s Freedom Center
Alexis Cobbins has over a decade of leadership experience working with and for Black women, along with their families, through her employment at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and the San Francisco Human Services Agency. She spent nine years working at the San Francisco Black Infant Health program, where she focused on addressing the disparities in Black infant mortality. In this role she facilitated support group interventions and parenting classes, provided referrals as necessary, and even served as a postpartum doula. She is experienced in providing culturally relevant and responsive services, trauma informed care/systems, grief and loss therapy related to community violence, reflective practice, along with anti-racism and anti-poverty work. Alexis became interested in building a career addressing preterm birth when she experienced her own preterm labor and delivery. She has observed the lasting impacts being born premature has had on her child. All of her personal and professional experiences drives her passion around improving birth outcomes for Black women and other women of color. She spent three years on the Community Advisory Board for the California Preterm Birth Initiative, before transitioning into her current role as the Associate Director. Alexis acquired her Master of Social Work from California State University, East Bay, in June of 2014.
Acting Chief of Staff at the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the civil rights agency for the City and County of San Francisco. Brittni is an adventurous traveler who uses her global perspective to shape and guide the way she translates the experiences that connect us, the social and health needs of the most vulnerable communities, and the role of government to talk critically and act with intention to improve opportunities and outcomes.
I am a mother of 5 ages 21, 18, 16, 11, and 5. I work full time as a Medical Assistant (MA) for UCSF. I have been an MA for 12 years. Aside being mom, I have coached cheer for SFPAL 49ers, formally the Seahawks, for the past 9 years. I recently started coaching at the High School level. I enjoy traveling with my boyfriend when I need me time or going to the movies. Cleaning brings me calm and I am my kids’ biggest fan.
Lyn-Tise Jones, is a proud wife and mother of three amazing children. She is proudly a third-generation resident of San Francisco, California’s, Bayview Hunters Point district. She holds an earned Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & Mass Communications and a Master of Arts degree in Leadership. Lyn-Tise’s ability to connect her often similar lived experience is what drives her to “roll up her sleeves” to work hard every single day to improve the quality of life for her family, friends, and community. She is consistently motivated by human kindness with a slice of sarcasm. Overall, she is driven by her desire to see, share, and feel the power of human connectedness through social justice advocacy, community inclusion, system improvements, and racial equity.
Hi, my name is Maile Chand and I am a mother, birth worker, and community researcher. What inspires me as a woman of color and a parent is how resilient black and brown mothers are in birthing and raising our future generations. Although institutional racism targets our communities on the daily, we always continue to thrive and multiply. Being born and raised in the Bay Area has instilled in me the essence of community and how to be the action for change. I encourage, empower, and support families in creating a strong foundation for their children that goes beyond their birth experience. Even though it isn’t an easy job to help heal generational trauma and fight racism, my daughter always reminds me that I have answered my calling and am living in my purpose.
Hello I’m Sabra Bell, and I am a San Francisco, Hunters View native. I’m a Community Health Worker (CHW)/ Community Researcher currently apart of the Abundant Birth Project. I have a lot of research experience through the Preterm Birth Initiative & The Mother Infant Stress Study. I’m very great at Recruiting, networking and outreach. Recruiting is one of my best assets because I’m so relatable to women in my community and other communities around San Francisco. My middle name should say recruit. Insider (smile)!
The Expecting Justice backbone organization is grateful for the support of the UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBi-CA), funded by Marc and Lynne Benioff, and the California Department of Public Health.