Collective Action for Collective Impact

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.

Backbone Team

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.


Payshia Edwards, Associate Director

Payshia Edwards is a women’s reproductive and maternal health advocate, Certified Lactation Education Specialist, and Birth Doula. She has over six years of experience in healthcare administration and public health working with historically oppressed and marginalized communities. Payshia received her Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Management with a minor in Communication from California State University, San Bernardino, and her Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Urban Community Health from California State University, Los Angeles. After obtaining her MPH, Payshia continued her education by becoming a Certified Lactation Education Specialist and Birth Doula. Describing herself as a lover of laughter, joy, and self-expression, she hopes to spread more love and light to the communities she serves.

Jo Williams, Program Associate

Jo Williams (she/they) is an advocate, researcher, artist and artist who is deeply dedicated to racial equity and the liberation of people with mental illness.  As a a proud alum of Stanford University and a newly minted Cal alum Jo is, in her words, a house divided. Their  work at UC Berkeley has focused on applying public health theory and frameworks to the foster care system and reimagining what a society built on Cultures of Care might look like. Jo has lived in the Bay half of her life but will never hesitate to remind you she is originally from LA.. Her lived experience in the foster care system informs much of her politic, study and advocacy. As a new graduate she is so excited to bring her research, conceptual knowledge and Canva skills into the birth justice space!

Breezy Powell, Project 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, Abundant Birth Project, Program Manager

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.

Troy Roberts, Abundant Birth Project, Senior Abundance Care Coach 

Troy Roberts is a transplant from North Carolina. He moved to the San Francisco in 2006 and has worked predominately in black and brown communities throughout the bay area. He has served children, youths, and families in varying capacities from mental health counseling and creating therapeutic interventions to financial counseling. Troy vehemently believes in meeting people where they are and encouraging growth. Troy has successfully assisted many San Francisco bay area residents to improve their quality of life and he looks forward to building more meaningful relationships while reducing racial disparities and improving birth outcomes.


Maile Chand, Abundant Birth Project, Assistant Abundance Care Coach 

Maile Chand is a community doula & researcher, reproductive justice advocate, breastfeeding peer counselor, and mother based out of San Francisco. She is currently an undergraduate at SF State University in the Women & Gender Studies Program. Maile values the lived experiences of Black and Brown birthing people and uses it as a tool to advocate and support the families she serves. She is an aspiring midwife and hopes to help revive the safe, healthy, and joyful birth culture of Black and Pacific Islander communities in San Francisco and beyond

Join our team!

We are hiring a Program Associate. Please apply HERE!

Steering Committee

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
Bayview YMCA
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
UC Berkeley
UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative-CA
Walter Haas
Young Women’s Freedom Center

Our Moms

Alexis Cobbins

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.


Brittni Chicuata

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. 


Davina Counte

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.


Maile Chand

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.


Sabra Bell

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.

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