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Staff

Joy Burkhard

MBA – Executive Director

Joy Burkhard

MBA – Executive Director

Joy is the founder and executive director of the Policy Center. She founded the organization in 2011 after leading policy work in California to address maternal mental health and experiencing the loss of her brother to suicide. Joy spent nearly 25 years working for Cigna as a state policy and quality improvement leader. She is a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist’s expert workgroup on Maternal Mental Health, the Federal Maternal Mental Health Task Force, and is a board member of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (the nation’s first agency working to solve the U.S.’s maternal mortality crisis), and The Health Care Transformation Task Force. She is the Board Chair of Mom Congress, an organization she founded and the Policy Center incubated.

Joy has received numerous awards, including The American Public Health Association’s Maternal Child Health Leadership and Advocacy Award and The Emerging Leader Award in Women’s Health from the federal Health and Human Services Agency, Office of Women’s Health. Joy holds an MBA from Regis University and lives with her husband and two high-schoolers in Los Angeles, California.

 

Kelly Nielson

MPH – Director of Operations & Finance

Kelly Nielson

MPH – Director of Operations & Finance

Kelly has over 20 years of experience in the research, clinical, and nonprofit settings, and is passionate about improving the quality of care and the patient experience. In her role, Kelly oversees operations, manages projects, and develops systems needed to support the visionary work of the Policy Center. Previously, Kelly managed programs/divisions at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Kelly is drawn to this cause because she knows that maternal health – both mental and physical – can determine the well-being of future generations and help predict public health challenges for families, communities, and the healthcare system. Kelly holds a Master’s in Public Health from UCLA.

Rebecca Britt

MA – Director of Communications and Impact

Rebecca Britt

MA – Director of Communications and Impact

Rebecca joined the Policy Center in 2022 with a passion for aligning strategic direction with streamlined processes that integrate evaluative measures to ensure program optimization, impact and sustainability. Rebecca has led innovative evaluation efforts to assess patient perspective and improve quality in prenatal and postpartum care. Rebecca is a visionary and global thinker. She holds a Master’s degree in Program Evaluation and a professional certification in Results Based Accountability. As the Director of Research and Impact, Rebecca provides the evaluative framework necessary to ensure the Policy Center’s strategic focus prioritizes key activities that most effectively close gaps in maternal mental health. To ensure maximum utilization of our reports and recommendations, Rebecca leads the communications strategy and implementation for the Policy Center.

Stacey Porter

MSW – Training and Events Program Manager

Stacey Porter

MSW – Training and Events Program Manager

Stacey manages the Policy Center’s Training programs, including our Certificate Trainings, Fellows Program, and webinars. Stacey also serves as the project manager for our annual FORUM. Stacey has several years of experience in collaborative work focused on supporting mothers and families during the perinatal period, including the work of her own nonprofit, which supports families through birth trauma and perinatal/infant loss. Stacey received her Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lives in the north suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, with her two children.

Cindy Herrick

MA, PMH-C, CPSS, MHFA – Senior Editorial and Research Manager

Cindy Herrick

MA, PMH-C, CPSS, MHFA – Senior Editorial and Research Manager

Cindy serves as the Senior Editorial and Research Manager at the Policy Center, where she spearheads the development of publications and briefs that highlight gaps, evidence-based recommendations, and emerging considerations in MMH. She has led the Maternal Suicide program at the Policy Center since 2018 and is an expert in maternal suicide, MMH screening, and peer support policy. She is recognized for her ability to research and document MMH disorders from a holistic perspective. Cindy is currently pursuing her PhD in Nursing Science and Healthcare Innovation at Arizona State University and is the recipient of the 2023 Hartford Sun Health Predoctoral Scholarship and the ASU Graduate Fellowship Award.

Brooke Lerman

Board of Directors Project Manager

Brooke Lerman

Board of Directors Project Manager

Brooke joined the Policy Center, formerly 2020 Mom, in 2019 and currently supports the Executive Director and both the Policy Center Board of Directors and Mom Congress Advisory Board. She has enjoyed growing in her Project Management Role. She has a background in Early Childhood Education with a strong emphasis in Special Education, specifically Autism.

Brooke lives in Bend, Oregon, with her loving husband, Dan, whom she married in 2012. She became a new mother in 2019 to a baby girl, Aspen Jade, and welcomed a baby boy, Reed Thomas, in the Fall of 2021. Her personal experience with perinatal and postpartum depression and anxiety with her son has driven her passion for addressing maternal mental health care. In her free time, Brooke treasures time spent outdoors hiking, hunting, mountain biking, and creating memories with family and friends.