Collective

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Meet

Meet the Collective

The collective behind Mama Sana Vibrant Woman is composed our staff, board of directors, midwives and birth companions.  

Staff

Trachell Trice
Birth Support Program Director

(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Meet Trachell >

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Trachell Trice is a full spectrum doula serving Austin families since 2016. She became a birth companion to protect women of color during the most transitional and vulnerable times in their lives.

To add to her offerings, she became a yoga instructor to teach women of color how to balance the daily stresses that came with being a mother of color. Her mission is to inspire more black and brown women to become Birth Companions so that more women in our community are supported, educated, and protected throughout their childbirth experience.

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Alexis Hall
 
 Director of Perinatal
Health and Education

(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Meet Alexis >

Alexis has worked the last 17 years in caring professions. Alexis graduated from Brown University with a Bachelors in Sociology with a focus in families and child development.

As a family advocate she has served children and families as confidant, educator and life coach. Alexis has extended her passion for serving others as a professional postpartum and birth doula for the last three years. Alexis uses her experience, compassion and positive motivational spirit to bring families peace and joy during their transition into parenthood - by extending real support that is rooted in love.

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Lourdes Kaman
Director of Perinatal Health and Education

(pronouns: She/Her/Ella)

Meet Lourdes >

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Lourdes Kaman has worked in the community for 21 years in various capacities. She served on the Arte Sana Board as President and was Chair for the Head Start Program as well as a council member for the Indigenous Women's Network/Alma de Mujer. Lourdes has developed and managed summer camps for 18 years for low-income children, promoting cultural awareness, art, music, and healthy eating, and has facilitated cultural appropriate parenting groups for many years in different settings in the Austin community.

Taylor Huntley
Director of Communications and Community Engagement

(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Meet Taylor >

Taylor Huntley has spent most of her life serving people in various realms of work and community projects. Her experience with pregnancy and postpartum encouraged her to make reproductive justice her life work. Taylor is a trained full spectrum birth companion/doula and lactation educator. Her mission is to expand our reach so we can provoke more advocacy for birth justice. As well as obtain more community partnerships that help us provide our services to more pregnant people of color in Austin. Taylor began as a participant of MSVW programs.

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Jeanette Monsalve
Director of Organizational Innovation and Strategy

(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Meet Jeanette >

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Jeanette Monsalve is a co-founder of Mama Sana Vibrant Woman and of Mamas of Color Rising (MOCR). She worked in women's repro health care for 15 years specializing in bereavement and loss, as a newborn care specialist for 5 years, and co-founded Yo Mama’s catering cooperative. She has also co-hosted a radio program for mamas for 8 years, created a zine on pregnancy called Knocked Up and a board game on social inequities for a MOCR workshop at Critical Resistance. Her focus within MSVW is on creating equitable, healthy and sustainable communities using principles of alternative economics and through skill sharing and works to uplift invisible work within our communities while celebrating together. 

Kamishia Blease
Director of Finance


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Meet Kamishia >

Kamishia has over 12 years experience in finance/ accounting, including some within nonprofit organizations. She is sincerely passionate about applying her skillset to her role at MSVW in support of positively affecting the lives of families of color within the Austin community!

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Meet Jasmine >

Jasmine Roussell,
Program Case Manager


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

 Jasmine Roussell is an Intuitive, Holistic Wellness Professional, Birth Companion and the current Program Case Manager with Mama Sana Vibrant Woman. She received her Kemetic Yoga Teacher Certification in 2017, in Jamaica, with Yirser Ra Hotep and her Doula Certification with Austin Baby Guru in partnership with The Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas in 2018. She is trained in the arts of holistic wellness and screening for Postpartum Mood Disorders. She incorporates ancient healing modalities with modern technology to reach and serve the community in health and wellness. 

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Shamika Alexander
Director of Organizational Development

(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Meet Shamika >

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Shamika Alexander graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Psychology.  She has experience in non-profit program development and working with children and families within the foster care and school systems since 2003. Shamika began as a participant of MSVW programs.

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Midwives

Meet Virginia >

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Virginia Wittebort,
Midwife


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Virginia is a traditional Midwife, a trained Western Herbalist, and a Breathwork facilitator. A 2007 graduate of the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery who had the privilege to apprentice under the mentorship of Jennie Joseph at her Easy Access Clinic and birth center in Winter Garden, Florida. Through her work at this birth center and clinic the beautiful seed of working for a just world where pregnant people are empowered, respected, and loved was planted deeply in her heart. Virginia moved to Texas in 2010 and spent several years homeschooling her oldest child, training as an Early Childhood care giver based on Waldorf Education through Lifeways of North America, and training as a Western Herbalist through the Wildflower School of Botanical. She is ready to return to midwifery and allow the seed of love within her heart for supporting pregnant people and families of color to flourish at MSVW.

Meet Aisha >

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Aisha Ralph,
Midwife


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

"Aisha is a traditional midwife, trained in the ancient art of supporting birthing people throughout their childbearing year. She's also a birth and postpartum companion, childbirth educator, and natural birth and lactation advocate. She strongly believes in birthing people's innate ability to give birth their way, safely and with strength. Born and raised in Antigua & Barbuda, in the Caribbean, she has assisted the birth process of over 120 people of different ages, backgrounds and nationalities all over the world, including Bermuda, the U.S.A, and Uganda. In Austin, she offers home birth midwifery and monitrice services through her practice - Taweret Midwifery."

 

Birth Companions

Meet Stephanie >

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Stephanie Perez,
Birth Companion
@heartoflove.doula

(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

While Stephanie was on her youth homelessness advocating journey she realized she was expecting with her 3rd child. After giving birth she felt very called to giving other expecting families full-spectrum support around the birth of their choice. Since joining the birth world Stephanie has become a Certified Birth Companion with MSVW, completed massage school, and is currently a CIMI. Her personal and professional birthing experiences in the Austin area has fueled her passion towards helping families get the quality birth and postpartum experience that everyone deserves. When Stephanie isn't working or advocating you can be sure she's out trying new foods around the city with her family.

Meet Denise >

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Denise Washington,
Birth Companion
@delivered_by_denise

(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Denise L. Washington is a doula, mother, student midwife and Founder of Delivering Unto You. She is originally from Kansas City, KS and has been in the Austin area for 9 years. Denise began her journey in 2001 as a doula and childbirth educator for a local pregnancy shelter for young women in Kansas City, KS. In 2010 she decided to become a midwife but took time off to adjust to her new city of Austin, TX. In 2015 she started providing doula services in Austin as a volunteer doula with GALS Giving Austin Labor Support) until she became a program coordinator for Mama Sana Vibrant Women in 2017. In 2019 she decided to focus on providing

support to families of color on her own terms and founded Delivering Unto You. Her mission is to change the way the black community views and receives maternal support and care.

Meet Ellen >

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Ellen Gonzalez,
Birth Companion
@earthelements_with_doulaelena


(pronouns: She/Her/Ella/Them)

Ellen/Elena Gonzalez is a registered trauma sensitive yoga therapist with studies at Sundara Yoga Therapy Center, specializing in helping those who suffer from anxiety, depression and trauma. She enjoys creating a warm, safe healing space for others and offering holistic and traditional medicine practices. In the realm of healing, she practices with communities as an Aromatherapist and Herbalist, Certified Birth Companion (Doula), Reiki and Tantric practitioner. A student of life, she continues to learn traditional and indigenous medicine, actively apprenticing with the Concilio Taino Guatu Ma Cu de Boriken of Puerto Rico. She is a Healer, earth and water protector and aspiring student midwife.

Meet Maria >

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Maria Lopez, 
Birth Companion


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Maria Lopez 

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Jai Fields,
Birth Companion
@yourjourneywithj

(pronouns: She/Her/Hers
)

Meet Jai >

Whether a first birth or last, I truly believe that birth is a journey and something that should be supported along the way with a doula. My goal is to shift the way we think about birth and replace fear with education and empowerment - while centering BIPOC, single, and

LGBTQIA+ people. It is my training from Re+Birth Equity, Birthing Advocacy, and DONA International, as well as years of working with families in various capacities and personal lived experience that allows me to provide comprehensive and culturally inclusive support. Birthwork is my social justice work. I provide in person and virtual doula offerings that include prenatal education, planning, birth & postpartum support, and more.

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Odessa Wiggins,
Birth Companion
@beside_your_birth

(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Meet Odessa >

Odessa is a birth and postpartum doula. She is a true nurture at heart and has a strong passion in reminding people of their power. Birth work sparked my interest while she was on her journey in learning more safe ways to give birth in a world that is not always so kind. She believes it is work that is needed to keep our communities striving. Odessa is here to educate and hold space for those on their journey of parenthood.

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Dominique Graves,
Birth Companion


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers
)

Meet Dominique >

Dominique Graves is a master level social worker and a full spectrum doula in Austin, Texas.
Her life's mission is to disrupt intergenerational trauma by providing empowerment, advocacy, counseling, and resources to people of color. As a Doula with Mama Sana Vibrant Woman she hopes to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes for communities of color in Central Texas by

providing birth companionship, postpartum support education and resources. She is a Doula Coordinator with Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance training doulas on Trauma Informed Care, perinatal mental disorders, and importance of resources to help with the transition of parenthood. She provides therapeutic support services in the lives of children and families in various nonprofits throughout Austin. Her services in various nonprofits is to help eliminate social injustices, racism, and discriminations to increase equity, equality, and culturally appropriate services in the community.

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Meet Elena >

Elena Colón,
Birth Companion
@elenarosecolon

(pronouns: She/Her/Ella)

Elena Rose Colón (she/her) is a queer bilingual boricua (puertorriqueña) student midwife, community heath worker and organizer. She works locally with Mama Sana Vibrant Woman and Casa Marianella providing support in birth, postpartum, abortion, pregnancy loss and grief. She works remotely for the Queer and Trans Midwives Association, building community and working to create more resources for queer folks who are trying to build their families, as well as the midwives supporting them. Elena is also a babywearing educator and a lactation educator and has been providing these services to her community since 2014. Elena is a single parent to a confident and creative six year old who is full of energy. Her work is inspired and driven by the work of her ancestors and the other black and brown healers and medicine makers who have come before her. 

 

Board of Directors

Meet Brittany >

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Brittany Clay,
President


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Brittany currently works at the University of Texas in a communications position in the Office of the Provost. She became involved with birth equity work as a volunteer for Black Mama Community Collective and as a consultant for Hand to Hold, a nonprofit that supports families during their NICU stay and infant loss, on a grant for black maternal health.

During that time, she also worked at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) as the head of communications supporting survivor-centered legislation and awareness programs in Texas. Her passion lies in changing the narrative around birth for expectant mothers of color from one focused on trauma and morbidity to one that centers on positivity, education, and self-advocacy. Before her time at TAASA, Brittany worked at several PR/marketing agencies in Austin and New York. She holds a master’s degree in Public Communications from Fordham University and BS in Public Relations from Texas Christian University.

Meet Mónica >

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Mónica A. Jiménez,
Secretary


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Mónica A. Jiménez is an assistant professor in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin where she teaches courses on the history of the Caribbean and Latin America. Her research explores the intersections of law and race in U.S. empire building with a focus on Puerto Rico. Prior to entering academia Mónica worked as an attorney for the State of Texas and in private practice focusing on energy and water law. Mónica holds a JD and a PhD in history from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in classics from Yale University.

Meet Jennifer >

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Jennifer Kim,
Treasurer


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Jennifer Kim is a public health and international affairs professional with over two decades of experience focused on gender-based violence, reproductive health, and public health in emergencies. She has lived and worked in West and East Africa, South Asia and the Middle East with non-governmental organizations, research institutions, and UNFPA. She is now based in Austin, TX as the Director of Programs and Operations at Asian Family Support Services of Austin working to break the cycle of violence in Asian and immigrant communities.She holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, through the Mailman School of Public Health and the School for International and Public Affairs.

Meet Maya >

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Maya Pilgrim,
Member


(pronouns: She/They
)

Maya Pilgrim has been a part of collective efforts towards more equitable and just communities within the US and internationally for over twenty years related to gender-based violence, reproductive justice, forced migration, and racial justice.   She now spends her time advocating for liberatory learning and evaluation practices.  When not leading the Learning and Evaluation team at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault she also works as a consultant and facilitator. She is also a partner and a mother.  She has a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Master’s in International Development and Social Change.

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Shannon Spriggs Murdoch,
Member


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers
)

Meet Shannon >

For sixteen years, Dr. Shannon Spriggs Murdoch has been a global messenger committed to
the prevention of all forms of gender-based violence. As a leading gender violence
prevention educator, Dr. Murdoch has impacted thousands of people worldwide by
delivering transformational education regarding the issues they face in their everyday lives,
and the far-reaching impact of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, sexual
harassment, gender roles and language.

Meet Jasmin >

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Jasmin Patel,
Member


(pronouns: She/They
)

Jasmin Patel (she/they) works on Medicaid policy development. She is originally from Athens, Georgia and is proud to be a lifelong Southerner. She moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2014 and has been in Austin since early 2016. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, dancing, and eating.  She is also a member of Communities of Color United for Racial Justice.

Meet Hilda >

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Hilda Gutierrez,
Member


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers
)

Hilda Gutiérrez’s academic, professional, and personal life’s work has been devoted to social change, deeply rooted in her lived experiences interfacing with various systems. In her professional career, Hilda has worked to create food systems that serve our communities and, in the movement to end gender-based violence. Her volunteer work has centered on racial justice. In all aspects of her life, Hilda has worked shoulder to shoulder with women who transform society. Her work on the MSVW Board creates yet another opportunity for Hilda to work with others who are building the world we want to see and inspiring intergenerational change in the process.  Hilda is a native of the Rio Grande Valley and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She holds an MA in Latin American Studies and a BA in Feminist Studies.

Meet Shellie >

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Shellie Hayes-McMahon,
Member


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Shellie Hayes-McMahon (she/her) is a fierce advocate for women from all walks of life stepping into roles of power. Currently Director of Operations for Annie’s List, Vice President for Political Action of Black Austin Democrats, Senior Advisor for the Williamson County Democratic Party, Williamson County Precinct Chair, 2020 Leadership Austin Graduate, 2020-21 NLC Mentor, 2020 Women’s Rally at the Capital Committee Chair and Ordained Minister.  Shellie is a frequent political podcast host for Pink Granite and The Rabble, as well as a contributor for Waking Giants. Before joining Annie’s List, Shellie spent 25 years in Management, as well as running for office in 2018. Her belief is that the most vulnerable in our society must be protected and the best way to do that is by electing more pro-choice, progressive women to office.

Meet Niria >

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Niria White,
Member


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Niria White (she/her) is a queer-inclusive reproductive justice advocate and new birth worker. She believes that all Black, Latinx, and other POC should have access to judgement-free, evidence based, holistic reproductive, birth and postpartum care. Additionally, Niria is a graduate student in the History Department at UT Austin, and researches Black midwifery and spirituality. In her free time you can find her studying astrology, making herbal medicines, doing yoga, or playing with her dog Bella.

Meet Vivian >

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Vivian Newdick,
Member


(pronouns: She/Her/Hers)

Vivian Newdick (she/her) grew up in the City of Boston where she attended public schools. A few years after graduating college she moved to Chiapas, Mexico, where she worked with a coalition of non-governmental organizations and indigenous-language-speaking communities that supported the Zapatista National Liberation Army. She returned to the US in 1996 to eventually conduct graduate research at UT-Austin (PhD, Anthropology, 2011), focusing on wartime rape, multi-layered discrimination within the global human rights system against indigenous women survivors, and the Tseltal language. She has lived a total of eight years in Mexico. Vivian has lived in Austin since 2001. She now works toward language justice in her current position as Program Coordinator for Language Access at Austin Public Health's Health Equity Unit. She has been certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters as a Spanish healthcare interpreter and by Bridging the Gap as an interpreter-trainer.  She is a member of the Language Justice and Systems Change Working Group.