This conference began in our hearts, grew in our minds, and has come to fruition with determination, love, and sponsorship.
An Assistant Professor and clinical psychologist at Northwestern University, Dr. Fisher's research career focuses on the effects of perinatal and subsequent parental mental health on infant/child health outcomes, with a specialization in the emerging field of father mental health. More specifically, he examines: 1) the biopsychosocial risk factors for parental psychopathology, 2) the impact of parental psychopathology on parenting behaviors and the family environment, and 3) the combined effect of the family environment on infant/child medical and emotional health outcomes. His aim is to reconceptualize parental mental health research to integrally involve both mothers and fathers to differentiate the etiology, course, and potential interactivity of paternal and maternal mental health and, in turn, the longitudinal associations with child medical and mental health. He recently designed a protocol submitted for NIH funding to treat African-American women with perinatal depression that addresses key psychosocial risk factors. Dr. Fisher’s research dovetails with his perinatal clinical practice, including being the clinical director of the Fathers’ Mental Health Specialty Clinic. Ultimately, the goal is for his research plan is to optimize the health and effectiveness of the parental team to positively influence the child health trajectory starting from infancy.
Nicole Woodcox Bolden is a Licensed Social Worker and School Social Worker who received her Master's in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. Nicole brings 11 years of experience from a variety of settings to her work with families. She has worked internationally and locally with youth & young adults who have been orphaned, whose parents are incarcerated, who are pregnant/parenting, and who have varied learning needs. Nicole has worked internationally with the U.S. Peace Corps as a Children, Youth and Families volunteer. She has also learned a great deal about overcoming trauma while working for 5 years with young men and women who were surviving human trafficking. These experiences and others have allowed Nicole to walk alongside people who were on a variety of journeys such as overcoming trauma, processing memory loss issues, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, families with children with special needs and others. Nicole utilizes a variety of therapeutic models including Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical behavior therapy, and Motivational interviewing.
Nicole specializes in the treatment of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) and Youth issues. Nicole also serves as one of the Illinois Coordinators for Postpartum Support International. Nicole strives to provide a safe space to allow clients to be more compassionate with themselves while they walk through their journey of healing.
Nicole enjoys bowling, watching HGTV and Food Network, and drawing with my children. She is married and has two young girls.
Shivonne is licensed to practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Washington DC, a National Certified Counselor, a certified school counselor in Washington,DC and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Maryland. She is also a board Approved Clinical Supervisor by the Maryland Board of professional counselors and therapists. At her practice Akoma Counseling Concepts, LLC, she provides counseling services to women and girls aged 8 years- adult. She specializes in maternal mental health counseling (Postpartum depression, fertility issues, miscarriage, and postpartum anxiety) and maternal mental health counseling for mothers of color. Shivonne is the only licensed mental health therapist in Washington, DC that has a practice focused on the maternal health of mothers of color and has completed certificate training in maternal mental health counseling via Postpartum Support International and Mary’s Center Clinic in Washington, D.C. She completed undergraduate studies at UMass, Boston and graduate studies at Howard University. Although currently residing in Washington, DC, she's a proud Bostonian with Caribbean roots, her favorite color is purple, and she loves to cook.
Dr. Kendra Flores-Carter received her BA in psychology from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2002 and her MSW from California State University, Long Beach in 2007. In 2017, Kendra received her Doctor of Social Work degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Flores-Carter currently works as a Maternal Child and Pediatrics Associated Clinical Social Worker. Additionally to being an Associated Clinical Social Worker Dr. Flores-Carter prides herself in also being a researcher in the Perinatal Mental Health Field. Dr. Flores-Carter have served on Institutional Review Boards and her current research interest is the use mindfulness meditation and the reduction of anxiety and depression symptoms in Black and Latino women as well as health disparities faced by minority population in the U.S and Internationally. Dr. Flores-Carter is also a professor at California Baptist University where she lectures in the Masters Social Work program. Dr. Flores-Carter holds her certificate in Maternal Mental Health receiving her certificate training from Postpartum Support International. She has done several workshops and conference presentation on topics related to maternal mental health as well as other issues relating to children and women’s health including breastfeeding, intimate partner violence, disparities in health care, child abuse and neglect. Dr. Flores-Carter currently serves as co-chair of the Inland Empire Maternal Mental Health Collaborative. She’s an active member Postpartum Support International, and facilitates a free monthly Postpartum Support Group for women and their families. Dr. Flores-Carter has received several honors and awards for her dedicated work to improve education, support and resources for Women and Children as it relates to Maternal Mental Health. Dr. Flores-Carter recently received the 2018 Shine a Light on Child Abuse Award for her work to bring awareness and education on Maternal Mental Health and tireless efforts to ensure safety of at risk mothers and children. On her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering as an active graduate member of Alpha Kappa Sorority Incorporated, Pi Sigma Omega Chapter. Dr. Flores-Carter recently developed her own consulting organization Caribbean Moms Network to continue her efforts to educate marginalized communities on Mental Health and Wellness. Dr. Flores-Carter is also the Executive Director of the Janet Don’t Cry Foundation a non-profit organization geared towards bringing more mental health education, resources and support to Caribbean communities in the Unites States and Internationally.
Courtney Butts is a Licensed Master Social Worker who has worked as a Program Director at a domestic violence agency in Dallas, TX. In 2007, she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Minor in African American Studies from The University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. After moving to Dallas, Courtney obtained her MSSW at the University of Texas at Arlington. Courtney is also a certified BEST Doula and has coupled her passion for working with survivors of domestic violence with her love of pregnant women. Courtney believes in working with families with a goal of healthy mom and healthy baby; her work in the community is rooted in the mission of lowering the maternal mortality rate of Black mothers.
Nekisha Killings is an international board certified lactation consultant, diversity strategist, Air Force spouse, and proud mother of three future world changers. A former marketing executive and ghostwriter, she melds many different talents into supporting families and creating written works that heal and inspire new parents as they navigate through the barriers of systemic oppression to reach their goals.
Nekisha fell into her passion for supporting families of color through her own breastfeeding challenges with her first baby. She quickly came to realize how having informed, caring support throughout one's journey can make all the difference between reaching breastfeeding goals and never coming close. While pursuing her Master of Public Health degree, she completed research in How Ethnotheories Impact Mothers' Breastfeeding Decisions Across Cultures and has studied extensively to deconstruct how historical trauma has left an indelible imprint on the experiences of mothers today. Acquired through nearly a decade of counseling new parents, along with a deep desire to connect the past to the present while paving a path forward in wholeness, Nekisha brings experiential expertise.
Graeme is a Motherhood Life Coach, whose approach to coaching is based on the belief that you must be a priority in your own life in order to thrive. Following a traumatizing birth experience that left her with PTSD and surviving postpartum depression and anxiety, Graeme began a healing journey as a mother and a woman.
That healing journey led her to train as a life coach and to create spaces where mothers can come to be witnessed, nurtured, inspired and supported so that they can integrate motherhood with personhood, and not the other way around. She does this work because she believes we are living in a global culture that treats mothers as if we are inhuman, and expects us to be superhuman. Graeme’s work is dedicated to helping mothers reclaim their humanity.
Zenia Robinson is a Christian, wife, mother of 5. Zenia is a Minister, Social Worker and Author. Zenia earned a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of New England. She has more than 10 ten years of experience providing social work services in her community. Zenia is most passionate about reducing the stigma of mental health through community education, training and outreach. Zenia’s niche is working with Pastors and Clergy of Christian Faith to increase their knowledge about mental health issues that often impact their parishioners, as well as methods to implement effective mental health ministries that serve parishioners impacted by a mental health diagnosis.
Tameka Walton is a long time activist for social change, she is the Founder and Director of Restored Hope an organization that supports Black women and girls through their journey of discovering their inner strengths, while exploring skills and tools that help to support their families and engage their communities. Tameka is a skilled yoga teacher, motivating students to effect changes in their lives, their families and their communities. Tameka provides trauma informed yoga classes throughout Chicago communities with a primary focus on women and girls. The mother of four amazing children, she embraces motherhood as if it is a ministry. Which is where she draws the strength to share of her experience with facing preeclampsia and postpartum anxiety to be a living example to other women, and to serve as the light at the other end of another sister's tunnel.
Onyedikachi Ekwerike is an A-list Mental Health expert. Onyedikachi is the founder of Postpartum Support Network Africa, the first maternal mental health organization in Africa working to raise awareness about postpartum depression among women in Africa. The organization works not only to raise awareness but also provide free screening and support for women and families struggling with postpartum depression. Since 2015, PSN Africa has served over 15,000 women and now supports women across 4 African Countries namely; Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Botswana.
Onyedikachi is a Clinical Psychologist, with a first class in psychology from Lagos State University and a Masters in Clinical Psychology from University of Lagos, Nigeria. Onyedikachi serves as Consultant Clinical Psychologist with The Retreat Health Care, Nigeria’s first private purpose built mental health facility.
Onyedikachi’s ground-breaking work in the mental health space led to his selection for the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship Award. In 2018, Onyedikachi was selected and awarded Global Leaders Fellow, a prestigious fellowship awarded to 10 young leaders from across the world.
Besides leading change in the mental health space, Onyedikachi is passionate about helping Young African non-profit leaders build capacity, a passion that has led him to work for a PhD in Leadership Communication at Kansas State University, USA.
Dr Natalie Santiago MD is a board-certified Pediatrician. Dr Natalie is from the Roseland community on the southside of Chicago, and she knew by kindergarten that she was going to be a doctor. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Chicago State University, her Doctor of Medicine degree from Creighton University, and completed residency training at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. She became vegetarian as a teenager in 1988 and vegan in 2012. Dr. Natalie has been in medical practice for nearly 11 years and is certified in Plant Based Nutrition through eCornell University. Through her company, The Vegan Pediatrician LLC, she coaches parents and children on how to achieve and to maintain good health via following a plant-based diet.
Dr. Natalie has an active presence in the community as well as on social and print media. She’s been featured in online and printed newspaper articles, podcasts, social media interviews and at community presentations on the southside. She hosts a weekly Facebook Live on which she teaches about issues important in pediatric and emotional health, as well as about nutrition.
Dr. Natalie has always been dedicated to the health and wellbeing of her patients as well as to the health and wellbeing of their parents and families, and in particular, their mommies. Her personal philosophy is “healthy mommies, healthy babies” - since the mother is the first caregiver of the child, her health is extremely important, too. She enjoys connecting with parents and children in her practice and in her community, and the families with whom she interacts know how much she cares about them. Dr. Natalie feels very fortunate to be able to fulfill her personal mission to care for the health of people in the Roseland community.
In her spare time, Dr. Natalie enjoys Zumba, walking along lake, dancing and listening to House music, watching movies, getting together with friends, and spending time with her 6 nieces and nephews. She is also an avid reader, enjoys traveling and loves eating broccoli.