Board of Directors
Senior Marketing Manager, Leadercast
Senior Manager of Patient Experience, Emory Johns Creek Hospital
Maria Fernandez is Senior Manager of Patient Experience at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, a member of the Emory Healthcare system. In her role, she partners with hospital leaders to drive improvements to deliver exceptional, patient-centered care and to improve patient-provider communication. With a career in health care spanning nearly twenty years, Maria has worked in maternal and child health program development, strategic planning, health communications and process improvement initiatives. Maria was born in Minnesota, but traded in the frozen North for the South after her first taste of cheese grits. Maria credits her degree in Russian Studies for her understanding of how effective communications and framing can impact positive individual and population-level behavior change to improve health outcomes. She lives in Stone Mountain, GA with her husband, two dogs and three cats.
Certified Nurse Midwife, American College of Nurse-Midwives
After Caryn Hanrahan graduated from the University of Rochester School of Nursing, Caryn began her nursing career in Richmond, Va as a postpartum/newborn nursery nurse. Three years later she was awarded a grant from the Department of Maternal Child Health to attend Emory University to obtain a Masters in Nursing specializing in midwifery and a Masters in Public Health. She began a 22 year long career at Grady Memorial Hospital which she recently left to take care of her elderly parents. During her time at Grady she was actively involved in research and clinical care. She specialized in adolescent pregnancy and was an initial researcher for the Centering Pregnancy study conducted in partnership with Yale University . The research demonstrated the benefits of Centering Pregnancy in decreasing preterm births, increasing breastfeeding rates and improving both patient and provider satisfaction. She became the Clinical Coordinator for Emory's Centering Pregnancy Program at Grady. Other highlights of her career at Emory/Grady included teaching nursing and medical students as well as residents. She served as clinical liaison to both the March of Dimes and the Center for Black Women's Health working with the Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative . She also traveled the country speaking and promoting Centering Pregnancy. While practicing at Grady Hospital Caryn married and raised 4 children. She is member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and is active in her synagogue, serving on membership and engagement committees. She serves as a volunteer for the University of Rochester, department of admissions, as an alumni interviewer. She is a volunteer with Midwives for Haiti and travels to Haiti to help train Haitian women who are studying to become midwives. She recently joined the board of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia serving as a local representative of ACNM and looks forward to advocating for underprivileged women and children statewide.
Marketing Manager, Amerigroup Community Care
Maria Henriquez is a Marketing Manager with Amerigroup Community Care, one of the four CMOs for those with Medicaid, PeachCare for kids and Planning for Healthy Babies. She is responsible for Outreach and Community Relations, Membership data analysis, Advertising and Member Retention Initiatives. She has been with Amerigroup since 2011. Maria is very passionate about serving the community and working with organizations serving that same mission. She is very active in the Latino community in Georgia and leads the Multicultural Marketing Initiative at Amerigroup GA.
Maria is originally from Venezuela and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology Education from Universidad de Carabobo in Valencia, Venezuela.
She lives in Cobb County with her family.
Associate Corporate Counsel, VMware, Inc.
Olivene Makerson is a corporate attorney with over eight years of experience practicing law in-house. She has worked in the financial services industry with expertise in securities investigations, regulatory compliance and general corporate matters. Currently, she works in the technology industry as an associate corporate counsel for VMware, Inc., focusing on commercial transactions related to software licensing. She has volunteered with Junior League of Atlanta focusing on advocacy-based community initiatives such as generational poverty. She served as a volunteer for the Morningside-Lenox Park Association and continues to serve on various committees in her neighborhood. Olivene received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated from Stetson University College of Law. She resides in midtown with her husband and daughter.
Co-Founder and Partner, Abbott Martin LP
Ashlyn Shockley Martin has more than a decade of experience in public policy and a passion for advancing educational, health and social outcomes for women, children and individuals with disabilities. Ashlyn is the founder of the Chisholm Leadership Academy, Inc., a nonprofit organization that will prepare middle and high school girls for careers in public service. A former Executive Director of the National Council on Youth Sports Safety (NCYSS), a nonprofit chaired by 16th U.S. Surgeon Dr. David Satcher, Ashlyn led an advisory council of 20 experts aimed at developing policy solutions to address sportsrelated concussions. As a Master of Laws student, she prepared a white paper on racial disparities in maternal healthcare, crafting six innovative policy solutions to diminish the disproportionate rate of maternal deaths among Black women. Ashlyn began her career as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Head Start where she became versed in infant health, the benefits of breastfeeding, and early childhood education. Ashlyn is a graduate of the George Washington University, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and Emory University School of Law and a 2016 recipient of Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 award. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and three sons.
Business Professor, Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Dr. Johnecia L. Mason is a Business Professor at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. She is a 2004 cum laude graduate of Spelman College and furthered her educational studies by obtaining a MBA in Management/Leadership in 2006 and a Doctorate in Business Administration, with a concentration in International Business in 2010. She is a 2008 Power 30 under 30 Finalist for the City of Atlanta and was one of six 2007 Upcoming Superwomen under the age of 25 by the Atlanta Tribune Magazine. High scholastic standards and service have always been a major factor and influence in her life. She brings a plethora of skills to any organization, including marketing, volunteer management, and fundraising. She has volunteered with several organizations, including The American Cancer Society-Relay for Life and March of Dimes-March for Babies. She serves because she loves helping others. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Berean Christian Church. She resides in Covington, GA with her husband, Rev. Dr. Rodney Alex Mason, Jr. and they have two sons.
Sr. Director of Member Experience, WellCare Health Plans Inc
Tangela Parker is the Sr. Director of Member Experience for WellCare Health Plans Inc. She is responsible for leading the development and execution strategies for growth, retention, outreach and community relations for WellCare’s Medicaid line of business. Tangela has 19 years of integrated marketing communications experience with most of her career centered within the Medicaid and Managed Care industries. She is a member of The National Association of Female Executives, Alcorn State National Alumni Association, American Society of Public Administrators, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Junior League of Atlanta. A native of Brandon, Mississippi she received a Bachelor’s of Art degree in Political Science-Pre Law from Alcorn State University.
Associate Dean for Research, Mercer University School of Medicine
K. Bryant Smalley, PhD, PsyD, MBA is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Associate Dean for Research in the Mercer University School of Medicine, where he also serves as Professor of Psychiatry and Community Medicine. Dr. Smalley’s career has focused on achieving health equity in rural and racial/ethnic minority populations. He has received more than $12 million in federal grants to support his work from NIH, HRSA, CNCS, etc. He has co-founded numerous community coalitions in rural Georgia focused on maternal and child health issues. Dr. Smalley serves as the founding joint Executive Director of South Georgia Healthy Start, a federally-funded initiative working to eliminate disparities in maternal and infant mortality in a 7-county rural region of south Georgia. Dr. Smalley’s work has been recognized nationally by the NIH and by the National Rural Health Association.
Assistant Professor, Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Irene currently serves as Assistant Professor at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Her primary population of research is maternal newborn populations, with a particular emphasis on the connection between oral health, pregnancy outcomes, and systemic health. Her clinical experience includes over a decade of bedside experience caring for postpartum women and their newborns. Irene earned her BS in Nursing at Rutgers University, and both her Masters in Nursing Education, and her PhD in Nursing Research at the University of Louisville. After receiving her doctorate, she moved to Atlanta, GA to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University and feels privileged to have begun her academic research career at Emory. Irene and her husband are proud Korean-Canadians, and they have 3 daughters. Irene enjoys curling up on the sofa with her family, some good food, a glass of wine, and a great Netflix series or Korean drama.
Partnerships & Outreach Manager, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ms. Zaharatos works at the CDC Division of Reproductive Health as a member of the CDC Foundation team focusing on building capacity for maternal mortality review. Through Building U.S. Capacity to Review and Prevent Maternal Deaths, Ms. Zaharatos provides technical assistance to support jurisdiction-level maternal mortality review and in doing so, promotes better understanding of the causes and factors contributing to pregnancy-related death. This increased understanding supports opportunities to identify interventions with the greatest potential to end preventable maternal mortality in the United States.
Board Members Emeritus
Board Member Emeritus
Years of Service: 2000-2019
Leah is an attorney and Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She practiced for many years in the area of corporate healthcare with Morris, Manning and Martin, LLP. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in English and with a JD from Emory University School of Law. Since retiring from the active practice of law, Leah formed Atlanta Breastfeeding Consultants, LLC, a business which places IBCLCs in physician practices throughout metro-Atlanta and provides private lactation consultations. She has served the cause of mothers and babies for many years with the Junior League of Atlanta, Inc., on the Board of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, Inc. (where she chaired the IBCLC Licensure and Reimbursement Committee) and as a La Leche League leader. Leah served as HMHBGA's Board Vice President in 2013 and President from 2014-2015. She has also served Atlanta in the area of diversity and tolerance on the Boards of the Anti-Prejudice Consortium, Inc. and as the founding President of Embracing Differences, Inc. Personally, Leah loves to read, to snow ski, to practice yoga and to cook for her husband and three young children.
Board Member Emeritus
Years of Service: 2007-2019
Shawn O. Smith, B.S., M.B.A. has served as a board member since 2007. Shawn earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Oklahoma State University and her MBA in Healthcare Management from American Intercontinental University. Her 32 year career in the pharmaceutical / vaccine industry, formerly with Wyeth (now Pfizer) and currently with Sanofi Pasteur has revolved around the health and well -being of infants, children, women and their families.
Shawn embraces the efforts and activities of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia in her personal and professional life. The HMHBGA staff is the backbone in helping to place those with medical needs or needed referrals with a provider via the Georgia Healthy Families call center.
Shawn is proud to have served on the board for HMHBGA and she will continue to be an advocate for their work, an active member and committee member going forward and the Chair of the charity golf tournament to “Move the Mark” on the health outcomes for mothers and babies in Georgia.
Shawn lives in Gwinnett County with her husband Tim of 27 years and proudly birthed two healthy/full term boys Candler ’97 and Thomas ’00.
Board Member Emeritus
Years of Service: 1974 - 2018
Pat Swan, RN has been a member of HMHB since its beginnings in the early 1970’s and has served twice as HMHB President through the years.
She is a graduate of Northwestern University in Louisiana and began her nursing career in Labor and Delivery in Augusta, Georgia. Pat serves on the Board of DFCS in Gwinnett County and is also a board member of the American Cancer Society, the Hudgens Center for the Arts, and a member of the General Federation of Women's Clubs where she is now serving as Southern Region President.
Pat and her husband, Jerry have been married 52 years and have 3 children and 1 grandchild.