Judy Layden

Judy Layden, BSN, RNC-EFM is the Perinatal Outreach Coordinator for the SE GA region, a position she has held twice during her nursing career.

She received an Associate Degree from Armstrong State College in 1971 and later obtaining her BSN from Graceland College.  After graduating, Judy worked as an OR nurse until she got pregnant.  Feeling that she needed find out how to care for a newborn, she transferred to the Newborn Nursery and Postpartum unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Savannah.  After 2 years, Judy wanted to see the “other side” and found her real love, Labor and Delivery, at Memorial Hospital.  Over the next 16 years, Judy worked different areas of the Women’s department, including NICN, Postpartum, Perinatal Outreach and the Perinatal Testing, always coming back to her anchor, L&D.  She feels it has been an awesome privilege to be trusted with the care of a person’s most prized possessions, their newborn baby and the beginning of their future.

In 1990, Judy settled into her present position as Perinatal Outreach Coordinator, where she has enjoyed developing education plans for the 24 counties in her region.  She has gained many friends in her hospitals over these years and has always been impressed by the dedication of the nurses and physicians she has helped train in her region.  Judy realizes that the care of our patients has improved over the years but the patients are more high risk than they were a few years ago.  We can only improve care if we recognize that education is important and constructive change is necessary.

Carla Edwards

Carla Edwards serves as the Administrative Director of Women’s and Neonatal at Memorial Health University since July 2015. She holds a BSN from Armstrong Atlantic State University and an MBA and MSN from Georgia Southern University. She is currently pursuing a DNP from Georgia Southern University with an expected graduation of May 2020.  She has been a nurse since 1989 with all of her experience in the Women’s and Neonatal service lines. Carla is currently serving on the Southeast Board of Directors for March of Dimes and has been an Executive Team Lead for events such as the March for Babies. She is a mother to three boys and two girls and has two grandchildren.  She enjoys movies, boating and traveling.  She has a passion for helping people and volunteering her time. Carla was voted onto the Georgia Perinatal Association board with her term starting January 2020.

Jodi Hudgins

Born and raised in Ohio.  BSN from University of Cincinnati, MSN from Medical College of Georgia.  Transplanted to GA in 1992. Very fortunate to be married to James for over twenty years, a very dear and patient man.  Mother of a blended family, 2 of my own, and 2 of his. Blessed to be grandmother of 6 with 1 due at the end of August.  A long career as a nurse has always included elements of women’s, perinatal and family health.  Working with families experiencing perinatal loss led me to help develop the hospital’s Perinatal Loss support group, then to Labor and Delivery.  In 1990 she was fortunate to be a part of the team to help plan and transition to a women’s health pavilion that included 24 LDRP, 20 bed antepartum unit, 55 bed NICU, and 4 bed OBICU.   This hospital was a regional center, where and she was part of the maternal air-transport team. A move to Augusta, GA in 1992.  First job in Augusta was as an OB Educator at the Medical College of GA.  After working at MCG, then another local hospital, she began working for “soft” money.  A HRSA funded Healthy Start grant. The role there included community wide, staff, and direct patient education. The focus of the program and underlying education and community support was to reduce infant mortality and disparities in birth outcomes. Moving from an inpatient environment to a public health domain was not without challenges. Involvement in professional organizations such as AWHONN, GPA, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of GA, and the CSRA Breastfeeding Coalition were important in developing knowledge, and maintaining commitment to perinatal care.  Activities in these groups have continued to provide personal and professional growth opportunities that stimulate thinking outside my lane. Jodi has been blessed with opportunities to learn and be trained to teach Infant Massage, Better Brains for Babies and the ASQ/ASQ-SE Child development screening. The commitment to the health and improved birth outcomes for infants, mothers and their families has always provided the challenge to think outside the box. It is important to understand that families have different needs, incentives and interests  that move them along their continuum. I have been very fortunate in my career to learn from experts, and to be mentored by colleagues with a passion to match my own.   My current environment has brought me back full circle. Now back to an inpatient setting, providing nursing education, and helping launch new nurses as professionals,   I can only hope they are as blessed to have a long, challenging and rewarding career.

Tiffany Vinson

Tiffany Vinson is a native of Valdosta, GA and a graduate of Valdosta High School. She is Cum Laude graduate of Florida A & M University (Tallahassee, FL) where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has been a Registered Nurse for 13 years and has a passion for people and her community. She graduated from Thomas University in May 2016 with a dual Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration degree. Tiffany is also enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at Emory University.Currently, Tiffany is the Perinatal Executive Director for South Health District of Public Health 8-1 where she serves as the Program Manager for the Baby LUV (Lowndes Unique Victories)/PAT (Parents As Teachers) Program; a program for high risk pregnant women and their families. Baby LUV/PAT is an evidenced-based program that implements intensive home case management and education with a mission to prevent premature births and infant deaths, and a goal to contribute to a reduction of the infant mortality rate within the state of Georgia. The Baby LUV/PAT Program focuses on safe sleep practices, breast feeding, linkage to medical care homes, management of comorbidities, early prenatal care, intrapartum care, postpartum care, infant care, and linkage and referrals to public health and community resources to promote healthy birth outcomes for families. Tiffany is employed with PeaceWay Counseling and Mediation Services.  Also, she is an adjunct Allied Health instructor for Wiregrass Technical College. She is a member of the Nursing section of the Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA), board member of the Georgia Perinatal Association (GPA), Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia Advisory Board Member, member of the Georgia Perinatal Quality Collaborative, and serve on the advisory board for the local Great Start Georgia Lowndes initiative. She is also an active member on the board of directors for the local Lowndes County Commission for Youth (LCCY) initiative and serve on the Lowndes County Child Fatality Review Committee. She is a graduate of the Leadership Lowndes Class of 2016. Tiffany was a Woman of the year Nominee in 2013 for Valdosta Junior Woman’s Club, and 4 under 40 nominee for Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. Also, she was a 2018 nominee for the Louie Peeples Community Service Award and is also a board member for Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful. She has been a career day speaker at several elementary, middle, and high schools in Valdosta-Lowndes County. Tiffany is the coordinator of the local community Back To School/Healthcare Extravaganza in Valdosta, GA. She is also a committee member for the South Georgia Literacy Festival in Valdosta, GA. Tiffany is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where she currently serves as the President the Kappa Eta Omega Chapter in Valdosta, GA. She is also a member of the Valdosta-Lowndes Metropolitan Section of National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) where she serves as Section President from 2016-2018. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for Nurses. She is a member of Union Cathedral Church where she serves as a Youth Ministry Director, Strategic Planning Coordinator, Wellness Ministry Leader, and Liturgical Dance Ministry instructor.

Dr. Dan Eller

Dr. Dan Eller is an obstetrician-gynecologist in Marietta, Georgia and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Gwinnett Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University and completed his residency in OB/GYN at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio. Dr. Eller completed his fellowship training in maternal fetal medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he worked until joining Maternal-Fetal Specialist in 1995. Dr. Eller is board certified in OB/GYN and maternal-fetal medicine. He has done extensive research in obstetrics and has been featured nationwide in a training film for other obstetricians regarding treatment options and management of preterm labor. Dan enjoys teaching and is actively involved in WellStar Kennestone Hospital’s OB residency program. He has served on the GPA board since 2008. He is currently the GPA president for 2019-2020. He has been a featured speaker at the annual Georgia Perinatal Association conference. Dan has been married for the past 33 years to Brenda Eller, soon to be 34 years on August 31, 2019. He has 2 beautiful daughters Rachel and Rebekah. Rachel is the oldest and married to Chase and resides in Rwanda. She has a business undergrad from Samford Univeristy and Masters in Public Health from University of Alabama Birmingham with focus on global health. She is currently home and pregnant with a little girl (Charlie Ann) due on June 19, 2019. Rebekah graduated from Auburn University in 2018 with an Apparel Merchandising degree. Dan is an active member at Buckhead Church which is part of North Point Ministries and participates on short term medical mission trips 2-3 times per year. He loves running, reading thriller novels such as John Grisham, go to Braves games and hang out with family and friends.

Edwina Karch, R.N., B.S.N.

Edwina Karch R.N.  B.S.N has been a member of GPA since 2018, and has been in the nursing field since 1980.She received her LPN from Swainsboro VO Tech, and worked in West Germany for 2 years as an LPN on a labor and delivery floor. After 2 years she moved back to Glennville, GA were she then began working at Evans Hospital. In 2004 she went back to school and received her R.N.  B.S.N.  from Armstrong Atlantic State University. She worked at Evans Hospital for 24 years  then  began working at Liberty Regional Medical Center in 2006 were she still currently works on the Labor and Delivery unit. She is married with three daughters, two grandchildren, and three fur babies. One daughter is in the Navy and lives in Washington State, while her other two daughters live in Glennville, Ga. She loves spending time with her grandchildren, and any movie or t.v. show with Alan Rickman in it. She loves attending Dragon Con in Atlanta every year, and has met a few celebrities, her favorite was Patrick Stewart.

Jan St. John

Jan St. John, RNC currently is a full-time nurse at Liberty Regional Medical Center. She has just stepped down as director of Liberty Regional Medical Centers Perinatal Unit. For three and a half years she was an amazing director that dedicated her whole heart to the unit, and the ladies that worked there. Now she is trying to go in the direction of semi-retirement to spend more time with her amazing family. She began her nursing career in 1989 as a nursing assistant and furthered her nursing career in 1992 when she graduated from College of Coastal Georgia with her RN. She began to work med surg after she graduated, but soon found her passion for OB in 1995.Her love for OB and nursery continue to this day. Jan St. John has been a member of GPA since 2003 and has served as a board member for 2 terms. In 2008 she was awarded the Hometown Hero Award by the Georgia Hospital Association. Also, for multiple years she was nominated and won Best of Liberty County Nurse Award. She has inspired many nurses, and I know I would not be the nurse I am today, if it was not for Jan St. John. She is not only an amazing nurse but a genuinely caring, wonderful person.

She has lived in south GA her whole life. She has four daughters,8 grandchildren, and a couple of puppy dogs. She loves the beach, shopping, and Ed Sheeran. Most of all she loves spending time with her family and grandchildren.

Mindy Spencer

Mindy Spencer, RNC-NIC,BSN currently works as the Neonatal Outreach Educator for the Southwest Georgia Perinatal Region.  She graduated from Darton College School of Nursing with her Associate’s and Thomas University with her Bachelor’s. Mindy began her work with premature and sick newborns more than 21 years ago.  She started her nursing career as a NICU nurse at Phoebe Putney in 1997. Her love of learning new things inspired her to new roles as a charge nurse, transport nurse, PICC nurse and educator. She received her certification in Neonatal Intensive Care in 2001. She states “I have learned so much from my coworkers within the Regional Perinatal System, the Department of Public Health (DPH) and colleagues on the GPA board.

She has lived in or near Albany, Georgia her entire life.  She is happily married to Kirk Spencer and has three sons and one granddaughter.  Away from work she loves early mornings of Bible study before anyone else in her home is awake and says, “it’s such a peaceful time of day”.

Mindy has been an active board member of GPA since 2013 and has served as the Conference Chair for the past 2 years.  She makes the entire process seem easy. These past few years on the GPA board have been challenging but she loves working with a great bunch of people who have taught her a great deal!

Heather Wyrick

Heather Wyrick has been a neonatal nurse since 2001.  She first discovered her love for premature infants during nursing school.  She can remember walking through the doors of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit like it was yesterday and seeing her first tiny preemie in an isolette.  She was in complete awe of the tiny babies and loved having the opportunity to take care of them.  She knew at that moment she had found her area of nursing.

Heather graduated from Georgia Southern University with her BSN and began working in the NICN in Savannah, GA at Memorial University Medical Center.   She joined the Neonatal Transport Team in 2003 and currently is a part of the transport team casually.  During her time as a staff nurse/transport nurse, she participated in the clinical ladder for multiple years rising all the way to staff RN IV and obtained her national certification in neonatal/pediatric transport.  She has been a part of multiple committees through the years and has served as the Unit Practice Committee president.

In 2014, she joined the leadership team as a nurse clinician.  During her time as clinician, she discovered her passion for teaching.  She developed the Neonatal Education Course which is a mandatory 32 hour course for new nurses in the NICN.  The class includes lectures, hands-on training and simulations.  Even though she has stepped away from the clinician role, she is currently the lead instructor of this program which is held bi-annually.

Heather became the Neonatal Outreach Coordinator for Memorial Health in 2016. Memorial is one of six Regional Perinatal Centers in Georgia.  Each of the RPCs must has a Neonatal Outreach Coordinator to provide education to the outlying hospitals.  Her position encompasses teaching S.T.A.B.L.E., providing in-services on topics requested from outlying hospitals and providing NRP for several rural emergency departments.  Through this role, Heather passionately seeks to provide any education requested in hopes to improve infant outcomes in her region.

Away from work, Heather enjoys spending time with her husband and eight-year-old daugther, Caroline.  She loves to travel and is an avid reader.

Jo-Ellen McDonough PhD, RN, BC, CNE

Jo-Ellen McDonough, PhD, RN, BC, CNE received a Bachelor of Science, with a major in Nursing, from Rutgers the State University of New Jersey.  She started her career in Labor & Delivery and then  spent 4 years at Gorgas Hospital, Balboa, former Panama Canal Zone as a staff and research nurse where she learned to speak fluent Spanish and travelled extensively.  After returning to the USA,  she worked as a Nurse Manager in NJ, married Brian Catto, her husband of 41 years,  and set off on an educational journey that took them to New Orleans, LA,  Bethesda, MD and Cleveland, OH before settling in Augusta, GA in 1984 with their four children.

Along the way, Jo-Ellen acquired an MSN in Medical-Surgical Nursing and Nursing Administration from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH  and a PhD in Nursing Science from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.  She taught at the Schools/Colleges of Nursing at the Medical College of Georgia (now Augusta University), Georgia Southern University, the University of South Carolina and  the University of South Carolina Aiken from where she retired in 2012. She has continued to work part-time as needed.  Her favorite course to teach is Fundamentals of Nursing to first semester nursing students because she believes that setting solid foundations, in terms of skills and attitudes, is crucial to creating a good nurse.  In addition, she has taught Community/Public Health Nursing for over 30 years to senior nursing students, all while maintaining part-time clinical practice.

Jo-Ellen has served on numerous community and nursing boards and has been a member of GPA since 2007. She chaired the 2008 GPA Annual Conference.  She was on the GPA Board 2007-2012 and returned to the Board in 2015. She was elected Treasurer in Fall 2015 and continues in that role.

She looks forward to moving GA Perinatal Association towards its 50th Anniversary in 2027!

Kaprice Welsh, CNM, MSN, MPH

We all are aware that midwives are primary health care professionals who provide care during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period for women and newborns.  They provide education and support to mothers and their families.  The midwife is an integral part of our healthcare system and that is why I wanted to honor Kaprice Welsh, CNM, MSN, MPH because she sets the standard of what a midwife should be.

My name is Kaprice Simone Welsh and I have been in women’s health for over 20 years. I obtained my BSN from Syracuse University in 1993.  While in my undergraduate nursing program I fell in love with obstetrics. I was inspired by the women and babies I met during that rotation.  I remember thinking how amazing and powerful the women were during their births. This was my calling to midwifery. I was lucky to get on a busy labor and delivery at NY Presbyterian Hospital where I worked for 11 years.  I was excited to begin my Midwifery education at Columbia University where I obtained a Master’s of Science in Nursing, my certificate in Nurse Midwifery and Masters of Public Health. My experiences in midwifery have been exciting and diverse.  I have had the opportunity to work with very high-risk moms at a busy Perinatologist practice, to my most rewarding experience, working in the Bronx at the Morris Heights Birthing Center. These experiences were very different, but reinforced to me that women deserved a voice in their birth experience and I wanted to be able to offer that to them!

I moved to Atlanta in 2004. Since coming to Atlanta, I have had the opportunity to continue my work in women’s health. I joined a busy OBGyn practice, had my second child and decided to leave clinical work and focus Public Health.  In 2009 I joined the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) as the Perinatal Nurse Manager, managing programs to improve maternal and infant mortality statewide.  In 2010 I was promoted to Director of Women’s Services, in the Performance Quality and Outcomes unit in Medicaid. In these positions I was able to be involved with programs and services primarily focused on improving infant and maternal mortality statewide.  In 2012 I joined the Ga. OBGyn Society as their clinical liaison where I primarily focus on providing outreach and education to OBGyn’s in Ga. and working with the Ga. Department of Public Health bridging the gap with private providers and public health programs impacting women and children. In addition, I have also been fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to work in the clinical setting. My work is exciting because of the opportunity of providing women’s health care. I became a clinical faculty to Georgia State nursing students as a part of the Caring for Childbearing Families course, and lecture on preconception health and infertility to the advanced practice nursing students in the women’s health nurse practitioner program.

Daisy Davis, ARNP, MSN, RN

Daisy was born in Bronx New York to an American Mother and Nigerian Father.  She has lived in New York, Lagos, Nigeria and Atlanta.  She knew from the age of 14 that she wanted to work in obstetrics. She earned her BSN and MSN from Georgia State University, in 2005 and 2012 respectively.
Her career has been focused in obstetrics. She is currently the Lead Nurse Practitioner at Maternal Fetal Diagnostic Center of Atlanta, managing patients in inpatient and outpatient setting at Wellstar Cobb hospital.
“I absolutely love obstetrics and best of all I love the patients. I’m very passionate about patient education irregardless of the patient’s race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, education, etc.. I strongly believe that every patient should be informed about their care.”- Daisy Davis, ARNP, MSN, RN
When Daisy is not working with her patients, she is spending time with her husband of 13 years and their 3 children. She especially enjoys preparing healthy fresh meals for her family. She also enjoys real estate investing with her husband. She has found a second passion in real estate investing. Daisy is also part of the health ministry at her church and has recently joined the Senior Usher group.
Daisy has future plans once her children are grown to promote political agendas that will make a positive impact on patients across the spectrum. Specifically, she would love to bring more awareness towards child sexual abuse. Daisy joined GPA this year and has a great energy and will be a great asset to Georgia Perinatal Association. Welcome, Daisy!

Danette McLaurin Glass.

DANETTE McLAURIN GLASS, Sr. Strategist of First TEAM America (a regional technical assistance agency) has led several (public and private) development campaigns and developed dozens of prevention/intervention programs; positively impacting thousands annually in the southeastern United States.  Since 1990, nonprofits, universities and government agencies receiving public awards from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services: Office of Adolescent Health (OAH); Admin. of Children and Families (ACF); Maternal-Child Health-Healthy Start Program (MCH); Health Resource Services Admin. (HRSA); Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin. (SAMSHA); Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP); U. S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Dev. (HUD); U.S. Dept. of Justice-DOJ  (Legal Services Corporation- LSC and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention-OJJDP); U.S. Dept. of Labor (Veterans Employment and Training Svcs.- DOL-VETS); U. S. Dept. of Commerce (Minority Small Business Dev. (MSBD), Women’s Business Enterprises (WBE), Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and the State of GA (Governor’s Office of Children and Families (GOCF), Governor’s Office Highway Safety (GOHS) have benefited from her leadership.
Danette currently provides strategic partnership and infrastructure development services for local, regional and national public health projects.  A native of Charlotte, NC, Danette attended Duke and Cornell Universities. She is joyfully married with a blended family of five beautiful adult children and an absolutely fabulous grandson!

Sandra G. Brickman, M.D.

Sandra G. Brickman, M.D. is a board-certified obstetrics and gynecology doctor providing care to her female patients in Tifton, Georgia since 2000.   Dr. Brickman completed her Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas at Arlington and fulfilled her dream of being accepted into medical school. Dr. Brickman completed her Doctor of Medicine at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1996. She achieved academic distinction during her time as a medical student resulting in her induction into the prestigious National Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and receiving the American Medical Women’s Association’s Janet Glasgow Memorial Achievement Citation for Scholastic Excellence. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Brickman completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where she was elected Chief Administrative Resident in 1999. She became Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2003.
Dr. Brickman joined Tifton Woman’s Center shortly after completing her residency in 2000. She is on the medical staff at Tift Regional Medical Center. Dr. Brickman has also served as Clinical Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics for the Medical College of Georgia, where she helped educate the next generation of medical doctors. She has been involved in leadership roles at Tift Regional Medical Center including being selected to become Vice Chairman and Chairman of the OB/GYN Department and Secretary of the medical staff.
An esteemed professional, Dr. Brickman is a member of the Medical Association of Georgia, Society for Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and Georgia Perinatal Association. She was inducted as a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2003. Along with her service in the medical community Dr. Brickman enjoys spending time with family including, her husband Scott of 22 years and 12 year old son, Eli. She enjoys traveling and exercising in her spare time.
Dr. Brickman participated in Dancing Stars of South Georgia supporting Alzheimer’s awareness in 2016. Dr. Brickman also supports many local charities in Tifton including Ruth’s Cottage and the Patticake House which offers services to mothers and children of domestic violence.

Frances SahrPhillips, 
New GPA Board Member

Please join us in welcoming Frances SahrPhillips to the GPA Board.  She will begin her term in 2018.

Frances was raised in Savannah, GA.  She attended and graduated from Armstrong State Atlantic State University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  Frances began as a Staff RN III in August 2002 at Memorial University Medical Center.  Because her dedication to the care of women, she entered Midwifery School and graduated from the Institute of Midwifery at Philadelphia University in 2008.

In 2008, Frances joined the practice of Robert Mixon, MD (OB-GYN) in Saint Marys, Ga, where she continues to provide excellent care, as a Certified Nurse Midwife, to pregnant, intrapartum, postpartum and GYN clients.  Frances is a current member of the American College of Nurse Midwives and Midwives Alliance of North America.

Kelly Grummer-Smith, Family Nurse Practitioner
GPA Board member since 2012

Kelly Grummer-Smith has been a member of GPA since 2007. She has served on the board since 2012. She has assisted or managed conference registration since 2012. She is currently a Family Nurse Practitioner at Affinity Pediatrics which is affiliated with Tift Regional Medical Center.

She has a strong background in pediatrics and Nursery. She has 20+ years’ experience in level 2 and level 3 nurseries, pediatrics, mother-baby care and is an experienced International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. As an IBCLC, she enjoys helping all mothers reach their breastfeeding goals but specializes in prematurity and low milk supply. She continues to offer IBCLC services in her Pediatric practice.

She is an instructor of the AAP’s Neonatal Resuscitation Program, STABLE, and is an EPIC trainer with the Georgia Chapter of AAP. She fully supports the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.

She is a mother of two and is married for 25 years. She earned her MSN in 2014, IBCLC in 2008, B.S. in 1994. She is an active member of USLCA, AANP, and AAP. She has been blessed to influence mothers, babies, and children’s lives in Alaska, California, North Carolina, and Georgia.

George Wendell Bugg, MD

I’d like to recognize George Wendell Bugg, MD as a physician who has spent his professional career working to improve perinatal health in Georgia.  He is the Chief of Neonatology Services at Grady Memorial Hospital.  He is also the Neonatal Director of the Emory Regional Perinatal Center.  He has been a pediatrician since 1988 and on the specialty board of the American Board of Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.  He served as the treasurer of the Georgia Perinatal Association for many years.

Dr. Bugg graduated from the University of Tennessee and then attended medical school at Meharry Medical College and went on to get his masters in public health at Emory University.  He did post graduate training with such greats as Dr. George Brumley and Dr. Al Brann.

Outside his work as a Neonatologist he has received such honors from Salute to Black Fathers – presented by Concerned Black Clergy and the Maternal & Child Health Community Service Award from the Georgia Public Health Association.

He has presented and been published on many topics of perinatal health.  His research focus is “to assist Georgia public health officials understand the determinates of infant mortality as we seek innovative methods of reducing infant mortality and continue to support efforts to improve the provision of neonatal care”.

He has always been an avid supporter of breastfeeding initiatives in Georgia.  His wife, Kimarie Bugg is the CEO of Reaching our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE).  Rose is a nonprofit corporation developed to address breastfeeding disparities in the African American communities.  He is also the father of 5 children, of which, he has two sets of twins and all were breastfed, (although he left that up to Kimarie).

Patricia McAfee

Patricia McAfee joined the Board in Jan 2017.  She has been a nurse since 1992 and most of her career has been in Maternal/Child Health.  Beginning her career in pediatrics, she became certified in General Pediatrics and continued to advance in her education until she achieved her DNP in May 2016.  Her clinical experience includes: pediatrics, adult med/surg, orthopedics, post-partum/GYN, newborn & NICU.

She has over 20 years experience in management and leadership spanning from being a charge nurse to a unit clinical coordinator to a unit nurse manager to becoming director of a Women & Infants’ service line.  She worked for the Georgia Board of Nursing as an investigative nurse reviewing and investigating complaints submitted to to the Board and as the Director of Perinatal Programs for Georgia’s Department of Public Health. Patricia is an adjunct faculty member for a school of nursing for the RN to MSN program.

Patricia is married and lives in Hampton, Georgia.  She has 4 children, 9 grandchildren, and 3 grand-dogs and escapes to the north Georgia mountains every chance she gets.

Carrie Weaver

Carrie Weaver is one of GPA’s newest members! Carrie currently is serving as a L&D Staff RN with The Mary Telfair Women’s Hospital (part of St. Joseph’s /Candler Health System), in Savannah, Ga.

Carrie graduated from Purdue University in 1990, with her BSN. She then returned to Logansport Memorial Hospital, (Logansport, Indiana), where she had worked as a Candy Striper, to work as a Staff Nurse in Labor & Delivery. There she became Clinical Director, and later served as Clinical Revenue Coordinator and with Clinical Informatics, within the same facility.

Carrie worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse in Pinehurst, N.C. and in 2015 moved to Savannah. Carrie loves helping bringing lives into the world, “it is a miracle EVERY time”.

Carrie has two grown children and has been married to Scott , her husband of 29 years. She enjoys traveling and has visited many exotic and historic places! She tells great travel stories and always shares a colorful picture (or two) from her vast wanderings!  She and her husband have a group of ‘travel buddies’ and they plan, schedule, and dream of their next anticipated destination!

Carrie enjoys gardening, ‘Curves’, and is anxious to share her passion with GPA!

Welcome, Carrie!!!!!!!

Natasha P. Worthy, MSW

Natasha currently serves as Georgia Perinatal Association’s Secretary and has been on the board of GPA for a number of years.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Wilberforce University and a Master’s of Social Work degree from Clark Atlanta University. Natasha worked for Grady Hospital on the Mother/Baby Postpartum Unit for 5 years and for the past 12 years has worked with the Center for Black Women’s Wellness (CBWW) and the Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative (AHSI) as the Program Manager. Given Natasha’s passion about her work I thought we should give a description of the work they are doing in the Atlanta area. CBWW is a non-profit organization committed to improving the health and well-being of black women and their families, and the economic health of communities. CBWW addresses health holistically in four areas:

  1. Women’s Health, which includes low-cost women’s healthcare services, primary healthcare, and chronic disease management to low-income, uninsured adults
  2. Adolescent Health, which provides an evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention curriculum to youth and adults
  3. Economic Health, which provides financial literacy and micro-business training for low-to-moderate income women
  4. Maternal and Infant Health (Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative), designed to improve maternal and infant health outcomes through home visitation services. AHSI is a federally funded maternal and infant health initiative designed to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in communities with high rates of infant mortality. The AHSI case management program serves approximately 300 pregnant and postpartum women and their infants annually. The program provides extensive home visitation services to assess client risk factors and client strengths; develop a case plan with clients; and make sure that clients are linked to needed health and social services, such as prenatal care.  AHSI clients are in the program from pregnancy until the infant turns two, enabling them to make a meaningful difference in their clients’ lives.  Natasha’s leadership, skills and knowledge has helped AHSI provide needed, quality services to some of Atlanta’s most vulnerable women, children and families.

Natasha serves with a number of community organizations including the March of Dimes Program and Services Committee.

Natasha has been happily married for 15 years to Anthony Worthy and is the proud mother of two amazing children, Leigh Worthy, 14 years old and Emmanuel Worthy, 10 years old.  Natasha enjoys leading praise and worship in her church choir.  Natasha also enjoys participating in Dawn-Breakers Toastmasters Club and a monthly book club with her friends.

Jo-Ellen McDonough, PhD, RN, BC, CNE

Jo-Ellen McDonough, PhD, RN, BC, CNE received a Bachelor of Science, with a major in Nursing, from Rutgers the State University of New Jersey. She started her career in Labor & Delivery and then spent 4 years at Gorgas Hospital, Balboa, former Panama Canal Zone as a staff and research nurse where she learned to speak fluent Spanish and travelled extensively. After returning to the USA, she worked as a Nurse Manager in NJ, married Brian Catto, her husband of 41 years, and set off on an educational journey that took them to New Orleans, LA, Bethesda, MD and Cleveland, OH before settling in Augusta, GA in 1984 with their four children.

Along the way, Jo-Ellen acquired an MSN in Medical-Surgical Nursing and Nursing Administration from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH and a PhD in Nursing Science from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. She taught at the Schools/Colleges of Nursing at the Medical College of Georgia (now Augusta University), Georgia Southern University, the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina Aiken from where she retired in 2012. She has continued to work part-time as needed. Her favorite course to teach is Fundamentals of Nursing to first semester nursing students because she believes that setting solid foundations, in terms of skills and attitudes, is crucial to creating a good nurse. In addition, she has taught Community/Public Health Nursing for over 30 years to senior nursing students, all while maintaining part-time clinical practice.

Jo-Ellen has served on numerous community and nursing boards and has been a member of GPA since 2007. She chaired the 2008 GPA Annual Conference. She was on the GPA Board 2007-2012 and returned to the Board in 2015. She was elected Treasurer in Fall 2015 and continues in that role. She looks forward to moving GA Perinatal Association towards its 50th Anniversary in 2027!

Diane Youmans, RN, MSN

Genetic testing, coupled with advanced perinatal/neonatal care, has changed the landscape in perinatal nursing. Babies with lethal conditions are diagnosed early in pregnancy and families are faced with making very difficult decisions before birth. Perinatal Palliative Care provides options for those families who choose to continue the pregnancy. Families are provided information and counseling from a team of professionals who assist the family in these tough choices and support them as they prepare to parent their special baby.  Staff are supported with education and resources to assist in the care of these families.

Memorial Health in Savannah hired their first Perinatal Palliative Care Coordinator, Diane Youmans RN, MSN in October 2016.  Diane has focused her first few months on understanding the current culture of palliative care and bereavement support services in Memorial’s Women’s Services and getting herself better educated to the role of coordinator.

Since October, Diane has completed Resolve Through Sharing Coordinator training along with 4 staff members who are designated champions for the individual nursing units. Together they have reorganized all of the available resources making them easier to access for the staff. The Labor and Delivery unit has a room designated for supplies to include literature, clothing, hats and blankets. The room has been renovated to also serve as a respite area for staff or family.

Standardization of literature and creating a brochure specific to the facility has been completed. Classes for staff education are scheduled throughout the year with a goal of having all Maternal-Infant staff through the classes by 2018.  Throughout all of the reorganization, the families continue to be served with compassion and with a new communication system in place, staff are more informed about family wishes and dynamics.

Life is filled with transitions. Death is our final transition in life, which is why we chose to use that concept for our program. Our goal for our families is to help them through these transitions with compassion and relationship-based care. Although every family and situation is unique, advanced planning and multidisciplinary perinatal palliative care can provide families with the support and resources to make a difficult decision into a beautiful memory.

Dina Herren, BSN, IBCLC, MSN, NP-C

Dina Herren graduated from University of North Florida in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Walden University in 2014 with a Master of Science and specialty with Family Nurse Practitioner.

Dina lives in Nashville, Georgia. She has 2 children, Josie, 8 years old, and Cole, 6 years old. She has been happily married to James Herren for the past 10 years. Dina has a twin sister, Gina Christopher, who is also a nurse practitioner. Gina and Dina received their BSN together and pursued their nurse practitioner degrees separately. She has attended the Twins Day Festival for the past 14 years with her twin sister located in Twinsburg, OH. Also, she enjoys spending time with her family, the beach, and reading.

Dina became credentialed and a member in 2015 with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). She obtained her International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) October 2015. Dina worked for 15 years as a Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery, Newborn Nursery, and Perinatal Home Health. She worked for 6 years as the Women and Children’s Nurse Educator at Tift Regional Medical Center. In addition, she is an ACLS, ACLS-OB, BLS, & PALS instructor. Currently, Dina is president of GPA and has served on the GPA board since 2007. Dina is passionate about improving the health and outcomes of mothers and babies.