Black father and baby

Evaluation Study Research Team

Primary Investigators

Anu Manchikanti Gómez | Research UC Berkeley

Anu Manchikanti Gomez, PhD, MSc, Co-Principal Investigator 

For nearly 20 years, Dr. Gómez has worked as a health equity researcher with a focus on reproduction and sexuality throughout the life course. She has conducted research both in the US and globally on diverse topics, including contraceptive use, abortion, HIV prevention, gender equity, transgender health, and violence against women and children. Dr. Gómez's current research focuses on three areas: (1) the measurement and meaning of pregnancy planning; (2) understanding contraceptive decision-making within social, relational and structural contexts; and (3) evaluatingthe impact of and evidence base for policies related to reproductive health. She also serves as a co-PI on SOLARS, a prospective, longitudinal cohort study funded by UCSF's Preterm Birth Initiative. SOLARS aims to describe the relationship between psychosocial stress and preterm birth in Black and Hispanic/Latina women in Oakland and Fresno, California. She currently collaborates with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco; the Guttmacher Institute; Planned Parenthood Northern California; and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. Dr. Gómez's work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Society for Family Planning Research Fund, the Berkeley Population Center, the Institute for Research on Labor and Education at UCB, and the Resource Allocation Program of UCSF. 

Dr. Gómez earned her PhD in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010. She also received an MSc in Health, Population and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from New York University.​​

Many of Dr. Gómez's full-text publications can be found on the University of California's eScholarship platform.


Brittany Chambers, PhD, MPH, Co-Principal Investigator 

Dr. Brittany Chambers is a community health scientist dedicated to advancing sexual and reproductive health equity among Black, Indigenous, and Other People Of Color’s (BIPOC). She merges critical and public health theories to partner with BIPOC women and birthing people and organizations to better understand, operationalize and dismantle racism. Dr. Chambers is committed to taking a reproductive justice approach centering in on BIPOC women and birthing people at every phase of the research process. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Human Development & Family Studyis at UC Davis.

To better understand racism, funded by California Preterm Birth Initiative, Dr. Chambers and Dr. Anu Gómez at UC Berkeley, are taking a cell-to-society approach to understand how racism gets underneath the skin to contribute to preterm birth experienced by Black and Latina/x women in the San Francisco Bay Area in the Supporting Our Ladies and Reducing Stress to prevent preterm birth (SOLARS) study.

To better operationalize racism, Dr. Chambers is partnering with Black women and birthing people to reconceptualize racism, to identify novel ways to measure structural racism. She led a project using a community-based participatory approach in Oakland and Fresno to #listentoblackwomen across the reproductive lifespan define structural racism and describe how it shows up in their communities. The conceptual framework that emerged from this work guides Dr. Chambers current research agenda.

To better dismantle racism, funded by a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities K01 grant, Dr. Chambers is developing and piloting testing a racial equity training for perinatal care providers. As an assistant professor at the UCSF, she received a competitive two-year UCSF-Kaiser Permanente Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) K12 award to collect formative data to develop the training. She continues to work with mentors at UCSF and Dr. Leigh Ann Simmons to move forward this important work.

She received her PhD in Community Health Education with a concentration in Educational Research Methods from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and MPH in Health Promotion from Fresno State University.


Deborah Karasek, PhD, MPH, Director of Analysis

Deborah Karasek is a social epidemiologist who investigates how structural contexts shape health over the lifespan and how to target policy solutions. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, her work applies a health equity lens to explore how economic insecurity, neighborhood housing conditions, and social policy impact the health and wellbeing of birthing people. She is currently a BIRCWH Scholar at UCSF, conducting formative investigations to design and test economic interventions, such as ABP, to improve perinatal health for those at highest risk of adverse outcomes. She completed a Transdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow with the California Preterm Birth Initiative. 

She received a PhD and MPH in epidemiology from UC Berkeley.  


Study Team

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Erin Hubbard, MPH 

Erin Hubbard is the Research Coordinator for the ABP Evaluation Study at UCSF. She received her MPH in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health and her BA in Public Health from UC Berkeley. Erin has previously worked on research projects related to community doula care, reproductive healthcare, and birth experiences for women and pregnant people. This research, along with her lived experience, has informed her interests which include solutions to racial health disparities disproportionally impacting Black birthing people, reproductive justice, and health equity. Born and raised in Los Angeles and now a proud Bay Area resident, she is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing the Black families and other families of color in California. 




Monica De La Cruz, MPH, PhD Candidate 2024 

Monica De La Cruz, MPH is a doctoral student in the School of Social Welfare. She received her Master of Public Health from the University of San Francisco and her BS from San Francisco State University. Prior to beginning the doctorate program, Monica worked as a social science researcher at the Pediatric Advocacy Program at the Stanford School of Medicine. Monica has experience developing, implementing, and evaluating community-based programs and conducting qualitative research studies. Her current research interests broadly include identifying and implementing interventions and policies that ameliorate family poverty.



Stephanie Arteaga, MPH 

Stephanie Arteaga is a qualitative researcher on the Sexual Health and Reproductive Equity (SHARE) team at the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. For nearly ten years, Stephanie has worked in health research with a focus on reproductive justice, health equity, and improving health outcomes for communities of color.

Stephanie has experience in a wide array of research processes, including research project coordination, participant recruitment, qualitative interviewing and analysis, and manuscript preparation. Her interests include the impacts of structural racism on the health of Black, Indigenous, and people of color throughout their lifetime, as well as interventions to address inequitable health outcomes. Currently, Stephanie is focusing on the evaluation of the Abundant Birth Project, an unconditional income supplement pilot program for pregnant Black and Pacific Islander people in San Francisco.

​​Stephanie earned an MPH in Maternal and Child Health at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health in 2016, and a BA in Sociology from San Francisco State University in 2013. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys baking and reading.

Meet our Community Researchers!


Anjeanette Coats

Anjeanette was born and raised in San Francisco, California in the Fillmore District. She had her daughter at the age of 18, and still managed to graduate high school. Anjeanette began working for the City and County of San Francisco in 2016, where she started as a PST at the housing authority. Shortly after, she transitioned to DPW, and in 2017, Anjeanette got a job at the Human Rights Commission (HRC) , where she is still working today. The HRC has granted her with the opportunity to work alongside, guidance, and support of Director Davis and Brittni Chicuata. Through their leadership and guidance, she was able to participate in the Abundant Birth Project (ABP). This past year, she also continued to support our Commission Secretary, Cathy Mulkeyer at the HRC with the Close Juvenile Hall Working Group. Anjeanette is also a member of ABP and is working to help serve mothers in community.


Breezy Powell

From Richmond, CA, Breezy Powell is a soft heart, yet strong-minded moma of an amazing baby boy, leader & visionary. Rooted in community with family at the forefront, Breezy is heavy on centering her people, their joy, disrupting racism & dismantling systems that cause harm. She is a licensed massage therapist, doula, and dance instructor. Her nurturing and vibrant energy inspires and opens people up to experience their own innate wisdom, self-love, joy, and healing like no other.




Maile Chand 

Maile Chand is a loving and intuitive birth worker and mother to her daughter and community. She is passionate about supporting youth and people of color on their journey to parenthood and beyond. Maile works to educate and inspire mothers and fathers to be the best parents that they can be so that we can begin to reimagine a better world for our children. She believes everyone should have the right to raise and provide for their family in a dignified way. Maile offers her knowledge of lived experience and navigating community resources to empower families. As a community researcher for the Abundant Birth Project, she strives to fully understand the struggle of Black and PI birthing people in SF and begin to shift our high preterm birth rates and poor birth experiences to healthy and joyful sacred life events.


Sabra Bell

Sabra Bell is a San Francisco Hunters Point Native. Sabra loves working with women and children and is especially interested in preterm births. Because of her lived experiences, she became a Community Innovator with the Preterm Birth Initiative in 2016. Shortly after, she joined the Mother Infant Stress Study.  She received her Community Health Worker Certificate in 2019 and soon became a Community Researcher with Abundant Birth Project.  She’s great at outreaching, networking, managing social media and recruiting.  Recruiting is one of her best assets because she’s relatable to women in her community.  She is also a mom to 3 sons and a bonus daughter.  She loves to remind everyone she works with to prioritize self-care because you can’t help others if you’re not talking care of YOU! 


Tiffany Sagote

Tiffany Sagote is a third generation San Francisco, Bayview native. She is a wife and mother to three magical children (1 daughter and 2 boys) and has worked as a certified medical assistant for 12 years at Kaiser in obstetrics and gynecology. A lover and cook of Black cuisine and upholding fulfilling Black traditions, she is a black art enthusiast. Tiffany is a strong advocate for the progression of Black men and women, and standing ten toes down on the betterment of our people. She believes self love is self perseverance, and she moves and does everything with intention.

“You are your best thing” -Toni Morrison





Research Assistants

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Kennedy Schaffer 

Kennedy is currently a senior at UC Berkeley who will be graduating in December 2022 with a B.A. in Public Health and a minor in Disability Studies. Throughout her academic career, she has pursued opportunities that allow her to actively improve marginalized communities’ health. She is serving as a volunteer for the nonprofit California Black Women’s Health Project and as a research assistant at the Gaw Laboratory- a UCSF Reproductive Lab focused on COVID-19 and its efficacy during pregnancy. Motivated by her upbringing, she is particularly interested in procuring health equity for women of color, with an emphasis in maternal health and adolescent development. She strives to incorporate organization and servitude in everything she does. Her long term goals include advocating and achieving reproductive justice while also pursuing a M.D.


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Amber Randall 

Amber Randall is an undergraduate student in the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley. She is studying Applied Mathematics with a focus on economics and plans to minor in Computer Science. Amber is community driven and volunteers weekly to support elderly citizens in Vallejo access and understand daily technologies. Outside of academics, Amber enjoys crocheting and spending time outdoors with family and friends.



Denise Eastwood

Denise Eastwood is originally from Southern California but her home has been Davis, CA for nearly 10 years. She has grown to find love in community work by empowering community members to take advantage of programs designed to decrease the gap in equity. Denise is a lab manager for Dr. Brittany Chambers at the University of California, Davis. She is involved in several research projects, including the Abundant Birth Project. Denise has extensive experience in community outreach and development, serving residents the Tenderloin area of San Francisco and Tijuana, Mexico to dignify their living conditions.

Denise enjoys utilizing her mind-body connection in an attempt to de-stress. This has lead to nature walks that evolved into half marathon training and a love for self expression in different forms of art. She loves to serve in a physical way and she will join the front lines when able to.




Fine Tuitupou

Fine Tuitupou is a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Ethnic studies. She is originally from LA where she primarily grew up. Her experiences growing up in a low income under-resourced community has cultivated her passion for advocacy. Having witnessed her father serve as a social worker at the Tongan Community Center in Hawthorne, California, she was first exposed to health issues and disparities facing the Pacific Islander community. This is also where she first began to understand the significance of data for its ability to tell a narrative. However she recognizes the importance of understanding how data collected in harmful and racially biased ways can be detrimental to communities of color like her own. Coming from a culture and family of matriarchs she is excited to be working with the mothers in the program. Although she is not a STEM major she recognizes the intersection between STEM and the humanities/social sciences. She wants to utilize her own life experiences as well as the pedagogy in her major, like Black feminism, love, and Pasifika epistemology in relation to birthing to inform the work she does.




Ronnique Currie

Ronnique Currie is a junior at UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources, majoring in Conservation Resource Studies and considering a double major in Geography. She aims to integrate environmental sciences with human geography to address complex issues at the intersection of societal needs and environmental conservation. Born and raised in Oakland, California, Ronnique has an intrinsic commitment to environmental and social justice—themes deeply resonant with both her community and ancestral roots. Advocating