Adrienne Griffen

Adrienne Griffen / Executive Director

Adrienne is an advocate and subject-matter expert in maternal mental health. Prior to joining MMHLA, Adrienne founded Postpartum Support Virginia and served as executive director for 10 years, establishing a statewide network of peer-led support groups, creating educational programs for mental health providers and maternal-child healthcare professionals, and helping pass legislation requiring information about postpartum depression and anxiety be provided to new mothers. Adrienne graduated from the United States Naval Academy and has a master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  Adrienne and her family live in Arlington VA.

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Aminat Balogun

Aminat Balogun / Project Manager

Aminat assists senior staff with managing a variety of programs and initiatives, including supporting the Board of Advisors and the Screening Project.  She joined MMHLA in October 2020 as a graduate school intern when she was studying for her Masters in Public Health at the George Washington University, specializing in Maternal & Child Health. Aminat’s professional interests include patient-centered reproductive health care, community-based perinatal care, and improving pregnancy and childbirth experiences for Black women in the United States.  Aminat is originally from Harrisburg PA.

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Mara Child

Mara Child / Strategy and Operations Director

Mara supports the MMHLA team and Board of Directors to implement new strategic initiatives and development efforts. As a connector and communicator by trade and by heart, she is passionate about working on new or rapidly expanding initiatives, with a focus on creating engaged teams and practical strategies to support organizational and systems change. Mara’s own experience becoming a parent and navigating the preconception to postpartum period fuels her deep commitment to increasing access to just, equitable, and quality mental health care for all parents.  Mara has nearly twenty years of experience working with various global health organizations, networks and academic institutions, both in the United States and also while living in Kenya and Zambia for six years. She earned her BA in Public Policy and Comparative Area Studies from Duke University and holds an MPA and MPH in Global Health from the University of Washington.  Mara and her family live in Vemont.

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Suzanne Elliot

Suzanne Elliot / Social Media Manager

Suzanne manages the social media platforms and edits content for MMHLA. Previously, she provided administrative support to Postpartum Support Virginia, assisting the Executive Director in consolidating information and providing resources to maternal mental health professionals. Given her first-hand experience working with children and families, Suzanne understands that optimal child outcomes stem from maternal wellbeing. She holds a BA from Georgetown University in Arabic Studies and Psychology and is a passionate advocate for mental health.  Suzanne lives in Arlington VA.

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Aminat Balogun

Swetha Kota / Research Associate

Swetha is pursuing a Masters in Public Health degree at the University of Virginia (UVA). Her research interests include improving maternal and child health in the United States, promoting the health of members among underserved communities, and understanding the driving forces behind successful and effective doctor-patient relationships. Swetha graduated from UVA with a B.A. in Biostatistics and Sociology. She is originally from Fairfax, VA, but currently lives in Charlottesville, VA.

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Allison Miessler

Allison Miessler / Research Associate

Allison holds a Master’s in Social Work with a focus on public policy and administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and has worked at the local and state level in Virginia in public policy and constituent services. At MMHLA, Allison uses her research and legislative knowledge to collect information about state initiatives addressing maternal mental health. Her lived experience with maternal mental health conditions has fueled her desire to help other new mothers get the care they need. Allison and her family live in Richmond VA.

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Allison Miessler

Niaja Nolan – Graduate Student Intern

Niaja is pursuing a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Infant Health at George Washington University. Her research interests include improving maternal healthcare amongst Black women in the United States, addressing food disparities and its impacts on health and wellness within marginalized communities, and HIV/AIDS. Niaja graduated from Howard University with a B.S. in Human Performance and Chemistry. She is from the Bay Area in California but currently lives in Arizona.

Email at

Aminat Balogun

Jennie Scheerer – Graduate Student Intern

Jennie Scheerer is a dual degree master’s student at the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy and School of Public Health. Her interests lie in the intersections between maternal health, reproductive health, anti-racism, and US domestic policy. She strongly believes that every person with a uterus should have access to affordable mental health care. Jennie graduated from Kalamazoo College with a B.A. in Human Development and Social Relations in 2014. She spent time working for community-based nonprofits in Chicago and Seattle before returning to Michigan. Jennie is originally from Ann Arbor, MI, where she currently lives with her partner, their cat and puppy.

Email at

Aminat Balogun

Lee Taylor-Penn / Policy Director

Lee Taylor-Penn is a public health advocate passionate about promoting health equity through evidence-based policy making, research, and community engagement. Before joining MMHLA, Lee was a Senior Policy Analyst at Families USA, where she provided policy analysis and strategy support with a focus on maternal health, health equity, and Medicaid. Prior to FUSA, Lee worked at the National Governors Association (NGA) and covered a range of public health policy issues including chronic disease prevention and promotion, vaccination policy, and maternal-child health. Lee has an M.P.A. and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a B.A. in liberal arts from the University of Mississippi. In her free time, Lee serves on the Safe Housing Alliance board, the City of Alexandria Commission for Women, and as an officer on her local neighborhood council. She lives in Alexandria with her spouse, toddler and cat.

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