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.

Email Adrienne at agriffen@mmhla.org.

Jamie Belsito

Jamie Belsito / Founder

A Boston native, Jamie is a former Commissioner on the (MA) Ellen Story Special Commission on Postpartum Depression; is a trustee at her alma mater, Salem State University; and is a Board member of the Massachusetts March of Dimes.  As the former Advocacy Chair for the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health, Jamie led a grassroots movement engaging mothers and families across the United States to help pass the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act in 2016, the first-ever federal legislation addressing maternal mental health.  Jamie is a former candidate for United States Congress, where she used her platform to focus on the health and wellness of women, children and families.  She is committed to keeping maternal mental health a focal point in our nation’s policy, centering communities of need at the heart of access and funding.  Jamie and her family live in Topsfield MA.

Email Jamie at jbelsito@mmhla.org.

Mara Child

Mara Child / Strategy and Development Manager

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 Seattle WA.

Email Mara at mchild@mmhla.org.

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.

Email Suzanne at selliot@mmhla.org.

Allison Miessler

Allison Miessler / State Initiative Manager

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.

Email Allison at amiessler@mmhla.org.

Aminat Balogun

Aminat Balogun / Postgraduate Fellow

Aminat assists senior staff with managing a variety of programs and initiatives.  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. She is also a part time Research Assistant at the Global Women’s Institute, where she conducts research on the prevention of violence against women and girls in humanitarian settings. 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.

Email Aminat at abalogun@mmhla.org.

Aminat Balogun

Madison Allen / Intern

Madison is pursuing a Masters of Public Health degree at the University of Virginia (UVA), specializing in health policy, law and ethics. Her professional interests include global maternal health, improving maternal health care for refugees in the United States and international microfinance as a tool to empower women globally. Madison received her B.A. in Community Development from Covenant College. She is originally from Newport News, VA but currently lives in Charlottesville, VA.

Email Madison at mallen@mmhla.org.

Aminat Balogun

Swetha Kota / Intern

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.

Email Swetha at skota@mmhla.org.

Aminat Balogun

Dagmawit Teka / Intern

Dagmawit is pursuing a Masters of Public Health degree at the George Washington University with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health. She is also a part-time Graduate Student Assistant at the Milken Institute of Public Health where she is responsible for tasks associated with supporting the administration and functioning of the doctoral programs in the department. Dagmawit’s professional interests include evaluating gender-based violence in low income countries, improving maternal health outcomes for Black women in the U.S, and providing human-centered care for refugee populations on a global scale. Originally from Ethiopia, she hopes to utilize her expertise and passion in public health to give back to her community.

Email Dagmawit at dteka@mmhla.org.