Meet Five Community-Based Reproductive Justice Organizations Who Will Take the National Stage This Year

Via the NWHN's HEALTH Program, these groups will receive funding and mentoring, and will have a chance to connect with federal legislators.

Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Women’s Health Network (NWHN), based in Washington, D.C., launched the second annual Health Equity & Access Leadership Training Hub (The HEALTH Program) early this year. The HEALTH Program is designed to build local health care capacity and shape policy by partnering with community health organizations across the nation to: 

  • Address health inequities that disproportionately impact marginalized communities  
  • Advance reproductive justice priorities in federal legislation and rulemaking 
  • Expand health care access through policy and advocacy  
  • Improve health outcomes for women across the life continuum   

“All too often, the U.S. develops health policies without consulting community leaders and advocates who work directly with affected populations,” said Kristen Batstone, the NWHN’s Policy Manager. “Without fail, this lack of inclusion leads to insufficient policy that fails to improve health outcomes and results in people falling through the cracks. That’s why we started the HEALTH program.” 

The selection process for the 2024 cohort began in June 2023. The NWHN looked for organizations that demonstrated a commitment to health equity and aligned with the Network’s mission, vision, and values. In January 2024, the program built on the pilot’s success by welcoming five new organizations into the program:


Angels Protection Inc (Pennsylvania): Angels Protection Inc’s mission is to advance health equity for mothers and their children, young women, and families between the ages of thirteen through twenty by providing vital wrap-around services.

Birth In Color (Virginia): Birth In Color is a reproductive justice organization dedicated to maternal and reproductive health, policy, and removing biases and barriers for people of color.

Right By You (Missouri): Right By You is a youth-focused text line connecting Missourians to abortion care, birth care, adoption and parenting supports, birth control, and information about their rights. 

Trinity Wellness (Maryland): Trinity Wellness's goal is to decrease racial disparity in maternal health and reduce maternal and infant mortality. They provide health education, support, screening, and postpartum concierge services. 

Wellness Para La Mama (California): Wellness Para La Mama’s vision is to provide Latina mothers therapy, support, education, and resources in their maternal mental and emotional health journey.

These organizations will receive both funding and technical assistance from the NWHN, including: 

  • $15,000 in unrestricted grant monies for their participation in the program   
  • Professional development from preeminent reproductive justice experts in congruent fields   
  • Bi-weekly trainings on topics like translating practice to policy, federal advocacy, strategic planning, marketing/communications, and sustainable development  
  • Exclusive participation in an NWHN-organized and led Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill 

“I am ecstatic and grateful to be a part of such an amazing program and cohort. It is very surreal and I am very proud to be representing my community and mothers. I hope to learn how to continue advocating for my community and create bigger policy changes in maternal mental health on a larger scale.” - Susana Marroquin (LMFT, PsyD), Founder & Clinician of Wellness Para La Mama  
“As a young leader of a new, small organization working in the reproductive health, rights and justice space, I am beyond thrilled at the opportunity to join with a group of peers to learn from national experts about how to grow sustainably, build our capacity and our reach, and ensure Right By You and its community members have a seat at the table when decisions are being made that affect our communities.” - Stephanie Kraft Sheley (JD, MHA), Project Director & Founder of Right By You 
"I am excited to start this journey with the National Women's Health Network, eager to absorb valuable insights that will empower me to champion health equity for the underserved communities we are dedicated to serving." - Makaila Davis, Founder of Angels Protection Inc  
“I am thrilled to embark on the NWHN 2024 HEALTH Program, where our journey is not just about health; it's a commitment to empowering, advocating, and transforming lives. Together, we'll redefine what holistic well-being truly means, making strides toward a healthier and more equitable future for all." Kenda Sutton-el, Founder & Executive Director of Birth In Color  
“We are excited to be a part of this cohort and help promote maternal health equity in the US.” - Dr. Marilyn Berchie-Gialamas (DNP, CRNP-c), Health Director & Founder of Trinity Wellness  
To learn more about the HEALTH program, visit our website.  


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