Research and Policy Manager
Originally from South Seattle, Vanessa Amandla Awethu Vassall is a maternal health epidemiologist and full spectrum Doula whose research and practice centers the life-saving scope of practice of Black, Brown, and Indigenous community-based Doulas, midwives, and ancestral birth workers. Her middle name, meaning “power to the people,” is the spirit of who she is and the purpose of all she does.
For the last fifteen years, Vanessa has developed her maternal health expertise at such agencies as the CDC, HRSA, NIH, USAID, Planned Parenthood, March of Dimes, Black Millennials 4 Flint, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and at local and state health departments in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Vermont to name a few.
Vanessa serves as a gender and environment policy advisor for the Biden-Harris administration, advocating for resource allocation to pregnant women and the birth workers who support them nationwide.
Vanessa advanced to Ph.D. candidacy at Florida International University studying Maternal and Child Health Promotion and Disease Prevention as a McKnight Doctoral Fellow. Vanessa is a proud graduate of Meharry Medical College where she studied Public Health Practice.