Merry McKenna, RNC-OB, Executive Director, founder and creator of 'Before Baby' Moms Club of Virginia: Merry resides in rural southwest Virginia and is by trade a registered nurse specialist certified in Inpatient Obstetrics with an undergraduate degree in Business and Marketing. Business and nursing seemed a perfect marriage when she first introduced Baby Basics to Southwest Virginia in 2006. Merry served for as the Director and Coordinator of the Southwest Virginia Perinatal Council for over 15 years, as well as the Perinatal Council State Chair. This position was funded through a Title V Block Grant from the Virginia Department of Health. The Perinatal Councils were charged with conducting Fetal Infant Mortality Reviews (FIMR) and program implementation to improve birth outcomes. During her tenure, Merry was also a member of the Governors Task Force on Perinatal Depression and was a team member of the Maternal Mortality Review Board. She presented successful programming outcomes for rural application of Baby Basics at the National American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) meeting in New Orleans, and participated in presenting those outcomes to the Virginia General Assembly Joint Commission on Health. As a result, the Baby Basics Program was later mandated for inclusion in the Virginia Governor's work plan to reduce infant mortality. Merry works in partnership with the March of Dimes Virginia Chapter to implement Moms Clubs across the state and serves on their Maternal Child Health State Committee. As a healthcare consultant, she assists public and private organizations with innovative initiatives to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Liz Marshall, MPH, Program Consultant : Liz is the manager of the Smoking Cessation and Reduction in Pregnancy Treatment (SCRIPT) program at the Society for Public Health Education in Washington, D.C. As a program manager in public health, Liz has experience in planning, implementing, and evaluating grant-funded projects for underserved populations. As a health educator, she has extensive experience facilitating small groups of adult learners. She’s been continuously certified as a childbirth educator (ICEA) and birth doula (DONA) since 1999 and has taught hundreds of pregnant women and their partners in a wide variety of settings, including the prenatal clinics of the Columbus (Ohio) Health Department. In Newport News, Virginia, she led two BB Moms Clubs, including one at a residential drug/alcohol treatment facility for pregnant women known as South-Eastern Family Project. In 2011, she received the Hampton Roads Child Health Advocacy Award from the Consortium for Infant and Child Health (CINCH) for “Grass Roots Advocate.” She has a Master of Public Health degree from The Ohio State University.