Who We Are

NCEMCH faculty and staff include public health experts, MCH educators, librarians, implementation science specialists, and technology professionals who have the training, skills, experience, and working relationships necessary to advance the MCH agenda on national, state, and local levels.


Rochelle Mayer, EdD has led NCEMCH for 31 of its 35 years and is a research professor in public policy. Recently, she served as editor of Educating Children for Democracy, the professional journal of the International Step by Step Association, and as program evaluator for the Center for Intercultural Education and Development at GU. She was co-director of the Commonwealth Fund Project on Pediatric Care Linkages for Developmental Services (2004–2006). She served as Principal Investigator of the National Consortium to Advance Education and Public Policy Development in Maternal and Child Health (1996–2002) and the National Education and Information Project (1990–1996), spearheading national program initiatives. She is the recipient of the Administrator’s Special Citation, HRSA’s highest honor to a non-government employee “for building an outstanding information resource to expand knowledge in the MCH community throughout the Nation.” The hallmark of Dr. Mayer’s leadership has been her dedication to advancing MCH through partnership, working closely with MCHB and other organizations. In developing the Bright Futures guidelines, Dr. Mayer led NCEMCH in coordinating four interdisciplinary review panels consisting of over 60 organizations focused on infant, child, and adolescent health and welfare as content authors, reviewers, and supporters.

John Richards, MA, AITP is co-director of NCEMCH, research professor in public policy, and lead for the Health Information Group. He is the Principal Investigator for the MCH Navigator and the HealthCheck Training and Resource Center. For the past twenty years, he has worked on a wide range of MCHB initiatives, including the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, the National Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep, the MCH Library, the Title V Information System, Bright Futures, and the Healthy Start National Resource Center. He also serves as technical liaison with the Center for Child and Human Development, the Georgetown University Medical Center, and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. Mr. Richards is lead author of Advancing Online Public Health Training Systems: Challenges and Opportunities (2016), author of State MCH-Medicaid Coordination: A Review of Title V and Title XIX Interagency Agreements (2008); coauthor of “Collaborative Learning and Technology Skills Development: Evaluation of an Online Annual Grantee Meeting” (MCH Journal, 2011), “Assistive Technology Curriculum Structure and Content in Professional Preparation Service Provider Training Programs” (Journal of Allied Health, 2007), and Well-Child Care: A Bright Futures Curriculum for Pediatric Providers (2008). Mr. Richards has been recognized by HRSA with the Young Leadership in MCH Award and Georgetown University President’s Award for “expertise in technology, discipline-specific knowledge, and creativity in product development."

Jeanne Anastasi, MA serves as a senior program specialist on NAPPSS and has been involved in other projects at NCEMCH for over two decades. Her experience includes development of materials for Bright Futures, development of online curricula on child development, and the development of parent and professional materials for the National SUID/SIDS Resource Center. She also has extensive experience in providing reference services for professionals and the public, including staffing the SUID/SIDS helpline where she had significant opportunities to share information and support in conversations with families, health professionals, state SIDS organizations, and state departments of health.

Jolene Bertness, MEd has over 20 years of experience in the field of health education. As editor of MCH Alert, Ms. Bertness is an authority on current research findings and policy developments in the MCH professional literature. Ms. Bertness’s career has focused on researching, developing, implementing, and evaluating guidelines, trainings, and resources for professional practice. She serves on AMCHP’s Emerging Issues committee and the Oral Health Care During Pregnancy National Workgroup. She has been involved in several federally funded initiatives, including those of MCHB, CDC, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Susan Lorenzo, MLS is an authority on organizations focused on MCH issues, having spent 21 years as a researcher and librarian at NCEMCH. She coordinates communication and project management of NAPPSS. As the author of NCEMCH's knowledge paths, she has been in contact with approximately 800 MCH organizations each year. She researches the information needs of MCH professionals, reviewing hundreds of online resources to develop NCEMCH products.

Mindy Nash and Aubrey Patsika serve as NCEMCH's technology developers. They are responsible for the translation of materials from print to electronic format. Both Ms. Nash and Mr. Patsika ensure that online materials are easy-to-access, accessible to people with differing physical abilities and cognitive capabilities, and are innovative.

Olivia Pickett, MA, MLS brings over 30 years of experience as a professional librarian and 20 years of specialized experience with NCEMCH. She has led the NCEMCH's Knowledge Base through the information revolution, transforming it from a paper and hard-copy collection to an electronic and data/web-based information system. Ms. Pickett oversees information services staff and coordinates with IT staff to develop innovative online products. She is editor of the MCH Thesaurus.

Sarah Riehl, MA serves as researcher and author of MCH Knowledge to Practice online curricula. She has developed training materials on the role of culture in nutrition, mental health and concerns, and is currently developing a curriculum for Safe Sleep.

Keisha Watson, PhD has led evaluations of national HRSA-funded initiatives and serves as program director for the MCH Navigator, developing training products and providing consultation to state Title V agencies for their professional development needs. She holds a doctorate in public health, focused on self-efficacy in health-seeking behaviors and health services program evaluation.