NCEMCH Staff

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.

Core Staff

Rochelle Mayer, EdD

Rochelle has led NCEMCH for over three decades 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 Rochelle’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

John 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, Strengthen the Evidence for MCH Programs, 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 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). John 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."

Keisha Watson, PhD

Keisha serves as co-lead of the MCH Navigator; in this role, she ensures usability for adult learners and leads efforts to develop and maintain the content management database in technical infrastructure that houses the project’s online learning investments. She developed the online survey and organized findings and recommendations for Advancing Online Public Health Training Systems. Dr. Watson has led evaluations of national HRSA-funded initiatives; her research is focused on self-efficacy in health-seeking behaviors and health services program evaluation.


Olivia Pickett, MA, MLS

Olivia 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. Olivia oversees information services staff and coordinates with IT staff to develop innovative online products. She is editor of the MCH Thesaurus.


Sarah Riehl, MA

Sarah 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.


Mindy Nash and Jonathan Polakoff

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