Cordelia Hanna, MPH, CHES, ICCE, CLE, CBA
Director of Operations – Health Net Community Doula Program, Executive Director AWMNH, Principal Course Leader and Curriculum Developer
Cordelia Hanna (Cordelia Hanna-Cheruiyot), is CEO, Founder and Executive Director of The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health (AWMNH), she currently serves as the Director of Operations for the Health Net Community Doula Program.
A third generation community activist and organizer working for social justice, in 2010, Cordelia founded AWMNH, to address a critical shortage of skilled birth workers of color mobilized and empowered to reduce poor birth outcomes among mothers of color and their infants.
Cordelia has worked in the field of maternity care for almost 30 years as a direct-entry midwife, birth and postpartum doula, lactation counselor and childbirth educator. She has a Master’s in Public Health in Health Education and Promotion and Maternal-Child Health from Loma Linda University. Cordelia received her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington, where she majored in Theatre and Dance and Vocal Music. Cordelia attended Walden University’s doctoral program where she studied Global Health; her research focus was on ending maternal mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa and among African-Americans.
Cordelia has certifications as a Childbirth Educator (ICEA), Birth Assistant (ALACE), Lactation Educator (CAPPA) and Certified Health Education Specialist (NCHEC) and Family Planning/Sexuality Educator (CFC). Cordelia was among the very first cohort of Doulas to practice in Los Angeles, starting in 1991. Cordelia has worked with hundreds of families from multicultural backgrounds in community, domiciliary, clinic, public health and hospital settings.
Cordelia has been working on the issue of African-American/Black perinatal health disparities and inequities since 2002. As a Health Educator for the Pasadena Public Health Department Black Infant Health Program from 2002-2012, Cordelia received mentorship and enjoyed a decade of collaboration with the late, great Geraldine (“Mama Gerri” )Perry-Williams, PHN, MSN, Maternal-Child and Adolescent Health Director for the City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Public Health Department Black Infant Health Program. In 2002, Geraldine and Cordelia established the very first community-based Doula program and breastfeeding peer counselor program for African-American/Black clients enrolled in the Pasadena Black Infant Health Program. At Pasadena Public Health Department, Cordelia also developed and taught a series of childbirth preparation classes, filling an unmet need in the City of Pasadena for comprehensive, accessible childbirth education for Medi-Cal recipients. Formerly a Doula trainer for The Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators, Cordelia led doula trainings for Black Infant Health community health outreach workers throughout Los Angeles County enabling them to become Community-Based Doulas.
In the 1990s, Cordelia worked with California Association of Midwives to ratify the law that established a licensure pathway for direct-entry midwives in California and increased access to out-of-hospital birth for all families. She is currently a member of a committee working to pass a law that would include Certified Doulas as Medi-Cal providers, making Doula support accessible to low-income families.
In 1999, Cordelia helped establish one of the very first freestanding birth centers in Los Angeles run by Licensed Midwives. Here, she received supervised clinical training while pursuing licensure as a midwife.
Cordelia is mother to a daughter and son who were home-born, family-bedded, breastfed and attachment-parented, who are now bright and capable young adults. She is also “Nana” to two young girls, ages 3 and 8. Cordelia is proud to be “momma” to a “fur baby” named “Koa Puppy Girl”, an Australian Cattle Dog, who she adores. Cordelia loves traveling internationally, cooking, dancing and singing. She can found walking on nature trails with her dog or swimming in a mountain lake whenever possible.
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