Cordelia S. Hanna-Cheruiyot, MPH, CHES, ICCE, CLE, CBA
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director
Cordelia S. Hanna-Cheruiyot is CEO, Founder and Executive Director of our organization. She is also our principal course leader and curriculum developer for our courses and oversees the work of the volunteers, employees, interns, and board.
A third-generation community activist and grassroots organizer working for social justice, in 2010, Cordelia founded the organization 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, and to provide economic opportunities for persons from marginalized communities to work in the birth professions.
Cordelia has worked in the field of maternity care for 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/ Maternal-Child Health from Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. Cordelia received her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington, where she majored in Theatre, Dance and Vocal Music. Cordelia is pursuing a Doctorate in Public Health (Dr.PH) from Walden University in Health Education and Promotion/Global Health. Ms. Hanna-Cheruiyot’s research interests are infant and maternal mortality and the professional Doula’s role in reducing ethnic perinatal health disparities; her research is focused on birth outcomes of African-American pregnant ex-patriots living in Africa.
Ms. Hanna-Cheruiyot 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 since 1991.
Ms. Hanna-Cheruiyot 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 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, evidence-based childbirth education for Medi-Cal recipients.
Formerly a Doula trainer for The Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators, Cordelia was the first to offer doula training workshops for Black Infant Health (BIH) Community Health Outreach Workers from BIH programs in various counties in California, enabling them to become Community-Based Doulas, serving African-American families.
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 for all low-income families.
In 1999-2000, Cordelia helped establish one of the very first freestanding birth centers in Los Angeles run by Licensed Midwives, The Hollywood Birth Center. Here, she received supervised clinical training from Licensed Midwives while pursuing requirements to become a Certified Professional Midwife/Licensed 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 and has a new grand-baby on the way, due in August 2019. Cordelia is “Mama” to a “fur baby” named “Koa Puppy Girl”, an Australian Cattle Dog, who she adores.
Cordelia loves traveling internationally, especially to Kenya, East Africa and Ghana, West Africa, where she has family ties. She loves cooking, dancing and singing in choir. She can found walking on nature trails with her dog or swimming in a mountain lake whenever possible.