Cordelia S. Hanna, MPH, CHES, ICCE, CLE, CBA


Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director


Cordelia S. Hanna (Cordelia  S. Hanna-Cheruiyot) is our CEO, Founder and Executive Director. She is the curriculum designer of our courses and our Principal Course Leader.


Cordelia has worked in the field of maternity care for 30 years as a Doula, Lactation Educator,  reproductive/perinatal health educator, midwife and public health practitioner. Since 1991, she has worked with hundreds of families from multicultural backgrounds,  in community, domiciliary, clinic, public health and hospital settings.Cordelia is a Certified Childbirth Educator (ICEA), Certified Birth Assistant (ALACE), Certified Lactation Educator (CAPPA), and Family Planning/Sexuality Educator (CFC), and a direct-entry midwife, trained through apprenticeship.


Cordelia received a BA from Indiana University Bloomington, where she majored in Theatre, Dance and Vocal Music. Cordelia received a Master’s in Public Health  (MPH) in Health Education and Promotion/ Maternal-Child Health from Loma Linda University.  She is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) accredited by NCHEC.


A third-generation community activist and grassroots organizer working for peace and social justice,  the focus of Cordelia’s work has been on addressing ethnic perinatal health inequities and disparities in the USA and Africa. 


Cordelia is pursuing a Doctorate in Public Health (Dr.PH) from Walden University in Public Health Psychology. Her research interests are maternal mortality and the professional Doula’s role in reducing ethnic perinatal health disparities.


In 2010, Cordelia founded the Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health in response to a critical shortage of skilled birth workers from communities of color. Graduates of our courses are mobilized and skilled to reduce poor birth outcomes in their communities.  She founded The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health in 2010 which sponsored the first Human Rights in Childbirth US Summit and Birthing Justice Forum which brought together grassroots maternal health advocates from around the country to advocate for justice in maternity care for persons of color. Under Cordelia’s leadership, 280 persons have graduated from our training and certification programs and are now working in various settings to improve maternal and infant health for pregnant persons of color and their infants.


In 2020, HAPPY MAMA HEALTHY BABY ALLIANCE was founded to reflect our expanding work in the area of infant and maternal health promotion; and to continue to provide training and mentorship opportunities and Community-Based Doula Services.


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 the collaboration with the late Geraldine (“Mama Gerri” ) Perry-Williams, PHN, MSN,  Maternal-Child and Adolescent Health Director for the City of Pasadena Public Health Department’s  Black Infant Health Program (BIH). In 2002, Geraldine and Cordelia established the very first Community-Based Doula Program in Los Angeles County for  Medi-Cal families. During a decade as a Health Educator at Pasadena Public Health Department, Ms. Hanna-Cheruiyot trained  Community Health Outreach Workers (CHOWs)  from Black Infant Health (BIH) Programs throughout  California. 


Additionally, Cordelia developed an evidence-based  childbirth education curriculum and taught classes for the Pasadena Public Health Department, filling an unmet need for childbirth preparation classes for  Pasadena’s Medi-Cal recipients.


In the 1990s, Cordelia worked with California Association of Midwives (CAM) to ratify the law that established the licensure pathway for direct-entry midwives in California. This helped to increase access to midwifery care for childbearing families and increase birthing options. Cordelia 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 families. 


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,  and is expecting her first grandson in August 2020.


Cordelia is “Mama” to a “fur baby” named “Koa Puppy Girl”, an Australian Cattle Dog, who she adores.


Cordelia loves traveling internationally, especially to  Africa, where she has family ties. She loves cooking,  dancing and singing. She can found walking on nature or beach trails with her dog and swimming in mountain lakes whenever possible.