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.
Cordelia is pursuing a Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.) from Walden University in Public Health Psychology. Her research interests are on trauma and childbirth outcomes and maternal and infant mental health.
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 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 as midwives, doulas, and lactation counselors.
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.
From 2015 to 2019, Cordelia conducted Perinatal Support Specialist/Community-Based Doula Training for Latinx and African-American Community Health Promoters/Promatores de Salud from Esperanza Community Housing Corporation in South Los Angeles, California, giving them the tools to promote perinatal health in their community of South Los Angeles, 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 loves traveling internationally, especially to Africa, where she has family ties. She loves cooking, dancing and singing. She can found walking on nature trails with her Australian Cattle Dog named Koa, and swimming in mountain lakes whenever possible.