Interdisciplinary Perinatal Health Conference

Milk | Mood | Moves

Virtual Learning & Networking Experience*New for 2022* In-Person Component in Atlanta!

Interdisciplinary conference for health professionals, researchers, and advocates to share the latest science and clinical knowledge of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, focusing on human milk and lactation, perinatal mood disorders, and physiology and biomechanics of the perinatal period. Always LIVE and interactive, never pre-recorded. 

October 26-28, 2022 + bonus day of self-care + healing on October 29th!

9am - 6pm PST


Thank you to our Sponsors

milk |

the science of human milk and lactation and the nature of how bodyfeeding is shaped by culture

Woman sits cross-legged on the floor with a baby on her lap. and her head in her hands with a distressed expression
moves |

Research on the pregnant and postpartum body: implications of movement and physical health on birthing parent and baby.

mood |

The latest on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders including prevention, screening, treatment

Pregnant person on their knees leans backward in a stretching posture

2022 Program will be announced soon.

Until then, check out our 2021 Program Agenda:


2021 Speakers (2022 Lineup Announced Soon!)

Cindy Duke, MD, PhD, FACOG

Dr. Cindy M. Duke MD PhD FACOG, America’s only dual Fertility Doctor & Virologist, is a highly accomplished Johns Hopkins and Yale-trained physician, scientist, entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster, motivational speaker, philanthropist, content creator, and influencer who speaks and writes about issues as they relate to life, health, fertility, female empowerment, and international telemedicine. Dr. Cindy is a nationally recognized speaker on topics as they relate to diversity, equity and inclusion. She is firmly committed to working with anyone who’s platform is dedicated to communicating anti-racism messages and promoting LGBTQIA inclusivity.

Aldene Zeno, MD

Dr. Aldene Zeno is a physician in the Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Southern California. She specializes in advanced treatments for pelvic floor disorders. In addition, she is an assistant professor in the USC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where she teaches medical students, residents, and fellows. She is an active member of her departments’ wellness and diversity/equity/inclusion committees. As a certified fitness trainer, Dr. Zeno recognizes how treating pelvic floor disorders can help women thrive as part of a healthy lifestyle. She is also a proud, new mom to a “pandemic baby.” When not at work she spends most of her time cloth diapering and figuring out what to cook while doing baby-led weaning. Aldene Zeno, MD, completed medical school at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola Univeristy of Chicago, residency at Kaiser Santa Clara in obstetrics and gynecology, and fellowship in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Andrew Rich, LE, CLSC

Andrew Rich (they/he) is a full-spectrum birthworker in Louisville, KY where he also works in a local hospital system. They are a parent to Omega (they/them for now) and married to another amazing trans human, Astrid (they/she). Andrew is a lactation nerd, working on an lactation consultant (IBCLC) mentorship. They serve as the Kentucky State Representative for Appalachian Breastfeeding Network. Andrew is enrolled in a post-bac pre-med program at the University of Louisville as well as a master’s in Healthcare Ethics and plans to start medical school in 2023, eventually becoming a physician and lactation consultant whose work is focused on LGBTQ+ individuals and families. He is passionate about gender inclusion and liberation for families, parents, children—and really everybody!—within medicine and beyond.

Catherine Monk, PhD

Dr. Catherine Monk is Professor of Medical Psychology in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology (Ob/Gyn), and Psychiatry, Research Scientist VI at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and founding director of the newly launched initiative to embed women’s mental health in Columbia’s Ob/Gyn Department (Women’s Mental Health @Ob/Gyn) where she and other mental health professionals help women with stress, depression, anxiety across the lifespan with a special focus on pregnancy and the postpartum period. Dr. Monk’s research brings together perinatal psychiatry, developmental psychobiology, and neuroscience to focus on the earliest influences on children’s developmental trajectories — those that happen in utero and how to intervene early to help women and prevent risk for mental health disorders in the future children. Dr. Monk completed her postdoctoral research training in the Psychobiological Sciences via a NIH T32 at Columbia University. Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since she had her first support as a ‘K’ Career Development awardee in 2001; She was recently appointed to a two-year term as chairperson of the Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health Study Section, Center for Scientific Review. She also has received funding from the March of Dimes, Johnson & Johnson, the Robin Hood Foundation, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and the Bezos Family Foundation.

Jacquana Smith, MPH, IBCLC

Jacquana Smith, MPH, IBCLC is a PhD student in the Psychology department at the University of Cincinnati. Prior to her graduate studies, she was a social/clinical research specialist with the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute in the department of Maternal and Child Health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Jacquana is passionate about serving ignored families, the need for equity, and dismantling systemic issues that prevent families from thriving. In addition to her research roles, she is a doula, a lactation consultant, and the Conference Coordinator of the International Lactation Consultant Association. Most important Jacquana and her husband are parents to their 5 amazing humans. She is obsessed with coffee and finds something so healing about the art of making bread.

Rebecca Powell, PhD, CLC

Rebecca Powell, Ph.D., CLC is an Assistant Professor in the department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She received her PhD in Microbiology from the Sackler Institute, New York University School of Medicine, with her doctoral research focused on the genomic analysis of HIV in West-Central Africa. Her early post-doctoral research was performed at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Design and Development Lab, where she was involved in the design and testing of replicating viral vector vaccines against HIV. Dr. Powell’s background in HIV research brought her to Mount Sinai, where she first found her niche studying the impact of the cellular immune response in milk on mitigating mother-to-child transmission of HIV via breastfeeding. Dr. Powell currently has several active projects aimed to fill knowledge gaps about human milk immunology, exploring: the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination; the antibody response to influenza vaccine; and the design of maternal vaccines to eliminate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV via breastfeeding. Dr. Powell lives in Brooklyn, NY with her partner and 3 children.

Sara Moukarzel, PhD

Dr. Moukarzel conducts research at the Department of Education Studies, UC San Diego at the intersection of public health, communications, and innovative technology. Her research leverages mixed-study designs grounded in social network theory to address two broad topics: identifying effective science communication strategies on social media and identifying sociocultural and curricular barriers against effective preventive medicine education. Her focus in recent years has been on breastfeeding communication within the scientific community and to the general public. In addition to her research interests, she is passionate about leading health promotion efforts that include strong marketing components and require academic/community partnerships. Dr. Moukarzel completed her doctorate degree in human nutrition at the University of British Columbia, Canada and her Master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Faisa Farole, LM, CPM, CLC

Faisa Farole is a first generation Somali-American. She is a licensed midwife with a solo practice in Washington State. Faisa is a Certified Lactation Counselor, she is very passionate about breastfeeding and supporting families who choose to breastfeed.

Kate Havens, PhD, LE

Kate is an Associate Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California. Her academic training is in engineering and biomechanics, and she teaches anatomical sciences. Kate became passionate about perinatal health through her own experiences as a mother and caregiver. Currently, her research focuses on the biomechanics of postpartum mothers during infant care tasks such as walking while carrying baby and lifting baby. She hopes that her research will inform the mechanics underlying lumbopelvic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction. You can find her research group here:

Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook, PhD

Dr. Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at UC Merced and the Director of the LATCH Lab. In collaboration with postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate researchers, Dr. Hahn-Holbrook conducts research on how breastfeeding and human milk interact with psychology and biology to shape maternal-child health. There have been dramatic changes to the way we feed, parent, and interact with children over the last 100 years. The LATCH lab investigates how these changes may disrupt natural systems shaped by evolution to promote maternal-child health while endeavoring to find “workarounds” so modern families can thrive.

Tema Mercado, CPM, LM, CLEC

Tema Mercado is a Xicana Licensed Midwife in California and Partera Profesional Certificada in Mexico , mother to six children and a grandmother to one . Tema was born and raised in San Jose, California and spent her adolescence in Mexicali, Baja California. She believes that birth work can change the world and has dedicated the last decade to birth and reproductive justice on the U.S Mexico Border serving families on both sides of the border. Her midwifery practice and overall work in the community stems from a social justice and heart perspective. She values investing in aspiring midwives of color and teaches online for several midwifery schools and birth & reproductive justice organizations . To find out more about Tema and her work, you can visit her website and her IG page @matrizmidwife.

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