Below is a list of the members of our Governing Council and our Staff.
Carol Berkowitz, MD, FAA, FACEP
Carol Berkowitz, M.D. FAAP, FACEP, is currently Division Chief of General Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and did her pediatric residency at the Roosevelt Hospital in New York. She is a Past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2006, she was the recipient of the Joseph W. St. Geme Jr. Leadership Award, and in 2007, she received the Abraham Jacobi Memorial Award, an acknowledgement by both the AAP and the AMA of her numerous contributions to the health and well-being of children and to the pediatric community. She is the author of several hundred articles and book chapters and is the editor of Berkowitz’s Pediatrics: A Primary Care Approach, a textbook now in its 5th edition.
Ellie Berkowitz-Handler, PhD, Chair
Ellie Berkowitz Handler, PhD, is currently the Chair of the Governing Council at Maternal Mental Health NOW. In her former life before children, Ellie was a Professor of Art History, specializing in Chicano and Latin American Art. After suffering two bouts of severe postpartum anxiety with her first two children, Ellie decided to dedicate her life's work to destigmatizing the issue of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and helping all women suffering from this disorder. In addition to rearing her three children, Ellie both sits on and chairs several other non-profit boards.
Richard Cohen, PhD
Richard Cohen is the former Director of the Federally funded Project ABC, an Early Childhood Mental Health System of Care program in South LA. In his background he combines experience in early childhood education and child welfare, research and evaluation and administration. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from UCLA and an Ed.M. in Education from Harvard. He completed the U Mass Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate fellowship.
Michelle N. Deutchman is the western states civil rights counsel at the Anti-Defamation League. Her work focuses on free speech, religious freedom, hate crimes and bullying/cyber-bullying. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member at UCLA School of Law, where she teaches a seminar on current religious freedom cases and controversies. Michelle suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her son. She joined Maternal Mental Health NOW to fight the stigma that exists around mental health issues and to help ensure maternal mental health is integrated into our systems of care.
Erica Allen Gonzales
Erica Allen Gonzales is a trial attorney specializing in the areas of Personal Injury, and Intellectual Property. Ms. Gonzales has been in practice for more than 12 years, advocating on behalf of injured parties, corporations such as Samsung America, Inc., and some of the world’s most notable music photographers. Ms. Gonzales has been recognized as a Rising Star by Southern California’s Super Lawyers from 2012-Present.
Prior to becoming a litigator, Ms. Gonzales worked as the only attorney at Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR), an international human rights organization devoted to eliminating sexual violence behind bars. As part of her work with SPR, Ms. Gonzales corresponded with numerous survivors of sexual violence behind bars, providing them with legal, and rape crisis counseling resources, and created a database consisting of information solely based on survivor reports.
Ms. Gonzales lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.
Deborah J. Hayes, PsyD, LCSW, MPH
Deborah J. Hayes works with at risk children and their families within outpatient mental health and in public education, school mental health programs. Her expertise includes program development, supervision and clinical intervention in school based projects dealing with issues related to trauma, grief and loss, prenatal substance exposure, early childhood mental health, special needs and family engagement and work with military women (service members, veterans and spouses/partners), and children within military families.
Ashley McCarthy is a wife and mother residing in Manhattan Beach, CA. A Colorado native, Ashley received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and an M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson School of Management. After a twenty-year career in the telecommunications industry, she resigned her post at British Telecom as Senior V.P. to focus on family and volunteer activities, including Startup Next LA and the Mother Nurture Center. As a two-time survivor of postpartum depression, Ashley supports other mothers who suffer with her service on Maternal Mental Health’s Governing Council and Fundraising Committee.
Lisa Osborn, PsyD
Lisa Osborn is a clinical psychologist specializing in maternal mental health, PMADs, reproductive trauma and couples’ adjustment to parenthood. She serves as faculty of Maternal Mental Health NOW, on the Board of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association and Chair of its Governmental Affairs Committee and is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University.
Marie Kanne Poulsen, PhD
Marie Kanne Poulsen is Professor of Pediatrics at the USC Keck School of Medicine and serves as Chief Psychologist, General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Her specializations include infant/family mental health and children with special developmental and health care needs. She is the governor’s appointment to the State Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention. Dr Poulsen participated at the 1999 White House Conference on Mental Health and has presented internationally.
Elyse Springer MA, MFT
Elyse Springer M.A., M.F.T. is a licensed marriage and family therapist focusing on perinatal mental health, death and loss, relationships, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and creative blocks. Elyse is training faculty and Governing Council for Maternal Mental Health Now, board member for 2020 Mom and past co-chair of the LAC HIV Mental Health Task Force.
Penny White, MSW
Penny White has an MSW degree in clinical social work, with a concentration in health care, from USC. She was a maternal/child health social worker, specializing in NICU, at Northridge Hospital Medical Center for ten years. She teaches psychosocial issues/skills to second-year medical students at UCLA. She co-created and co-directed an embedded maternal mental health assessment and treatment program at the USC/Eisner Family Practice Clinic.
Kelly O'Connor Kay
Interim Executive Director, Development Director
Kelly O'Connor Kay, Development Director, works to increase the impact of Maternal Mental Health NOW by raising valuable funds from individuals, foundations, corporations and government agencies. Prior to this position, Kelly served as the Development Director at WhyHunger, a national anti-hunger and poverty organization based in New York City, the Recycling Development Manager and Communications Manager for UK-based Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development (TRAID), and Manager of Communications and Community Outreach at Partnership with Children in New York. She started her career as an elementary school teacher as a member of the first cohort of the New York City Teaching Fellows. Kelly graduated with a BS in Communication Studies & Sociology form Northwestern University and also holds a MS in Elementary Education form Brooklyn College, part of the City University of New York.
Jamela Debelak is the Programs Coordinator for Maternal Mental Health NOW. Prior to this, she served as the Technology & Liberty Director at the ACLU of Washington leading their initiatives related to new technology and civil liberties and before that as the Executive Director of the Center on Law & Information Policy at Fordham University School of Law. She began her legal career at Dechert LLP. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Temple University School of Law and she received her B.A. in Women’s Studies, summa cum laude, from The Ohio State University. In her spare time she teaches spin and yoga.
Gabrielle Kaufman, MA, LPCC, BC-DMT, NCC
Gabrielle Kaufman, training director of Maternal Mental Health NOW, is a dance/movement therapist and licensed professional clinical counselor. Prior to this, she directed the New Moms Connect Program of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles and has spoken widely, published articles on parenting, and served as editor for Bringing Light To Motherhood. She is Los Angeles coordinator for Postpartum Support International and has a private practice providing services in both English and Spanish.
Business & Financial Services Manager