Wallace Center Team

The Wallace Center is a new multidisciplinary research and training center consisting of UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students that aims to advance the health of parents, adolescents, and children with technology, innovation, and community engagement. 

Wallace Center Advisory Committee

Wallace Center Faculty Advisory Committee Members:

Coco Auerswald, Barbara Laraia, Sylvia Guendelman, Ndola Prata, Julianna Deardorff, and Kim Harley. 

Faculty Advisory Committee

Kim Harley PhD (Faculty Director)

Dr. Harley is a reproductive epidemiologist whose work focuses on community-based participatory research approaches to identifying and addressing environmental challenges to maternal, child and adolescent health. She works to engage youth in public health research and action to address environmental health issues in their communities.


Sylvia Guendelman PhD, MSW (Advisory Committee Chair)

Sylvia Guendelman is the Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Program Chair and an Emeritus Professor of Community Health Sciences and Human Development. She is also currently Chair of the World Health Organization’s Panel on Reproductive Health for the Americas.  She is interested in the relationship between stress, maternity leave and birth outcomes among working women. She has served as a consultant to numerous agencies.

Julianna Deardorff PhD

Julianna Deardorff, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Division of Community Health Sciences and head of the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health program, in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, where she teaches graduate level courses in Adolescent Health and Evaluation of Health and Social Programs. She is the Director of UC Berkeley’s MCHB-funded Center of Excellence. Julianna holds masters and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology, with an emphasis on adolescence, and completed her clinical internship at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. Before joining the School of Public Health, she was Assistant Professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF. Julianna’s research focuses on pubertal development, sexual and reproductive health during adolescence and young adulthood, mental health, and related risk and protective factors, particularly among young Latinos in the US. 

Barbara Laraia PhD, MPH, RD

Barbara Laraia is a Professor of Community Health Sciences at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Dr. Laraia’s research program focuses on the influence of contextual level effects on dietary intake, cardiometabolic risk factors and pregnancy outcomes, especially among vulnerable populations. Contextual level effects refer to the household food environment, namely household food insecurity, as well as the neighborhood or built environment measured as one’s food, physical activity and social environment.

Ndola Prata MD, MSc

Ndola Prata is a public health physician and medical demographer from Angola. She is the Fred H. Bixby Endowed Chair in Population and Family Planning and a Professor of Maternal and Child Health.  She earned her medical degree from the University of Angola and an MSc in medical demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She began her career practicing medicine in Angola for 10 years and served as Head of the Social Statistics Department at the National Institute of Statistics of Angola. Shortly after moving to the US, while beginning her tenure as a researcher and lecturer at UC Berkeley, she served as a Demographer/Analyst for CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health for six years, a role she resumed briefly from 2010 to 2011. Prata’s current research is based in sub-Saharan Africa, she is especially interested in family planning, abortion, reproductive health, women’s health, and empowerment and maternal mortality. Her research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of family planning and maternal health interventions that maximize distribution and financing mechanisms to increase access to contraceptives in developing countries, particularly for the underserved populations. Her projects investigate strategies for harnessing existing resources, including human capacity and health care infrastructure while also gathering evidence for setting priorities on national health agendas. Dr. Prata teaches courses and has published extensively on topics related to family planning, financing and ability to pay for reproductive health programs, the role of the private sector in health care, adolescent sexual behavior in developing countries, priorities for maternal health, the use of misoprostol in obstetrics and women’s empowerment, fertility and family planning.

Colette (Coco) Auerswald MD, MS

Colette (Coco) ia an Associate Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Director UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. She holds academic positions at both the both the Berkeley and San Francisco campuses of the University of California. She is a pediatrician specialized in adolescent medicine. Her research consistently focuses on the social determinants of health of our society’s most disadvantaged youth and on structural interventions to positively impact on their health employing a community collaborative and youth-engaged approach. She is the co-founder and co-director of i4Y (Innovations for Youth) and the faculty lead for the Ending Youth Homelessness Catalyst Group.


Cassondra Marshall DrPH, MPH

Dr. Marshall is an Assistant Professor in Residence in the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health program at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Prior to joining the faculty at UC Berkeley, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and received training in delivery science research. She also previously worked as a research fellow in the Division of Reproductive Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has expertise in patient-centered contraceptive care and has conducted studies on women’s contraceptive attribute preferences and method choice, contraceptive decision support tools, and cost sharing and contraceptive adherence. The goal of her research program is to promote reproductive and maternal health equity by developing and implementing patient-centered interventions and care delivery models that meet the needs of and improve the health of underserved women. Dr. Marshall’s current research focuses on health care delivery strategies to improve contraceptive and preconception care to women of reproductive age with diabetes and other chronic medical conditions.

Jaspal S. Sandhu PhD

Jaspal S. Sandhu drives global public health innovation through human-centered design practice, teaching, and advocacy. He is a Professor of Practice in Maternal, Child & Adolescent health at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, where he has designed and taught globally unique, interdisciplinary public health innovation courses since 2010. Since its founding in 2016, he has served as the faculty lead for the Fung Fellowship for Wellness and Technology Innovations at Berkeley, a program that merges digital health, human-centered design, and health equity. He is a managing partner at the Gobee Group, a human-centered design company that he co-founded in 2009 to innovate for the equitable health of populations globally and in the United States. One flagship effort at Gobee is Reimagine Lab, a multi-year effort that is developing creative approaches to prevent family and domestic violence across California’s diverse communities far into the future. Prior to Gobee, he worked with the Mongolian Ministry of Health on technology and innovation in rural health systems as a Fulbright scholar, and for the Intel Corporation and the Nokia Research Center. In 2018, he founded Pink Box Stories, a digital platform to share stories of California’s Cambodian immigrant families that own and operate the majority of independent donut shops in the state. He holds a PhD in Design from the University of California, Berkeley, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He speaks Punjabi, Spanish, and Mongolian.

Siti Juwariyah, MBA - Research Center Manager


Rebecca Reno, PhD, MA, MSW

Dr. Reno is a Maternal and Child Health Bureau Postdoctoral Training Fellow. She has an MSW and PhD in social work from The Ohio State University, and a MA in education policy. Her research agenda is focused on bi-directional translational research, including the development and evaluation of culturally grounded interventions to address social and structural determinants of health contributing to disparate birth outcomes. Reno has clinical experience working with low-income, pregnant women of color, and extensive, interdisciplinary research experience related to understanding and addressing maternal and child health outcomes as a consequence of racial oppression and social injustice.

Graduate Student Researchers

Elizabeth Pleasants is a Master of Public Health candidate in Maternal and Child Health program. She began her MPH in the fall of 2017 and is pursuing an interest in mixed-methods research exploring issues in contraceptive access in the US, with a focus on the intersections between gender, race, health, and technology. She joined the Wallace Center after working with the Women’s Global Health Imperative at RTI International in San Francisco, before which she graduated with highest honors from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where she received her BA in Anthropology with a focus on Medical Anthropology and the effects of globalization on population-level health. She currently works with Sylvia Guendelman on a project examining online health information seeking related to family planning in the United States, with a particular focus on contexts with very poor health women’s health outcomes and access to reproductive health services.

Sarah Han is a Master of Public Health candidate in the Maternal, Child and AdolescentHealth. She began her MPH in Fall 2019 and is interested in nutritional justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive health access. She joined the Wallace Center after working at Berkeley Media Studies Group, a public health and media advocacy organization, as a researcher. She received a BA in Human Biology from Scripps College in Claremont, California. She currently works with Kim Harley on communications for the Center and is researching possibilities and collaborations to use app data to examine fertility patterns and practice.

Aurora Chavez is a Master of Public Health candidate in Health and Social Behavior. She began her MPH in fall 2019 and is interested in reproductive justice, health equity and adolescent health. She joined the Wallace Center after working at Essential Access Health, working on adolescent sexual and reproductive health programs in South Los Angeles, as an Adolescent Health Coordinator. She received a BS in Public Health from California State University, Northridge. She currently works for the Wallace Center and Innovations for Youth and is researching innovative uses and examples of technology in adolescent reproductive health programs and interventions.

Undergraduate Student

Anne Zepecki is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science undergraduate working as a computer scientist and programmer for the Wallace Center. She is working to develop a methodology that analyzes Google Search data, clinical data, and census data to learn more about the demand for and availability of reproductive health services across the United States. Anne was a Software Development intern at Adobe in Summer 2017 on the Adobe Xd team, and will be in New York in Summer 2018 as a Software Development intern at Bloomberg.