Wanda Nicholson, Chair, MD, MPH, MBA

Wanda NicholsonGeneral Background

  • Professor, General Obstetrics and Gynecology, UNC School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Director, Diabetes and Obesity Core, Center for Women’s Health Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Previously served as ACOG Executive Board Fellow-at-Large and on the ACOG Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women
  • Master of Business Administration, Johns Hopkins University
  • Master of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
  • Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program-Epidemiology, University of California, San Francisco
  • Residency and Internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Doctor of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Growing up in an underserved area of North Carolina with disparate health outcomes, I learned about the importance of access to care at an early age. It was routine for families in my community to travel 1-2 hours for basic health care needs, a fact that still exists among families and communities today. My parents instilled in me the importance of education, commitment and ‘giving back’. Through their guidance, support and my inherited tenacity, I have been able to overcome many racial and ethnic barriers both personally and professionally. My parents also taught me the ‘spirit of engagement’ and instilled in me a commitment to live and work with individuals from different backgrounds, cultures and faiths. In my professional life, I have seen and benefited from working with individuals from different backgrounds and recognize that different perspectives, thoughts and culture bring innovation, sustainability and a broad strategic vision to organizations. A firm commitment to DEIE represents a commitment to diversifying leadership, engaging members at the state, regional and national levels and ensuring a diverse national community of obstetrician-gynecologists that collectively can work to reduce disparities in care and health outcomes. I am honored to serve as the Chair of the DEIE Workgroup.

Beyond Medicine

I live in Durham, North Carolina in close proximity to my two sisters, Sharon and Tammy and the beloved family cat, Chuck. I enjoy walking on the American Tobacco Trail, going to the beach and remaining active with my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which is dedicated to improving health care outcomes and health equity. I am an avid sports fan and enjoy UNC Tarheel basketball.

Stella Dantas, MD

Stella DantasGeneral Background

  • Associate Medical Director for Ambulatory and Convenient Care, Northwest Permanente, Portland, Oregon
  • Practicing Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Westside Medical Center, Northwest Kaiser Permanente
  • Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Doctor of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon
  • Bachelor of Arts in Molecular Cell Biology with emphasis in Neurobiology and Minor in Music, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California


Growing up in Portland, Oregon in the '70s and '80s in an immigrant household of two Asian cultures (Filipina mother and East Indian father) and with a gay brother, I experienced racism and watched the effect oppressive behaviors had on my entire family. Given my own personal challenge to rise above the perceptions in my environment of where I was welcome or what I was capable of achieving, one of my passions throughout my education and career has been inclusivity and making sure diversity of thought, background, culture and experience is represented, valued and truly given a voice at all tables.

Beyond Medicine

I live with my family in Portland, Oregon – my husband Adam, teenage kids Kieran and Mira and our dog Snoopy. We enjoy living in a place where we are 90 minutes from either a day at the coast or skiing on the mountains, and with our favorite hiking and camping opportunities only a short commute away from our home.

Marcela del Carmen, MD, MPH

Marcela del CarmenGeneral Background

  • Gynecologic Oncologist, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
  • Chief Medical Officer, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization
  • Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • Residency in Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Doctor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Master of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Bachelor’s Degree, Emory University


My research has focused on describing drivers and identifying possible solutions to address health care disparities in receipt of treatment and outcomes in patients with gynecologic malignancies. I am a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committees at Massachusetts General Hospital and at Partners, a member of the Diversity Task Force for the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, and a recipient of the Harold Amos Diversity and Inclusion Award, Harvard Medical School.

Beyond Medicine

I was born and raised in Nicaragua and left at the age of 10 during the civil war. I live in Boston. I double-majored in college in Biology and Spanish Literature and continue to enjoy reading, especially Latin American literary works.

Daniel Grossman, MD

Daniel GrossmanGeneral Background

  • Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco
  • Current clinical practice focuses on family planning and outpatient gynecology at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital
  • Director, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a research program in the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco
  • Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, San Francisco
  • Doctor of Medicine, Stanford University
  • Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University


Since 2018, I have led an initiative to expand diversity, equity and inclusion at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a collaborative research program at the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health.

As a researcher focused on issues of access to reproductive health services, I feel it is critical to include the voices of marginalized people most impacted by bias and barriers to care.

Beyond Medicine

I live in San Francisco with my queer family, including my partner, and two amazing teenage young women whom I co-parent. Pre-pandemic, I loved traveling to distant parts of the world; these days we’re focused on beautifying our backyard.

Katherine McHugh, MD

Katherine McHughGeneral Background

  • General Obstetrician and Gynecologist and chronic pelvic pain specialist
  • Assistant Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program Director, Indiana University
  • Developed and implemented both Advocacy and Wellness curriculums into resident education
  • Director of OB Simulation and Outreach, educating Labor and Delivery units around Indiana


The opportunity to advocate for others is what drew me into medicine. I am passionate about education, both with learners and within systems. My work with the Riley Maternal Child Health Simulation Team as the Director of OB Simulation, which visits rural hospitals in Indiana for training and simulation, aims to reduce maternal mortality and improve maternal and neonatal outcomes. I am an activist for abortion access, reproductive rights and access to health care.

Beyond Medicine

I am a mom to two kids and two dogs, took up knitting during the pandemic and love classical music and opera.

Michelle Owens, MD

Michelle OwensGeneral Background

  • Maternal Fetal Medicine subspecialist
  • Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC)
  • Division Chief and Fellowship Director for Maternal Fetal Medicine
  • Recently appointed by Governor Phil Bryant to the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure and also currently serves on the State Board of Nursing
  • Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Fellowship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center  
  • Previously represented ACOG regionally as a member of the District VII Advisory Committee and Co-chair for the District VII Maternal Mortality Committee
  • Served nationally as the Young Physician at Large on the Executive Board, contributing to creation of ACOG’s diversity statement; Fiscal Issues Workgroup Leader for the ACOG 2020 Strategic Plan, and Co-chair of the committee to select the Public Board Member
  • Research and clinical interests in Maternal and Infant mortality, hypertensive and substance use disorders in pregnancy, preterm labor, health disparities and adolescent health


Few places embody historical discourse like my hometown of Birmingham, AL. Over my 20 years there, I witnessed the societal exclusion of people based on race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. I have known the solitude and isolation of being a person of color in a majority environment. As an aspiring physician, I never dreamed that these realities would also extend to the practice of medicine. I know firsthand the challenges of being the lone voice with a different perspective and the sting of feeling powerless to speak my truth. However, I have also experienced the collective benefit of sharing my experiences and knowledge with others while working to accomplish common goals. In my 20 years as a doctor, I have been mistaken for housekeeping, nursing staff and food service workers. My belief was that my white coat and MD made me a physician who happened to be African American; however, I have had to embrace the fact that to most, I am an African American who happens to be an MD. To improve upon these experiences for others — to avoid both negative experiences and complicit participation — is the lens through which I view the importance of diversity and inclusive excellence. I love and am invested in ACOG and believe that she can never reach her full potential without harnessing the strength that is inherent in embracing equity as a priority in all aspects of our organization.

Beyond Medicine

I am the host of “Southern Remedy for Women,” a talk-radio show focused on health issues for women and the people that love them. I like to listen to music, bake, read and play sports in my free time. My husband, Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens, II, and I have three children: Tripp (nine), Joshua and Taylor (six).

Mariam Savabi, MD, MPH

Mariam SavabiGeneral Background

  • Faculty, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tacoma Family Medicine and Obstetrics Rural Fellowship Program
  • Private Attending Physician, MultiCare OB/GYN Associates 
  • ACOG Junior Fellow Chair for District 8
  • Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Representation Workgroup on the Junior Fellow Congress Advisory Council
  • Anti-oppression trainer, District 8 ACOG IDM, residency programs and medical schools 
  • Ryan Program Resident Award for Excellence in Family Planning
  • Previously served as a maternal mortality consultant for the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation
  • Sexuality and diversity education specialist serving the St. Louis City Public Schools for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri
  • Student Diversity Award, University of Kansas


My lived experiences have defined the direction of my career. My intersectional identity as a person of color, the daughter of an immigrant and a refugee, growing up low-income, learning English as a second language, identifying as queer and personally experiencing domestic and sexual violence informs my fight and vision for a world of justice and equitable womxn’s health care. I am a trained anti-oppressive educator and have created anti-oppression trainings for medical providers for the last 10+ years. I strongly believe that an anti-oppressive approach to medicine will ultimately change maternal health outcomes, and I have dedicated my life to addressing maternal morbidity and mortality domestically and globally. I am excited to be the Junior Fellow representative on the DEIE Workgroup.

Beyond Medicine

I live in Tacoma, Washington with my pit-mix, Oski. I love to travel the world, visiting my family and friends, collecting plants and beautiful trinkets, and I love to explore the outdoors. 

Kasandra Scales, MD, MPH

Kasandra ScalesGeneral Background

  • Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Woodbridge Medical Center, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group 
  • Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY
  • Doctor of Medicine, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY
  • NIH, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Diversity Research Fellowship from the National Institutes Health
  • Master of Public Health, Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Board Certification, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology 
  • State University of New York Chancellor Award Recipient
  • Humanism Award, Arnold P. Gold Foundation, 2007
  • Fellow, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Delegate, American Medical Association
  • Member, Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care


Growing up in the inner city of Detroit provided me with a perspective on how health and its social determinants intersect to either promote a community to thrive or perish. From the age of 10, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine and give back to the village that poured into me. I have been unwavering in my commitment to support underserved and marginalized populations. Throughout my educational and professional career, I benefited from diversity initiatives and pipeline programs to provide opportunities and exposures that allowed me to realize my childhood dream. As a public health professional, I learned the importance of listening to the community you intend to serve to create sustainable change. As resident, I served as a Junior Fellow Leader and, since my second year of residency, served as the District II Vice Chair, Chair, AMA Resident Fellow and Young Physician Representative to the Junior Fellow Advisory Council. Within these roles, I have been a fierce advocate for increasing the input and inclusion of younger clinicians within the leadership of our organization. Now in practice, I have served both as a mentor to students of color at various stages in their medical careers and worked with national organizations like ACOG and the AMA on underserved issues and policies as an advocate for physicians and patients. I also serve as a member of the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care with the goal to improve the outcomes of women of color across the country. In my current practice, I am a part of a Health Disparities Workgroup. As a young physician, I am both honored and humbled to be a part of this DEIE Workgroup with the dedication to contribute, with this perspective, to the advancement and enhancement of our organization in a sincere and meaningful way for patients and our profession.

Beyond Medicine

I enjoy photography, traveling, spending time with family and mentoring.

Leslie Smith

Leslie SmithGeneral Background

  • ACOG Staff Representative and Administrative Support Lead, DEIE Workgroup
  • Staff Administrator for the ACOG Board of Directors, Manager of the ACOG National Committee on Nominations and Elections Process and the recently formed Committee on Governance
  • Volunteer staff guide for the twice annual Council on Patient Safety Meeting
  • Previously served as a Program Assistant, Strategic Investigations Division at the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • ACOG Employee of the Quarter, ACOG STAR award, and ACOG LIVE award recipient


As an ACOG staff member, I am thrilled to assist the ACOG Workgroup on Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence (DEIE) in its efforts to achieving the overarching goal of developing a blueprint to guide ACOG in its efforts to advance equity and inclusive excellence in staffing, membership and leadership at the national, district and section levels, and within committees and programming.

Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds, MD, MPH, MS

Bronswyne Tucker Edmonds, MD, MPH, MSGeneral Background

  • Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Training, Duke University Medical Center
  • Doctor of Medicine, Brown Medical School
  • Master of Public Health with a concentration in Quantitative Methods, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Master’s Degree in Health Policy Research, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health and African American Studies, Brown University
  • Currently serves on ACOG’s Committee on Government Affairs, the Legislative Affairs chairperson for Indiana ACOG and is the Incoming Chair of the Indiana Section
  • Previously served on the ACOG Ethics Committee


My advocacy and education-related interests include advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in academic medicine. My research interests are in patient-provider communication and shared decision-making in reproductive health care. I am interested in understanding the impact of race, class and culture on patient preferences and risk perceptions; physician decision-making and counseling; and ultimately, variations in treatment provision and service delivery. Originally from Atlanta, GA, no matter where I live, I have and will always consider myself a GA peach: a Southern Black woman. The South is where the seeds were planted that gave rise to my passions for social justice and health equity. I serve as my department’s Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Diversity. I am also an Assistant Dean for Diversity Affairs for the IU School of Medicine.

Beyond Medicine

I am married to Joseph Tucker Edmonds, an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at IUPUI. We live in Indianapolis, IN with our daughter, Zora, who is 9 years old and the delight of our lives.

Fidel Valea, MD

Fidel Valea, MDGeneral Background

  • Gynecologic Oncologist at Carilion Clinic, taking care of women with cancer including prevention, surgery, chemotherapy and clinical trials
  • Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
  • Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Doctor of Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Medicine
  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Member, AOA National Medical Honor Society 
  • Recipient of: Marquis Who’s Who in the World, Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, Patient’s Choice Award, Castle Connolly Top Doctor, Compassionate Doctor, Top 10 Doctors, America’s Top Doctor for Cancer, America’s Top Doctors


Growing up in New York City as an under-represented minority, I witnessed discrimination firsthand. I was fortunate to rise above it. My life’s experience taught me the importance of fairness and equality for all. I keep those values close to my heart and in play every single day of my life. As a life-long educator and academic physician, I strive for diversity in my department and in the groups that I lead. I am delighted to serve on the DEIE Workgroup of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists so that I can help my colleagues understand the real value of diversity in medicine and life. 

Beyond Medicine

I live with my wife in the mountains of Virginia with our two dogs and two cats. We have four grown children who also live in the southeast United States. We love traveling and spending time in our retirement home at Wrightsville Beach, NC. My hobbies include gardening, fishing, playing ice hockey and I love baseball.