Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors brings together a powerful collection of local and national leaders in the fight for women’s health and well-being. Organizations listed for identification purposes only.

Rosana Cruz, Race Forward

For more than 20 years, Rosana has been on the front-lines of racial justice and human rights efforts on the local and national scene. Since 2007, she’s held senior leadership positions in two of the most effective grassroots-led organizations in New Orleans: Safe Streets/Strong Communities and Voice Of The Ex-offender (V.O.T.E.).  Previously Rosana worked with the National Immigration Law Center helping to create the New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice. Prior to joining NILC, she worked with SEIU in Miami, after having been displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. Before Katrina, Rosana worked for a diverse range of community organizations, including the Hispanic Apostolate, the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of New Orleans, and People’s Youth Freedom School. Ms. Cruz first came to New Orleans though her work with the Southern Regional Office of Amnesty International in Atlanta. She holds an MA in Latin American Studies and a BA in Race and Gender. She has lived in New Orleans for over 15 years and is raising a brilliant kid.

Shana Griffin

Shana griffin is a feminist, mother, applied sociologist, activist, researcher, and artist from New Orleans.  Her work explores critical issues at the intersection of race and gender-based violence; housing rights and affordability; sexual health and reproductive autonomy; carceral violence and criminalizing policies; climate justice and sustainable ecologies; gender and disaster; reproductive violence and population control; and art and reimagination. Shana holds a Master’s of Arts in Sociology and two Bachelors of Arts degrees in History and Sociology.  Her current research and activism challenges policies and practices that restrict, exploit, and regulate the bodies and lives of low-income and working class black women most vulnerable to the violence of poverty, carcerality, polluting environments, reproductive legislation, economic exploitation, and housing discrimination. Shana currently serves on the Boards of Critical Ethnic Studies Association (Co-Chair), Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (Chair and co-founder), Women With a Vision (Chair), and Patois New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival. She’s on the leadership team of Gallery of the Streets and INCITE. Shana co-founded the Women’s Health & Justice Initiative (2006) and the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic (2006 – 2010) — which provided safe, affordable, and non-coercive sexual and reproductive health services, education, and advocacy to nearly 9,000 women throughout the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She is creator of Displaced: New Orleans, a timeline illustration of historic and contemporary forms of black urban displacement through policies of slum clearance, blight eradication, urban renewal, and the privatization of public services. She’s the co-producer of ‘Sooner of Later, Somebody’s Gonna Fight Back,’ a documentary and multimedia project on the Louisiana State Chapter of the Black Panther Party; and founder of Assemblage, a curated pop-up collection of books, t-shirts, vintage clothes, vinyl, and more.

Laura McTighe, Columbia University, Department of Religion

Laura McTighe is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University. She received an M.A. and M.Phil. in Religion from Columbia University (2013 and 2014, respectively), an M.T.S. in Islamic Studies from Harvard Divinity School (2008), and a B.A. in Religion from Haverford College (2000). Laura’s research unfolds at the intersection of religion, race, gender and migration in North America, with a particular focus on the American South. Through her dissertation, “Born in Flames,” she is working with leading Black feminist organizations in Louisiana to explore how reckoning with the richness of southern Black women’s intellectual and organizing traditions will help us to understand (and do) Black history, American history and religious history differently. Laura comes to her doctoral studies through more than fifteen years of direct work to challenge structural policies of criminalization and support everyday practices of community transformation. She is the co-founder of the Institute for Community Justice, and currently organizes Religion and Incarceration, a collaborative forum for activists and academics to explore religion, power and the ends of mass incarceration. Laura’s writings have been published in Beyond Walls and Cages: Bridging Immigrant Justice and Anti-Prison Organizing in the United States (2012), the International Journal for Law and Psychiatry (2011), Islam and AIDS: Between Scorn, Pity and Justice (2009), and a variety of community publications. In addition to her work with Women With A Vision in New Orleans, she also serves on the boards of Men & Women In Prison Ministries in Chicago and Reconstruction Inc. in Philadelphia.

Melody M. Robinson, St. Thomas Health Community Health Center

Melody M. Robinson has more than 12 years of experience in community health and public health program development and management. Ms. Robinson currently serves as the Clinical Director of St. Thomas Health Community Health Center. She previously served as the Program Manager for the Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Ms. Robinson was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the State of Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Plan, regional staff across the state and the development of regional cancer control plans. She also served as the Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Louisiana Cancer Control Partnership. She has also been responsible for the development of the Women’s Health Department, Adolescent health Development, and developed the School linked clinic program for St. Thomas. Ms. Robinson has also served as an adjunct Professor for Dillard University and Tulane University School of Public Health. She received a B.S. in Biology from Xavier University of New Orleans and a MPH in Material and Child Health and Health Communication and Education from Tulane University School of Public Health.

Ashley Wennerstrom, Louisiana Community Health Worker Institute; Tulane School of Medicine

Ashley Wennerstrom has been doing community-based public health work in New Orleans for nearly a decade. She is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Tulane School of Medicine where she directs a required community health clerkship that educates medical students about the social determinants of health. She directs the Louisiana Community Health Worker Institute, and she is a co-founder of the Louisiana Community Health Outreach Network. Ashley collaborates with community health workers and grassroots organizations to conduct community-based participatory research on community-identified issues including domestic violence, behavioral health, and health care models to serve formerly incarcerated people. Ashley received a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Spanish from the University of Colorado, a Master of Public Health in Maternal & Child Health from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. Community Health Sciences from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Michelle Stiaes, Clinical Psychologist

Michelle Stiaes, Psy.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist who has been working in the field of mental health for over 20 years. Dr. Stiaes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Loyola University in 1990 and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Baylor University in 1996. During her training at Baylor, Dr. Stiaes provided psychotherapy and assessment services to children, adolescents, and young adults in the Texas School System. On internship at Tulane University Medical Center, her clinical rotations included the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital, Charity Hospital and the Tulane University Neurology and Psychiatry Clinic. After graduating from Baylor, she spent three years teaching at Dillard University. Dr. Stiaes became licensed in 2000 and immediately accepted a position with Southeast Louisiana Hospital’s Developmental Neuropsychiatric Program providing assertive community treatment to children and adolescents who were dually diagnosed with a developmental disability and a psychiatric disorder. After six years of civil service, Dr. Stiaes took a brief hiatus during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to assist the Jewish Board of Children’s and Family Services of New York with designing and providing resiliency workshops for mental health professionals who had the difficult task of serving Hurricane Katrina survivors while still having to tend to their own Katrina related affairs. Dr. Stiaes returned to civil service in 2009 and is currently employed by the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities as a Community Psychologist working with individuals of all ages with intellectual/developmental disabilities who exhibit severe challenging behaviors.

Danita Muse, LCSW, LAC, Retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Public Health Practitioner

Danita Muses is a retired Clinical Social Worker Specialist, Licensed Addiction Counselor, Board Clinical Diplomat, and Masters in Public Health in New Orleans. She is one of the founding members of Women With A Vision, Inc. As a harm reductionist, she believes in providing the community with all of the information they need to make an informed decision about their health choices. Danita has a history of providing condom distribution, syringe exchange, health promotion on reproductive health, focus groups on women’s health, breast and cervical cancer education, and HIV testing. Danita also has a more than 25-year history of working in substance-abuse treatment programs.

Eddie Mae Burke, Retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Eddie Mae Burke is retired social worker with more than forty years experience working with the State of Louisiana. Born and raised in Central City New Orleans, Ms. Burke is a graduate of Southern University of New Orleans (BA and MSW) and a member of Theta Phi Sigma sorority. She began her first position with the state in 1969 in the Division of Special Education, where she worked as a Case Manager with the Better Young Men and Boys Club. In 1976, she transitioned to the New Orleans Center for Addictive Disorders, now known as Metropolitan Human Services District. There she met Danita Muse, with whom she co-founded and incorporated Women With A Vision, Inc. in 1991. Ms. Burke is a proud mother and grandmother. She enjoys cooking, sewing, sports, talking, and laughing.


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