Governor Wolf Announces Committee to Address Maternal Mortality

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the creation of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee to collect information to investigate and disseminate findings related to maternal deaths. The committee is the result of Act 24, which the governor signed into law in May.

“With the alarming rate of maternal deaths in Pennsylvania, establishing this committee will help take immediate action in determining the reasons for this phenomenon and, more importantly, help to develop prevention recommendations,” Governor Wolf said. “I’m please to announce the comprehensive and distinguished list of committee members who I am confident will bring their expertise with a shared goal of determining how to address the growing concern of maternal mortality in Pennsylvania.”

“Maternal deaths have been rising in the United States since 2000 and we need to understand why,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Maternal mortality has particularly been a problem in minority populations. This committee features experts in maternal health from across the commonwealth and will help us as we work to take immediate action to reverse this trend.”

The committee, as directed by Act 24 of 2018, must include at least 15 members, and will conduct multidisciplinary reviews of maternal deaths and develop recommendations to prevent future maternal deaths in Pennsylvania.

Members of the committee are identified as follows, including their name, specialty and county:

  • Valerie Arkoosh, Specialist, Delaware County
  • Betty J. Baxter, Registered Nurse, Allegheny County
  • Jason K. Baxter, Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist, Philadelphia County
  • Stacy Beck, Secretary of Health Appointment, Allegheny County
  • Kay-Ella Bleecher, Emergency Medical Service Provider, York County
  • Sonya Borrero, Specialist, Allegheny County
  • Carolyn Byrnes, Secretary of Health Appointment, Dauphin County
  • Joanne D. Craig, Social Worker/Social Service Provider, Delaware County
  • Antoine B. Douainy, Addiction Medicine Specialist, Allegheny County
  • Amanda Flicker, Obstetrician, Lehigh County
  • Julia A. Greenawalt, Registered Nurse, Indiana County
  • Sam P. Gulino, Medical Examiner or Coroner, Philadelphia County
  • Roy Hoffman, Specialist, Philadelphia County
  • Sarah S. Kawasaki, Addiction Medicine Specialist, Dauphin County
  • Dara Mendez, Health Statistician, Allegheny County
  • Nancy A. Niemczyk, Certified Nurse-Midwife, Allegheny County
  • Karen Pollack, Secretary of Health Appointment, Philadelphia County
  • Stefanie B. Porges, Emergency Medical Service Provider, Philadelphia County
  • Jessica L. Riley, Specialist, York County
  • Loren Robinson, Secretary of Health Appointment, Philadelphia County
  • Patricia M. Ross, Medical Examiner or Coroner, Blair County
  • Bette C. Saxton, Social Worker/Social Service Provider, Luzerne County
  • David F. Silver, Psychiatrist, Philadelphia County
  • Nazanin E. Silver, Psychiatrist, Philadelphia County
  • Sindhu Srinvias, Obstetrician, Philadelphia County
  • Steven Smith, Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist, Montgomery County
  • Tara Trego, Department of Health Bureau of Family Health, Allegheny County
  • Christina Vandepol, Medical Examiner or Coroner, Chester County
  • Amy Whitstel, Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist, Allegheny County
  • Dannai Wilson, Secretary of Health Appointment, Allegheny County

For more information about maternal and family health, visit or follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter.