Data and Site Development Specialist
Previously, Rachel worked with the NC Child Treatment Program (NC CTP) as the Program Manager/Improvement Advisor for the Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Learning Collaborative, in addition to providing post-training support for all clinicians trained through NC CTP. As part of FCI’s implementation team, Rachel works through the Center for Child & Family Health to support all Family Connects sites with the database and post-training certification.
Yu Bai, PhD
Yu has worked with Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy since 2008 on a number of projects researching and evaluating early childhood programs. As statistician for FCI, his work includes data management and analysis, as well as developing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
Oregon State Director
Prior to joining FCI, Daijah worked as a project manager, supporting healthy community initiatives across the country. Outside of her work with FCI, she is a childbirth educator, and is dedicated to improving the lives of families through person-level support, supportive programs and systemic change. As part of FCI’s implementation team, Daijah works through the Center for Child & Family Health to manage the roll out of the Family Connects model throughout the state of Oregon.
Kimberly Friedman, JD
Policy Engagement & Analysis Director
Kimberly came to the Center for Child and Family Policy and FCI in 2018. As policy engagement and analysis director, Kimberly serves as a model expert and consultant for public stakeholders as they are exploring development of early childhood systems at the local and state levels. She monitors relevant federal and state policy, provides guidance on public/private funding options and explores opportunities to engage with the insurance/managed care industry. Both in her experience as an attorney and as a business development officer for a nonprofit organization, Kimberly’s career has focused on early childhood.
Ben Goodman, PhD
Research & Innovation Director
Ben Goodman is a research scientist at the Center for Child and Family Policy, focusing broadly on the implementation and evaluation of home visiting programs to improve parent and child well-being, as well as the influence of stress and support on the quality of parent-child relationships, parents’ own well-being, and child development. Ben serves as director of research and innovation for FCI, where he leads a team of researchers and data analysts to evaluate the Family Connects model in communities and collaborate on publishing results of ongoing research.
Krysta Gougler-Reeves, MSW, MPH
North Carolina Manager for Policy & Engagement
Krysta is the North Carolina Manager for Policy & Engagement. In this role, she leads policy engagement and analysis for NC communities and serves as a resource for technical assistance on early childhood policy related to early intervention and home visiting programs. She’s been with Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy since 2017 and previously worked to support individuals with developmental disabilities.
Marty Jarrell joined the Center for Child and Family Policy and FCI in 2018. She spent the bulk of her career leading the development and implementation of communications strategies at an international nonprofit organization focused on women’s reproductive health. At FCI, Marty engages with sites implementing the model to support them in communications and marketing efforts. She creates communications materials for FCI and works to build and manage the Family Connects brand.
Laitoya came to the Center for Child and Family Policy and FCI in 2018 from Duke’s Department of Ob/Gyn Division of Urogynecology, where she was also the division coordinator for the fellowship program. At FCI, her role is in office management, providing financial management support, executive support, and coordinating events.
Anna MacDonald, MSW, MDiv
Anna began working with FCI in 2020. She brings nearly a decade of experience resourcing nonprofits to support the health and well-being of people and communities. As a social worker, she enjoys working collaboratively with diverse partners to advance programs like Family Connects that have the potential to demonstrate equitable, systemic outcomes. Most recently, Anna served as development director for the Inter-Faith Council, and she has previously worked for our partner organization, the Center for Child & Family Health.
Kyle Pennisi, MSW
Kyle received her MSW from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a concentration in Community, Management and Policy practice. She joins FCI and the Center for Child & Family Health with 10 years of experience working on reproductive and maternal health. Kyle has extensive experience providing technical and programmatic support, as well as training. She has worked with health systems around the world to improve maternal health outcomes.
Karen Pope is an analyst programmer who has been with the Center for Child and Family Policy since 2001, working on a number of early childhood projects. As part of FCI’s team, Karen provides database and reporting support to our research team and to Family Connects sites.
Peter Rehder, PhD
Peter is a research scientist working on several projects at the Center for Child and Family Policy, including FCI. His research uses a biopsychosocial approach to understanding parent–child relationships, self-regulatory development, and emerging externalizing and neurodevelopmental psychopathology in infancy and childhood. For his work with FCI, Peter primarily assesses the short- and long-term impacts of Family Connects on parenting and children’s social, emotional, and cognitive functioning.
Anna Rybińska, PhD
Anna joined the Center for Child and Family Policy in August 2019, working as a postdoctoral research scientist on several projects, including FCI. Her research interests focus broadly on the variation in family formation patterns across time, space, and social groups and the implications of family formation patterns on the well-being of mothers and their children.
Meriel Shire, MPH, MSW
Meriel joined FCI in September, 2020, supporting new Family Connects sites in their planning phase in implementing the program model. She brings to FCI a deep passion for maternal and child well-being, and a desire for families to feel supported through the early postpartum days. Before joining FCI, Meriel helped community health centers and youth-serving organizations in Durham, NC implement best practices to promote adolescent access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Megan Squires, MPH, MSW
Acting Director/Implementation Specialist
Megan joined FCI in 2018 as an implementation specialist and assumed the role of acting director in 2019. As leader of the implementation team, Megan works through the Center for Child & Family Health to provide support for communities implementing the Family Connects model. Previously, she worked with the North Carolina Division of Public Health where she managed data and continuous quality-improvement initiatives for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.
Mary Martin Vance, MSW
Mary is a public-health social worker with a background in maternal health. She has worked in evidence-based program implementation for the past 10 years, helping communities to implement reproductive health programs. She is also a doula and a childbirth educator. As part of FCI’s implementation team, Mary works through the Center for Child & Family Health to supports communities implementing the Family Connects model.
Winona Weindling, EdM
Prior to joining FCI, Winona worked with the NC Early Education Coalition, advocating for and researching policies that benefit infants, toddlers, and their families. She has also worked in child care centers and elementary schools supporting young children’s learning and development. At FCI, Winona supports ongoing research projects and reports on program implementation.
Emily Wright, MSN, CNM
Acting Director of Nursing
Through the Center for Child & Family Health, Emily provides training and consultation to nurses across the U.S. as part of the dissemination of the Family Connects model. She also works with Family Connects Durham, providing home visits to families with newborns. Emily has a Masters in Nursing–Midwifery and has had extensive experience with children, including being a birth and postpartum doula and a member of a certified foster family for children ages 0-3. Previously, Emily was the manager of Labor and Delivery at UNC Hospitals.