Executive Director, President
Kay Sandberg, MA
Kay Sandberg is the Executive Director and President of Global Force for Healing. She founded the organization in late 2011 out of a profound commitment to the power of love as a driving force for global transformation. She believes all people, communities and systems have the wisdom and ability, when given sufficient resources and support, to return to wholeness and experience wellbeing, her definition of “healing”. Kay’s inspiration for launching the Compassionate Birth Network draws from her own experiences as a mother and grandmother, including the privilege of birthing with love and making informed birth-related choices.
Kay is a convener, a catalyst, networker, and passionate advocate for equal access to respectful, quality health care and education for underserved groups, focusing on mamababy wellbeing in remote and indigenous communities. Everything she has done has empowered her to lead Global Force for Healing and convene a network of global grassroots projects, always in collaboration with local communities.
Prior to launching the Global Force for Healing, Kay was Co-Founder and first CEO of Health Medicine Institute (HMI), an alternative and complementary healing center. She also served as Executive Director of Health Medicine Forum, a network of holistic health care practitioners. Her experiences leading a diverse group of health professionals and staff expanded her ability to guide people toward common aims.
Kay left the holistic health world to join Lynne Twist at the Soul of Money Institute and Pachamama Alliance. Her work as organizational capacity consultant to the Ikiama Nukuri program at Pachamama led directly to launching the Compassionate Birth Network. Ikiama Nukuri continues as a valued Partner program focusing on training Community Maternal Health Promoters in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Kay currently serves on the Advocacy Subcommittee of the Global Respectful Maternal Care Council. She is a sought-after speaker and convener at global conferences, most recently at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. In her home community of Ashland, Oregon she is a member of the Southern Oregon Birth Connections network and an Ashland Culture of Peace Commission Ambassador.
Kay has a Masters Degree in Cultural Anthropology from Stanford University with a concentration in Intercultural Communication and Asian Studies. She is a lifelong learner, with extensive training in diversity & inclusion, fundraising, team performance, leadership and organizational development, and spiritual mastery. Kay has lived and traveled globally, is fluent in Japanese and has some fluency in Spanish. She continues to draw inspiration from the love of her family and dog Lucy.
Our Board of Directors
Cindy Stein, PhD, CNM, MSN, MPH, Secretary
Cindy Stein has been a certified (nurse) midwife for 15 years and a direct-entry midwife before that. She has extensive experience in underserved global communities in Africa and Asia in particular. While Director of Global Programs/Coordinator of Maternal Child Health programs for Real Medicine Foundation until June 2015, Ms. Stein lent ongoing strategic and development support for projects, program design, implementation, measurement and evaluation of programs in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Armenia, Haiti, Philippines and Kenya.
Cindy has also been an independent consultant from 2010 till the present. Recent consultancies have been in Bhutan, Nepal, Uganda, and South Sudan. At the request of Merck for Mothers, she was Senior Clinical Advisor for an mHealth project for use in the low-income setting.
Ms. Stein also has many years of clinical experience as a midwife and nurse midwife in Hawaii and Oregon. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing from the University of Hawaii. Her doctoral research focuses on patient perceptions of respectful care vs. disrespect and abuse by health workers, an issue common to most of our participating projects. Her passion for compassionate, woman-centered care is completely aligned with Global Force for Healing principles and practices.
Cindy is a practicing midwife in Santa Cruz, CA and the mother of four children. She is delighted to serve on the Global Force for Healing board to stay connected to global grassroots initiatives that help ensure the health and wellbeing of mamababy and demonstrate compassion in action.
Melissa Cheyney, PhD, CPM, LDM, Chair
Dr. Cheyney is the co-director of Uplift Lab, a research and reproductive equity laboratory at Oregon State University. As Professor of Clinical Medical Anthropology, she serves as the primary investigator on more than 20 maternal and infant health-related research projects, including the Community Doula Program with funding from the NIH, NSF, American Institutes of Research, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Inter‐community Health Network, CCO. She is also the interim co-director of the Quality Maternal and Newborn Care (QMNC) global research alliance along with Holly Kennedy.
She is the author of an ethnography entitled Born at Home (2010, Wadsworth Press), co-editor with Robbie Davis-Floyd of Birth in Eight Cultures (2019, Waveland Press), and author or co-author of more than 60 peer-reviewed articles that examine the cultural beliefs and clinical outcomes associated with midwife-attended birth at home and in birth centers in the United States.
In 2019, Dr. Cheyney served on the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Birth Settings in America Study and in 2020 was named Eminent Professor by OSUs Honors College. She also received Oregon State University’s prestigious Scholarship Impact Award for her work in the International Reproductive Health Laboratory and with the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) Statistics Project. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care.
As a practicing midwife, she brings a unique understanding of the role that midwives play in supporting physiologic birth. She is the mother of a daughter born at home.
Numfor Munteh, MA
Numfor Munteh, the Founder and Executive Director of Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development (CASD), is an energetic visionary leader with twelve years combined career and social entrepreneurship experience. Before founding CASD in 2011, he served in consultancy positions with renowned development organizations such as Population Services International - Cameroon, United Nations Children Fund – Cameroon, and the Institute of Research and Sociocultural Development.
Driven by Buckminster Fuller’s words “You don’t change things by fighting the existing reality; you change things by building new models that make the existing obsolete”, Numfor has initiated several innovative projects on sexual and reproductive health. His initiatives have won several prestigious awards including the Family Planning Quality Challenge 2014 – awarded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation to the most innovative project on making quality matter in family planning around the world.
Beyond Cameroon, Numfor played a key role in consultations on international development drivers such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), Every Women Every Child, and the Adolescents and Youth Constituency at the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH). Since meeting Kay Sandberg at the 2013 Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Numfor and CASD have been a devoted Partner project in the GFH Network.
His passion for a lovely world where women and children survive and thrive at birth, supported by a Master’s Degree in Monitoring and Evaluation, and B.Sc. in Project Management make him an asset to human and organizational development.
Steve Messa, MA
Steve Messa is excited about the opportunity to serve on Global Force for Healing’s Board and looks forward to helping the organization flourish. He is currently Chief Operating Officer at InfluenceLogic, a marketing software company focused on helping social media content creators form partnerships with brands and businesses. During this time, Steve has helped brands such as UGG and non-profits such as Save The Children bring their marketing efforts to the new age of social media influencers.
Like Global Force for Healing, Steve shares the mission of making the world a better place through spreading love and giving back. In turn, he also recently founded Creator.org, an organization dedicated to helping individuals live more fulfilling lives by using social media, technology, and the entrepreneurial spirit to fuel successful careers.
Prior to this, Steve was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Wasabi Ventures, a nationally-recognized venture capital firm, and Director of Sales and Marketing at Mosaic, the popular iOS photography app. Steve has long been fascinated by the way new technology is opening doors for individuals and businesses to connect and engage each other for social good. With a B. A. in Communication and a M. A. in Media Theory from University of New Hampshire, Steve has the rare ability to stay on the cutting edge of the technology landscape and identify new opportunities that help organizations grow, prosper, and give back to the community.
Growing up in New Hampshire, Steve was a well-known drummer and played in a number of folk rock bands. In his spare time, he still makes sure to play shows and keep the music alive.
Our Former Accountability Partner
Micknai Arefaine, MA
Meet Micknai Arefaine (she/they), an award-winning cultural organizer, consultant, and facilitator. She is a founding member of the Radical Imagination Collective, an annual gathering for radical organizers to explore alternative ways of living together. As an extension of her commitment to birth justice, Micknai is a doula with the Community Doula Program (CDP) and a curriculum developer with the CDP-Community College Democratizing Doula Training Project. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Anthropology from Oregon State University where she was instrumental in launching AYA-Womxn of Color Initiative, the first-ever safe and supportive community for and by women of color at OSU. She also served as vice president of the Black Graduate Student Association and vice president of Social Justice for the Coalition of Graduate Employees (Local 6069).
Her graduate research was conducted with her community of women in Northern Ethiopia where she learned how they model, express, and reflect the values of community, trust, care, stability, and futurity through their perceptions and sentiments regarding social and political change. She enjoys her trips to Ethiopia, reading comic books and speculative fiction, long phone calls with friends and family, and spending time in the forest, river, and ocean.
She has been honored with numerous awards, including the E.C. Allworth Cultural Awareness Leadership Award and Scholarship.
Former Board Members Now Members of the Advisor's Circle
Amanda Coslor, CPM, LM
Amanda Coslor has practiced midwifery over the last 10 years primarily in California and now in Boulder, Colorado where she recently relocated with her family. She has also been involved in collaborative philanthropy for more than 10 years, including co-founding the Community Midwifery Fund (now the Birth Justice Fund) and the Thriving Women’s Initiative. Amanda is a member of the Women’s Donor Network and Beyond Our Borders (Women’s Foundation of Colorado).
She is excited to be on the Global Force for Healing Board to positively impact maternal and infant health globally. She is also a Board member of the Groundswell Fund, which focuses on reproductive justice for underserved communities of color in the US. Her work with Groundswell creates a larger frame around reproductive justice that includes the midwifery model of care.
Amanda cares deeply about health care approaches that see people as whole and recognize each community’s ability to heal itself when it has the support and resources it needs. She enjoys creative projects, dancing with her two children, and hiking with friends.
Anne Firth Murray, Advisor
Anne Firth Murray, a New Zealander, was educated at the University of California and New York University in economics, political science, and public administration, with a focus on international health policy and women’s reproductive health. She has worked at the United Nations as a writer, taught in Hong Kong and Singapore, and spent years as an editor with Oxford, Stanford, and Yale University Presses.
She has worked in the field of philanthropy for nearly 40 years, serving as a consultant to many foundations. From 1978 to the end of 1987, she directed the environment and international population programs of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in California. She is the Founding President of The Global Fund for Women, which provides funds internationally to seed, strengthen, and link groups committed to women’s well being. Currently she is a Consulting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University.
Ms. Murray serves or has served on several boards and councils of non-profit organizations, including the African Women’s Development Fund, Commonweal, the Global Justice Center (Chair), and the Global Force for Healing. She is the recipient of many awards and honors for her work on women’s health and philanthropy, and in 2005 she was nominated as one of a group of 1,000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Her book, Paradigm Found: Leading and Managing for Positive Change, is available worldwide from bookstores, or from New World Library.Her book on international women’s health, From Outrage to Courage: Women Taking Action for Health and Justice , with a foreword by Paul Farmer, is available worldwide from bookstores or from Common Courage Press.
Ms. Murray’s personal interests include gardening, beekeeping, and writing. She resides in Palo Alto, California. She has one daughter who is a California attorney.
Aryae Coopersmith, MA, Advisor
Prior to joining our Advisory Circle, Aryae served as Board Chair for Global Force for Healing.
His career has been as a facilitator (including many GFH Board meetings), circle convener, community builder, author, sales executive and entrepreneur. He is founder of One World
Lights (OWL) a community of global citizens around the world with the shared vision of supporting a course change for humanity by supporting each other. The community operates on a “gift-economy,” all-volunteer basis. Open to anyone who identifies as a global citizen, the OWL Wisdom Circles bring together people from around the world to share stories, wisdom and inspiration gleaned from their service in their own communities.
Aryae is also an active volunteer with ServiceSpace, a global community that connects many
thousands of people in dozens of countries. ServiceSpace also operates as a gift-economy,
run entirely by volunteers. They leverage technology to encourage everyday people around the world to do small acts of service. Their aim: “change yourself / change the world.”
He is author of Holy Beggars: A Journey from Haight Street to Jerusalem. This memoir tells
the story of a student, a spiritual teacher, and the spiritual revolution in 1960’s San Francisco.
Aryae has an MA in Humanistic Psychology. He lives near the beach south of San Francisco with his wife Wendy and their cats. When people ask him if he’s retired: “Nope, I don’t believe in it. I’m still working, but now there’s no money involved. Much more fun!”
Kristi Scarpone, MA, Advisor
Kristi Scarpone is a results-driven non-profit fundraiser with more than 25 years of experience working with Fortune 100 companies, high-net worth individuals, and private and family foundations. Her unique approach of aligning people’s philanthropic goals with similarly focused institutions has created unparalleled fundraising success for organizations such as FIRST Robotics, the American Lung Association, LitWorld, Zen Peacemakers, Habitat for Humanity and Girls on the Run. She has mentored non-profit organizations across the United States for more than two decades and currently manages a multi-million dollar portfolio in her fundraising role at FIRST, a global K-12 STEM and robotics program.
In addition to her philanthropic work, Kristi manages high profile strategic partnerships with the National Football League (NFL) - showcasing the science behind professional sports, and TED-Ed - providing life-changing presentation literacy skills for kids to get their innovative ideas on a worldwide platform.
As a former teacher, Kristi finds great joy in teaching others the art and science of fundraising. She has taught college courses and created a video series for kids to teach the fundamentals of budgeting, asking and stewarding. She created the partnership between Donorschoose.org and FIRST to leverage corporate and crowdfunding to bring STEM to America’s highest poverty schools. She is a voice for underserved and underrepresented students by bringing financial resources and opportunity to where it is needed the most.
She is the proud mother of twin daughters who enhance her life with their passions for theatre and archery. As an advocate to eradicate homelessness, she serves on the board of New Horizons, a local homeless shelter and food pantry. Kristi was honored as one of the 2017 NH Most Outstanding Women, nominated by her daughters who noted, “She keeps us focused on what we need to pay attention to in our lives while looking deeply into what others around us may need and how we can fill the gaps.”
Linda Hopkins, M.D, FACOG, Advisor
Linda Hopkins, MD, FACOG joined the GFH board in March 2014 as a women’s health specialist. As a physician in maternal-fetal medicine, her expertise lies in the care of pregnant women who are considered “high risk” due to a medical condition, who become high risk through development of a complication, or have a baby with a prenatally identified condition. In addition, Dr. Hopkins is trained in outcomes research, with a background in global health & nutrition.
Linda graduated from Stanford University in 1991 with a degree in Biology. She then went on to live and work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, East Africa. There she lived near the coast in a small village, serving as a high school teacher. In addition, she explored the local health care community and was witness to the onset of HIV in that region. Following her two year stay, she returned to the US, married a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer and pursued her medical degree at Northwestern University. Linda then moved to San Francisco to pursue training first in general obstetrics and gynecology, then specialty training in maternal-fetal medicine, with an advanced degree in clinical research. She has trained and teamed with nurse midwives throughout her career.
After many years of full-time work delivering and assisting in the birth of hundreds of mothers and babies, Linda moved to Ashland, Oregon with her husband and three young children, working part-time. This gave Dr. Hopkins time to come back to the fulfillment of her life-long dream of again serving global communities. Global Force for Healing is a natural vehicle for that contribution.
Advisor's Circle: Other Members
Dr. Amy Marowitz is a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and an Associate Professor at Frontier Nursing University (FNU) in the Department of Midwifery and Women's Health. She has 15 years of experience in full scope midwifery in and out of the hospital including a high volume practice with the Indian Health Service, and a smaller hospital owned practice for women on Medicaid. She began teaching at FNU in 1994, has taught Antepartum and Intrapartum Care, and now coordinates the Intrapartum course series.
Amy has published and presented on varied Intrapartum topics, including midwifery management of slow labor, management of pre-labor rupture of membranes at term, care of women in early labor, and waterbirth. She has a passion for Global Midwifery, has made several volunteer trips to Haiti, and has designed a Midwifery Curriculum for use in Haiti based on ICM (International Confederation of Midwives) core competencies.
Amy has a Bachelo's Degree in General Studies with a concentration in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Louis University, a Master of Science with a Certificate in Nurse-Midwifery from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Oakland University.
Amy Marowitz, CNM, DNP
Arlene Samen, APRN
In 1997, after 35 years as a nurse practitioner specializing in maternal and fetal medicine, Arlene was asked by His Holiness The Dalai Lama to save the lives of mothers and their newborns in Tibet, where one in ten newborns were dying of preventable causes.
In 2004, she left her clinical practice to found One Heart World-Wide (OHW). While working in Tibet, Arlene developed the “Network of Safety” model, which brings life-saving care to expectant mothers and infants where the need is the greatest.
In 2009, OHW extended the model to remote villages in Nepal and the Copper Canyon of Mexico. Over the course of her work, Arlene has endured political uprisings, earthquakes, and the SARS epidemic to provide women safe, clean deliveries, touching the lives of hundreds of thousands of women to date. In her role as President of One Heart World-Wide, Arlene and her team in the US and Nepal are hard at work to bring OHW to scale in Nepal and globally.
Cris Alonso, CPM, MPH, EMT
Cris is Founder of the Luna Maya Birth Centers* in Mexico established in 2004. Luna Maya provides femifocal, well-woman and midwifery care in the Highlands of Chiapas and urban metropolis of Mexico City. In addition to Mexico, she has practiced midwifery in Guatemala and the US. Luna Maya is a participating Partner of our Healthy, Compassionate Birth network.
Cris was a founding member of the Mexican Midwifery Association and served as President from 2014 to 2017. She also served on the Board of the Midwives Alliance of North America from 2004 to 2010. Ms. Alonso has consulted on numerous projects to strengthen midwifery and improve respectful care in maternity services in Mexico. She is also a student of alternative & complementary healing techniques.
*Birth centers provide a safe space where women can understand and experience their health and wellbeing, as part of a weaving between evidence-based case, cultural values and personal choice.
Jody has two decades of experience in the design and testing of innovative models of care to
improve maternal and newborn health in areas of the world challenged by a lack of human
resources, long distances to care, and cultural, gender, and socio-economic barriers. She is
currently Professor and the Associate Dean for Global Affairs at the University of Michigan, School of Nursing (UMSN). She also serves as Director of the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery at UMSN.
With diverse funding sources including NIH Fogarty, NICHD/NIH, United States Agency for International Development, and private foundations, she has conducted research on the impact of maternity waiting homes as a system-based intervention to increase access to quality intrapartum care for women living in remote, rural areas far from a skilled provider in Liberia and Zambia. She is internationally recognized for her research on the development and testing of new models of care to address the high rates of maternal and neonatal mortality in sub- Saharan Africa. She is currently conducting a randomized controlled trial in Ghana on group antenatal care.
Jody R. Lori, CNM, PhD, FACNM, FAAN
Lauri Hughes, CPM, RM, CLC
Lauri is a co-founder of Community Roots Midwife Collective in Longmont, Colorado. She is a
Certified Professional Midwife, Colorado Registered Midwife and Certified Lactation Counselor®. Lauri began her birth work journey in 1998 as a full spectrum birth doula,
eventually moving into midwifery with a focus on international projects, disaster relief and low-resource settings in Indonesia, the Philippines and Uganda. She is proud to support various Boulder county and international midwifery organizations, as a board member, advisor and volunteer.
Lauri is a life-long believer in the right of all people to make autonomous healthcare choices, so putting her efforts into creating opportunities for them to do so, is intuitive. As a person of privilege, it’s Lauri’s obligation and joy to work hard on behalf of her community, locally and globally. Increasing accessibility to midwifery care is part of this work. She is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with an amazing group of equally impassioned folks on behalf of Global Force for Healing.
Lauri is the proud mom of 4 adult children and Lola to 3 marvelous grandchildren. She enjoys
travel, hiking, SUPing, interior design, knitting and most of all, live music!
For more than 40 years, Lynne Twist has been a recognized global visionary committed to alleviating poverty, ending world hunger and supporting social justice and environmental sustainability. Her extraordinary lifelong fundraising experiences led her to found the Soul of Money Institute and write the award-winning book The Soul of Money. The book has been translated into nine languages and was rereleased in 2017.
Lynne has worked with over 100,000 people in 50 countries in board retreats, workshops, keynote presentations and coaching regarding conscious philanthropy, fundraising with integrity and creating a healthy relationship with money. She is Co-Founder of the Pachamama Alliance in San Francisco, California, where Kay and Lynne met. This in turn led to Kay joining the Soul of Money Institute.
In addition to the Global Force for Healing, Lynne is an advisor to other social profit organizations and is on the Board of the Fetzer Institute. She has received numerous awards, including the UN Woman of Distinction Award. Lynne and her husband live in San Francisco, California, and take delight in their three adult children and five grandchildren.
Dr. Neelam Bhardwaj, MBBS, MD, DRH, PGDHHM
Dr. Neelam Bhardwaj is the Founder & Managing Director of Helplife, an NGO based in Pune, India, where she has been working for the last 20 years to develop and sustain a unique model for mainstreaming differently-abled adolescent girls. She is known for research and innovations regarding safe motherhood in low-income countries. She has spent 29 years at national and international levels to develop, manage, monitor and evaluate MCH (maternal child health) programs, including the integration of reproductive health, and bridging the biomedical model and alternative & complementary (CAM) models of care. Neelam served as global technical advisor in over 40 countries during her tenure with UNICEF, UNFPA (UN Population Fund) and IRC (International Rescue Committee). She has a number of national and international awards and publications to her credit.
Neelam’s journey with Global Force for Healing started many years ago while working in northern Uganda (Karamoja), the region with highest maternal mortality in the country. She has been an active member of the Compassionate Birth Network, as she shares the common objective of compassionate birthing and research that preserves good cultural practices. She has presented at several (pre) conferences since 2013 at the invitation of Global Force for Healing, incorporating human rights issues into maternity practices.
Dr. Bhardwaj holds post-doctoral degrees in medicine and health care management from India, and a diploma in reproductive health in developing countries from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists & Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK. She currently lives in New York City with her husband, also a medical doctor. Neelam is a mother of two sons and has a two-year-old granddaughter.
Ryan Redman, MA
Ryan has been teaching Contemplative Based (meditation) practices and compassion in Sun Valley Idaho for the past 15 years. Ryan is a certified instructor of Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) and serves a pivotal role in developing curriculum for both CEB teachers and students.
Ryan is also a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of the Flourish Foundation (www.flourishfoundation.org), a social-profit dedicated to inspiring systemic change through cultivation of healthy habits of mind that promote personal well-being, benevolent social action, and environmental stewardship.
Through his work at Flourish, Ryan continues to create innovative curriculum and teach contemplative (meditation) program in schools and other community settings. He is also active in local community service as a Rotarian and Hospice volunteer. Along with his love for teaching and philanthropy, Ryan is a devoted husband and father of two boys. With his family he enjoys gardening, camping, hiking, biking, skiing, soccer and surfing.