Prior to entering the mental health field, Jen started her career gaining a background in education and non-profit management with Junior Achievement, an international organization dedicated to serving K-12 students through hands-on experiences that demonstrate financial literacy, work-readiness, and entrepreneurship. As a program manager, she spent years developing curriculum, leading trainings, and stewarding corporate volunteers and donations.
In 2010, Jen made a career switch and proceeded to obtain a Master's degree in Marital & Family Therapy from the University of San Diego. She completed most of her clinical training at the UCSD Reproductive Mental Health Clinic working alongside physicians, midwives, and psychiatrists to provide a unique collaboration on the screening and treatment of perinatal mood disorders affecting women and their partners during pregnancy and the postpartum period. She also has experience counseling youth and military families while working for the Coronado SAFE Foundation.
Jen is currently in private practice in Point Loma and enjoys supporting couples as they transition into parenthood. She has specialized knowledge in the areas of maternal mental health, attachment & bonding, birth trauma & loss, infertility struggles, and adjusting to parenthood while preserving your marriage.
In her free time, you can find Jen spending time at the beach or in the desert with her husband and 3 children.
Ashley is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). She practices at the San Diego Breastfeeding Center and enjoys helping families through feeding, parenting, and postpartum life. Ashley has a lively 4.5-year-old and she enjoys hiking, playing softball, and reading in her free time.
Arlene Tendick is an established public affairs professional with more than 10 years of community relations, business development and media relations experience and a background in strategic communications in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. She currently runs a boutique consulting firm specializing in public outreach and community engagement. Arlene graduated from the University of Southern California, with majors in Communication and International Relations. She's a mom of two who is using her background in fundraising, coalition building and nonprofit operations to support PHA's mission.
Community Education Chair
Kristen is a Licensed Psychologist in private practice who is passionate about supporting women during difficult life transitions. Kristen specializes in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, trauma, and sleep. She is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia and has completed advanced training in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders through Postpartum Support International.
Kristen loves being part of PHA to increase access to good support for new mothers who may feel overwhelmed. She wants new moms to know that they don’t have to brave it alone and they deserve support. She has a preschool-aged child who keeps her busy when she’s not working with her clients.
Grants and Development Co-Chair
With almost a decade of experience within the entrepreneurial realm, Alexa currently serves as Controller at Correlation Ventures, where she oversees various aspects of the fund's finances and operations. Alexa acts as a liaison between the firm and its diverse community of portfolio companies as well as its limited partners. Alexa holds an MBA from San Diego State University and a BA from The University of Michigan. Alexa is drawn to PHA's mission after herself struggling with postpartum depression after the birth of her first child. Armed with information, resources, and support, her experience after the birth of her second child was tremendously different. Her goal is to help other parents find the support they need to navigate their own journeys into and through parenthood and to reduce the stigma surrounding perinatal mood disorders.
Grants and Development Co-Chair
Dr. Sirena Ibrahim-Rabban obtained her Ph.D. in Social and Health Psychology from Stony Brook University. At Stony Brook, Sirena conducted research to investigate psychosocial aspects of reproductive health including pregnancy, infertility, and birth. Guided by a social and health psychology lens, the goal of her research program was to identify prenatal stressors in expectant fathers and examine how this influences their involvement during their partner’s pregnancy and the postpartum period. Outside of her research, Sirena enjoys spending time with her family, working out, and cooking healthy meals. Sirena is passionate about mental health during pregnancy and the postpartum period as well as educating expecting parents about PMADs.
Equity and Inclusion Co-Chair
Camille is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has over 10 years of experience working in non-profit, government, and private practice. Her roles have varied in program development, case management, and mental health. The different populations she has worked with are homeless/low-income families, domestic violence survivors, individuals recovering from severe medical, substance abuse, and mental health issues. Camille received her BA from Eugene Lang College the New School for Liberal Arts with a concentration in Urban Studies and a minor in Urban Education in NYC. Camille completed her MA in Counseling Psychology at National University at the Costa Mesa, CA campus. Camille has a passion for working with women, children, and families. Camille’s passion for PHA comes from years of working with mothers from pregnancy to postpartum. Camille had her daughter several days before the Pandemic began and not having any support as a first-time mom, was diagnosed with postpartum depression. Camille’s midwife referred her to PHA where she was able to find help to navigate being a mother during this uncertain time. In her free time, Camille loves traveling, cooking, trying new restaurants, spending time with her daughter, cat, family, and friends.
Equity and Inequality Co-Chair
Shivani's early career started in the event & hospitality industry, in which she has a unique background in the sense that she started her own event planning company when she was in High School that led to a career in coordinating large weddings and events. Fast forward to 10 years and Shivani experienced her own mental health concerns. Through her own experience of trying to find help, support, and resources, she realized that her passion and personal mission was to help others. Specifically, Shivani strives to help individuals who are experiencing mental health conditions, change the relationship they had with themselves. As a result, Shivani received her Yoga Teacher Training and got certified to teach Mindfulness, as well as a focus in pre and postnatal mental health, and mindfulness for youth. Shivani's willingness to dedicate her time and energies to PHA steams from a personal tragedy in which, Shivani lost a close friend who was struggling with severe postpartum depression to suicide. Shivani's goal is to continue to fight for more awareness in mental health, but specifically, pre and postnatal care, because every woman deserves to know they are supported and have access to agencies out there dedicated to helping them navigate the challenges of pregnancy, motherhood, and beyond.
Shivani comes to PHA with a lengthy background in non-profit management and program development. As a lead program manager for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Shivani was central in advocating for and developing an Equity and Inclusion program within the Orange County chapter. Currently, Shivani is the Director of Development at The Youth Center and VP of Volunteer Development at MannMukti (South Asian Mental Health org). Her previous Board experience includes being a volunteer Board Member at South Asian Mental Health Organization, MannMukti, and a volunteer Board Member and team member of Intersectionality/Education at We Are Saath - South Asian Mental Health Organization.
Website Development Co-Chair & Interim Program Director
Renata is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and mom of two young boys. Born and raised in San Diego, Renata received her undergraduate degree at San Diego State, and her Master in Children and Family Therapy at the University of Houston - Clear Lake. For over a decade, Renata specialized in working with children and adolescents who have undergone significant trauma at various San Diego non-profits; such as, New Alternatives, Mental Health Systems, and San Diego Youth Services.
In 2013, Renata's own transition into motherhood opened her eyes to the glaring lack of support, and unrealistic social pressures/expectations, parents received during the postpartum period. In 2016, Renata officially pivoted her focus and practice to Maternal Mental Health and has since received extensive experience and training in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), perinatal loss, and the maternal transition/experience within the postpartum period and parenthood.
In between picking up legos and making PB&Js for her boys, Renata runs a private practice that exclusively focuses on providing supportive and educational wellness groups for new moms. Her mission to ensure all moms have a trusted space to navigate the complexities of their role, thus she is ecstatic to join PHA and honored to be a part of an organization that continues to promote the importance of Maternal (and Paternal) Mental Health.
Website Development Co-Chair
Nicole is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Career Counselor, and mom to a little boy with another on the way. She has about a decade of experience in the mental and behavioral health field, working primarily with youth, families, and adults. She has a private practice where she sees clients via teletherapy as well as provides tailored career services to adults. She wholeheartedly believes in the mission of PHA and cares deeply about reducing the stigma of seeking support; thus she feels incredibly grateful to be a part of an organization that provides continuous support and resources to individuals and families during a very vulnerable time and that honors each person’s unique experience.
Social Media Chair
Kristine holds a doctorate in clinical forensic psychology with a background in assisting youth in juvenile detention. Becoming a mom shifted her focus back home and to spending time with her inquisitive and energetic tiny human. Not having an easy transition into parenthood herself, Kristine is passionate about increasing awareness and access to support for those living with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
In her free time, Kristine enjoys camping with her family, dog rescue, and developing her photography skills.
PMADs 101 Training Co-Chair
Amanda is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice. She is passionate about making the journey into motherhood as seamless as possible. Her group private practice focuses on women and mothers, and offers support, education and therapy. Her group practice will also be offering weekly support groups for those TTC, expecting and postpartum mothers. Additionally, she launched an online coaching program for new mothers and loves being able to support even more mothers in this process.
Amanda joined PHA to help support new mothers. After the birth of her first child, she was unprepared for the major transitions required in adapting to new motherhood. PHA is a way to help other new mothers transition into this season of life with ease and to help spread the message that help is available. She now has three children, who fill her life outside of work, with lots of activity and laughter.
PSI National Liaison Chair
Shelby Peterson is a dedicated mother, postpartum mentor, community volunteer, and wife of a police officer. Born and raised in Southern California, Shelby resides in San Diego with her husband Jake, and their three children. Shelby enjoys spending time with her family, serving as a wish granter for the Make-A-Wish foundation, and utilizing her experience in overcoming postpartum depression to help new moms who are struggling with this condition. Shelby is a graduate of Chapman University where she obtained her B.A. in Psychology. She is currently the reigning Mrs. California America where she is using her title to advocate for the maternal health community.
PSI CA-Chapter Liaison Chair
Melissa Nefalar is a second-generation Filipino-American and native San Diegan. Melissa is a mom to three kids, has a spouse in education, and is passionate to work with parents and their families utilizing mind-body and holistic approaches. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Melissa runs a full-time private practice specializing in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, brain spotting, children/teens, and grief/loss. As the PSI liaison co-chair, Melissa is also currently serving on the board of directors for PSI California as their social media chair.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PHA has intentionally decided to leave our events chair vacant for the time being. We hope to return to hosting in-person social, fundraiser, and community awareness events as soon as it is safe to do so. We appreciate our former Events Chair, Angela Bojorquez, willingness to return as a PHA volunteer if we are able to host an in-person event in 2021.
Natalie holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego and her background is in Secondary Education. Natalie's years as a classroom teacher ended when she started a family, however her passion for teaching has only grown exponentially. Now as a mother of three, and Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula, Natalie carries her skills from her teaching career into the motherhood realm, educating new parents on infant development and sleep fundamentals, and helping families develop sustainable routines with their babies so that everyone stays well rested during a time that can be extremely exhausting and overwhelming.
Natalie first became involved with PHA in 2018 after finally taking control of her own PMADs, realizing there was an arsenal of resources available to new parents that she only wished she had known about as a new mom.