Council Overview

The MOMS Maternal Health Leadership Council guides and advises the implementation of the MOMS program. These professionals are the community maternal health representatives serving the program’s target population across the state. Their experiences and perspectives in working with pregnant and postpartum women will help drive the strategic plan of the program as they consider needs assessments and addressing gaps in care. They will help provide oversight of the program by receiving regular reports from the demonstration project. The council will also provide input on the maternal health public education plan.

The council members with program staff, will connect partners in maternal health (such as the Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Perinatal Quality Collaborative), convene stakeholders and coalesce efforts toward mutual goals within improving the maternal mortality and severe morbidity rates in Montana.

Leadership Council Resources

Dr. Tersh McCracken, Chair
MOMS Medical Director and OB/GYN at Billings Clinic

Judge Mary Jane Knisely
13th District Court Judge
Felony Impaired Driving Court (IDC)
CAMO Court (Veterans Treatment Court)

Ann Buss
Title V Director/Maternal & Child Health Supervisor at DPHHS

Tami Schoen
WIC, CPA at Hill County Public Health Department

Dr. Bardett Fausett
Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist and President/Medical Director at Origin Health

Dr. Christina Marchion
Family Medicine/OB at Central Montana Medical Center

Dina Kuchynka
Maternal and Newborn Health Manager at SCL Health-Holy Rosary

Dr. Jean-Pierre Pujol
Medical Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana

Lisa Troyer
Wellness Consultant, PacificSource

Mary LeMieux
Member Health Services Bureau Chief at Medicaid
Perinatal Behavioral Health/Meadowlark Initiative Project Director

Janie Quilici, LAC, LSWC
Perinatal Behavioral Health Counselor at Community Physicians Group

Jennifer Verhasselt, MS, LAC
Sr. Director of Residential and Peer Support Services, Rimrock

Cindy Stergar
CEO at Montana Primary Care Association (MPCA)

Olivia Riutta (alternate for Cindy Stergar)
Outreach and Engagement Manager at MPCA

Vicki Birkeland
Nursing Director, Women’s Services at St. Vincent’s
Montana Perinatal Quality Collaborative

Brie MacLaurin
Executive Director of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

Jennifer Wagner, CPHQ
Rural Hospital Improvement Coordinator, Montana Hospital Association

Dr. Steve Williamson
Chief Medical Officer, Billings Area Indian Health Service

Mission Statement:

MOMS will improve maternal health across the state to make the Last Best Place also the First Best Place to have a baby.

Council Goals:

  • Ensure continuous representation and collaboration of a diverse group of stakeholders, including but not limited to: state and local public health professionals; state Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC); the Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PQC); healthcare providers; payers, representatives of the legislature; the Montana Primary Care Association (MPCA), tribes and tribal organizations; consumers; community-based organizations; and state programs.
  • Identify Montana-specific gaps in maternal health services by conducting ongoing needs assessments
    Assist in developing a Montana-focused strategic plan that incorporates Montana’s 2020-2025 Title V/Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Needs Assessment outcomes to improve maternal health outcomes, address identified gaps and reflect strategies to translate knowledge and recommendations into practice.

    • Devise and support strategies that will lead to a reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity by 50% in five years.
  • Recommend and advance policy changes that will improve maternal health in Montana, engaging representatives of the Montana legislature as necessary.


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