meet the team

Our Directors

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

Founder and Managing Director of the Women’s Health and Maternal Well-being Initiative

I have worked in the Maternity field for a number of years in several roles, including, Doula, Breastfeeding Peer Supporter, Infant Massage Instructor and Service User Representative on the Maternity Transformation Program for Choice and Personalisation. I was a co-author for the Personalised Care e-learning module for the Royal College of General Practitioners and I was a panel member for the Birthrights Inquiry into Racial Injustice in the UK Maternity Services. I have experience supporting people using holistic health practices to improve personal health and well-being, and have assisted in the coordination of free local community health screening events and healthy cooking demonstrations.

My educational background is in Literature and teaching. I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Arts degree in English Literature. My area of research was in the lives of Black women in Abolitionist and Postcolonial literature. It is from this interest and research that my passion for equality is driven.

I have a deep passion for well-being and desire to see people being able to enjoy life to the fullest. Health inequalities and inequities in health care are pervasive amongst people of ethnic minority groups and those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged in the UK. It is my hope that the work conducted by the WHMWI will contribute to reducing poor health outcomes as well as poor experiences of the health care system. 

As the founder of the women’s health and maternal well-being initiative, I envision community-led health and well-being programs that are inspired by local people. These programs should be shaped by what is important to people, taking into consideration the whole person- physical, mental and spiritual (and even cultural). I believe that individuals should have autonomy over their health and be the lead decision-maker in their own care. From the opportunities I have had working with clients I have learned that culturally safe care is central to better outcomes.  

Sheryl Perry, PhD

Sheryl Perry, PhD

I have a background and over 14 years’ experience in clinical research and pharmacology. Currently, I provide clinical regulatory, scientific and project management support to companies trying to get their medicines to market. I have a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry, Master’s in Biopharmacy and conducted my PhD in Population pharmacokinectics.  

I am passionate about promoting good health in my community and church. I have co-ordinated free health screening events, and organised healthy lifestyle seminars and cooking demonstrations to help advance personal health and well-being.

I enjoy the outdoors and travelling, and I love spending time with my family.

Sheryl Perry, PhD.

Dr. Ella Caine, PhD

Dr. Ella Caine, PhD

I qualified as a midwife in 2000. I have practiced as a midwife, educator, and Professional Midwifery Advocate. I see being a midwife as a privilege and I am concerned with enhancing
justice and equity in all my exchanges with birthing women and their families.

In my educator role I am keen for students to develop understanding of how health inequalities and inequity comes about, and how respectful, politically aware midwifery can be a force for change. My most recent research area was in midwifery labour care in midwifery-led units. I am soon to commence a Darzi Fellowship within a Clinical Commissioning Group in the South of England.

I am committed to the vision of the Women’s Health and Maternal Well-being initiative, and our focus on people from African and Caribbean heritage.

I am a mother of 2 daughters and I am involved in my local Muslim community were many of us are of African/ Caribbean heritage. I love living in an area close to the sea and beautiful countryside. I enjoy hiking, cycling, and growing flowers and vegetables. I draw strength and joy from being around my family and friends.

Dr. Ella Caine, PMA, PhD, FNightingale Scholar

Francesca Jackson

Francesca Jackson

I am a mother of one who currently works in the legal sector, specialising in corporate immigration. My educational background is in Law and I hold a Bachelor’s and Masters degree in Law. Part of my research was in women’s and children’s rights and continues to be an area of interest for me.

I am passionate about being a Director for the women’s health initiative because I love what the initiative stands for. I know that many pregnant women and new mothers’ concerns are often overlooked especially amongst the black community and strongly believe that this initiative is the way forward in bridging that gap.

I am a keen cook and enjoy all things food and outdoors. I especially enjoy spending time with my wonderful family.

Francesca Jackson, LLB, LLM.



I am a qualified project and change management professional and specialise in delivering projects that provide digital solutions within the higher education sector.  

I have a keen interest in the area of racial and gender equality within community health care and well-being, and seeing services that are inclusive and that promote respect and empathy for all.  

Women from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds are often under-represented within health care and their needs often go unheard.   I am excited to be part of the WHMWI team to carry forward the vision of empowering  girls and women of all ages through access to education, information and resources to promote their health and well-being, and allow them to make informed decisions about their health. 

In my spare time I enjoy writing and I am a Christian blogger. I write blogs that address different issues faced by millennial women in the areas of relationships, careers, finances and business. I am a plant-based food and fitness enthusiast and I enjoy spending time in nature and exploring the Great British countryside.  

Our Team





I have over 10 years of experience working with young people and their families. I have worked as a Youth Worker and facilitate a number of support groups helping parents. I have a Bachelors degree in Youth and Community Studies and I am currently undertaking a Masters in Integrative Counselling with a hope to challenge the disparities in access to safe mental health services for Black and minoritized ethnic groups.

I am passionate about delivering support to those in communities who are most vulnerable. I love that the WHMWI provides a safe space for those who need their voices, stories and experiences to be heard. The organisation’s dynamic approach will help to raise awareness of the challenges within Black women’s health and well-being, whilst also being a part of the solution. I love that a range of information, resources and support exists across various areas of a woman’s health journey, especially for those from African and African-Caribbean backgrounds.

In my spare time I enjoy learning about different cultures and have a keen interest in learning the Spanish language. I like to try new and adventurous experiences and make special memories with my family (triplet girls and a lively boy). I also spend a lot of time in nature and travelling.

WHMWI Volunteers and INTERNS




Intern and Researcher

I am a socio-medical anthropologist whose theoretical and research interests are centred on the intersections between gender, race, and health. I focus specifically on Black women, having done primary research on the racial disparities found in hypertension rates (and the roles of stress, structural misogynoir, and intra-racial gendered labour inequalities), in addition to secondary research on the related topics of diet, (im)migration, the socio-structural determinants of health, biopolitics, etc, and their roles in our health disparities. I am also pursuing a doctorate at the University of Oxford- starting October 2021- as a Clarendon Scholar. My thesis investigates the current ‘Black maternal health crisis’, framing it within both Western critical gendered-race theories (such as Sojourner Syndrome), and post-colonial Afro-feminist theories.

I aim to centre Black women’s voices (and our experiences throughout the life-course) in both theory and practice, and am looking forward to doing so with the WHMWI.

In my free time, I enjoy jogging, exploring nature in all its forms, and eating good food.

Princess Banda, MAnth

WHMWI SUPPORTERS And contributors

Dr Naomi Anna Watson is an academic  researcher with extensive experience as a nurse,  senior midwife and health visitor.  She currently researches and writes in the areas of black women’s health and wellbeing and cultural competence in nursing, health and sòcial care. She has a keen interest in natural health and healing across the lifespan.  

Dr. Naomi Watson, PhD, MSc. PGDip(HE).

Contributing researcher to the WHMWI, Lecturer at the Open University

Amanda is a new mother to a bouncy and energetic baby girl. She is a qualified medical doctor who is currently working in general practice. She is passionate about lifestyle medicine and is presently undertaking further studies in this area to help her patients. She believes in treating people holistically and helping them educate themselves. 

Dr. Amanda Chisholm, MbChb

GP Registrar , Birmingham

Anna Horn is a doctoral researcher in medical anthropology at City, University of London where her work focuses on group antenatal care in South Africa. Grounded in feminist ethnographic methodology, Anna uses critical race, intersectional feminist and decolonial thought to address her research questions. Other interests include: cultural safety in midwifery practice and educational curriculum, action research and health equity in maternal and child health. 

Anna is a London based postnatal doula and breastfeeding counsellor with over half a decade of experience in the maternal and child health field, ranging from national surveillance on pregnant women living with HIV to frontline work on a busy NHS infant feeding team. 

Anna Horn, MSc.

Contributing researcher to the WHMWI,

Alicia is a midwife with experience of paediatric nursing and working within the early years sector. She has written for multiple publications including The Practising Midwife, Midwifery and Nurse Education Today; and most recently, she has contributed to commentary about responses to the Ockenden Report and the UK’s maternity staffing crisis. She began working with The Women’s Health & Maternal Well-being Initiative in 2021 when she contributed to the initiative’s response to NICE’s proposed changes to its clinical guidance for induction of labour. She has become a regular contributor to the initiative because its tireless efforts to uplift and promote the well-being of Black women and girls speaks to her as a Black woman and mother of a little Black girl.

Alicia Burnett

Midwifery and Nursing Contributor

Our Partners