About us

The Wallace Center is a multidisciplinary research and training center consisting of UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students that aims to advance the health of parents, adolescents, and children with technology, innovation, and community engagement.

Our mission

The Wallace Center conducts actionable research in innovation and technology to advance maternal, child and adolescent health and reduce inequities, while engaging community and training future leaders

Our values


We tackle social injustices across the life course to create a healthier and more equitable society


We foster interdisciplinary relationships with students, researchers, and innovators from different fields and sectors


We center communities, engaging individuals with lived experiences as the experts who inform every step of our process


We seek out new ways of research, training, and design to identify inventive, evidence-informed solutions

Our history

The Helen Wallace Center for Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health was established in 2015 with an endowment from Helen Wallace, MD, MPH. Dr. Wallace served as Chair of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health’s Maternal and Child Health program from 1962 to 1980. She was particularly interested in infant health, maternal mortality, health systems change, and expanding healthcare delivery. Dr. Wallace laid important groundwork in the field by fostering collaboration across disciplines at a time when it was rare to do so. Dr. Wallace passed away in 2013 at the age of 99 and the Helen Wallace Center for MCAH was established in her name.

Our team

Kim Harley, PhD

Faculty Director

Dr. Kim Harley is the Faculty Director of the Wallace Center for MCAH and Associate Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Dr. Harley’s research focuses on utilizing community-based participatory methods and novel research technologies (e.g., sensors, wearables) to measure environmental exposures. She is also interested in using technology to conduct research on maternal and reproductive health outcomes.

Marissa McKool, MPH

Executive Director

Marissa McKool is the Executive Director of the Wallace Center for MCAH. Ms. McKool provides leadership and direction for strategic planning, partnership development, and capacity building. She works closely with Dr. Harley to administer and oversee all research and training activities. Her expertise includes strategic planning, program implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and sexual violence prevention. 

Sylvia Guendelman, PhD, MSW

Advisory Committee Chair

Dr. Sylvia Guendelman is the Founder and Advisory Committee Chair of the Wallace Center for MCAH and Professor Emerita at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Dr. Guendelman’s current research focuses on assessing pregnant women and mother’s engagement with digital health technologies and analyzing Google search queries to understand population health concerns. She has published widely on immigrant health, health disparities and the health of working women.

Cassondra Marshall, DrPH, MPH

Assistant Professor in Residence

Dr. Cassondra Marshall is an Assistant Professor in Residence in the MCAH program at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Her research focuses on healthcare delivery, patient-centered care, contraceptive decision support tools, and cost sharing and contraceptive adherence. In addition, Dr. Marshall leads several community-based doula research projects.

Jaspal S. Sandhu, PhD

Assistant Adjunct Professor of Practice

Dr. Jaspal Sandhu is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the MCAH program at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Dr. Sandhu has served as the faculty lead for the Fung Fellowship for Wellness and Technology Innovations at UC Berkeley. He is also a managing partner and co-founder of the Gobee Group, a human-centered design company that innovates for the equitable health of populations globally and in the United States.

Siti Juwariyah, MBA

Administrative Manager

Siti Juwariyah is the Administrative Manager of the Wallace Center for MCAH. Ms. Juwariyah provides administrative support for all research and training activities of the Center. She also supports Wallace Center affiliate research centers including the Bixby Center for Population Health and Sustainability, and Innovations for Youth.

Advisory committee

Julianna Deardorff, PhD

Dr. Julianna Deardorff, is the Director of the Center of Excellence in MCAH and MCAH Program Chair at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Her research focuses on pubertal development, sexual and reproductive health during adolescence and young adulthood, mental health, and related risk and protective factors, particularly among young Latinos in the US. She also has expertise in social and contextual factors related to early adversity, pubertal timing and health outcomes.

Barbara Laraia, PhD, MPH, RD

Dr. Barbara Laraia is a Professor and Chair of Public Health Nutrition Program at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Dr. Laraia’s research focuses on the influence of contextual level effects, including food insecurity and neighborhood environments, on dietary intake, cardiometabolic risk factors and pregnancy outcomes, especially among vulnerable populations.

Ndola Prata, MD, MSc

Dr. Ndola Prata is a Professor of Maternal and Child Health and Co-Director of the Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) program at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Dr. Prata’s current research focuses on family planning, abortion, reproductive health, women’s health, and empowerment and maternal mortality. Her research expertise includes the design, implementation, and evaluation of family planning and maternal health interventions that maximize distribution and financing mechanisms to increase access to contraceptives.

Colette (Coco) Auerswald MD, MS

Dr. Colette (Coco) is an Associate Professor of Health and Social Behavior in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Director UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Her research focuses on the social determinants of health for youth and structural interventions to improve adolescent health through community collaborations and youth-engaged approaches. She is the co-founder and co-director of i4Y (Innovations for Youth) and the faculty lead for the Ending Youth Homelessness Catalyst Group.

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University of California, Berkeley
School of Public Health
2121 Berkeley Way, Room 5302
Berkeley, CA 94720-7360

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