The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) at the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) continues and builds on the tradition of the MHTF in ensuring that front-line maternal health workers, policymakers, researchers, and advocates across the world have access to the most current and reliable evidence in the field.

Our vision for MHTF is a space that not only identifies and shares promising research, but serves as a catalyst for research improvement and innovation. In order to reach the Sustainable Development Goal 3 target to reduce maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 births we must invest heavily in research to ensure we are asking the right questions and prioritizing the right interventions.

Ongoing support for the MHTF at the Center of Excellence in MCH comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the U.S. Department of Human Services (HHS) through the Training Grant in Maternal and Child Health. 

For more information, please contact us.


Henning Tiemeier, MD, PhD

Henning Tiemeier is the Sumner and Esther Feldburg Chair of Maternal and Child Health at the Harvard Chan School. Prior to joining the faculty, Dr. Tiemeier…
See full bio>>

Whitney Westhoff, SM

Whitney completed her Master’s of Science in Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in reproductive, perinatal and pediatric epidemiology. Her thesis focused on COVID-19 pharmacotherapy utilization patterns in a large, international cohort of pregnant women. Prior to joining the Maternal Health Task Force, Whitney studied Public Health at Brigham Young University with a minor in Chinese, during which she conducted a program evaluation of the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) program rollout in Hebei, China, and worked in data analysis in the Bariatric Surgery Department at Jiangsu Provincial Hospital in Nanjing, China. Her research interests lie at the intersection of pregnancy and pharmacoepidemiology, guided in part by her own experiences as a mother.

Lara Rostomian, SM, MD(c)

Lara is a recent alumnus of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she earned her Master’s of Science in Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology. Her previous research has centered family planning and sexual health in Middle Eastern and Transcaucasian populations. Her research interests include examining pediatric, perinatal, and maternal health disparities in conflict and crisis affected populations. During her graduate education she worked as a research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Department of Newborn Medicine, examining the effects of COVID-19 hospital practices on breastfeeding behaviors. She is currently working at the Maternal Health Task Force and is a first year Medical Student at Wayne State University School of Medicine, working towards becoming a researcher, advocate, and healthcare provider in the field of maternal and child health.

Ariel Bernstein, MPH(c)

Ariel is an MPH 45 candidate in the department of Global Health and Populations completing a double concentration in Maternal Child Health and Humanitarian Studies at Harvard. Ariel is a midwife with 15 years of experience in maternity care and has spent the last 8 years in private practice in Maine and New Hampshire. She is an experienced midwifery educator and preceptor and also a certified lactation educator and counselor. Ariel is passionate about rural and low resource maternity care and addressing trauma prevention and reduction in birth. She is currently working on a project creating simulation skills training capacity for midwives in Jinja, Uganda. Following graduation she plans to pursue international work relating to training midwives and building capacity for midwifery education globally as means to reduce maternal mortality.

Sonia Chang, SM(c)

Sonia is a current Master of Science candidate in Global Health and Populations Studies at Harvard School of Public Health. Sonia is primarily interested in community program planning, implementation, and evaluation. She has previously worked at the Indiana Department of Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on their Title V Maternal and Child Health Services federal grant, supporting the evaluation and needs assessment processes. As the 2023-2024 recipient of the Maternal and Child Health Leadership Lab Fellowship, Sonia is currently working on an NIH-funded project on postpartum home visiting in collaboration with Harvard University, Mississippi State Department of Health, University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Jackson State University. Interested in improving maternal health outcomes through community engagement and partnership, Sonia will be working with the San Antonio Black Doula Collective during the summer to evaluate their impact.