Board of Directors


BONNIE l. SHEPARD, M.Ed., MPA (chair)

photo of Bonnie ShepardBonnie L. Shepard is an independent consultant and researcher with more than thirty years of experience in program evaluation and strategic planning. She brings a gender and human rights perspective to programs that promote sexual and reproductive health, and women’s and young people’s rights. She specializes in conducting portfolio evaluations for donor agencies, in advocacy evaluations, and in helping a variety of NGOs, foundations, and U.N. agencies design mixed-method monitoring, evaluation, and learning systems for complex programs.

She is the author of “Running the Obstacle Course to Sexual and Reproductive Health: Lessons from Latin America” (Praeger: 2006), a book of advocacy research and program case studies, as well as several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Currently, she works as the monitoring and evaluation consultant for EMpower, a global foundation supporting programs for vulnerable youth, and is also on the board of directors of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health.


photo of Shahira AhmedShahira Ahmed is a health policy and systems researcher with over 10 years of experience working on sexual and reproductive health, HIV, and health policy and systems research.

She is currently a research scientist at the Center for Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health, leading the design and implementation of studies in South Africa to assess demand and supply of HIV testing services and linkage to care, and adolescent preferences for HIV and reproductive health services in different health care settings.

Shahira received her M.P.H from Boston University School of Public Health and doctorate from the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.

Jane Pincus, M.F.A. (co-CLERK)

Jane Kates Pincus is a founding member of Our Bodies Ourselves and co-author of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” She continued to write for and edit chapters in successive editions up through and including the 2005 edition.

She has written book and video reviews for the perinatal journal BIRTH, presented before a variety of nursing and medical classes and women’s groups, and testified at the Statehouse when necessary to advocate for crucial women’s health issues, such as freedom of choice and the advancement of midwifery. Read more.

Norma Meras Swenson, M.P.H. (CO-CLERK)

photo of Norma SwensonNorma Meras Swenson is founding member of the organization Our Bodies Ourselves and a co-author of multiple editions of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” An alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Public Health (HSPH), she is active in maternity care reform as well as sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice in a global health context.

Norma teaches about women and health and has served for many years as faculty at HSPH, and most recently at MIT’s Graduate Consortium of Women’s Studies. She has worked with women’s groups and community groups in most regions of the developing world, and has consulted for numerous overseas agencies and governments. Read more.


Rachel Breman, M.S.N., M.P.H., R.N.

Rachel Breman is a nurse who works at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She manages the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center and is the moderator for the online nursing and midwifery community, the Global Alliance for Nursing and Midwifery (GANM).

In addition to having a background in nursing, Rachel has experience in international health work. She worked in the Dominican Republic overseeing a training program for hospitals around maternal and newborn health. Rachel was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

Joan Ditzion, M.S.W.

Joan DitzionJoan Ditzion is an original founder of Our Bodies Ourselves and co-author of all nine editions of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” as well as “Ourselves and Our Children” (1978), and “Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause” (2006).

She has been a geriatric social worker since 1985, a profession compatible with her social justice values. She was awarded the Alumni Special Recognition Award by the Simmons School of Social Work Alumni Association in 2012 and the Lifetime Achievement Award by The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers in 2013. Read more.

Paula Doress-Worters, Ph.D.

Paula Doress WortersPaula Doress-Worters is a founding member of Our Bodies Ourselves and co-author of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

Since 1998, Paula has been a resident scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC) of Brandeis University, where she researched and published “Mistress of Herself: The Life and Work of Ernestine L. Rose, Early Women’s Rights Leader” (Feminist Press, 2008).

She is currently chair of WSRC’s Gender and International Development Committee. Read more.


dan fox picDaniel M. Fox, president emeritus of the Milbank Memorial Fund, is an author of books and articles on health policy and politics and an adviser to public officials, leaders of provider systems in health and long-term care, research organizations, publishers and foundations.

Before serving as president of the Fund (1989-2007), he worked in state government (Massachusetts and New York), as an adviser to and staff member of three federal agencies (the Office of Economic Opportunity, and the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services) and as a faculty member and administrator at Harvard University and at the Health Sciences Center of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. A member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the National Academy of Social Insurance, he earned undergraduate, master’s and doctorate degrees from Harvard University.


Marlene Gerber Fried is a professor of philosophy and faculty director of the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program, a program for education and activism about reproductive health, rights, and justice. She received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Brown University. In 2010-2011, she was the interim president of Hampshire College.

Marlene’s scholarship and teaching is focused primarily on abortion rights and access, reproductive and sexual rights and health, and legal theory. She edited “From Abortion Rights to Reproductive Freedom: Transforming A Movement,” is co-author with Jael Silliman, Loretta Ross, and Elena Gutiérrez of “Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice,” and contributed to the chapter on abortion in both the 2005 and 2011 editions of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

Marlene is a long-time reproductive rights activist. She was the founding president and served for 21 years on the board of the National Network of Abortion Funds. In addition she was the founding president and continues to serve on the board of the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts. She also works on abortion advocacy internationally with the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights.

Marlene is a recipient of the 2014 Felicia Stewart Advocacy Award as well as the Warrior Women Award from SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.


Polly KornblithPolly Kornblith has worked with dozens of companies and organizations over the past 20+ years, helping them transition to the online environment to disseminate training more widely and at a lower cost.

Polly’s experience designing online courses includes helping educational projects produce materials for online, face-to-face, and self-study; collecting, distilling, and organizing large amounts of content provided by subject matter experts; envisioning creative, effective ways to present content on the web; and developing storyboards and scripting scenarios, software demonstrations, video segments, and interviews. Past clients include the United Nations, Harvard University, Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), Pearson Education, eCornell, Harvard Medical School, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Most recently, Polly has pursued her interest in animal-assisted therapy and education. She regularly takes her two registered therapy dogs to visit adolescents with a history of trauma in a secure setting. She is certified as an equine specialist in mental health & learning by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) and is working toward becoming a therapeutic riding instructor.

Joan Rachlin, J.D., M.P.H. 

Joan RachlinJoan Rachlin is the executive director emerita of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), an international bioethics organization dedicated to educating, informing and providing a forum for those involved in the ethical, legal and policy dimensions of biomedical, behavioral and social science research.

In addition to her work with PRIM&R, she has practiced law, concentrating in the areas of women’s health, civil rights, prisoners rights, and civil litigation, and has taught women and the law, health law, and research ethics at several Boston-area colleges.

She received a Distinguished Service Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2013 and the Harvey M. Meyerhoff Award for Leadership in Bioethics from the Berman Institute for Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University in 2014. She is also the recipient of PRIM&R’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award. She holds a J.D. from the Suffolk University School of Law, and a M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health.