OBOS Board of Directors



headshot of Judy Norsigian

Judy Norsigian is a co-founder of Our Bodies Ourselves and an author and editor for each of the nine editions of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” She has served in many roles at the organization, including as executive director from 2001 to 2015.

In 2018, as OBOS began its transition to a primarily volunteer-led organization, Judy became chair of the board of directors.

An internationally renowned speaker and author on a range of women’s health concerns, her areas of focus include women and health care reform, abortion and contraception, childbirth (especially the role of midwifery), genetics and reproductive technologies, and drug and device safety.

She has appeared on numerous national television and radio programs, including NBC Nightly News, Al Jazeera, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, Oprah, Fox News and The Current.


photo of Shahira AhmedShahira Ahmed Malm 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)

headshot of Jane Pincus

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 on childbearing and other subjects in each successive book up through and including the 2005 edition.

In 1970, along with five other women, Jane made a 26-minute film, “Abortion,” just as abortions were becoming legal in the United States. 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.



photo of Amy CryselAmy Crysel is a co-director of the Civil Liberties and Public Policy program (CLPP), a national reproductive justice organization dedicated to educating and inspiring new generations of advocates and leaders to advance reproductive health, rights, and justice. She oversees individual giving and is leading the design and implementation of the CLPP Fundraising Advisory Board. 

Amy has over 25 years of experience in non-profit leadership in the areas of holistic and higher education and holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology. A long-time student of mindfulness practices, Amy has a particular interest in the personal growth and development of leaders.

Amy is thrilled to serve on the OBOS board as the work of OBOS has had such a positive impact on her own life. She is excited to support OBOS in continuing the important work of providing education and resources so that individuals and communities can make informed decisions about health, reproduction, and sexuality.

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.


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.

Nancy Miriam Hawley

Nancy Miriam Hawley, a founding member of Our Bodies Ourselves, has a contagious and inspiring commitment to living life fully.

A lifetime activist, author and business coach, she led the first workshop at Emmanuel College in May 1969 that initiated the work that became “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

As CEO of Enlignment, Inc., she partnered with her husband to publish “You and Your Partner, Inc: Entrepreneurial Couples Succeeding in Business, Life and Love” (2012).

She has the privilege of coaching global women leaders in both the profit and social profit sectors.

Miriam is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of four.

joelle leacock, cnm

photo of Joelle LeacockJoelle Leacock is a certified nurse midwife who works at Massachusetts General Hospital. After graduating from Boston University, she received a nursing degree from Simmons College in 2006. For the next eight years she worked a travel nurse, commuting between California and the East Coast. In 2014 she received a master’s degree in nursing, with a concentration in midwifery, from Frontier Nursing University.

Joelle currently practices in the OB/GYN departments of several community health centers, where she focuses on reducing health disparities in immigrant and refugee communities. In this role she provides primary care, obstetric care, and contraceptive counseling. She is a strong advocate for women’s health and is involved in several nonprofit endeavors to provide health education and career counseling to high school and college students.

Bindiya Patel, M.P.A.

Photo of Bindiya PatelBindiya Gillenwater Patel is the deputy director for the Public Health (PH) portfolio at PATH, an international nonprofit organization focused on global public health. In this role, she helps direct and manage a portfolio of projects in health systems, sexual and reproductive health, infectious diseases, maternal and child health, nutrition, and non-communicable diseases.

Since joining PATH in 2004, Bindiya has advocated for new HIV prevention options for women with the Global Campaign for Microbicides, helped manage U.S. government funded projects on tuberculosis in Tanzania, served on PATH’s strategy team, and launched the PATH Center for Malaria Control and Elimination. Prior to PATH, she helped manage a child nutrition program in the townships of Cape Town, worked as a grants officer in England, and monitored World Bank projects for a watchdog group in Washington, D.C. Bindiya holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Cornell University and a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University.  She served on the board of directors for the National Women’s Health Network from 2006 to 2014, and served as board chair for almost 4 years. She is also the proud mom of two young feminists.


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.

Jennifer M. Somers, CPA, MBA

headshot of Jenny SomersJennifer is an audit manager in BlumShapiro’s accounting and auditing department. She oversees financial statement audits and is responsible for ensuring financial statements are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles as well as reviewing governance and internal controls for her clients.

Jennifer has approximately 10 years of experience providing accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services in a variety of industries, with a focus on nonprofit organizations. Jennifer works with a variety of nonprofits, including arts and cultural organizations, educational institutions, and membership organizations. She also has experience with distributors, retailers, and employee benefit plans. She belongs to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

In addition to her accounting experience, Jennifer strongly believes in empowering women. She currently sits on BlumShapiro’s Women Who Lead committee and is very excited to be joining OBOS board.