Maternal Health: What’s Changed And What The Future Holds

Listen now to About Health (7/8/24) on 94.1FM

We discussed the many major issues people face related to pre-natal care, pregnancy, abortion, mental health, birth, c-sections, and postpartum complications. Racial disparities exist and Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women. There are many factors that contribute to these disparities, such as the quality in healthcare, any underlying chronic conditions, racism, and implicit bias. We will talk about some of the social determinants of health, and what can be done to reduce infant and maternal illness and death.


Amanda P. Williams, MD, MPH, FACOG is the Clinical Innovation Advisor with the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) based at Stanford University School of Medicine where she also is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In Spring 2024, Dr. Williams founded Poplar Lane Advisors LLC to create a platform to support startup companies and non profit organizations navigating the world of maternal health equity.

Dr. Williams previously served as Medical Director at Mahmee, a tech-enabled maternal health company dedicated to improving health equity and empowering families with wraparound care during the pregnancy and postpartum period. In this role she oversaw the company’s clinical programming, while fostering institutional partnerships, developing new business opportunities and supporting investor outreach.

Prior to joining Mahmee, Dr. Williams was a practicing OBGYN at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center where she served as Director of Maternity Services. Additionally, she oversaw the maternity continuum across Kaiser’s 15 medical centers in Northern California. She has also served on several state and national committees, such as the California Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review, the California Surgeon General’s perinatal redesign stakeholder group, and the National Quality Forum Maternal Morbidity and Mortality work group.

Dr. Williams is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University. She completed her medical degree at Emory University School of Medicine where she also received a master’s degree in public health. She completed her graduate medical training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at The University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Williams is a prominent voice on maternal health and health equity.


But You Look So Normal: Lost and Found In A Hearing World 

Listen now to show on 94.1FM- 7/1/24



Claudia Marseille’s memoir portrays her life with a severe hearing loss. Her parents immigrated to America after WWII, and faced the challenges of being in a new country and surviving the horrors of the Holocaust. At first they didn’t realize that their daughter was not speaking at age four, but eventually they had her tested and discovered her severe hearing loss. She often felt isolated and lonely at school and at home, not wanting to tell people about her inability to hear. Her story is one of courage, creativity, and persistence, as well as shame and struggle. 

We will discuss how a hidden disability can influence a person’s sense of self and complicate their relationship to the people they know or wish to know.


Claudia Marseille

After earning master’s degrees in archaeology and in public policy, and finally an MFA, she developed a career in photography and painting, a profession compatible with a hearing loss. Claudia ran a fine art portrait photography studio for fifteen years before becoming a full-time painter. Since 2001 her paintings have been represented by the Seager Gray gallery in Mill Valley, CA.

Her memoir won a Gold Medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best First Book in Non-Fiction, and also a starred review from Library Journal. You can find out more on her author website:

She has played classical piano much of her life; in her free time she loves to read, watch movies, travel, spend time with friends, and attend concerts and art exhibits. She and her husband live in Oakland and have one grown daughter.           


American Madness

Listen here to About Health 5/27/24—94.1FM

Our mental health care system is broken, and has been for a long time. There aren’t enough psychiatric hospital beds, or psychiatrists, or therapists, or safe out patient facilities, or good follow up care, or housing, or retraining programs for people with mental illness who are leaving prison. Care often isn’t coordinated, and so many mentally ill people wind up on the streets or in prison. There are about 113,000 people in California at any time who are homeless, and about 25% of the homeless adults studied in Los Angeles County suffer from a severe mental illness. 

Please be aware that severe mental illness and suicide will be mentioned during this show, so if that might be triggering for you, you may want to skip this episode. For anyone who is needing help, please know that you can call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. It’s available 24 hours a day, and it’s free and confidential support for people in distress–that’s 988.


Alice Feller is a clinical psychiatrist with a subspecialty in the treatment of substance use disorder. Many of her patients suffer from severe mental illness, and often live on the streets or behind bars.  She has worked in hospital emergency rooms, psychiatric wards, outpatient clinics, chemical dependency treatment programs and in private practice. Her approach includes psychotherapy tailored to the needs of the patient and medication where appropriate. She has taught classes on the treatment of substance use disorder and consulted to the California Medical Board on physicians impaired by chemical dependence.  She served two terms on the Berkeley Homeless Commission.  For the past two years she has been a member of FASMI (Family Advocates for Severe Mental Illness), an advocacy group campaigning for changes in the law and better mental health care.  Her recently published book is “American Madness” Fighting for Patients in a broken mental health system. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and daughter.

The Future Of Artificial Intelligence In Healthcare

Listen here now

    KPFA radio 94.1FM 4/29/24

    We will discuss the transformative power of generative AI and how patients and doctors might be able to reclaim control of American medicine with improved patient outcomes and healthcare that is more accessible and affordable.

    Will hospitals and staff be ready for this “medical miracle?” And are patients ready to trust something they don’t understand and that hasn’t been tested enough?

    Call in at 1-800-958-9008 with your questions, concerns, and curiosity about the future of medical care with AI, doctors, and other health professionals, collaborating with you for better health.

    Guest: ROBERT PEARL, M.D.

    Dr. Robert Pearl was the CEO of The Permanente Medical Group (Kaiser Permanente) from 1999-2017. In this role he led 12,000 physicians, 42,000 staff, and was responsible for the nationally recognized medical care of over 5 million Kaiser Permanente members on the west and east coasts.  His newest book, “ChatGPT, MD: How AI-Empowered Patients & Doctors Can Take Back Control of American Medicine” debuted as #1 on Amazon’s “New Best Seller” list. All profits from the book go to Doctors Without Borders. He is also the author of “Mistreated: Why We think We’re Getting Good Healthcare—And Why We’re Usually Wrong,” and “Uncaring: How the Culture of Medicine Kills Doctors and Patients,” published May 2021. 

    Pearl, named one of Modern Healthcare’s 50 most influential physician leaders, serves as a clinical professor of plastic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and is on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

    He hosts the popular podcasts Fixing Healthcare and Medicine: The Truth,  publishes a newsletter called Monthly Musings on American Healthcare, and is a regular contributor to Forbes

    Dr. Pearl received his medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Stanford University. Connect with Dr. Robert Pearl on Twitter @RobertPearlMDLinkedIn and at his website