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Santa Barbara Women's Health Coalition

We are a coalition of advocates, clinicians, corporate and industry professionals, and passionate community members with the shared goal of advancing the quality and outcomes of women’s healthcare in Santa Barbara County.

About Us

 We believe that access to quality healthcare and education is a fundamental human right, and we are dedicated to working with local organizations, healthcare providers, and community members to promote women's health and wellness. Through our work, we hope to create a healthier, more vibrant community where women can thrive and lead fulfilling lives.


Our mission is to advance the quality and outcomes of women’s healthcare throughout the community. SBWHC strives to create a welcoming and inclusive environment that encourages dialogue, collaboration, and innovation. By fostering connections between women of all backgrounds and the organizations and individuals caring for them, SBWHC promotes knowledge-sharing, empowerment, and collective action. 

Our values are rooted in equity, diversity, and inclusion. We recognize the unique challenges and barriers that women face in accessing healthcare, and we are committed to addressing these issues through community engagement, education, and advocacy.


  • Build a welcoming and inclusive community around women’s health.

  • Better understand the challenges women, and those caring for them, experience across the lifespan.

  • Foster new connections within our community in support of advancing women’s health.


Meet the Team


Katrina Mitchell MD, IBCLC, PMH-C, FACS

SBWHC Founder

Dr. Katrina Mitchell is a board-certified general surgeon, fellowship-trained breast surgical oncologist, international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), and a certified perinatal mental health provider (PMH-C). As part of the breast care program at Sansum Clinic and the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center, her practice focuses on the surgical management of benign and malignant breast disease, and the treatment of maternal complications of lactation. As perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) often co-exist with breastfeeding challenges, Dr. Mitchell provides medication management for these conditions in collaboration with perinatal therapists.

Dr. Mitchell formed Santa Barbara Women’s Health Coalition after receiving tremendous support from her op-ed calling for improvements in local women’s healthcare.

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Kathy Kelley

Sharon Byrne

Marie Claire Lamb, MD

Menopause and Aging Committee Co-Chairs

Kathy is the Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Montessori Center School. Sharon has a consulting practice in community organizing and political messaging. Additionally, she participates as a Delegate for the UN Conference on the Status of Women. Dr. Marie Claire Lamb is an Internal Medicine Physician at Sansum Clinic. Their collective backgrounds and expertise lends unique insight and advocacy to the needs of women during menopause and beyond.

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Caitlin Jennings

Director of Operations & Maternal Health Committee Chair

Caitlin works remotely for Instacart as Sr. Program Manager, recently launching Instacart Health. She is passionate about support for all moms, especially their mental health. Caitlin plans on using her background in program management to guide the Maternal Health Committee through productive discussion and research.

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Kari Robinson

Chronic Health Conditions Committee Chair

Kari works at UCSB as the Associate Director of Legal and Medical Humanities, initiatives that seek to train students aspiring toward careers in law and medicine. For her graduate studies, Kari conducted research in Berlin on abortion pregnancy counseling at women’s health centers that also offered expansive care. Kari’s eldest son had chronic health conditions throughout childhood, which together with her own experience navigating breast cancer, motivated her commitment to leading the Chronic Health Conditions Committee.

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Ashley Hollister

Adolescence through Young Adults Committee Chair

Ashley is the COO at DeftEdge, a consulting firm that helps governments, multilateral institutions, nonprofits and businesses improve effectiveness through institutional reform. As an international development professional, she has worked to build the capacity of organizations and programs in East Africa, Latin America and East Asia to target and achieve social objectives around education, market inclusion for women, youth and refugees, and preventing and responding to gender-based violence. And as a trained social worker, she has worked in New York and Michigan as a counselor and advocate for child and adolescent mental health and youth violence prevention programs. She is eager to merge these two perspectives as the Chair of the Adolescence through Young Adults Committee.

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Kristen Adams

Managing Director

Kristen is the Marketing Manager at Sansum Clinic, focused on Ridley-Tree Cancer Center initiatives. Improving women's healthcare has become a personal priority of hers since becoming pregnant with her daughter in 2018. She is excited to use her background in project management and communications to facilitate research, open discussion, and collaboration to create meaningful change for women in Santa Barbara County.

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Megan Spencer
Emma Schuster

Health Equity and Racial Health Disparities Committee Co-Chairs

Megan and Emma are both moms and PhD students in Feminist Studies at UCSB. Megan studies and teaches about black feminism and environmental politics. Emma’s research focuses on reproductive justice and disability.

LGBTQ+ Health Committee Chair

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Cherise Lastra

Cherise is the Clinical Research Supervisor at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center. She works closely with the research team, oncologists and other clinical staff to conduct safe and compliant clinical research. Cherise was born and raised in Santa Barbara and currently lives in the Santa Ynez Valley with her family. She is passionate about collaborating with the community to improve how we serve women’s healthcare needs.

Get Involved

Join health professionals and community leaders to improve care for women in Santa Barbara County.

Join Our EMAIL List

Subscribe to our email list to receive updates and information about upcoming meetings and events.

Participate in a committee

We are conducting focused research and discussions on the topics below. To participate, please reach out to and specify which committee(s) you would like to join: 

  • Adolescence through Young Adults

  • Chronic Health Conditions

  • Health Equity and Racial Health Disparities

  • LGBTQ+ Health

  • Maternal Health

  • Menopause and Aging

Note: Mental health will be a key topic discussed and evaluated within each committee

volunteer your professional expertise

The coalition is a volunteer-led effort and needs professional support in many areas, including communications, research, data analysis, creative development and business development. If you are interested, please email

Our Work

For the latest updates, join our mailing list!

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“The Menopause Manifesto”
Book Club 

January 2024

Over 75 women's health physicians, UCSB scholars, and community members gathered for an informative discussion led by Dr. Jen Gunter, the internationally renowned OB/GYN and author of The Menopause Manifesto. 

The evening provided an opportunity for attendees to engage with Dr. Gunter in an intimate setting, improving their understanding of women's health issues and the nuances of menopause.

This event was supported by UCSB’s Health Humanities program, which played a key role in bringing Dr. Gunter to Santa Barbara. We also thank Gretchen Lieff and her wonderful team at La Lieff Tasting Room for providing the space and wine, creating a welcoming environment for all attendees.

New Frontiers in Women's Health 
September 9, 2023

UC Santa Barbara neuroscientist Emily Jacobs presented her research on women's brains during major hormonal transitions, including pregnancy and menopause. Presented in partnership with UCSB Affiliates and Ann S. Bowers Women’s Brain Health Initiative.


2023 Focus Group Findings

Linked here is a summary of our preliminary discussions with community members to gather

sentiments and experiences surrounding the following women’s health topics:

  • Adolescence through Young Adults

  • Maternal Health

  • Menopause and Aging

  • Chronic Conditions


It is essential to note the limitations of our findings. They represent only a small snapshot of community perspectives, and a more extensive, formal needs assessment is necessary for a comprehensive and accurate understanding. Additional limitations include insufficient attention to the persistent and well-recognized racial disparities that exist across healthcare, due to our discussion participants being mainly white women. Additionally, the conversations largely focused on the challenges women experienced. If we can collect more feedback/data, we aim to gather more insights about the strengths that women experience as well.


At this juncture, the Santa Barbara Women’s Health Coalition lacks the resources required for such a thorough assessment. Nonetheless, we are actively working on defining suggestions for overarching objectives and methodologies that could inform future endeavors. 

Santa Barbara Women’s Health Coalition Inaugural Meeting 

October 2022

In the spirit of reconnecting in person around the shared interest of improving women’s healthcare in our town, more than 100 community members and leaders attended the inaugural Santa Barbara Women’s Health Coalition meeting.


A primary takeaway from the discussion was the significant challenges women face in accessing comprehensive healthcare in Santa Barbara County. With physicians and other women’s healthcare professionals in attendance, the discussion highlighted that healthcare challenges impact both patients and providers. Therefore, a critical objective of the SBWHC is to create an environment where women, whether as patients or healthcare professionals, feel heard and supported as we work together to drive effective change.

Linked here is a summary of the group's discussion in response to the following questions:  
“Why is women’s health important to our community?” 
“Why does this warrant focused conversation and initiative?”


Linked here is a summary of the October 2022 survey we conducted to get to know meeting attendees, and gather preliminary information about the strengths, weaknesses and varying perceptions around local women’s healthcare

Community Guidelines

We’re all in this together to create a positive space for enriching and productive discussion. Please follow these guidelines when participating in the Santa Barbara Women’s Health Coalition community.

Get Involved

We’re a community of tremendously passionate people. Don’t hold back in sharing your knowledge and being part of the conversation. If you’re new, say hello and get involved! While we encourage involvement and sharing, it is up to you whether you would like to share or not.

Keep It Friendly

Keep your comments (verbal and written) kind and be respectful of other participants. Be open and understanding of others whose opinions may differ. Healthy debates are natural, but kindness and respect is a prerequisite to participate in any conversation.

No Hate Speech or Bullying

Make sure everyone feels safe. Bullying of any kind isn’t allowed, and degrading comments about topics such as race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender or identity will not be tolerated. Do not bad-mouth or ridicule entire groups of people, professions, or organizations. We are here to create bridges where they do not exist, not push people further away.

Respect Lived Experience of Discrimination

We are working to create a space where people with lived experience of discrimination are respected and not subjected to further marginalisation. This means comments that could be considered ‘microaggressions’ are also not acceptable. Examples of comments that will not be tolerated could include negative comments about something that is a part of who someone is (for example, an accent, a stutter, or their appearance) or denial of their identity and experiences (for example, deliberately or continuously misgendering an individual). Further, in alignment with the SBWHC’s goal of increasing representation of all voices across our community, we encourage seeking out and learning more about experiences of discrimination throughout the county and representing these voices to the best of our ability.

Focus on Professional Challenges (and take care when talking about personal challenges)

While we know that professional and personal challenges are often deeply intertwined, our team and the SBWHC community are not qualified mental health professionals (with a few exceptions). For this reason, we aim to focus on professional challenges in events and group discussions.

Respect Everyone’s Privacy

Experiences, stories, and opinions shared in a discussion should stay private. Be mindful of sharing personally identifying information about yourself or others. Screenshots, videos and sharing conversations/sensitive information with anyone outside the community is a breach of trust. We ask that you make a commitment to confidentiality as part of your work in this group.

Media Permissions

If you are a journalist, you must obtain permission from SBWHC Admins to report on any event or group discussion. Due to the sensitive nature of our discussions, please respect the privacy of those that might not wish to have their opinions shared publicly.

Advice - General

We don’t necessarily endorse, support, sanction, encourage, verify, or agree with the comments, opinions, or statements made by SBWHC members. Where necessary, you should seek professional advice.

Advice - Financial

You should consider whether discussion and information is appropriate to your needs. Discussion should not be used as financial advice and where necessary, you must consult with a financial expert.

Advice - Medical

You should consider whether discussion and information is appropriate to your needs. Discussion should not be used as medical advice and where necessary, you must consult with a medical professional.

Report It

If you see or hear a comment that violates our guidelines, please report it to the SBWHC Admins at

Following the Guidelines

If you have made a comment that the SBWHC views as contravening our community guidelines, we will contact you with a reminder of these rules of engagement. If you choose not to follow our community guidelines, you may be asked to leave an event or group discussion.

In the News

Contact Us

Questions? Concerns? Feedback? Ideas? Please send us an email!

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