Senior Staff

Mayra-FerreiraMayra J. Ferreira is Chief Operating Officer and has overall strategic and operational responsibility for all Physicians for Reproductive Health program areas (Education, Research, and Training; Leadership Training Academy; Public Policy; Communications; and Development). This position also supports the finance division as assigned by the President/CEO. She joined Physicians for Reproductive Health as the Director of Medical Education in August of 2007. Prior to that, she worked for the Fulton County Schools System in Atlanta, GA, creating comprehensive health education programs for parents and adolescents in partnership with the community. For 12 years before that, Mayra was the Director of Health Care and Distance Education at the Consortium for Worker Education in New York City. In that position, she re-engineered New York City hospitals under the Health Care Workforce Retraining Initiative, developing medicine and allied health education programs for unions’ training and upgrading funds. Mayra extended this initiative to hospital systems in Buffalo, New York, conducting training and hospital re-engineering via videoconference and distance education. Mayra was an aerospace medic in the United States Air Force. She holds a Masters of Public Health from Hunter College’s School of Urban Public Health, the lead institution in the CUNY School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies from Barnard College.

Jenny-cropJennifer Blasdell is the Vice President of Public Policy and Strategic Partnerships. She joined Physicians for Reproductive Health in 2011 as the Director of Government Relations and has also served as the Senior Director of Public Policy. She has worked in the area of reproductive health policy for over 15 years. Based in Physicians for Reproductive Health’s Washington, DC office, Jennifer is responsible for our vibrant public policy program, advocating at the national and state levels for access to comprehensive reproductive health care. Our physicians have testified before Congress, state legislatures, federal agencies, and have briefed policy makers and their staffs on reproductive health care issues. Most recently, our physicians told the U.S. Supreme Court what motivates them to provide abortion care in our amicus brief for Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole. Prior to coming to Physicians for Reproductive Health, Jennifer was the Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and was the Director of Public Policy at the National Abortion Federation. Jennifer is a graduate of the University North Carolina School of Law. She also attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an undergraduate where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a minor in Spanish, graduating with honors.

Barbara LaPlacaBarbara LaPlaca is Vice President, Voice and Engagement at Physicians for Reproductive Health, providing strategic vision and leadership for implementing an overall communications strategy, which includes raising contributed income and increasing internal and external communications to varied audiences. Most recently she was Vice President, Philanthropy and Outreach, at The Floating Hospital, a 150-year-old non-profit, providing healthcare to low income and homeless families. She modernized perceptions of the organization among fundraising and patient communities. Previously, Barbara spent 26 years in senior marketing roles in the media industry, first at Hachette Filipacchi, then nine years at Readers Digest building an in-house marketing agency. After Rolling Stone and Rosie O’Donnell’s media properties, Barbara became Associate Publisher of More at Meredith. There, she positioned and created marketing programs for the brand. This led Barbara to Rodale, where, as Executive Director of Marketing, she repositioned the Prevention brand and restructured marketing to support an integrated sales strategy. Subsequently, at PGOA she created a digital strategy for its various media properties. She’s also provided marketing and communication services for Country Living, Edible Queens, Forbes, Gatehouse Media, Gilda’s Club, People, Ralph Lauren, Sesame Workshop, South China Morning Post, and Women’s Day.

Ellen Barker is Senior Director of Development at Physicians for Reproductive Health and oversees all of the organization’s fundraising efforts in support of its programs and services. She first joined the Physicians staff in 1998 as a freelance grants writer, going on to become the organization’s first director of institutional giving, and then director of development. She left Physicians in 2006 to work as an independent fundraising consultant and then serve as the manager of the Children’s Aid Society’s Go! Healthy Program, where she ran culinary and urban gardening programs for NYC youth. She returned to Physicians in 2013 to direct its institutional gifts program once again. Ellen has over 25 years of experience fundraising for a variety of NYC nonprofits. She chairs the Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY annual grant panels for Off-Broadway theatres, and has worked as a consultant for the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Ellen has a bachelor’s degree in languages and literature from Bard College.

Anita Brakman was appointed Senior Director for Education, Research, and Training  in 2012, but first joined Physicians for Reproductive Health in 2007 as Medical Education Manager. Anita oversees all of the organization’s efforts to train physicians in best practices for reproductive and sexual health as well as in the skills needed to become effective advocates. Most recently, she facilitated production of the fourth edition of the Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Education Program Curriculum and oversaw the Leadership Training Academy‘s 2012 expansion. Prior to coming to Physicians for Reproductive Health, Anita worked at a variety of reproductive health organizations including the National Abortion Federation, Sexuality Information and Education Council for the U.S., and Center for Reproductive Health Education in Family Medicine. She holds a Master of Science in Health Policy and Management from the New School and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from New York University.