Our History

The UCSF Women's Health Resource Center was founded in 1982 as the Great Expectations Pregnancy Program, part of an Alternative Birth Center at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco. This program offers women and their families the opportunity to learn more about their pregnancy and prepare for childbirth and parenting and continues to be an integral part of the current scope of our services.

In 1996, we began expanding to address women's health issues that cross the life span--from adolescence to menopause and beyond. This new focus culminated in the renaming of the program in October 1998, and it continues to direct our services today and for the future. We currently serve approximately 1,000 telephone and walk-in clients each month and continue to outreach to new community members.

UCSF Women's Health Resource Center is located on the first floor of the new UCSF Women's Health Center, a University designated eight story clinical building. This centralization of services enhances our ability to provide multi-disciplinary care to women. In February 2014, the Women’s Health Resource Center opened their second location, at the Mission Bay campus in the new UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women's Hospital. 

Our Goals

The UCSF Women's Health Resource Center strives to:Increase women's access to information about all aspects of their health.

  • Provide excellence in the quality and variety of education available for women and their families.
  • Encourage and create participatory, women-sensitive health education programming.
  • Offer women a centralized resource for community and health care provider referrals specific to their needs.

Our Staff

Bertina Lee, Operations Manager

Bertina is the Operations Manager of the Women’s Health Resource Center. She provides oversight for activities and programs for the WHRC and Great Expectations Pregnancy Program. Bertina holds a B.S. in Health Science from San Francisco State University and a Masters in Public Health, with a concentration in Community Health Sciences, from UCLA. Her professional background and public health interests include: improving the built environment, reducing health disparities, reproductive health, well women’s health across the lifespan, research and grants, and program administration. In her spare time, Bertina enjoys traveling, cheering on her favorite local sports teams, attending community events, hiking, and volunteering.

Sarah Cardena, MPH, Health Educator

Sarah has been a health educator since 2010. She has taught, coordinated and implemented various health and promotion programs in the field of Maternal, Child and Adolescent health. Sarah holds a B.A in Sociology from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Public Health, focusing on Community Health Education from California State University, Long Beach. Now at UCSF and as a new mother herself, Sarah hopes to share her knowledge and skills by educating others about safe and healthy pregnancy, delivery, and post-natal care. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family, international travel, learning to cook and attending theater.

Holly Coates-Bash, Perinatal Educator

Holly has been an educator at UCSF Great Expectations Pregnancy Program for many years, teaching parenting and breastfeeding. I have a Masters degree in psychiatric social work and am internationally board certified as a lactation consultant. I love working with new parents and theirs babies in classes and in our MILK breastfeeding support group. For fun, I play the celtic harp and raise chickens.

Juli Fraga, Psy.D., Psychologist and Group Facilitator 

Juli, Clinical Psychologist has taught classes for the Great Expectations Pregnancy Program since January 2013, including the Afterglow, a 6-week postpartum support group and Emotional Aspects of Pregnancy. Dr. Fraga is a licensed psychologist and has a private practice in San Francisco. In her spare time, she enjoys writing and creative endeavors.

Carole Hanson, Perinatal Educator, Lactation Consultant

Carole is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant and teaches classes especially for parents expecting twins, triplets, or more. She teaches at several Bay Area hospitals, leads monthly support groups for pregnant and new parents of multiples, and offers private classes to mothers on bed rest. Currently, she teaches our Great Expectations Breastfeeding Multiples class. Carole is an active member of community outreach groups who support low-income families with multiples. Her passion is to provide valuable information to parents, helping them to prepare for the arrival of two or more babies at once, and to have realistic expectations about the first several months at home. Carole’s Odyssey began in 2001 with the arrival of her twin boys. She is a former President of the Marin Parents of Multiples Club, and is a Certified Lactation Educator.

Cherry Jones, LMFT, CIMI

Cherry is a teacher, mother and Family Therapist. She has been a licensed Marriage Family Therapist since 1992 and she has been teaching Infant massage and new parenting classes since 2002. She was trained at the child trauma Institute of San Francisco in Assessment and Early Intervention. She worked as a supervisor for 4 years training mental health Interns. She especially enjoys working with parents and infants to enhance bonding and attachment and to encourage healthy development. Her greatest joy in life is her daughter and her work, helping the next generation grow up to be healthy adults with meaningful lives. In her private practice she works primarily with foster-adopt families and facilitates groups for parents pre and post adoption at Seneca Center in San Rafael. Presently, she is a single parent of a teenage daughter.

Patty Lipinska, Perinatal Educator

Patty, Certified Childbirth Educator, has taught classes for the Great Expectations Pregnancy Program since January 1997 including Childbirth Preparation, Birth Alternatives, Intensive Childbirth Preparation and Refresher Childbirth. Ms. Lipinska has been a childbirth educator since 1989 and has taught in many different facilities including the Native American Health Center, Berkeley High School and Kaiser Permanente. She has done labor support since 1986 in locations throughout the Bay Area. She is trained as doula and she has been to over 530 births, all over the Bay Area, many here at UCSF since 1986. In addition, she has three children of her own.

Shanda Manion, Patient Health Educator

Shanda has been teaching parenting classes with UCSF’s Women’s Health Great Expectations Pregnancy Program since 2011. Shanda’s passion for education and medicine has inspired her extensive work in the health care field. She is a certified CPR Instructor for the American Heart Association and an ICEA certified Childbirth Educator currently teaching Childbirth Education classes at UCSF hospital through the Great Expectations Pregnancy program. She works full-time as an educator in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Renee Tavares, Lactation Consultant

Renee is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and is also a Registered Dietitian. She has worked at UCSF since March 2015 and has been a Board Certified Lactation Consultant since 1997. Renee’s also worked at Lucile Packard Children’s Stanford for 11 years as Lactation Consultant. She has also worked with WIC and CPSP. In her spare time she loves to do yoga, hike and take spinning classes. Renee also enjoys cooking mostly vegetarian meals for friends and family.

Matthew Wade, Patient Navigator

Matthew is the Patient Navigator for UCSF Obstetrics and leads the Birth Center tours at Mission Bay. He's experienced and knowledgeable, and makes your tour enjoyable and engaging. Born and raised in the Bay Area, hgraduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Political Science. In his off time, Matthew is a campaign consultant for a local city councilman, a grant writer and volunteer coordinator for a 5k race that raises money for children’s school supplies & scholarships.

Melissa Whippo, L.C.S.W., Social worker

Melissa is a clinical social worker with the UCSF Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Assessment Clinic. She meets with women during pregnancy and after delivery, or at any stage of their fertility process, to assess their support needs, helping women connect with outside therapists, agencies or other organizations as needed. She also co-facilitates "The Afterglow," a support group for new mothers offered through the Great Expectations Pregnancy Program.
Whippo has a particular interest in helping women of color, marginalized women and the homeless population in San Francisco. She enjoys incorporating yoga and meditation in her work when applicable. She loves her work and feels grateful to be part of an institution that is advancing women's health. Whippo received her master's degree in social work from USC in 2003. She is also a certified yoga teacher.

James Rodriguez, Practice Coordinator

Jim is a Texan and has lived in the Bay area since 2012. He runs the front desk of the Women’s Health Resource Center at Mount Zion. In his spare time, Jim enjoys filmmaking, photography and producing music.