Our Team

Sarah Burns, JD

Sarah Burns, JD

President

Sarah Burns is a Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law. She supervises the Reproductive Justice Clinic, which represents clients throughout the United States in litigation and policy projects centering on reproductive decision making. Burns is Executive Director of Washington Square Legal Services, the nonprofit entity under which most NYU Clinical Law Programs practice law. Burns also co-founded and oversees the Mediation Clinic and the Litigation, Organizing & Systemic Change Clinic, conducted in partnership with Make the Road NY and Center for Popular Democracy. Burns combines law with learning in social science to develop effective solutions for problems that institutions and communities face. Burns, who has been on the NYU faculty since 1990, specializes in experiential learning pedagogy, developing simulation and clinical courses in litigation, negotiation, mediation, policy advocacy, and systemic change. Burns began her law practice as a litigating attorney with the Washington, DC., commercial law firm Covington & Burling, representing industry associations in federal regulatory matters that Burns cites as “a key introduction to interest-based and advocacy legal practice so central to all negotiation and coalition work—whether in for-profit or not-for-profit/NGO sectors.” Burns later moved into public interest civil rights practice, undertaking litigation, legislative, and policy advocacy work. She has worked nationwide on cases in federal and state courts, and has advised legislative and regulatory initiatives. Burns graduated in 1979 from Yale Law School, where she edited the Yale Law Journal, and holds master’s degrees from Stanford University in sociology and the University of Oklahoma in human relations.


Nancy R. Aries, PhD

Nancy R. Aries, PhD

Secretary

Nancy Aries is a Professor of Public Policy at Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College. She has held several administrative positions including Interim University Dean for Undergraduate Education and most recently Director of the Baruch Honors Program. Her areas of research have included women’s reproductive health services and policies, the hospital workforce diversity, and the economic impact of biomedical research. She is currently studying the racial divide in higher education policy and practice. Recognition that teaching can be transformative led her to be trained as a facilitator at the Institute for Intergroup Dialogue and to organize Creative Inquiry Day, Baruch’s celebration of student research and creative endeavors.


Hytham M. Imseis, MD

Hytham M. Imseis, MD

Treasurer

Dr. Imseis is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist practicing in Charlotte, North Carolina. His career has been dedicated to caring for and advocating for pregnant women. He is very involved in the medical education of Obstetrician/Gynecologists across the United States for which he has won many teaching awards. He currently serves on the Women’s Executive Board and the Ethics Committee at his hospital and has served as the Medical Director of the Mountain Area Perinatal Substance Abuse Program and the Mountain Area Health Education Teen Pregnancy Clinic. Dr. Imseis has published research articles in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Obstetrics and Gynecology and currently reviews manuscripts for publication in both the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Khiara M. Bridges, JD, PhD

Khiara M. Bridges, JD, PhD

Khiara M. Bridges is a Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law. She has written many articles concerning race, class, reproductive rights, and the intersection of the three. Her scholarship has appeared or will soon appear in the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the NYU Law Review, the California Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and the Virginia Law Review, among others. She is also the author of three books: Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization (2011), The Poverty of Privacy Rights (2017), and Critical Race Theory: A Primer (2019). She is a co-editor of a reproductive justice book series that is published under the imprint of the University of California Press. She graduated as valedictorian from Spelman College, receiving her degree in three years. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her Ph.D., with distinction, from Columbia University’s Department of Anthropology.


Jeanne Flavin, PhD

Jeanne Flavin, PhD

Jeanne Flavin is a Professor of Sociology at Fordham University. Her scholarship and advocacy mainly examines the impact of the criminal justice system on women. She is author of the award-winning Our Bodies, Our Crimes: Policing Women's Reproduction in America (NYU 2009) and co-editor of Race, Gender, and Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror (Rutgers, 2007), and author of many articles, including Arrests of and forced interventions on pregnant women in the United States (1973-2005): The implications for women's legal status and public, Punishing Pregnant Drug-Using Women: Defying Law, Medicine, and Common Sense, and Toward a “Pro Lives” Perspective that Values the Lives of Pregnant Women and the Well-Being of Our Nation co-authored with NAPW executive director Lynn Paltrow. She received a Fulbright research award in 2009 to study gender, family, and crime in South Africa. She also is the 2013 recipient of the Sociologists for Women in Society’s Feminist Activism Award. Jeanne grew up on a farm in rural Kansas.


Carl Hart, PhD

Carl Hart, PhD

Dr. Carl Hart, PhD is the Chair of the Department of Psychology and the Dirk Ziff Professor of Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University. Dr. Hart is a leading researcher on issues of drug use and dependency. He is the author of High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. He is the winner of the 2014 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.


Jennifer L. Morgan, PhD

Jennifer L. Morgan, PhD

Jennifer L. Morgan is Professor of History in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University where she also serves as Chair. She is the author of Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in the Making of New World Slavery (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004) and the co-editor of Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in America (University of Illinois Press, 2016). Her research examines the intersections of gender and race in the Black Atlantic world. Her newest work, Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic considers colonial numeracy, racism and the rise of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the seventeenth-century English Atlantic world and is forthcoming in Spring, 2021 with Duke University Press.

Her recent journal articles include “Partus Sequitur Ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery,” in Small Axe; “Accounting for ‘The Most Excruciating Torment’: Trans-Atlantic Passages” in History of the Present and “Archives and Histories of Racial Capitalism” in Social Text. In addition to her archival work as an historian, Morgan has published a range of essays on race, gender, and the process of “doing history,” most notably “Experiencing Black Feminism” in Deborah Gray White’s edited volume Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower (2007). NAPW was introduced to Professor Morgan by her father, John Morgan a drug policy reformer and leader in research and writing regarding the effects of criminalized drugs.


Karen Sauvigné

Karen Sauvigné

Karen Sauvigné is a pioneer in the fight against sexual harassment in employment. While on the Cornell University faculty in the mid-1970s, she was part of a team that organized a “Speak-Out” in Ithaca, a kind of public consciousness raising against sexual exploitation at work. To give the phenomenon a name, they coined the term “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” She and her colleagues at Cornell gave voice to women whose previous experience had no expression.

Ms. Sauvigné has served as Director of Education in the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Care at Mount Sinai and is co-author of several landmark publications on geriatrics competencies for medical trainees. Before going to Mount Sinai, she held faculty and management positions at Cornell, CUNY Law School, John Jay College, and Baruch College.

Until 2016 she chaired the board of Callen-Lorde Community Health. Ms. Sauvigné has also taught Leadership, Organizational Development and Strategic Management as graduate faculty at Baruch College, CUNY. In addition, she has served as Executive Director of the Legacy Foundation, was on the founding team at CUNY Law School, and has served on the Boards of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, the Public Interest Law Foundation, San Simeon Health and Nursing Center, and Cornell’s Institute for Women and Work, as well as NYC’s LGBT swim team, where she ran operations for Gay Games Swimming in 1994. Karen currently serves as Chair of the Grants Committee for the North Fork Women for Women Fund.

Lynn M. Paltrow, JD

Lynn M. Paltrow, JD

Executive Director

Lynn M. Paltrow, JD, founded National Advocates for Pregnant Women in 2001. Ms. Paltrow is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law. She has worked on numerous cases challenging restrictions on the right to choose abortion as well cases opposing the prosecution and punishment of pregnant women seeking to continue their pregnancies to term. She is a frequent guest lecturer and writer for popular press, law reviews, and peer-reviewed journals. She is a Gemini and mother of twins.


Dana Sussman, JD, MPH

Dana Sussman, JD, MPH

Deputy Executive Director

Dana Sussman, JD, MPH (she/her/hers) joined NAPW in 2021 as Deputy Executive Director. Most recently, Dana served for six years as Deputy Commissioner of Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the agency charged with enforcing one of the most comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in the country. At the Commission, Dana served as advisor to the Commissioner and as a member of the executive team responsible for determining and implementing the Commission’s policy, legislative, and communications strategy during a period of rapid expansion of the agency's size, budget, and mandate. In addition, Dana oversaw the Commission's gender justice policy portfolio, including efforts to address sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and gender identity discrimination, among others.

Prior to joining the Commission, Dana was a Senior Staff Attorney in the Anti-Trafficking Program at Safe Horizon, where she specialized in representing domestic workers who were trafficked and exploited by foreign officials in violation of federal law. Dana was formerly an Associate at Outten & Golden LLP representing employees in wage and hour cases and gender, pregnancy, disability, and LGBTQ discrimination matters. After graduating from Northeastern University School of Law, Dana served as a Legal Fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights and clerked for Magistrate Judge James Orenstein in the Eastern District of New York. Dana holds a BA and MPH from Tufts University.


Robin Bynoe, MBA

Robin Bynoe, MBA

Chief Financial Officer

Robin Bynoe, with over 20 years of experience providing executive-level financial and administrative leadership in the private, government and non-profit sectors. She has worked closely with programmatic and administrative teams, assisting management with the development of pertinent financial skills. Her rich work history reflects a demonstrated ability to create and train a team of competent fiscal staff, delivering expert analysis, management, and integrity to the handling of daily financial transactions. Outside of the work arena, she has volunteered her time and expertise to the United Way, United Parent Group of Cheltenham Township and NYU Graduate School of Public Service, where her passion for, and commitment to cross-disciplinary relationship building, financial literacy, and supportive exchange proved instrumental in helping each organization meet their respective operational goals and support their missions. Robin earned a B.A. in Economics and Math, from CUNY Hunter College and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University.


Shawn Steiner

Shawn Steiner

Media and Communications Director

Shawn Steiner has over 15 years of experience in marketing and communications for nonprofit and for-profit organizations. She made the transition to nonprofit work as the Marketing & Communications Director at The Trevor Project. Before joining National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Shawn started Steiner Communications to help nonprofit clients deliver effective communications and marketing strategies. Shawn received a BBA in marketing from Baruch College.


Keline Adams, MA

Keline Adams, MA

Executive Office Manager

Keline Adams has had over 10 years of experience working for non-profit and for profit organizations and institutions. She received her B.A. in English from Hampton University and her Master of Arts in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York School of Professional Studies. Before joining NAPW, she worked for CUNY School of Law in several capacities including Executive Officer for Administrative and Financial Services, Internal Communications Manager for Institutional Advancement, and Admissions Coordinator. Prior to the law school, Keline served as Educational and Events Coordinator for the Afro American Historical Society Museum for eight years. In that position she was responsible for the development of all educational programming and all aspects of exhibitions housed at the museum. Keline is also a playwright who is passionate about creating strong, non-stereotypical, multilayered roles for women, particularly black and brown women. She is a recipient of a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for Playwriting and is currently developing workshops born out of her thesis research which explored how applied theatre could create space for the voices of black and brown women artists to be heard.


Samantha Lee, JD

Samantha Lee, JD

Staff Attorney

Samantha Lee, JD, is a human and civil rights attorney committed to people’s inherent right to make their own decisions about their bodies, their families, and their health. After graduating from NYU Law School, Sam served as a public defender in Brooklyn, NY, representing parents against allegations of child abuse or neglect. Most recently, she has been engaged with Amplify Her, a NYC-based organization doing the groundwork to get grassroots, transformational women candidates elected to represent their communities. She earned her B.A. from Stanford University, focusing on international human rights law, and previously served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Anne E. Thompson, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.


Emma Roth, JD

Emma Roth, JD

Staff Attorney

Emma Roth (she/her) is a civil rights attorney and gender justice advocate. Prior to joining National Advocates for Pregnant Women, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronnie Abrams of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She also worked as an Equal Justice Works fellow for the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, where she brought impact litigation to advance the rights of women and girls in courts across the country.

During law school, Emma was awarded a Ford Foundation Public Interest Fellowship to intern with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. She also interned with the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. As a clinical student, she engaged in policy advocacy and litigation with the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership, Veterans Legal Services Clinic, and Reproductive Rights and Justice Project. She also served as a fellow in the Yale Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy and the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice. Prior to law school, Emma worked with a pro bono team at Paul, Weiss representing Mississippi’s last abortion clinic in its efforts to stay open.

Emma received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her A.B., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Brown University.


Lindsey English Hull, JD, RN

Lindsey English Hull, JD, RN

NAPW's Knighton-Newman Legal Fellow

Lindsey English Hull, RN, JD, obtained her bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Tennessee, after which she spent five years as a labor and delivery nurse at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. As a nurse, she is nationally certified in in-patient obstetrics and has helped hundreds of women through some of the best, worst, and hardest days of their lives. Lindsey loves bedside nursing and misses her team, but she decided to go back to law school as a result of a growing disenchantment with our healthcare system and a desire to advocate for positive policy changes. She obtained her JD from the University of Tennessee in the spring of 2020, where she had the opportunity to assist Professor Wendy Bach in researching and documenting the negative effects of Tennessee’s criminal “fetal assault” law.


Purvaja Kavattur, MSc

Purvaja Kavattur, MSc

Research and Program Associate

Purvaja S Kavattur (she/her) is a sexual reproductive health researcher. She’s particularly interested in the intersections between population control, gender and sexuality as well as exploring anti-colonial approaches to healthcare provision. Her research has examined US transmasculine adolescent abortion experiences and the influence of scientific literature on abortion jurisprudence. Prior to starting at NAPW, Purvaja worked with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University and the UN Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. Wherein she led a menstrual health policy review across Senegal, Kenya, India and the United States.

Purvaja has a MSc in Global Health and Population from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a BSc(Hons) in Social Policy and Economics from the London School of Economics.


Afsha Malik, MSW

Afsha Malik, MSW

Research and Program Associate

Afsha Malik, MSW (she/her) is a social worker dedicated to safeguarding the human rights of all people. Prior to joining National Advocates for Pregnant Women, she worked with the Community Service Society (CSS) of New York to develop their second annual Full Participation is a Human Right Conference, Moving beyond Punishment. She's served as an Advocate for the Long Island Advocacy Center and Research Assistant for her alma mater, Molloy College. Most recently, Afsha cofound a pilot social media campaign, Creatives Against Corona, to address the impacts of COVID-19 and help provide financial relief for nonprofits serving on the front lines of the pandemic. Her team raised over $2,000 in just one month. In her other time, Afsha serves as a board member for the National Association of Social Workers - New York State Chapter. She chairs the New Emerging Workforce Committee and sits on the Advocacy and Government Relations Committee focusing on current issues. As a first-generation immigrant woman of color and champion for equity and justice, Afsha is passionate about employing her social work lens and legal interests to provide a more holistic framework in our future practices as a society, so we can become a more inclusive planet.

Afsha received her MSW from Columbia University, focusing her studies on Social Enterprise Administration with particular attention to contemporary social issues. She earned her B.S. in Social Work, Summa Cum Laude, from Molloy College.


Kendall D. Bentsen, MSW

Kendall D. Bentsen, MSW

Organizer

Kendall D. Bentsen is a graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work where she studied social policy. Prior to joining NAPW, Kendall ran a young women’s leadership program at the Queens Community House, co-authored a report for members of Congress on the need to reauthorize and expand the 2018 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for the National Organization for Women-NYC, and was an Organizer at Ready for Hillary. Kendall is a 6th generation Texan and alumna of the Congressional Research Institute of Social Policy Political Bootcamp; she hopes to one day run for elected office in her home state.


Samantha Valente, MA

Samantha Valente, MA

Finance & Administration Associate

Samantha (she/hers) is an administrative professional with over 9 years of experience in office coordination and financial management at higher education institutions and non-profit organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in gender studies and history from Hampshire College and a Master of Arts degree in Labor Studies from the City University of New York (CUNY). Before joining NAPW, Samantha worked as an Administrative Coordinator for the Public Engagement department at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. There, she supported multiple initiatives including civic engagement trainings; an energy democracy non-profit; a worker cooperative project and an academic journal, New Labor Forum.