Meet the Founder

Saleemah McNeil, CLC, MS, MFT

hey y’all hey

My previous bio was very polished and professional which is cool, but not an authentic version of myself so here goes…

My name is Saleemah J. McNeil and I’ve done a host of dope shit in the maternal health space over the past 15 years and here is why. In 2006 my life changed forever, a “near-miss” is what they called me. Bringing my son earthside exposed grave injustices within the health system that left me confused and struggling to put the pieces together as a new parent. Being a survivor of a traumatic birth experience has provided me with a unique perspective regarding the overall maternal wellness journey of Black birthing parents in the tri-state area. As a result, I embarked on a personal healing journey that led me to provide support to the birthing community with hopes of reducing Black maternal morbidity and eradicating Black maternal mortality through a comprehensive integrative wellness model.

As Black women, we struggle to talk about ourselves because we fear that our presentation in this world will validate the negative stereotypes placed on Black women by society. Two things; We don’t want to come off arrogant and braggy OR imposter syndrome creeps in and whispers…you don’t deserve to be here! Well, guess what, I am about to pop my shit!

Black Girl Affirmation: Go, Awf Sis!

National Speaker and Black Maternal Mortality Advocate, Saleemah McNeil, is Coming to KC…
(Then covid happened and I didn’t make it in person but I still slayed the keynote address!)

I am the Founder and Executive Director of Oshun Family Center, a Reproductive Psychotherapist, certified lactation consultant, a retired birth doula, maternal health researcher, adjunct professor, and maternal health advocate. I sit on a host of committees and boards to advance maternal health such as the maternal mortality review committee and a partner of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. Additionally, I am the curator of the Maternal Wellness Village, a Philly-based collective of Black birth workers that directly serve the community and serve as content area experts to boards, institutions, and legislators. And lastly, I am published! I am a co-author of an article that will be published in fall 2023 in the Green Journal from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology! I have personally and professionally contributed to the community by providing equitable, racially concordant direct services to members of the Black community to address concerns regarding the intersection of racism and maternal health, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and trauma. Maternal morbidity & mortality is a public health crisis, therefore working to improve the experiences of Black birthing families, will ultimately impact their overall quality of life.

Whew! I can’t believe I just did that! All of that is the manifestation of those aforementioned experiences and desires to make SHIFT happen for the upcoming generation of Black birthing families.

I have held several positions in the field of Maternal & Child Health and Wellness however, working with underrepresented birthing persons while I was a Philadelphia County Jail Based Case Manager at Riverside Correctional Facility changed my professional trajectory. In this role, I assisted birthing folks during their most vulnerable times as a Doula. Working with the Department of Corrections, pissed me off and ignited a level of anger and passion that ultimately guided me to obtaining a Masters in Clinical Psychology and Counseling. After watching years of unfair treatment, inhumane conditions, reproductive injustice, systemic racism, and trauma, I founded a nonprofit organization, Oshun Family Center.

Braggadocious or nah?! But wait…there’s more!

My work is rooted in a deep appreciation and understanding that surviving the 4th trimester can mean life or death for some women. Therefore I am on a mission to unite birth workers in Philadelphia to have a greater impact on the community at large. We are a mighty force together and if you know me, you KNOW and understand my passion for creating a seat at the table everyday. When I look around at all of the beautiful Black birth workers, I am always thinking of ways for all of us to collaborate as competition is not to my right or left against my sistas fighting in this movement but it’s attacking the problem right in front of us. So let’s work…together!

~ Saleemah

Curriculum Vitae upon request

Press + media highlights

“A win for one can be a win for all if we rise together and hold each other accountable.”



Workshop Topics:

  • 1
    Birth Trauma: A Community Healing Journey
  • 2
    Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • 3
    Institutional Shifts for equitable maternal healthcare
  • 4

    I’m not in the BIPOC community, now what?!:
    The “RACE” to improving therapeutic relationships