Carol Sakala is the director of Childbirth Connection programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families. She joined the organization in January 2014 when Childbirth Connection joined forces with the National Partnership to integrate maternity care policy, quality, and shared decision making into the National Partnership’s program portfolio. She is a long-time maternity care advocate, educator, researcher, author and policy analyst, with a continuous focus on meeting the needs and interests of childbearing women and their families.
Before coming to the National Partnership, Sakala served for 14 years as director of programs at Childbirth Connection (founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association). Developed under her program leadership, Childbirth Connection’s portfolio includes multi-stakeholder consensus reports delineating a “2020 Vision” and a “Blueprint for Action” for a high-quality, high-value maternity care system; continuous commitments to fostering evidence-based maternity care and helping women navigate the maternity care system; identification of the experiences and perspectives of childbearing women through a decade of national "Listening to Mothers" surveys and use of results for improvement; and collaboration with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation on the PregnantMe initiative to develop state-of-the-science decision aids for childbearing women and integrate them into the health care system. Sakala and Childbirth Connection have served as trusted and valued resources to health professionals, childbearing women, policymakers, the media, and a broad range of organizations and agencies, frequently as a convener or participant in multi-stakeholder deliberative bodies and through widely consulted reports and other resources.
Sakala was a Pew Health Policy fellow at Boston University, where she received her doctorate in health policy through the University Professors Program. She has master's degrees from the University of Utah and the University of Chicago.