Group Care Global

Group Care Global leads WP4: the implementation of group care.

More information about Group Care Global can be found on their website:

Sharon Schindler Rising

WP 4 Lead

Sharon Schindler Rising is a certified nurse-midwife who graduated from the Yale School of Nursing, taught on the faculty there and then established the graduate nurse-midwifery program and the Childbearing Childrearing Center at the University of Minnesota. In 1993-94 she developed and piloted the CenteringPregnancy model of group health care in Waterbury, CT and began doing instructional workshops nationally and internationally.  There now are over 500 Centering sites in the US and Canada.  She is the Founder and President Emerita of the Centering Healthcare Institute, Inc (CHI).   

Sharon is a founding member of Group Care Global. She resides with her husband in Philadelphia, PA, and works closely with the Board to provide major direction for Group Care Global.  Sharon serves as Secretary / Treasurer of Group Care Global.

Sharon can be reached at

Dr. Deborah Billings

WP 4 Lead

Deborah L. Billings, PhD, is Senior Advisor for Group Care Global, where she works closely with the Board of Directors to further the mission of the organization. Currently, she coordinates GCG’s work for the European Union’s Horizon 2020 (2020-2023) project to adapt and implement group prenatal and postpartum care for underserved populations in seven countries. She also leads a South Carolina (USA) state-wide action research initiative documenting women’s pregnancy and postpartum experiences while using Medicaid and, in that same state, has led a multi-year process evaluation of scaling up group care. 

Over two decades, Deborah has collaborated with health systems throughout Africa and Latin America to shift policies and practices to address stigma, bias, and discrimination in the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services. She has worked with global organizations including the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Oak Foundation, UN Women, and UNFPA, as well as with national initiatives on sexual and reproductive health with the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico. Deborah is Affiliate faculty at the Institute for Families in Society and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina as well as Adjunct Associate Professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Deborah can be reached at:  dbillings@groupcare.globa

Dr. Kathleen Norr

Kathy Norr, Ph.D, is a medical sociologist and Professor Emerita at the College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work has focused on the development and testing of innovative community-based programs to address the needs of socially disadvantaged mothers in the US and HIV prevention for women, men and youth in low income countries globally.

Kathy has conducted two studies of group prenatal care in the US, one for predominately low-income African American women in a single Chicago clinic and one across Illinois in rural, suburban and urban clinics serving low-income women from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds.  The UIC team also piloted the Centering group care model in Tanzania and Malawi and is now launching a large randomized trial in Malawi funded by NIH.  She brings her program design and evaluation skills to the GCG consulting group.

Sarah Covington-Kolb

Sarah Covington-Kolb worked in international education and humanitarian assistance while living in Mexico, Europe, and Africa, before over nine years working with group prenatal care in South Carolina. She has co-facilitated hundreds of groups, and those patients and their stories have been her inspiration and motivation to spread this model of care. She has extensive experience managing grants, leading health research projects, training healthcare providers, and providing technical support to sites as they implement group care. When she’s not doing all that, she’s probably at a dance class, in her garden, or camping with her family somewhere in the Appalachians.

Margie Rickell

Margie Rickell, MA, CNM, attended Philadelphia University’s Institute of Midwifery Women and Health, graduating in early 2001. She then joined the OB/GYN faculty at VCU Health System in Richmond, VA as a Certified Nurse Midwife. In 2005, she established CenteringPregnancy at VCU and held the position of Director of CenteringPregnancy while working as a full scope CNM until August 2011. During that time she worked with the OB/GYN residency program and supported the integration of Residents and Medical Students into Centering.

Since 2006, Margie has been Consulting with the Centering Healthcare Institute and was Lead Consultant for two years. In 2019, Margie started to work with Group Care Global in early 2019 when she visited Lesotho. Margie enjoys travelling both to sites around the world in order to help spread the Centering based model of care and to visit her scattered  family and friends, primarily children and grandchildren.