Desert Star Institute for Family Planning is a Black Woman founded and led organization that is intentional with its partnerships and programming with an aim to lift up and partner with organizations led by people of color, organizations whose work centers the lived experiences of people of color, and organizations that show a commitment to having people of color as planners and decision-makers in their organization.
DESHAWN TAYLOR, MD, MSC, FACOG
Founder and President/CEO
DeShawn Taylor, MD MSc (she/hers) is an award winning Gynecologist, Family Planning Specialist, Gender Affirming Care Provider, and Reproductive Justice Activist, whose work advances reproductive health care access through direct services, education and training, advocacy, and leadership. She is an Associate Clinical Professor of OB/Gyn at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix and solo operates Desert Star Family Planning, an independent abortion clinic founded in 2013. She has convened local and statewide coalitions for reproductive rights and justice with a keen interest in cultivating grassroots leadership in communities of color. Dr. DeShawn founded Desert Star Institute for Family Planning in 2017 which houses coalition work and community programs advancing access to reproductive healthcare for multiply marginalized communities.
Dr. DeShawn was conferred the Doctor of Medicine degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. After completing post graduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Martin Luther King Jr./Charles Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, she completed the Fellowship in Family Planning at the University of Southern California where she was also conferred a Master of Science Degree in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations. She brings her expertise to state and national policy tables, founding Health Justice MD to help organizations apply a justice lens to new and emerging work in reproductive health and rights in the wake of the Supreme Court Dobbs decision. Her book, “Undue Burden: A Black Woman Physician on Being Christian and Pro-abortion in the Reproductive Justice Movement” provides a new prism from which to address the attack on abortion rights in America.
MICHELLE I PONCE
Michelle Ivette Ponce (she/her) is a reproductive justice advocate, community organizer, and arts management consultant in Arizona. Michelle serves as the Co-Director of Arizona Birthworkers of Color (AZBOC), an organization of Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) who support and provide services to birthing families in Arizona, since 2016. She is also the CEO of Sana Pueblo Consulting, LLC, a storyteller, and performance artist. Michelle works collaboratively with other grassroots groups and non-profit organizations, with the guidance of Black families and people of color, to empower an Arizona that is free to exercise autonomy over our own bodies and lives.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The board of directors provides the vision, mission and goals of the organization and supervises the activities of the organization.
Stacey Stewart is a Risk Practitioner who has worked in financial risk management for 20 years. Since 2009, she has been an advocate in the fight for reproductive rights and justice in myriad ways. She’s served as a clinic defender, community outreach advocate and speaker, event organizer, and blogger covering reproductive rights as well as local and national politics.
Sharon Smith brings experience in outreach, fundraising and organizing to the Board. After 12 years as an award winning sales professional in the IT field, she left the corporate world to work in the community, organizing fundraisers for homeless veterans, animal shelters and children in foster care. When she learned of the constant attack on abortion access in Arizona, she began to focus on reproductive justice.
Rachel Beam, MPH
Rachel is a third-year medical student passionate about reproductive justice, LGBTQ+ healthcare, family planning, and abortion care. They have a background in public health including infectious disease monitoring, program planning and evaluation, qualitative research, and organizational leadership. She is passionate about the integration of abortion care into the primary care setting and aspires to provide full-spectrum reproductive care as a Family Medicine physician.
Arizona State Representative Analise Ortiz proudly serves the people of Maryvale and Glendale in Legislative District 24. Ortiz serves as the ranking member of the House Judiciary committee. Ortiz was born-and-raised in Arizona and grew up in a family of six kids. Ortiz graduated summa cum laude from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and pursued a career in investigative reporting. Ortiz’s journalism career exposed harmful legislation and uncovered government corruption, inspiring her to get involved in legislative advocacy. Prior to being elected in 2022, she worked as a campaign strategist for the ACLU of Arizona with a focus on statewide criminal justice reform.
Enjolie Lafaurie, Ph.D., C.Ht., is a momma, sister, tía, comadre, widow, Doctor of Psychology, hypnotherapist, empath, death midwife, and business owner. Originally, from Southern California, she is of Afro-Cuban (Taino/Arawak) and Guatemalan (Maya) descent. Currently, Dr. Lafaurie provides service and leadership internationally, nationally, and within her local community. Enjolie is the CFO for the Cihuapactli Collective, a non-profit organization that supports indigenous women and families to reconnect with ancestral knowledge through wellness practices.
Evan Masingill is a 15 year veteran of the pharmaceutical and medical industry who has driven business development of several companies. During his tenure, he has both built organizations from the ground up and executed on the objectives required to realize long-term vision. Evan was one of the first board members to proudly join Desert Star Institute for Family Planning in 2017.
Harlie Jackson is an activist and community organizer. As a Queer woman of color, the urge for universal love, habitual respect, and equality pushes me to be my authentic self in all spaces, tell my story and continue to do my part in changing the world. Reproductive rights are human rights until we have that there is no freedom.
May Tiwamangkala is Democracy Defender Director at the Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander for Equity Coalition.
Michelle Reed is a consultant with expertise in financial analysis and healthcare technology, and a proud defender of feminist and reproductive health causes.