Brenda Baker, Ph.D., R.N.

Director of Policy
American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Fellowship Profile

Fellowship Year: 2021-2022
Fellowship Placement: Sen Cassidy (R-LA)
Sponsoring Institution: Emory University


Brenda J. Baker is an associate professor of nursing at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. As a clinical nurse specialist, Baker provided leadership and clinical education in the areas of maternal and newborn care and quality and safety efforts focused on reducing maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a recipient of a March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award. Baker is the founder of the Georgia Prison Motherhood Project, a collaboration between Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and the Georgia Department of Corrections. This collaboration provides nursing students the opportunity to participate in and provide prenatal education, labor, and postpartum support for incarcerated women.

Baker is actively involved in policy and advocacy efforts related to care of incarcerated women and their children and serves on state and national committees representing the unique needs of incarcerated women. Her research has focused on health disparities experienced by incarcerated pregnant women, substance use disorders among women, and the role of social support in the transition to motherhood. A co-investigator on numerous grants, Baker has examined and published on the topics of mothers of preterm infants, evidence-based care for pregnant women and newborns, and maternal and neonatal outcomes of incarcerated women.

After earning a diploma in nursing, Baker earned a BA in health care administration from Mary Baldwin College and an MN from Emory University School of Nursing. She completed her PhD in nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University and a JM at Emory University School of Law.