Atlanta, GA
+ (678)-607-6052

Meet Our Team

Alicia C. Simpson MS, RD, IBCLC, LD

Founder and Executive Director
Registered Dietitian, Lactation Consultant and SOS Feeding Therapist

Alicia has an unparalleled passion for nutrition that led her to found Pea Pod Nutrition and Lactation Support, Inc. in 2012. This passion started early in life as a child growing up in the agricultural town of Fresno, California. There she grew up on fresh, local produce grown in her family’s fruit and vegetable garden and the many gardens and farms nearby. Her parents raised her with an appreciation for health, nutrition and the importance of fueling your body with wholesome foods. Alicia moved from California to Virginia to her “home by the sea” Hampton University to pursue a degree in Marketing. After graduating from Hampton University Alicia entered corporate America as a saleswoman. Although she excelled in her career she felt something was missing. An avid reader since her childhood, Alicia dove head first into any book, article, blog, or scientific journal she could get her hands on that dealt with public health and nutrition. Finally, Alicia decided to make the shift from a corporate sales career to that of public health and nutrition earning her Master’s degree in Nutrition from Georgia State University as well as her second bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Georgia State University. Alicia has a burning need to answer the “why’s” in life and her question of “why do African American mothers have the lowest rate of breastfeeding in the United States?” fueled the research behind her master’s thesis titled Sociocultural Barriers To Breast Feeding In African American Women With Focused Intervention To Increase Prevalence and spurred her involvement in the field of lactation. Her original thesis research was also the catalyst behind the creation of Pea Pod Nutrition and Lactation Support.

Alicia is active in her community as a volunteer with La Leche League International (Georgia Chapter),  on the Advisory Counsel for Postpartum Support International (PSI) Georgia, and Chair of the Membership Committee for the United States Lactation Consultants Association (USCLA) as well as the national liaison between the USLCA and National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color (NAPPLSC) . She is also the author of 3 bestselling cookbooks and her new bestselling book Boost Your Breastmilk: An All In One Guide for Nursing Mothers to Build a Healthy Milk Supply. Alicia is currently working on her PhD in Public Policy focusing her research and neonatal and maternal mortality. Her most important role is that of mother to her vibrant and energetic daughter.

Alicia works at both the Atlanta and Decatur offices.

Catherine “Cat” Palmer BSN-RN, IBCLC

Lactation Consultant

Cat Palmer is passionate about supporting pregnant people and new families to create a healthier, brighter next generation. Cat strongly believes that offering comprehensive, loving support to families and individuals during this vulnerable period of life is imperative to helping people feel empowered to build the families, communities, nations, and world they want to live in.

Cat has always been drawn to food and nutrition, a love that eventually drew her to study Public Health and Human Services at Elon University. Her interest in nutrition led Cat to conduct breastfeeding research, which eventually blossomed into a passion for maternal-child health. After graduating with a B.A. from Elon in 2015, Cat became part of the inaugural cohort of Elon-Alamance Health Partners, a hyperlocal public health fellowship in North Carolina funded by Elon University and Cone Health. As a public health fellow Cat spearheaded a year-long nutrition campaign which included such projects as creating a farmers’ market in a food desert, working with pediatricians to implement obesity-prevention interventions, teaching children’s cooking and nutrition classes, organizing farm tours, and contributing to policy to create a healthier built environment. After her yearlong fellowship came to an end, Cat returned to school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to become an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). During this time Cat also became trained as a doula, and started offering her birth services to clients of a local health department. This soon developed into a private practice that allowed Cat to serve her clients as a lactation consultant, birth doula, and yoga instructor. Cat realized that her passion for maternal-child health extens past the scope of practice of a lactation consultant, and is now pursuing her nursing education at Emory University to become a certified nurse-midwife (CNM).

In her free time Cat loves to cook for family and friends, read, hike, practice yoga, and spend time with her partner and their two kittens.

Alisha Virani MS, RD, CDCES, LD

Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Care and Educator Specialist

Alisha is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics (MS) from Georgia State University. She also holds a certificate in training for adult overweight and obesity management.

 

Alisha is passionate about using food and nutrition as a means of disease prevention and/or management rather than relying solely on pharmacologic approaches. With so much misguided information on social media about the impact of food and nutrition on health, it can be challenging and frustrating for people to figure out what actually works for them. Alisha is committed to helping her clients make positive, individualized lifestyle changes by translating science into practical solutions. Alisha believes using food to nourish ones’ mind, body, and soul is key to achieving optimum wellness. Therefore, she strives to help her clients build confidence in encouraging a relationship with food that helps people achieve a better quality of life.

 

Alisha spends much of her free time volunteering in her South Asian community. People from South Asian backgrounds are more likely to develop diabetes early and have a higher risk of heart disease. Using her expertise as a Registered Dietitian, Alisha spends time giving back to her community by creating and delivering nutrition intervention programs that promote healthy behaviors that reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

For fun, Alisha enjoys kickboxing, painting, hiking, and picnics in the park with friends. Exploring new quick and easy recipes is a favorite pass-time as well!

Renae Brown MS, RD, LD

Registered Dietitian

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Renae began her nutrition career as a sustainable farmer. Here, she learned the complexity of food systems and witnessed the striking number of individuals who lack access to the nutrient-dense food needed to sustain a balanced lifestyle.  While harvesting rows of Swiss Chard, she channeled this drive to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Anthropology, followed by a Master of Science in Nutrition, both from Case Western Reserve University. She then journeyed south to complete her dietetic internship at the Memphis VA Medical Center, where she was named “Outstanding Dietetic Student of the Year” and immediately hired as an outpatient primary care dietitian.  As the youngest of five children, Renae thrives in working with individuals of various backgrounds, lifestyles, and readiness levels. She puts individuals in the driver’s seat of their wellness and believes the only place for a cookie cutter is in a baking supply drawer.  Now a resident of the Peach State, Renae’s goal is to empower individuals to set small, realistic goals that lead to large, lasting impacts.

Outside of her nutrition role, you’ll find Renae buried in Ethiopian food, learning to speak Swedish, and practicing gratitude for escaping the snow of her Midwest childhood.

Faye Harris, CLC

Breastfeeding Educator

Faye Harris is a native of Decatur, GA and fell in love with nursing when her second experience did not mirror her first. She has 3 children and once she realized different variables affect the breastfeeding dyad she became interested in learning more. Growing up her mom nursed all 7 of her siblings and she remembers watching the youngest, currently 30 years old, being breastfed. After birthing her own children she used those memories as a way to nurture and bond with her own children.

Faye has assisted breastfeeding moms professionally on peer to peer levels both virtually and in person and enjoys helping moms feed, nurture and bond with their children. She enjoys encouraging moms to their comfort level, loves teaching the science behind breastfeeding and helping them learn about milk production. Faye is studying to be a postpartum doula so she can assist moms and babies with adjusting to life outside the womb. Faye holds a BA in Business Management and a MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management from Colorado Technical University. She unschools her children and takes them to the park almost everyday.

Danielle Allen

Healthy Families Program Coordinator

Danielle was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia. She has always had a passion for the healthcare field, but for years it was only on the administrative side. Graduating magna cum laude from Alabama State University with a degree in Health Information Management, Danielle went on after college to work for large companies in the areas of claims, accounts receivable, and customer service.

During Danielle’s first pregnancy, a college friend suggested she receive care via a midwifery group. After attending the Meet & Greet for a local Atlanta midwifery practice, Danielle instantly fell in love with the compassion and warmth that midwives showed toward the birthing woman and the process of birth itself. During her pregnancy, she received regular chiropractic care, childbirth education classes and hired a doula. Danielle loved her prenatal care so much that she became a birth doula after the birth of her son. Being able to provide physical, emotional and informational support to women and their families during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives gave her so much joy! This opened up an even deeper passion for birth, breastfeeding, prenatal and postpartum support and childbirth education. Her favorite tagline is, “You don’t know what you don’t know!” and being able to educate mamas and families  is a very rewarding task.

Outside of work, Danielle enjoys relaxing, trying new restaurants, attending birth-related functions and spending time with her husband, Marcus and their 4-year-old son, Christian and 4-month-old daughter, Juliana.

Ashley Gello

Patient Care Coordinator

Ashley was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Coming from healthy and active parents, who made fresh, home-cooked meals every night, she found her passion for health and nutrition at a very young age. She worked as a medical assistant at an outpatient pediatric office, as well as a personal nanny for many years. It was through both of these jobs that she realized how much she enjoyed helping children and their parents through all aspects of their medical and social journey.  In between these two jobs, Ashley also went to school for nutrition, obtained her B.S. in Food Science and Nutrition.  She has a driving passion for working with children and moms, and for helping others to be proactive about their health and wellness.
 
Ashley is also a mom to a sweet baby boy, and in her spare time she enjoys going for walks with him and her dog, reading, and leading casual fitness classes for fellow mamas and young women.  She also loves traveling to new places and discovering new exotic foods!