Centering Pregnancy Facilitators
Our facilitators are committed to helping you have the best pregnancy possible in an empowering and supportive community of Centering families.
Your facilitators will be with you throughout your pregnancy journey and are excited to support you as you grow your family. You'll have plenty of time to get to know each other in the coming months, but you can learn a little more in our short introductions below.
Facilitators N – Z
Caleb Pearce, MD, loves Centering and being able to spend extra time supporting moms-to-be and learning from their wisdom too. When he is not Centering or delivering babies, he enjoys walking outside, playing with his pup Putnam, or playing golf. Dr. Pearce loves watching Slam Poetry competitions and even writes a little poetry of his own. He also like to sing really, really loud to P!nk, Sam Smith and Kendrick Lamar at 5 am while driving to the hospital (which helps him, and the cars beside him, wake up!).
Dolly Pressley-Byrd, CNM. You’d be hard pressed to find a person who has met Dolly once and did not immediately want to be her friend. She thrives in forming relationships and maintaining loyalty. Her patients line up to see her, and she treats each one with the same amount of affection and kindness. Dolly is the proud wife of an amazing man who is WNC’s mosquito expert and the proud momma of two boys. She loves traveling, cooking and eating. And she was a White House intern just prior to when Monica Lewinsky made that position infamous! She worked in the office of the VP and had the opportunity to work with Tipper Gore.
Brent Sager, MD, is a third-year ob/gyn resident and a Georgia native who loves to support families through the pregnancy journey that sometimes includes recovery from substance use disorders. Brent always sets his aim high for his patients’ health, which might have something to do with his future career as an Air Force ob/gyn and his love of flying (he has his private pilot’s license). When he is not supporting families in Centering groups or delivering babies, Brent likes to spend time outdoors with his girlfriend and their three fur babies Dusty (a black lab), Sadie and Sophie (both miniature schnauzers). He also enjoys visiting local breweries and listening to music, sometimes at the same time.
Thomas Shakar, MD, loves the informality of Centering and being able to talk with women in a relaxed environment about medical issues that may seem a bit scary at first. He also really enjoys getting to know his patients on a deeper level and helping them more effectively as a result. And, we’ll be honest, the snacks were a big draw for him as well! Thomas appreciates the sense of family that is created in his Centering groups. He also enjoys woodworking and hiking in his spare time.
Ariel Shumaker-Hammond, MSW. As a therapist, Ariel’s primary passions are social justice and equity and working with pregnant and postpartum people and their little ones. She sees the stage of life where folks are having babies as one of the most significant (and challenging) stages of life. She’s especially passionate about families being empowered to advocate for themselves in healthcare, which makes her a great fit for our Centering groups. She lives with her hilarious husband, her adorable and wild-haired toddler son, a couple of dogs and a fish. Ariel is also a photographer in her spare time and started off college as a photo-journalist.
Kiran Sigmon, MD, has been with Centering at MAHEC since its earliest days. She is on the faculty and loves working with Centering groups as they learn and grow together. After 20 years of pregnancy care and delivering babies, she is pleased to say that Centering Pregnancy is the best advancement in medicine that she has seen in her career. She believes we all are stronger when we work together.
Lauren Simmons, CMA, has been at MAHEC since 2016 and is excited to be part of the Centering team. She has a little girl that made her a mom back in 2010. Lauren was only 17 years old at the time and wished she could have been part of a program like Centering. She loves supporting people on their journey to parenthood. When Lauren was 5 years old, she could tumble and do a cartwheel on a balance beam. But don't ask her to do it now (she claims to have forgotten how).
Stephanie Stone, CMA, has been with MAHEC Ob/Gyn Specialists for several years and decided to become a Centering Pregnancy facilitator because it sounded like so much fun. While she doesn’t have any children, being a Centering facilitator has given her a wonderful sense of family. She is grateful for all of the warm connections she has made in her Centering groups. Stephanie loves watching people become parents and couples become families.
Joann Vanderhagen, MA. It is impossible not to notice Joann’s presence in a room. She brings positive energy and spunk to any given encounter. Her main reason for working at MAHEC Ob/Gyn Specialists is the connection it allows her to feel to the women and babies she cares for. She loves adventure and facing challenges. In fact, she is the first to sign up for any warrior dash, kayaking endeavor or haunted trail that she can.
Theresa Wong, MD, is an ob/gyn resident who joined the MAHEC family this year. She is eager to walk through this life-changing journey with her patients and even more excited to get to know you and your family through Centering. Having grown up in a large family with a strong nurturing mom and two sisters, her goal is to provide a safe, supportive, and caring environment for all of her patients. Outside of the office, you’ll find Theresa enjoying the outdoors with her three English Bulldogs. As a Chinese Jamaican with a “Food = Love” motto, she enjoys trying new foods and cooking tasty spicy meals for her family and friends.
Amy Willis, MD, has been an ob/gyn for almost 15 years. She has worked with Centering Pregnancy groups across the U.S. and has seen its huge benefits for moms and babies. Centering sets a strong foundation for understanding and embracing all the changes that come with pregnancy and a growing family. Amy believes in empowering women to take charge of their own health, and also believes that a community of women supporting one another is an invaluable component of Centering. Amy grew up in Pennsylvania, but is now happy to call Asheville home. She lives with her husband and two young daughters and spends free time playing with her kids, hiking in the outdoors, traveling to new places, and exploring Asheville.
Tiffany Woods, RN, has a natural, calming presence that can be felt by all. It becomes most evident when she has a newborn baby in her arms, a sweet sight not to be missed. Centering group members inevitably feel a bond to her almost from day one. She loves being part of such a special time in the life of a family. You know how you learn things that could be useful, but the likelihood of having to use those skills is minimal at best? Like using the flotation device on airplanes? Well, Tiffany learned CPR and actually had to perform it on a dear friend.