Home/About/Contributor/Elizabeth Pihlaja
Elizabeth Pihlaja Headshot

Elizabeth Pihlaja

State MIECHV Director, Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota

Elizabeth Pihlaja, MPH, is a ZERO TO THREE Fellow. She is Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Director at Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.

Ms. Elizabeth Pihlaja is the North Dakota Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Director. Her role is housed within Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND), where she implements home visiting best practices to support families in achieving and maintaining wellness and stability, practicing development-informed positive parenting, and promoting healing from trauma, both current and historical.

Ms. Pihlaja has a vision for strengthening collaboration across systems to improve services for families in North Dakota. A descendant of White Earth Nation, she is passionate about rural and indigenous health, with a focus on perinatal issues and birth equity. At PCAND, Ms. Pihlaja is working toward the development of comprehensive, equitable early childhood systems, with reductions in barriers to access for families, greater data interoperability, and increased support and funding for two-generation approaches to family health and well-being. Ms. Pihlaja currently serves on the executive committees of both the North and South Dakota Perinatal Quality Collaborative and the state Home Visiting Coalition as a means of building and improving maternal and child health and early childhood systems.

Ms. Pihlaja earned her BS in Child Psychology, as well as her Master of Public Health degree in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Minnesota. She is a doula, trained to provide support to pregnant people who have experienced previous sexual trauma, using the perinatal period to transform their self-beliefs and build self-efficacy as individuals and parents.