APOPS History

Like most women, Sherrie Palm was a member of the "discovery upon diagnosis" demographic; she recognized within two weeks of her diagnosis that pelvic organ prolapse was the biggest secret in women's health and that millions of other women were suffering in silence. Sherrie's journey began when she wrote the book, Pelvic Organ Prolapse:The Silent Epidemic, and shortly after the books publication, she founded APOPS, a grassroots movement to shift awareness and provide guidance and support to women navigating POP.  Sherrie recognized the need for evolution of awareness, screening, education, support, and research for POP and is APOPS Founder and Executive Director. 

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Sherrie Palm
Founder/CEO/Executive Director
Women's Pelvic Floor Health Advocate, Author, International Speaker

Sherrie Palm is APOPS Founder/Executive Director, the award winning author of Pelvic Organ Prolapse:The Silent Epidemic, and a public speaker, and educator on the topic of pelvic organ prolapse. As a grassroots women's pelvic floor health advocate, Sherrie dedicates her time to multiple avenues of international POP awareness, guidance, education, and support. Download Curriculum Vitae.

APOPS Board of Directors

APOPS Board of Directors (governing body) recognizes the value in a balanced board of representation between health care professionals from various disciplines, non-medical professionals from legal and business avenues, and most importantly, patients who have experienced pelvic organ prolapse.


     Margaret Gonzales-Charles, PT

Peggy is a bilingual, licensed physical therapist who specializes in women's health. Numerous years of experience at an inner city hospital assisting people from multiple countries of origin, her respect for cultural diversity enables her to bring key insights to the sensitive nature of treating a condition as private as pelvic organ prolapse. She currently runs a private practice, A Step Ahead Physical Therapy Services, in Milwaukee, WI.    

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Director Diane Hankey Underwood MS, WHNP-BC, CRNP

Diana Hankey Underwood, MS, WHNP, CRNP, is board certified and licensed as a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner.  She is Adjunct Faculty at The University of Alabama at Huntsville, and is the Director of  The Bladder and Bowel Clinic.  Besides treating patients with bladder and bowel problems, she speaks to audiences across the nation, with humor and dignity on a subject with which she has personal, as well as professional, experience. She is active in international missions and has been honored with two National awards: The Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health and the Bayer HealthCare 2007 Inspiration in Women's Health Award and the National Association for Continence 2007 Continence Care Champion Award.

Director Susanne Vella, Organization and Program Development

Susanne Vella has spent the bulk of her career engaged in the work of Milwaukee’s nonprofit sector. Withmore than twenty years of experience providing organization development and training services to hundreds of nonprofit and public sector organizations, Susanne understands the importance of building organizational capacity through training programs which equip staff with the knowledge, skills and abilities to maximize performance and to contribute significantly to successful work teams. She is the Training Coordinator at the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee, providing leadership and direction to program design that meets the unique needs of the sector.  She previously served as the Organization Development and Training Specialist for the Social Development Commission and Director of Admissions & Recruitment for St. Joan Antida High School. Susanne has provided cultural competency training since the late 1980’s - equipping staff to value, embrace and appreciate diversity ­­- when diversity was a “buzz “ word, and organizations were just beginning to recognize the value and importance of recruiting, maintaining and managing an increasingly diverse workforce. 

Director Susan Clinton, PT, DScPT, OCS, WCS, FAAOMPT

Dr. Clinton received her Physical Therapy degree from Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and a Masters of Health Sciences at LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She completed her Doctor of Science degree at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan and graduated with her NAIOMT fellowship in orthopedic manual therapy in 2013. Susan was accepted as a Fellow by the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists in 2014. As a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Manual Therapy, Orthopedics and Women’s Health, she has been actively treating patients with pelvic floor, urinary, bowel, reproductive, oncology, persistent pain, sports injuries and post-surgical diagnoses.  She currently practices in Sewickley, Pennsylvania and is the co-owner and founder of Embody Physiotherapy and Wellness, LLC. Susan is active in teaching and research as an adjunct instructor for the University of Pittsburgh and Chatham University. 

Additionally, Susan is an international instructor and presenter of post-professional education in women’s health and orthopedic manual therapy and a certified Total Control® Instructor.  Her research activities include publications on chronic pelvic pain and clinical practice guidelines for the APTA Section on Women's Health and Orthopedic Section.  Susan is active with the American Physical Therapy Association, serving in governance as a local delegate and alternate delegate, and as the Chair of the Clinical Practice Guidelines steering committee for the Section on Women’s Health.  She is the past secretary on the Section on Women’s Health Board of Directors and the former President of the Performing Arts Special Interest Group of the Orthopedic Section of the APTA.  She has served as an item writer and case reviewer for the WCS board certification examination and is a member of the credentialing committee with ABPTRFE.  She is an inaugural board member of the Global Women’s Health Initiative (GWHI) and a new board member of APOPS.  Susan is the 2016 recipient of the Elizabeth Noble Award which is the APTA Section on Women’s Health highest honor.

                                                                                                               Director Marilyn-Lu Webb, NP/PhD

Marilyn-Lu Webb is a Continence Nurse Practitioner and Chief Operating Officer of The Center for Continence Care, Inc. in Fresno, CA.  Marilyn-Lu earned a BSN from Keuka College, an MA in Nursing Education with a specialty in Rehabilitation Nursing from Teachers College, Columbia University and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Education from Texas A&M University. She received a Professional Achievement Award from Keuka College in 1983, and was nominated for Nurse Practitioner of the Year in 2000. She holds national board certification as an Adult Nurse Practitioner, as well as in Rehabilitation Nursing and has been certified as a Continence Care Nurse.

Marilyn-Lu retired from academia as Professor of Nursing to become an entrepreneur in continence nursing to home health agencies, nursing homes, a retirement community, and her own office in collaboration with Dr. Michael O'Shaughnessy.  She lectures frequently to students in the nursing program at baccalaureate and associate degree programs as well as the masters level Nurse Practitioners and the public. 

Director Mary Pippen, POPS Forum Administrator, Patient Voice

Mary Pippen is a patient board director. Mary was diagnosed with POP at the age of 50 in 2014. She joined the POPS Facebook Support Forum where she immediately benefited from the support of the women on the forum. After two surgeries Mary became a voice of support for other women in the forum, and gained a passion for the mission of APOPS. In November of 2015 Mary joined the POPS Administration team, APOPS Facebook based online support forum which includes women from every US state, every Canadian province, and 42 countries. POPS Administrative team screen applicants requesting entry into the forum to maintain safety and security of the support environment. Mary additionally engages as a volunteer in multiple APOPS activities, including APOPS annual Stigma Stride walkathon and APOPS annual Women’s Pelvic Health Conference, as well as additional aspects of project development. Mary participated as a patient on the POP Patient Panel at APOPS 2016 Women’s Pelvic Health Congress.

Mary has additionally worked for the VA Medical Center for 24 years, 16 as a Recreation Therapist, and is currently a VA Voluntary Service Specialist.  

Targeted Focus Committees

To learn more about our committee members, click on the links below.

Medical Advisory

Research & Development

Global Development

Nepal WHEN Initative

POP Lay Advisory