Following, in alphabetical order, is the list of invited delegates that attended one or more Home Birth Summits (2011, 2013, 2014). They bring a diverse array of experience and a variety of perspectives on the topic of home birth. The one thing that they all have in common is a passion for quality in maternity care and a commitment to working together to improve safety for women and babies across birth sites.
Delegates are those who are in positions to inform and influence a change process, and/or commit to measurable steps within their stakeholder groups. The delegates do not represent any organization but rather attend as individuals. Many of the attendees wear more than one hat in their personal and professional lives and therefore may represent more than one stakeholder perspective.
Nancy Anderson MD MPH is originally from New York City, and attended Barnard College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is a board certified pediatrician with an MPH in Maternal-Child Health from the University of Washington. Nancy spent five years working in Mozambique, and worked for the Department of Social and Health Services here in Washington for twelve years. She currently teach in the division of Evening and Weekend Studies at The Evergreen State College. Her particular interests are health equity, global health issues, and the health of women and children, with a particular focus on the elimination of maternal infant health inequities in the US. Nancy is currently working on a research project sponsored by the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives. The research aims to understand the barriers that women of color experience with respect to the midwifery profession, and to describe the optimal structure for a midwifery education scholarship program aimed at women of color.
Elizabeth Mitchell Armstrong PhD MPA is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, where she is also a faculty associate at the Office of Population Research, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Center for Health and Wellbeing. She has research interests in the history and sociology of medicine, reproduction, particularly pregnancy and childbirth, public health, and medical ethics. She is particularly interested in the intersection of medicine and culture. She has published on mass media attention to disease, family planning, medical mistakes, adolescent motherhood, prenatal substance use, home birth, and the sociology of pregnancy and birth. She is the author of Conceiving Risk, Bearing Responsibility: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Diagnosis of Moral Disorder (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), the first book to explore fetal alcohol syndrome from a sociocultural perspective and to challenge conventional wisdom about drinking during pregnancy. She is currently conducting research on diseases and agenda-setting, on fetal personhood and the evolution of obstetrical practice and ethics, and on cultural and scientific understandings of placental form and function.
Armstrong holds a B.A. in English from Yale University, an M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a Ph.D. in sociology and demography from the University of Pennsylvania. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan from 1998-2000 and currently serves on both the Board of Directors and the Certification Council of Lamaze International.
His research and clinical interests are in understanding and improving the quality of life for women and newborn babies. Among his key achievements is the development of a “clinical dashboard” to provide clinicians with the relevant and timely information they need to inform decisions that improve the quality of patient care.
He is the Honorary Fellow of the America, Sri Lankan, South African, Pakistan, Indian, Australian and New Zealand Colleges of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Honorary Member of the Canadian, Malaysian, German, Italian and South African Societies.
Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran was knighted as Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2009 in recognition of Services to Medicine.
Deren Bader DrPH CPM for most of her 25-year career Deren has worked as a home birth midwife. She has been a CPM since 1996 and has a Doctor of Public Health from the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Public Health. Her teaching and research emphasis has primarily been in perinatal epidemiology. Deren has been actively involved in midwifery politics and CPM licensure efforts around the United States. In Virginia, she was a member and served as chair of the Midwifery Advisory Board at the Virginia Board of Medicine from 2005-20012. Deren has served on the boards of MANA and FAM and was the Director of Research Education for the MANA Division of Research from 2003-2007. Deren currently works for Maternity Neighborhood as Director of Clinical Research.
Alice Bailes CNM has been a home birth mother, childbirth educator, birth activist, speaker, participant in regulatory processes, researcher, teacher, author and mostly, a midwife since 1972. More than 1650 babies have been born into her hands at homes, or at the BirthCare Alexandria, VA birth center. Education includes a BFA in Dance and Theatre in 1970 from NYU, BSN from George Mason in 1979, and an MS in Midwifery in 1981 from Georgetown.
From 1987 February 2013, she was the Co-Founder, Co-Owner, and Co-Director of BirthCare & Women’s Health, a home birth and birth center midwifery practice. The practice has provided service in over 4500 cases over the last 25 years, and currently serves 25-30 birthing families per month. Bailes was a founding member and former chair of the ACNM Home Birth Section, distributing statistical information, presenting at conferences, authoring official documents and participating in research that increased the visibility, importance and acceptability of home birth practice. She is co-editor of the ACNM Handbook on Home Birth Practice and co author of “Birth in the Home and Birth Center” in Varney’s Midwifery and co author of “Out of Hospital Birth” in the recently released 2013 book Supporting a Physiologic Approach to Pregnancy and Birth: A Practical Guide. Melissa D. Avery (Editor).
Since 1992 she has precepted midwifery students at all clinical levels. Because BirthCare is unique in providing a large census of home and birth center clients, students come to BirthCare from all over the US to gain home birth experience.
His primary research interests since 1996 have been in the design and conduct of a number of randomized trials in clinical obstetrics and perinatology. His clinical practice and interests are in the areas of preterm birth, cervical insufficiency, multiple gestations and intrapartum obstetrics.
Sarita Bennett DO CPM is a midwife, physician, educator, and advocate for normal physiologic birth. Sarita trained and studied midwifery over thirty years ago via self-study, and became a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) in 2012. She graduated with honors from the WV School of Osteopathic Medicine in 1998 and completed a Family Medicine residency in 2001. She has experienced birth in many settings – both as mother and attendant – and inherently trusts both birth and the abilities of women’s bodies to give birth. Sarita currently practices as a Family Practice Physician in her own clinic and provides midwifery care there as well as serving women in homebirth. She is the current secretary for the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) and has been a long-standing member of her state professional organization, Midwives Alliance of WV (MAWV). Sarita is an instructor for the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) course, was a co-founder and educator at Sacred Mountain Midwifery School and is a clinical professor at the WV School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Ocean Berg RN MSN CNS received her BA in Sociology at University of California Santa Cruz, her MSN in Community Public Health/Clinical Nurse Specialist in Perinatal from San Francisco State University in 1998 and 2003 respectively. She is currently the Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist at San Francisco General Hospital. Ocean thrives in multidisciplinary work and strives to promote normalcy in high risk birth. Currently Ocean is representing AWHONN with MD Nancy Lowe in a Home Birth Consensus Summit. She has lectured throughout California for AWHONN on the subjects of Baby Friendly and Normalizing Childbirth. She has written an article for JPNN on the topic of Baby Friendly and for Maternal Child Nursing on the topic of Skin to Skin in the Operating Room. She is going to work with the CMQCC Preeclampsia Taskforce. Ocean lives in San Francisco with her two home birthed daughters, extreme sport engrossed husband and two calico cats. Non professional pursuits include outdoor sports of all sorts and enjoying her extended family of friends.
She attended Northeastern University Law School with a focus on social justice issues. She worked for the Federal government on school desegregation and civil rights issues, and later as an Advance person for President Carter. She served two terms as a Judge on the DC Contract Appeals Board before joining the District Office of the Attorney General, procurement division, with responsibility for acquiring services and goods for the District’s Human Services Department (infant and maternal, HIV, mentally ill, and elderly divisions) and Public Housing Department.
Claudia later turned her full attention to serving her community as a birth worker and birth activist. She founded the volunteer labor support program at the Family Birth and Health Center in Washington and received the American Association of Birth Centers Community Service Award. She also served on the District’s Infant Mortality Review Committee. In recent years Claudia has established several local grass roots organizations of local birth workers of color.
She co-authored: “How Did We Get Here” with Wendy Gordon (AME Fall 2012); “A Scholarship Solution and Grand Challenge from Mercy In Action” with Vicki Penwell and Jennie Joseph (Midwifery Today Spring 2013); and “More Than A Midwife: The Life and Legacy of UmmSalaamah “Sondra” Abdullah-Zaimah, MN, CNM, CPM” with Ayesha Curry Ibrahim (MANA News Winter 2012).
Ms. Bridgeman-Bunyoli has also worked as a Community Health Worker, Community Organizer, Family Literacy Coordinator, and Parent Educator primarily in communities of African immigrants and refugees,
African-Americans, and low-income people.
In her work at the Community Capacitation Center, Ms. Bridgeman-Bunyoli has been a lead in the development of the Children’s Exposure to Violence Series, as well as the We are Health African and African-American Community Health Worker Movement series. The latter was developed in partnership with the Urban League of Portland with the involvement of a wide variety of community organizations.
Sarah has been interested in, and writing about, the hormones of labour and birth since 2002, when her popular article “Ecstatic Birth, Nature’s Hormonal Blueprint for Labour” was published in Mothering magazine. Since 2007, she has been working with Carol Sakala at Childbirth Connection (now National Partnership for Women and Families) on the report, The Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing, an in-depth review of four hormonal systems including the impacts of common interventions. This report is due for publication mid 2014.
Her other interests include:
-The safety of homebirth and other low-technology models of care
-Third stage of labour, cord clamping and lotus birth
-Sexuality and childbirth
-Ultrasound and prenatal testing for Down syndrome
-Early parenting practices including bed sharing and breastfeeding
Sarah encourages parents to be well informed, to listen to their hearts and instincts, and to take their rightful place as the real experts in their bodies, babies, and families. She also supports maternity care providers by providing science-based models and evidence around physiologic childbirth.
Sarah has been interviewed for TV, radio, print, and films internationally, including the films Orgasmic Birth, Freedom for Birth, and the series Happy Healthy Child. She lives on the semi-rural outskirts of Brisbane, Australia with her beloved Nicholas and two of their four children. For more about Sarah, and to read her work, visit www.sarahbuckley.com
Andrea has been blessed with two sons and now with two grand-daughters. Her commitment to improve maternal child health practices and birth care and options for all women in all settings stems from a deep belief that how babies enter the world is important to all of us now and to our the future generations. She believes that it is our collective responsibility and only by working together will we improve birth care.
Jette completed her PhD at the Center for STS Studies, Faculty of Art, Aarhus University. Her thesis topic was: How does materiality shape childbirth practices? An exploratory journey into evidence, childbirth practices and Science and Technology Studies (STS). The point of departure is a non essentialist take on technology. She explored the relationship between technology in use in everyday birthing practices and the knowledge developed in randomized trials. She used empirical studies, interviews and field study as her methodology.
Her quantitative research includes co-authoring a Cochrane meta-analysis of planned hospital birth versus planned home birth (2012).
Linda Cole CNM PhD is a graduate of the Medical University of Carolina for her Masters degree in nurse-midwifery and Frontier Nursing University for her doctorate in nursing practice. She is currently serving as President of the American Association of Birth Centers. She has worked at the Lisa Ross Birth and Women’s Center in Knoxville, Tennessee since 1994 and was the Executive Director of the center from 2000-2011. She has been involved in the clinical education of midwifery students for her entire career and is currently working as a Regional Clinical Faculty for Frontier Nursing University, as well as practicing full-scope midwifery. She has been interested in demonstrating cost outcomes of birth center care, and is currently involved in research in this area.
Bonnie Conners Jellen MHSA is Director of the Section for Maternal and Child Health at the American Hospital Association (AHA) and is responsible for working with the over 2000 member hospitals providing specialty care to women and children. Over three decades, she has worked exclusively in the maternal and child health field including positions at the AHA, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and on Capitol Hill for the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Subcommittee on Child and Human Development. Bonnie has been active in many organizations including committee appointments at the March of Dimes, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and other national and local child health initiatives. Bonnie has an undergraduate degree in Child Development from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a graduate degree in Health Services Administration from The George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Jeanne Conry MD PhD OBGYN is assistant physician in chief for Kaiser Permanente’s Sacramento-Roseville region in CA, where she also oversees member marketing and health and wellness programs for patients and employees. She is on the executive committee for the Preconception Health Council of California and serves on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention select panel on Preconception. She is also Chair of ACOG District IX.
She currently works in Maternal and Child Health qualitative research for the Tribal Epidemiology Center at United South and Eastern Tribes (USET, Inc.), Nashville, Tenn., a consortium of 24 tribal communities in the southern and eastern region of the U.S. She is researching and writing about environmental and reproductive justice issues in Native America.
An active member of the ACNM, Kim serves as a member of the Division of Standards and Practice, Division of Research Data Management Section, and the Maternity Care System Subcommittee of the Normal Birth Task Force. In 2013, she represented ACNM at the ACOG, ACNM, & Childbirth Connection Invitational Meeting on Access to Vaginal Birth after Cesarean in Washington, DC. She is also a member of the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) and currently serves on the Research Committee.
Ellie dreams of a future when every woman has the opportunity to give birth in the setting of her choice with the care provider of her choice, in a healthcare system that provides a seamless continuum of care appropriate to her individual needs and the safety and wellbeing of her and her baby.
Benjamin Danielson MD was in the foster care system as a young child. He spent most of his childhood in a low income neighborhood of Washington DC, and finished high school in rural Montana. Along with two sisters, he was raised by an amazing single mom who instilled in him an appreciation for the value of education and a desire to be a contributing member of the community. In college he decided being a doctor was a good melding of scientific and human service interests. After finishing his undergraduate studies in Boston, Dr Danielson’s medical education, residency and career have all been spent in Seattle. Upon completing residency he initially combined a number of professional activities: attending pediatrician at Harborview Medical Center, community pediatrician in a new clinic in West Seattle, directing a teen clinic at Cleveland High School, running a community pediatric sports medicine clinic, and attending physician stints at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr Danielson then became the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic’s medical director in 1999. As the inaugural Sinegal Endowed Chair since 2005, he tries to uphold the clinic’s enduring tradition of growing wellness through quality care with dignity, community engagement, honoring culture and sustaining trust. He continues to regularly attend on the inpatient service at Seattle Children’s Hospital, working mostly with the most medically complex hospitalized children. Dr Danielson also continues to participate in community advocacy and health promotion. He serves on the state’s health benefit exchange, the state’s commission on African American health affairs, King County’s board of health, various boards of philanthropic organizations, and community groups dedicated to health issues. Dr Danielson believes that an opportunity to serve an individual or a community is a cherished privilege. He also ascribes to the truism that health is more than healthcare and that any healthcare provider who strives to improve health must be active beyond the realm of their medical practice.
She served as ACOG Oregon Section Fellow Vice Chair and Chair, District VIII Secretary and is currently the District VIII Treasurer. She has also served as the Chair for the Committee on Professional Liability and as an ex officio member of the Committee on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement and currently serves on the Committee for Practice Management and the Committee on Government Affairs.
Eugene Declercq PhD MS MBA is a Professor of Community Health Sciences and Assistant Dean for DrPH Education at the Boston University School of Public Health and professor on the faculty of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Boston University School of Medicine. He has served as lead author of national reports on women’s experiences in childbirth and in the postpartum period entitled Listening to Mothers I, II & III and New Mothers Speak Out and is the founder of the website www.birthbythenumbers.org. He is one of the Principal Investigators for the Massachusetts Outcomes Study of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (MOSART) an NIH funded study of infant and maternal outcomes associated with assisted reproductive technologies. He was awarded the 2013 Martha May Eliot award from the American Public Health Association for service to maternal and child health in the U.S.
She recently joined the US Midwifery Education and Regulation (US MERA) workgroup and steering committee. She was an active member of both California Association of Midwives and California Nurse Midwives Association, working as a liaison to the boards of both during the licensed midwife practice act legislation in the 1990s, and lobbied extensively for both CNM and LM legislative efforts. Colleen was the MANA Region 6 Representative before transitioning to her present role. She was appointed to the Midwifery Advisory Committee of the WA State Department of Health, maintains licensure in CA, HI and WA.
Farah Diaz-Tello JD is Staff Attorney at National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), which works to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of pregnant and parenting women, focusing particularly on those who are most vulnerable – low income women, women of color, and drug-using women. At NAPW, she has focused on birth justice: ensuring that women have options in birth, the economic and social support necessary to access those options, and the freedom to exercise them with dignity and without coercion or punishment. She has tracked and documented cases in which women have been threatened or punished with court orders or child removal for their choices in prenatal care and delivery. Ms. Diaz-Tello has also assisted in cases in which families have been investigated and babies separated from their mothers on the basis of the decision to birth at home. She hopes to bring to the Summit the human, Constitutional, and common law rights dimension of homebirth policies, knowledge of the duties of mandatory child protective reporters with regard to birthing women, and the ethical/public health perspective on coercive or punitive use of legal systems against birthing women.
Kate has been instrumental in promoting a safety, quality agenda in health care for women and infants, and developing collaborative models between midwives and obstetricians to engender integration of home birth into the maternity care system. Regionally, she nurtured midwives to consensus adoption of Home Birth Peer Review Guidelines, and Guidelines for Midwifery Care and Collaboration When Assisting Planned Home Birth. Kate assisted development of models for collaboration with the Regional Perinatal Center and an outreach program to 19 affiliated hospitals promoting transfer coordination. Steps along the way included many presentations, joint skills training, and reviews of transfer cases.
As a board member of the New York State Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM) since 2010, Kate provided strategic support for legislation strengthening independent midwifery practice, collaborative relationships, and birth centers. Kate was primary author for the NYSALM Position Statement on Planned Home Birth, outlining model behavior for both midwives and hospital providers during transfers, the NYSALM Policy on Complaints, and is currently chairing the committee developing Guidelines for Collaboration in Planned Home Birth Midwifery Practice.
An invited midwife delegate to the national Home Birth Consensus Summits in 2011 and 2013, Kate also contributed to the national multi-stakeholder task force which developed the Best Practice Guidelines: Transfer from Planned Home Birth to Hospital.
In 2013, the regional PBS station recognized Kate with a leadership award called Makers: Women Who Make America for her success in building bridges for home birth integration within the maternity system in central NY.
Dr. Fisher’s interest in home birth has grown out of the relationships he has developed with a local group of home birth providers through his practice as well as formal initiatives he has been involved with through NNEPQIN (Northern New England Perinatal Quality Improvement Network). He has been involved in developing web-based resources to facilitate communication between home birth providers and obstetricians in the region as well as expedite transfers to the hospital setting when necessary and appropriate. Dr. Fisher believes that dispassionate, rigorous study of birth across all settings is more important than ever given disparities in women’s access to trained and licensed care providers, current and future physician workforce issues, rising costs of health care, and unacceptably high rates of adverse outcomes for mothers and infants in the U.S. compared to other industrialized countries.
Now “retired,” she is focused on using her diverse experience to make the Midwifery Model of Care the usual option for normal women, those women she calls the “marginalized majority” who do not receive optimal, evidence-based care for them, but rather care that is more appropriate for very high-risk pregnancies. Using such care for normal women leads to the shocking outcomes we have in the U.S. and the needless expenditure of billions of dollars. She is trying to find a way to break through the cultural forces that sustain the medical model and re-claim normal birth for normal women.
Tara N. Gaston JD is an attorney residing in the Seattle metropolitan area and working primarily in healthcare access and decision-making, parental rights, and ethics and informed consent. Tara is completing a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in maternal and child health, part of which is devoted to developing educational modules for maternity care providers with respect to liability and ethics. She is a founding member of the Birth Rights Bar Association (BRBA), director and pro bono chair of the Military Spouse JD Foundation, and member in a number of other professional organizations. In addition to her professional work, Tara is partner to an active-duty submariner with whom she parents four children, three of whom were born at home.
Ann is very active in the insurance community, and has served on non-profit boards and committees, including Anthony House, American Cancer Society and Rotary. She is also a consumer member of several midwifery associations including MANA, MAF, NACPM, ACNM, AABC and CFM. In 2007, Ann developed an affordable health insurance program for MANA members. She also teaches many CEU programs for midwifery students, allied health and hospital family practice residency programs.
Anne has been involved with local midwifery and women’s health advocacy organizations in the New York metropolitan area, and among other positions was the Chair of “NYC Midwives” for two terms. She currently is Region 1 Representative for the American College of Nurse Midwives. She liaises with the Division of Research and the Committee for the Advancement of Midwifery Practice (CAMP), and chairs the “Home Birth Task Force”.
Professor Goodwin is the founder and director of The Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at UC Irvine School of Law. She is also the president of the Defence for Children International U.S. affiliate and founder of the Institute for Global Child Advocacy. Professor Goodwin is the former Everett Fraser Professor in Law at the University of Minnesota. She served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago and as a Visiting Scholar at the University of California-Berkeley and Columbia University Law School. Prior to law teaching she was a Post Doctoral Fellow at Yale University.
Laurie Gregg MD is a board certified OB/Gyn who practices in a small group that works with multiple hospital systems in California. In addition to her practice, she is Medical Director of Patient Safety and Quality Improvement for Women’s Services and Chair of the Professional Practice Evaluation Committee at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento. She is Co-Chair of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee for ACOG District IX and works on various committees at the national level including the Home Birth Task Force. As Assistant Clinical Professor at UC Davis, she leads medical students through their first experiences on Labor and Delivery while serving as a hospitalist.
Her research portfolio includes findings that suggest disparities in adverse pregnancy outcomes begin as early as conception, multivitamin use around the time of conception prevents some miscarriages, over-the-counter use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents is not a probable cause of miscarriage (and may be protective in some women), and the vast majority of uterine fibroids are not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes including miscarriage and preterm birth, though fibroids are related to a moderately higher likelihood of cesarean.
Ongoing projects include studies of gene-environment interactions and adverse pregnancy outcomes , as well as informed medical decision making demonstration projects in Medicaid maternity populations and within HealthWise, the nation’s largest source of health information materials distributed through healthcare networks.
Maxine Hayes MD MPH served the Washington State Department of Health from December 1, 1988 to December 31, 2013. Sixteen of those years as State Health Officer for the Washington State Department of Health. As the state’s top public health doctor, her role included advising the governor and the secretary of health on issues ranging from health promotion and chronic disease prevention, to emergency response, including pandemic influenza preparedness. She also worked closely with the medical community, local health departments and community groups. Prior to her appointment as State Health Officer, Dr. Hayes was the Assistant Secretary of Community and Family in the Department of Health.
She is the recipient of many awards and honors for her work in maternal and child health, including the American Medical Association’s 2002 Dr. Nathan Davis Award and the 2003 Heroes in Health Care Lifetime Achievement Award through the Washington Health Foundation. In November of 2007 she received the APHA Helen Rodriguez-Trias Social Justice Award. In January of 2014 she received the Vince Hutchins Award for leadership in Maternal and Child Health.
Dr. Hayes is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle. She holds two honorary Doctorates Degrees: one from Spelman College and one from the State University of New York.
Dr. Hayes is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Hayes was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), October 2006.
Hermine Hayes-Klein JD is an American lawyer and is the Founder and Program Director of Human Rights in Childbirth. Hermine lived in the Netherlands from 2007 – 2012, where both of her children were born at home with a Dutch midwife. Her legal practice has included advocacy for the rights of women, children, and LGBT individuals, as well as the defense of home birth midwives. Human Rights in Childbirth is an international organization that connects legal advocates and political activists working in different countries around the world to promote the fundamental human rights of birthing women. Hermine now lives in Portland, Oregon. humanrightsinchildbirth.com.
Zsakeba Henderson MD is a Medical Officer in the Maternal and Infant Health Branch in the Division of Reproductive Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and leads the Division’s activities in support of state-based perinatal quality improvement collaboratives, which currently provides support to statewide collaboratives in California, New York, and Ohio. In this position she also provides clinical input into the development of the research agenda for the Maternal and Infant Health Branch, including activities in preterm birth and pregnancy-related mortality. She serves as the Division’s Liaison to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, and as a breastfeeding advocate and physician peer-educator for the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics EPIC Breastfeeding Program. Dr. Henderson received her BS degree in biochemistry from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. She then completed her internship and residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital Integrated Residency Program in Obstetrics and Gynecology, also in Boston. She subsequently entered the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she worked in the Division of STD Prevention in the Health Services Research and Evaluation Branch. Her work and interests include understanding clinician practices and decision-making, perinatal quality improvement, prevention of preterm birth, and the role of the obstetrician-gynecologist in promoting and supporting breastfeeding.
Jenifer Holloman BS MEd is a trained doula, childbirth educator and consumer advocate for families in the childbearing year. First and foremost she is a mother! Her current focus is on improving the care of mothers and babies through grass roots organizing, participation in the Home Birth Summit Consumer Engagement group by supporting the licensing and legalization of certified professional midwives in the United States and the ongoing efforts of consumer based legislation. She lives on beautiful Cape Cod.
Diane Holzer LM CPM PA-C has been a home birth midwife for close to 30 years and has worked as a physician assistant for 20 years in a rural healthcare family practice clinic that has a large farm worker population. She has been actively involved with the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) for more than 20 years and is a Past President. She has been on the faculty at Maternidad La Luz, a midwifery training program, for over 10 years. She served on the board of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) as the regional representative for the Americas and was appointed ICM representative to the United Nations for a three-year term. She participated on the Board of Midwifery Education Accreditation Council for 13 years and was an active participant in the formation of the CPM credential.
Diane lives in Marin County and loves to watch whales and is a member of a stilt dancing troupe!
She is the Director of the Optimal Birth BC program, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which develops syntheses of evidence for clinicians, decision-aids and information packages for childbearing families, and uses local data to evaluate clinical practice and direct change to reduce rates of cesarean section in BC hospitals and health authorities.
Throughout her career Deb has been significantly involved in nurse midwifery policy activities, including being the Virginia Chapter American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) Chair and Legislative Chair during the passage of state prescriptive authority for nurse-practitioners; serving on the ACNM Board of Directors from 1996 – 2000; and developing and chairing the ACNM Division of Health Policy from 2000 – 2005. She completed the HRSA Bureau of Health Professions Primary Care Policy Fellowship Program in 2000, and the Women’s Education and Research Institute (WREI) Congressional Fellowship Program in 2005.
Debbie is a Fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives, and recently completed a PhD in Nursing at George Mason University.
Alexandra R Johnson MD is a family physician and faculty at the University of Colorado Family Medicine Department in Denver, CO. She began her career as a doula at the Bay Area Perinatal AIDS program at San Francisco General Hospital, and travelled to Ecuador where she spent time with a local midwife and healer. She attended the Medical School for International Health in Israel, where she was exposed to a midwife-based birthing system in the local hospitals. During this time she sat on the board for COHI (Circle of Health International), a non-profit group that supports midwives and perinatal health in international underserved and war torn communities. She has completed an OB Fellowship at Swedish hospital in Denver, CO, and worked as the transferring physician for Mountain Midwifery, Denver’s only free standing birthing center. She currently divides her time between a clinic in Ft Morgan, CO, where she practices full spectrum OB care, and as an attending at the University of Colorado Hospital where she sits on both the task forces for the hospital initiative to use Nitrous Oxide for pain control in Labor, and the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. She also is very active as an ALSO instructor throughout Colorado.
Rima Jolivet CNM DrPH FACNM is a certified nurse-midwife with expertise in the areas of healthcare quality improvement and organizational development. She has extensive experience working with multi-stakeholder collaboratives to improve maternity care. She is currently the Director of Professional and Business Development at the Centering Healthcare Institute (CHI), the organization that developed and promotes Centering Pregnancy, an evidence-based model of group prenatal care. She directs the pool of 25 consultants who provide training and support for the Centering model to healthcare systems, and contributes to the development and implementation of CHI’s organizational strategy for scale up and spread of the model. In her previous position with the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, she was the Maternal Health Technical Director for the USAID Health Policy Project, led by the Futures Group. As the Associate Director of Programs for Childbirth Connection from 2007 – 2010, she directed the multi-stakeholder Transforming Maternity Care Project and Partnership and co-authored its publications including 2020 Vision for a High Quality, High Value Maternity Care System and Blueprint for Action: Steps Toward a High Quality, High Value Maternity Care System.
Lisa Kane Low PhD CNM FACNM FAAN is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Women’s Studies Department at the University of Michigan. She completed her doctoral studies and an NIH BIRCWH post-doctoral fellowship in interdisciplinary women’s health research, also at the University of Michigan. She brings her twenty five years of midwifery clinical practice experience to the research questions she asks about labor care practices, with an emphasis on evidence based practices to promote physiologic birth and optimal health outcomes for women and families. Her many of her publications have focused on shared decision making in maternity care and promotion of evidence based practices during second stage labor. Lisa is also the chair of the ACNM Division of Standards and Practice, which includes the clinical standards and documents and the homebirth section. In this role she assists in ushering policy and standard setting documents from development to implementation, including those related to Homebirth. She also chairs the ACNM subcommittee which developed BirthTOOLS.org with Childbirth Connection to promote physiologic birth by maternity care providers in the hospital setting. As an ongoing delegate at the Homebirth Summit she has been a member of the Collaboration Task Force which has recently released the Best Practice Guidelines for Transfer from Home to the Hospital Setting.
He is a pioneer in the field of sudden infant death syndrome and was one of the lead authors of the landmark 1992 American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement that urged parents to put infants to sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS. In addition to his work on sleep position and SIDS, Kattwinkel has focused on neonatal lung disease and disorders of respiratory control, including the use of surfactant in the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome.
Soon after arriving at U.Va., Kattwinkel developed a perinatal regional plan for the 12 hospitals in northwest Virginia, with U.Va. serving as the perinatal regional center. This required setting up a Newborn Emergency Transportation System. As a founding member and later chairman of the Governor’s Perinatal Services Advisory Council, he was instrumental in establishing a similar perinatal plan for other regions across the commonwealth.
Supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Kattwinkel created an educational program to optimize the care of the newborn in the first critical minutes of life. His Perinatal Continuing Education Program, an educational program for physicians, nurses, nurse midwives and practitioners, respiratory therapists and all others who care for pregnant women or newborn babies, has now been expanded across the globe. The program has been used by more than 150,000 health care professionals across the United States as well as by caregivers in Canada, Bosnia, Poland, Mexico and China. In addition, PCEP served as the model for a program developed in South Africa.
While serving as a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ and Project HOPE, Kattwinkel helped establish care facilities and outreach education programs for rural perinatal care in China, Poland, Romania, Central America and South Africa.
Dr. Kattwinkel attends the Summit at the request of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), where over the past 25 years he has been very active in the development and distribution of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP). The NRP was developed jointly by the AAP and the American Heart Association and has trained over 2 million health care professionals in the technique and skills required to resuscitate and stabilize compromised infants at birth. As a founding member of NRP, Dr. Kattwinkel has served as a member and Chair of the NRP Steering Committee and has been Editor of the NRP Textbook for the past 3 editions. He is the winner of numerous other honors and awards, including a 1995 “Miracle Maker” award honoring exceptional children’s physicians from A.H. Robbins Co., the National Education and Apgar Awards of the AAP, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Virginia State Council on Higher Education, and recognition as one of the “10 Parenting Leaders” by Parenting Magazine. In 2004, Kattwinkel was awarded an inaugural Discovery Health Channel Medical Honor.
Sara has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Maine, and a Master of Science degree in Nursing from Boston University.
She is a graduate of the Frontier School of Midwifery & Family Nursing, her master’s degree from the Medical College of Georgia as a family nurse practitioner, and her doctoral degree from the University of Rhode Island. Her awards include Fellowship in the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the American Academy of Nursing, the Lamaze International Research Award to the ACNM Optimality Working Group, the Margretta Madden Styles Award for Excellence in Nursing, the Rhode Island State Nurses Association President’s Award for Service to Nursing, a Governor’s Citation for Service to the State of Rhode Island, and the Irving Harris Visiting Professorship at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Tanya Khemet LM IBCLC leads home birth advocacy for the International Center for Traditional Childbearing and is a member of the Home Birth Summit steering committee. She is co-founder of Birth and Family Health Center in Sacramento, California, an innovative multidisciplinary women’s health center. After receiving her midwifery training in Seattle, Washington at the Seattle School of Midwifery, she furthered her skills and life experience with apprenticeships in Senegal and Jamaica, where she learned another dimension of homebirth from an international lens. Prior to her work with Birth and Family Health Center, Tanya spent eight years coordinating obstetric, psychosocial and health education service delivery as a midwife and clinic administrator at the Birthing Project Clinic in Sacramento which serves low-income high risk women and teens. Tanya is the mother of three terrific daughters who were all born at home.
Elselijn Kingma MSc Mphil PhD is the Socrates Professor in Philosophy and Technology in the Humanist Tradition, at the University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, as well as a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom. Dr. Kingma completed a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science at the University in Cambridge in 2008 and subsequently held postdoctoral research positions at the Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health (USA – 2008/2009); King’s College London (2010-2013) as part of a Wellcome Trust Strategic Enhancement Award in the Medical Humanities; and most recently a temporary lectureship in Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge (2013). Dr. Kingma’s research focuses on philosophy of medicine (concepts of health and disease and the epistemology of Evidence Based Medicine); applied ethics (‘trust’ in medical interactions and rights, interests and obligations in pregnancy and birth); and the metaphysics of pregnancy, identity and personhood. She has published on these topics in philosophy journals, medical journals, and the popular press.
Mary Lawlor, CPM, LM, NHCM, MA, is a Certified Professional Midwife in private home birth practice in Vermont and New Hampshire since 1981 and the owner of the Monadnock Birth Center in New Hampshire since 2008. She earned a BS from Georgetown University, her Associate in Midwifery in 1981 at The Maternity Center in El Paso, Texas, a high-volume freestanding birth and midwifery training center, and an MA in Counseling from Lesley University in Boston in 1986. She was active in successful legislative efforts to license midwives in both Vermont and New Hampshire, and has served as a Midwife Advisor to the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation since 2003, helping to oversee the practice of midwifery in the state. A founding board member, Mary served as President of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) from 2003 until 2012, and currently is the Executive Director of NACPM. She serves as national Policy Advisor to NACPM and the Midwives and Mothers in Action (MAMA) Campaign, a coalition of six midwifery-related organizations advocating in the U.S. Congress for increased access for women across the country to Certified Professional Midwife services and high-quality, high-value maternity care.
Jacqueline Left Hand Bull Delahunt has been the Administrative Officer for the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board since 2008, and held the same position with the Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board in the Northern Plains from 2005-2008. She was graduated from The Evergreen State College and did graduate work at the University of Washington toward a Masters in Education Curriculum. Her prior work included directing the Northern Plains Healthy Start program, service on the IHS Aberdeen Area Infant Mortality Review Committee, the Advisory Committee for South Dakota Institute for Infant Development and Care; and the South Dakota Department of Health Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder. She has been involved in service to indigenous/Native communities, in both volunteer and paid positions, for four decades. Her work includes 12 years outside of the United States, in Latin America, Canada, and the circumpolar regions among indigenous peoples. She is the Health Board’s staff member assigned to oversee the Northwest Tribal FASD Project. Jacqueline is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota (Rosebud Sioux Tribe).
Jennifer Leone MD Candidate is a 3rd year MD student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH who is planning to pursue a career in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is currently conducting a research project on physicians’ attitudes and knowledge about home birth for her MD thesis. This project involves surveying licensed OB/GYNs in three states with different home birth regulations to assess whether these differences impact physician attitudes toward home birth, experience with home birth, and knowledge about home birth. She is currently in the process of analyzing survey responses and is excited to share her findings soon.
Dr. Lessler has participated in efforts both locally and statewide at improving the quality and cost effectiveness of health care. His research and administrative interests have focused on the design and operation of programs that promote high quality, cost effective medical care. He has a particular interest in improving preventive and chronic illness care for underserved and vulnerable populations, and the application of Health Information Technology as a means of achieving such improvement. Prior to joining the Washington State HCA, Dr. Lessler also maintained an active primary care practice and served as an attending physician at Harborview Medical Center.
A native of Connecticut, Dr. Lessler holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University. He earned his medical degree at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and a Master’s in Health Administration from the University of Washington. Dr. Lessler completed his residency training in internal medicine at the University of California/San Francisco.
Audrey Levine LM CPM has been a licensed midwife in Olympia, Washington since 2001. She was the President of the Midwives’ Association of WA State (MAWS) from 2008 – 2012 and continues to serve on the MAWS Board of Directors as Chair of the Legislative and Policy Committee. In 2012, she joined the Board of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) and is currently serving as Vice-President. Since attending the first Home Birth Summit in 2011, Audrey has been actively involved as a member of the Collaboration Workgroup that just released the “Best Practice Guidelines: Transfer from Planned Home Birth to Hospital.” She recently became the Project Coordinator for Smooth Transitions, a quality-improvement initiative of the WA State Perinatal Collaborative to enhance the safety of planned out-of-hospital birth transports.
Co-author of The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence and a blog about normal birth at birthwithconfidence.blogs.lamaze.org. Research interests are breastfeeding and childbirth and she is currently completing a qualitative research study of the experience of home birth for women and their midwives.
Tiffany Lundeen MSc CNM completed graduate studies in art history before training as a midwife. She received her Masters of Science in Nursing (Midwifery) from Yale University in 2004. She worked in New Haven, CT from 2004-2008 at two community health centers, providing full-scope women’s health care and attending births at a small community hospital. She simultaneously worked part-time for an independent CNM practice offering home and hospital birth. After joining the faculty practice of CNMs at the University of Utah in 2010, she opened a small private home birth practice on the side. The University of Utah Medical Center threatened to revoke her hospital privileges if she attended any home births. She now lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
Annie Drapkin Lyerly MD MA is the Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics and Associate Professor of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. An obstetrician/gynecologist and bioethicist, her work addresses a range of ethically complex clinical and policy issues in women’s reproductive health. She is author of book, A Good Birth (Penguin Group/USA), based on The Good Birth Project, aimed at describing what constitutes a “good birth” from the perspectives of birthing women themselves. She co-founded the Obstetrics and Gynecology Risk Research Group, a group of experts from medical epidemiology, anthropology, obstetrics and gynecology, philosophy, bioethics, gender theory and medical humanities for research on how risk is assessed and managed in the context of pregnancy. Together with Ruth Faden and Maggie Little, she also co-founded the Second Wave Initiative, an effort to ensure that the health interests of women are fairly represented in biomedical research and drug and device policies, and is PI on the NIH-funded PHASES study, to examine barriers, priorities and novel research designs around research addressing HIV and pregnancy. She has addressed a range of topics in reproductive medicine, including stem cell research and frozen embryo disposition, miscarriage, maternal-fetal surgery, and vaginal birth after cesarean.
Marian F. MacDorman PhD is a senior statistician and researcher in the Reproductive Statistics Branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marian has published extensively on home and out-of-hospital birth, cesarean section, induction of labor, preterm birth, infant, fetal and perinatal mortality, and other topics related to the birthing process. Her latest publication on out-of-hospital birth is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db144.pdf. Marian is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care.
Élan Vital McAllister is the Founder and Executive Director of Choices in Childbirth, a New York City-based consumer advocacy organization whose mission is to improve maternity care by providing women and families with the information necessary to make fully informed decisions relating to how, where, and with whom they will give birth. She is Co-founder of the Grassroots Advocates Committee of The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services and was a co-creator of The Birth Survey, an on-line consumer tool that allows women to provide feedback on maternity care providers and facilities. Élan is the consumer representative for the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). She is a DONA-Trained Labor Doula who has been attending home births as well as births in hospitals and birth centers since 2000. Élan is a featured speaker in Ricki Lake’s groundbreaking 2008 documentary film, The Business of Being Born.
As a Broadway Producer, Élan’s credits include The Peewee Herman Show, American Idiot, Come Fly Away, Cry Baby, Coram Boy, Spamalot (Tony Award), Hairspray (Tony Award), Metamorphoses, The Crucible, and The Iceman Cometh. Her London producing credits include Spamalot, Rent and Michael Moore Live!
Jeanette McCulloch, IBCLC has brought strategic communications to women’s health advocacy for more than 20 years. She is the co-founder of BirthSwell (www.birthswell.com) an organization improving infant and maternal health by changing the way we talk about birth and breastfeeding. BirthSwell provides local, national, and international birth and breastfeeding organizations and advocates with strategic communications, ensuring that families have access to high-quality care and information. She is a board member of Citizens for Midwifery and is passionate about consumer representation and health equity in birth and breastfeeding. She also speaks about social media, strategic communications, and health equity for birth and breastfeeding professionals at national conferences.
Betsy McNamara serves as Consultant to the Transforming Birth Fund. She brings to this role her experience birthing two children with the help of midwives and her 25-year career fundraising for community-based organizations. The Transforming Birth Fund, a donor advised fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, believes that medical interventions are overused in the US maternity care system, resulting in declining outcomes and increasing cost. The Transforming Birth Fund’s vision is that all women have access to the level of maternity care they want and need and maternity care systems are in place to support them in doing so. Since 2005 the Transforming Birth Fund has awarded $4.5 million in grants. Grantees include the Childbirth Connection program of the National Partnership for Women and Families, Yale University School of Nursing, the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives, Midwives Alliance of North America, American College of Nurse Midwives, and the Home Birth Consensus Summit.
Emma worked with the Centers for Disease control, as an evaluator Native Diabetes Wellness Program (NDWP). “Eagle Books” effort and an evaluator for CMS on Outreach and Enrollment to enrollment to Medicaid and Long Term Services and Support by creating a “Roadmap” of available services for Elders in Indian Country across the country. She served as evaluator to the Indian Health Service Department of Behavioral Health Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative and facilitated the Tribal Leaders workgroup and the Behavioral Health Technical Assistance workgroup meetings. Emma’s previous position at KAI was as the Project Director for the statewide effort with the National Indian Council on Aging Washington State Demonstration Project to train benefits counselors in 18 Tribes across the state to assist Elders access the social service benefits they were entitled to, and the Casey Family Foundation Indian Child Welfare Project.
She was previously the Director of SpiritWalk Health Foundation at the Seattle Indian Health Board, the Community Outreach & Grants Manager for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She developed and implemented strategies to raise breast cancer awareness and bring breast health services to medically underserved women in the Puget Sound region.
She has served as Outreach Manager, Leader Engagement for the Washington Health Foundation, (WHF), in Seattle where she focused on Improving Health for the People of Washington and the goal of making Washington State the Healthiest State in the Nation. Also while at WHF, she was the Program Manager for Tribal Health and Rural Health Washington grant programs.
Emma serves on the Executive Committee of the 49-community organization membered Equal Start Community Coalition, Seattle King County Race & Justice Committee, is a member of the Race and Equity Core Group at the National Network of Grantmakers. She has worked with the People of Color in Philanthropy Affinity group, Grantmakers of Color, National Network of Grantmakers People of Color Caucus, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Peoples Institute to Undo Racism Taskforce for Health Equity, Western States Center and multiple Philanthropic Organizations.
Emma also served on the Loma Linda Medical University American Indian Advisory Board. She also a Founding Board member and served on the Northwest Regional Potlatch Fund Foundation Board as Secretary and was a trainer for the Technical Assistance Program grant writing workshops on Tribal Reservations throughout the 4 state region, WA. OR, ID, MT. She also served as an advisor for the National Indian Council on Aging for the Seattle Pilot Project with Outreach and Enrollment to Benefits and an advisor on Inclusion for Philanthropy Northwest. Emma also spent many years working in health policy, education policy and social justice. She mentors/volunteers with high school and University students
For almost 10 years, as a statistician in the Division of Vital Statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), she designed, analyzed, wrote text, and developed special tables and graphics for standard NCHS reports. These reports were based on birth certificate data and data linking birth and infant death certificates. She has published in both government publications and peer-reviewed journals in the areas of method of delivery, obstetric procedures, attendant at birth, and place of birth. She reviewed manuscripts for publication, providing technical assistance to the public and professionals, and collaborated with NCHS staff and outside researchers to initiate, plan, design and author special analytic reports and presentations to the public health community. Dr. Menacker also designed and planned an evaluation of revised birth data, which included both qualitative and quantitative analyses.
She is a member of the Editorial Board of Birth, Issues in Perinatal Care. She is a past Chair of the Alexandria Virginia Public Health Advisory Commission. Dr. Menacker served on the Institutional Review Board of the Whitman Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C.
Tami J. Michele DO FACOOG OB/GYN is a Board Certified physician, Department Chair, and Medical Director of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial OB/GYN in Fremont, MI. Dr. Michele is on the OB Advisory Committee for the Michigan Hospital Association Keystone OB Project which is improving the maternity and perinatal safety in Michigan hospitals. She previously served on the Leadership Team of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS). As a delegate to the Home Birth Consensus Summit, she is an active participant on the Collaboration Task Force. She has provided obstetrical and surgical services to women in rural, inner city, and metropolitan areas as well as Togo, West Africa. Prior to medical school, Tami worked as a doula, childbirth educator, prenatal fitness instructor, and midwife assistant. Her experiences have brought a unique perspective into her OB/GYN practice.
Shafia M. Monroe LM is a veteran midwife certified by the Massachusetts Midwives Alliance, a Certified Childbirth Educator, a Doula Trainer, a professional speaker and founder of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), a non-profit that increases the number of Black midwives, doulas and healers in order to empower families to reduce infant and maternal mortality. She holds a BA in sociology, with a concentration in medical sociology from the University of Massachusetts and a Master of Public Health from Walden University. Shafia speaks internationally on infant mortality prevention and increasing the number of midwives of color to improve birth outcomes.
Shafia is the visionary behind the prominent International Black Midwives and Healers Conference that brings midwives and other health care providers together to galvanize resources and implement strategies for reducing infant mortality and strengthening families. She is a community organizer for birth justice and advocates for increasing the number of African descent midwives and their having a seat at the decision making table for the advancement of the profession. She campaigns for health equity and works on local and national legislation to improve maternal and child health and newborn care.
She originated the legislative concept for HB3311 that passed in Oregon in 2011, so that every woman can access a doula. She has trained over five-hundred doulas nationally and has trained midwives in Columbia and Sierra Leone. She is a wife, mother, a nana, and a mentor to women aspiring to be midwives and doulas. She loves to garden, write, ride horses and cook for family and friends. Shafia’s has received numerous awards for her groundbreaking work and has been featured in books, magazines, documentaries and on a mural in Portland, OR.
Jessicca Moore BSc is a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA. A graduate of the UCLA school of nursing, she has always been drawn to people and their stories. She is passionate about empowering women and families through information sharing. She currently practices full scope primary care at Petaluma Health Center where she has worked for the past 9 years.
Her path to motherhood started with a high-tech IVF conception and culminated in a low tech birth at home. Her first film, “Why Not Home?” is currently in production and explores risk, safety, and the experience of childbirth in America through the stories of doctors, nurses, and midwives who attend birth in the hospital and who chose to have their own children at home.
Jessicca comes to the summit as a consumer, a clinician, and a filmmaker with the goal of learning from other stakeholders and documenting the ways in which people with differing opinions are working together around a shared agenda.
Stephen Murphy “Murph” has been a paramedic for over thirtyfive years. His experience in the EMS community is extremely diverse. He has worked in both the rural and urban settings: He’s served as a flight paramedic in Colorado, an EMS supervisor and manager in the private ambulance sector, and as an EMS educator. He currently works as a Battalion Chief / Paramedic for West Pierce Fire & Rescue near Tacoma, Washington. He is also one of the primary partners in Murphee CME Inc., a medical education and consulting firm. He continues to serves as an American Heart Association Regional Faculty for both ACLS and PALS. He has been actively involved in the continuing education of medical professionals, administrators, and other educators for the past thirtyfive years, and has had the privilege of being invited to speak at many state, national and international EMS conferences. One of his most requested topics is OB/GYN Emergencies and Childbirth.
Jo Anne Myers-Ciecko MPH has been a leader of efforts to advance midwifery and the profession of Certified Professional Midwives for nearly 35 years. As a consumer advocate concerned with improving maternal-child health, she has supported the development of midwifery education, regulation and professional associations since her own home birth experience in 1976. In 1983, Myers-Ciecko began nearly two decades of service as executive director for the Seattle Midwifery School, a position from which she became a driving force for self-regulatory and regulatory advances for midwives in the state of Washington and nationally. She was a founding board member of the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) in 1991, the US Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency for the field. She served as its executive director from 2008 to 2011. She is currently a consultant to the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives. Myers-Ciecko has spoken and consulted widely, including service on the Task Force on Emerging Professions and the Task Force on the Future of Midwifery at the Center for Health Professions, University of California, San Francisco. She completed her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Washington in 1998.
She has been the MANA public Education and Advocacy chair helping to promote the profession of midwifery and move midwifery forward in the United States, 1997-present. She lives with Don Nelson, her husband of 40 years. She is the mother of four children, three of which were born at home, and grandmother of 8, all of which were born at home, with Carol in attendance.
Marianne Nieuwenhuijze MPH RM PhD is Head of Research Centre for Midwifery Science and Midwifery Education & Studies Maastricht, which is part of Zuyd University in the Netherlands.
After graduation as a midwife, she worked in the obstetric department of a regional hospital. Five years later, she joined a midwifery practice with four colleagues in the south of the Netherlands. She worked as an independent midwife in the community supporting women through pregnancy, birth and in the postnatal period and doing many home births in close collaboration with other professionals such maternity care assistants, obstetricians and GP’s. This work sparked her interest in scientific research and the underpinning of midwives’ actions.
Her main research fields of interest are women’s views on care, and health promotion in maternity care, with a special focus on women’s mental well-being during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. Presently she is doing research on women’s choices and decision-making in midwifery care, e.g. with regard to birthing positions and place of birth. This was also the focus of her PhD project.
She participates in national and international research projects and is the official Dutch representative in the European COST Action: Childbirth – Cultures, Concerns and Consequences. She was a member of the national Science Committee for Midwifery in 2009-2010. She has been a member of the national Midwifery Guidelines Commission of the Dutch midwives’ organisation from 1998-2009 and chair of this commission from 2004 – 2008. Until recently, she was a member of the National Guideline Committee for Obstetrics.
Oliver says her journey of unconditional love and relentless quest for knowledge is motivated by serving others. She believes it is a gift to be a healer and requires cognitive intuition skills to connect with babies in utero. Oliver enjoys meditating, yoga, culinary arts, dance, mixed martial arts and music.
She has authored/co-authored several publications on patient-choice cesarean delivery.
In March of 2013, Brynne was an invited speaker at the Institute of Medicine for it’s Workshop on Research Issues in the Assessment of Birth Settings representing provider issues from the perspective of home birth and Certified Professional Midwives.
In support of these efforts, Katherine founded and manages various online and social- networking communities devoted to maternity care reform, which together have a combined membership of more than 15,000 activists nationwide. In recognition of her work on behalf of expanding access to Certified Professional Midwives and out-of-hospital birth, she received the 2006 Citizens for Midwifery Susan F. Hodges Award for Outstanding Leadership in Midwifery Advocacy.
A former professor of English and Women’s Studies at The College of William and Mary, Katherine developed and taught courses on the ethics of reproductive technologies, women and medicine, women’s fiction, and women writers of the South. She is the author the book, Revising Flannery O’Connor: Southern Literary Culture and the Problem of Female Authorship, a project that was one of the first recipients of the National Endowment for the Humanities Dissertation Grant, and of the white paper commissioned by the International Cesarean Awareness Network, “Protecting and Enforcing the Rights of Women Seeking Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC): A Primer.” She is also a contributing author to the online book, From Calling to Courtroom: A Survival Guide for Midwives. Her articles and book reviews have appeared in academic journals, in online magazines, and on Web sites devoted to birth activism.
Katherine earned a BA from Grinnell College (1985) and an MA (1988) and PhD (1993) from The College of William and Mary. She lives in Fox Point, Wisconsin, with her husband and three boys, who were born at home in states where CPMs were illegal at the time, an experience that became the catalyst for her advocacy work on behalf of midwives and out-of-hospital maternity care.
Nichole Reding MA, CPM, LDM may have only been a midwife for a few years, but she has served midwives by working in midwifery education for 13 years. During these years at Birthingway, Nichole has been the advisor to midwifery students, coordinated the many certification programs, and developed the Associates Degree Program for Lactation Consultants. Currently, in her role as Academic Coordinator, she supervises and reviews curriculum for all programs, helps ensure compliance with State and Federal requirements, and teaches many courses in the midwifery program. Nichole started her academic career in the field of History, and has been able to combine her interests in history and midwifery by teaching the Midwifery History and Politics course at Birthingway. She represents Direct Entry Midwifery on the ACCAHC Board and serves as a Board member of the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC). As a member of the MEAC Board, Nichole has served on a committee aimed at improving communication between NARM and MEAC. She joined other representatives of MEAC at the 2012 US-MERA meeting. This is her second year as a delegate to the Home Birth Summit. Last year, she participated in the Interprofessional Education workgroup. In local politics, she is also the Vice President of the Oregon Midwifery Council. She still tries to find time to serve individual families as they move through their childbearing year; witnessing the highs and lows of the human experience and holding space as a woman transitions into motherhood.
Currently, Sheryl is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. In May 2012 she will graduate with an M.A. in Creative Writing. Her graduate work has led to the beginnings of a memoir that is part medical, part mother-daughter narrative.
Sheryl has had positive experiences with both physicians and midwives and believes the key to quality maternity care is communication and respect on all levels. From her physician’s labor support over the phone while waiting for the home birth midwife to arrive, to seeking out back-up care for her homebirths with physicians who had never heard of midwifery, to hearing the thoughts of feelings of both midwives and physicians on the subject of homebirth, Sheryl believes the differences are not stumbling blocks; rather, they are the catalysts for necessary change.
After 2 years of working on a campaign to get Texas Medicaid to reimburse Certified Professional Midwives, Mamas of Color Rising has won a rules change that is now in effect statewide. Paula is now working on the creation of Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana a free pre-natal health clinic with volunteer midwives and family practice doctors, group childbirth education, dance and yoga classes and support groups for low-income women of color in East Austin.
Paula makes a living as a trainer for grassroots community organizations and as a pre-natal dance instructor. She is the mother of two amazing children, Xue-li and Camino.
Amy is co-author of Optimal Care in Childbirth: The Case for a Physiologic Approach (2012) and co-editor of the 9th edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves (2011). She received her undergraduate degree in women’s health and economics from the University of Michigan and her Masters of Science in Nursing from Yale University.
Nick Rubashkin MD, MA obtained his MD and his MA (Anthropology) from Stanford University and is an obstetrician who was born at home. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute of Behavioural Sciences at Semmelweis University in Budapest, where he and his team–with additional help from Saraswathi Vedam–are completing a survey of women’s birth preferences. The survey will also focus on issues that are particular to Central/Eastern Europe, including underuse of informed consent and the role of unofficial cash payments in maternity care. The results of this research will be used in Hungary to better support birthing women and their families, shift public opinion, and educate providers. His focus on issues of choice and childbirth will inform his future clinical interactions, research projects, and policy work in the United States. Nick will return to the U.S. in December 2013 and is currently applying to graduate research fellowships.
Catherine Ruhl CNM MS is Director of Women’s Health Programs at the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) in Washington, DC. Catherine has 30 years of experience in maternal health as a clinician, manager and educator. She coordinates professional nursing education programming at AWHONN and represents AWHONN to a variety of national organizations including the National Maternal Health Initiative, the Center for Disease Control’s Select Panel on Preconception Care, and the HHS Maternal Immunization Working Group. Catherine’s portfolio at AWHONN includes work on diabetes in pregnancy, perinatal nurse staffing, obstetric triage, vaccination issues, and consumer education through AWHONN’s Healthy Mom & Baby consumer media. She obtained her Bachelors in Nursing from the University of Kansas and her Masters in Nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Catherine has been a certified nurse-midwife for 25 years and currently practices at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC. She is clinical adjunct faculty for the Georgetown University nurse-midwifery program.
Stephen Ruocco is the Divisional Vice President of the Healthcare Malpractice Claims Department with AIG Insurance. With nearly 30 years of health professional liability experience, Stephen manages a small group of experienced adjusters, each with nearly 20 years healthcare malpractice claims experience on average, who primarily focus on adjusting severity healthcare claims. They are responsible for a national diary of primary and excess cases involving hospitals, physician groups, midwives, long term care facilities, medical laboratories, miscellaneous healthcare related facilities, and individual healthcare providers. Their cases usually involve plaintiff injuries of death, paralysis, birth injuries, and severe physical injuries.
Prior to joining the NWHN, Kate worked in the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA), where she worked on health care reform and the women’s issues portfolio. Before moving to Washington, DC, Kate volunteered in Ghana with the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights to monitor and assess availability of, and access to, women’s sexual and reproductive health services under the Ghanaian National Health Insurance Scheme. Kate also monitored Ghana’s progress on Millennium Development Goals 4 & 5 – to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health.
In addition to her professional work on home birth, Kate was born at home and was present for the home births of her younger siblings. Kate received her MPA in International Public & Non-Profit Management and Policy Analysis with a focus in women’s rights from the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Carol is Childbirth Connection’s liaison to the National Quality Forum. She is a member of the National Priorities Partnership’s Overuse Workgroup. She serves on the Steering Committee of Guidelines International Network’s Patient and Public Involvement Working Group and works with the Cochrane Collaboration’s Pregnancy and Childbirth Group to involve consumers in refereeing the group’s protocols and reviews. She has an adjunct faculty appointment in the Boston University School of Public Health.
Carol is lead author of the 2008 Milbank Report, Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve. She is a co-investigator of Childbirth Connection’s three national Listening to Mothers surveys and co-author of resulting reports and articles. She is a co-author of the widely consulted Cochrane Review, Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth. Carol served as a guest editor of special issues on Childbirth Connection’s Transforming Maternity Care project (Women’s Health Issues, 2010), on The Nature and Management of Labor Pain (American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2002) and on medically unnecessary cesarean sections (Social Science & Medicine, 1993). From 2003 through 2007, her quarterly column on Current Resources for Evidence-Based Practice appeared simultaneously in Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health and Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. She has contributed an annual column, Letter from North America, to the journal Birth since 2006.
Carol was a Pew Health Policy fellow at Boston University, where she received her doctorate in Health Policy through the University Professors Program in 1993. She has Master’s Degrees from the University of Utah and the University of Chicago.
Jane is programme director in the NIHR King’s Patient Safety and Service Quality Research Centre leading a programme of work on innovations in service quality and health technologies. The programme of work on patient safety looks at both the translation of novel technologies into health care and innovative ways of organising services differently to bridge ‘gaps’ in care and improve quality and safety for patients. Current research includes: a) the exploration of the management of ‘failure to rescue’ in medical and maternity settings b) exploration of the development, diffusion, governance and patient experience of technique-centred and clinical innovation. Both work streams involve PhD students and seconded NHS clinical and managerial staff. Findings have informed the UK government commission on Nursing and Midwifery, Healthcare for London commissioning plans, and US, Brazilian and Australian reviews of maternity services. Her research has also informed the House of Commons Health Committee on Inequalities and informed the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in the Cabinet Office on developing public services that empower service users.
Michelle has provided strategic leadership to local, national, and international racial equity efforts. She was a key participant and advisor in a state-wide initiative to build a racial equity theory of change for the state of Washington’s Early Learning Plan. She was also an instrumental stakeholder in successfully bringing an equity focus to Seattle’s Midwifery education program and professional organization.She is currently the Director of Programs at Open Arms Perinatal Services—an innovative community-based Maternal-Child health organization providing direct services, advocacy, and systems building expertise. Michelle is a board member of the Washington Association for Infant Mental Health and is also an appointed member of the Washington State Navigator Technical Advisory Committee– a committee established to provide expertise, experience, and professional perspectives related to developing the Affordable Care Act’s mandated Health Exchange Navigator program.
Valerie Sasson LM CPM is a resident midwife and a founding co-owner of Puget Sound Midwives and Birth Center in Kirkland, Washington. She is currently serving as President of the Midwives Association of Washington State, adjunct faculty at Bastyr University Department of Midwifery and is the former Chair of the Midwifery and Birthing Center Joint Underwriting Association under the auspices of the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Ms. Sasson earned her BA from Brown University in 1986 and midwifery education from the Seattle Midwifery School in 1999. She worked in urban community health during the interim.
Collaboration and the shared responsibility between families, midwives and the larger medical community that contributes to -or detracts from- the safety and satisfaction of birth is of particular interest to her.
Laura was born and raised in Baltimore, MD, where home birth is rare and very contested. She moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2004 to finish her Bachelor’s of Science at the University of British Columbia, where she studied Global Resource Systems, a mix of social, applied, and basic sciences.
Living in Canada provided Laura with a markedly different perspective on midwifery, collaborative and inter-professional models of maternity care, and home birth. Preparing to return to the US, she worries that there are fewer birthing options available to women in the US. She hopes that the maternity care climate will become more collaborative and more consistent across jurisdictions.
Laura is currently the Research Coordinator in the Division of Midwifery, Department of Family Practice, Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. Laura has worked with faculty from midwifery, family practice, obstetrics, nursing, and sociology to manage several health services and clinical research studies.
It was participation in her youngest sisters’ birth when she was only 14 years old that led Dr. Sequoia to pursue a career in medicine. Reproductive health was always her central interest but it wasn’t until her own pregnancy that she became involved in the birth community and discovered the maternity care crisis. She is member of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) and works to provide physiologic birth options and education in her community.
Dr. Sloan’s writing has appeared in a number of publications, including the Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle, and he writes frequently on children’s health issues for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and Sonoma Medicine magazine.
His book, Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth (Ballantine Books, 2009), received praise from The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, The Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, and The Washington Post, among other publications. Birth Day was a 2009 Northern California Book Award finalist.
Dr. Sloan has presented at a number of conferences dedicated to the promotion of natural childbirth in the United States and Canada, most recently at Turning the Tide: Balancing Birth Experiences and Interventions for Best Outcomes, organized by the Collaboration for Maternal and Newborn Health, in Vancouver, BC.
Rebecca Spence JD is an attorney and bioethicist practicing in Northern Virginia. Her interests fall at the intersection of protecting individual rights and promoting population health, particularly for vulnerable women. She earned her undergraduate degree in religion and women’s studies at Vassar College and holds an MPH from the University of Virginia, focused in Law, Policy, and Ethics. She graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she was a Leadership Scholar and a Global Health Fellow. Rebecca was a Reproductive Justice Fellow working on health care reform, disparities, and maternal and child health in 2011-2012. In 2010, Rebecca co-founded Legal Advocates for Birth Options & Rights (LABOR), to apply legal analysis and develop legal capacity to address the pressing problems in US maternity care. Her award-winning article, “Abandoning Women to Their Rights: What Happens When Feminist Jurisprudence Ignores Birthing Rights” was recently published in the Cardozo Journal of Law & Gender.
Susan is chair of the American Association of Birth Centers’ Research Committee and Data Coordinator for the AABC Strong Start for Mothers & Newborns Initiative. She was co-investigator for one, and primary investigator for a second, national prospective, multi-center studies of outcomes in freestanding birth centers in the United States. She headed the AABC Task Force for development of an online data registry, the AABC Perinatal Data Registry (formerly the Uniform Data Set) and has been primarily responsible for maintenance and ongoing development of the registry since its inception in 2007.
Kathrin Stoll PhD has degrees in psychology and sociology and completed an interdisciplinary PhD (epidemiology, midwifery and nursing) in 2012. Her program of research is focused on optimizing maternal and newborn health by identifying clinical, psycho-social, geographic and systemic factors that are associated with adverse perinatal outcomes. Current projects include: fear of childbirth and perinatal outcomes, a cross-cultural study of fear of birth and cesarean section preferences among young adults, strategies to reduce fear of birth and elective cesarean sections; perinatal outcomes in rural and remote regions of British Columbia, without access to maternity services; interprofessional collaboration in maternity care and access to midwifery care among marginalized women. Kathrin is co-author of the Annotated Home Birth Bibliography and has experience working with MANAStats data.
Nan has been involved in campaigning, policy, advocacy, and media efforts regarding maternal health and has worked to develop and strengthen federal and state legislation on the subject. Prior to joining Amnesty, Nan worked as a staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she litigated cases in federal court.
Jennifer Taylor MPH Jennifer Taylor is a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01). Her legislative portfolio includes health and human services, women’s issues, low income housing, and immigration, and she is currently responsible for managing H.R. 1054, the Access to Certified Professional Midwives Act. She previously served as a health policy fellow for Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23). She has a Master’s in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles, and bachelor’s degrees in Biological Sciences and Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine. Before moving to Washington DC she was the Program and Public Policy Manager for the Perinatal Advisory Council (PAC/LAC), a nonprofit organization focused on improving maternal and child health and birth outcomes in Southern California.
Israel Teitelbaum BS JD is the President of Contemporary Insurance Services, Inc. (CIS), an insurance agency specializing in Healthcare Malpractice Insurance. CIS is the Program Manager for a Malpractice Insurance Program that provides coverage to Midwives. The program has the exclusive endorsements of ACNM and AABC and has been providing this coverage for over a decade. Israel is also an attorney with years’ of experience in Litigation, Business and Communications Law. He has been an advocate promoting broad insurance coverage forms for midwives and is very familiar with the Malpractice Insurance issues they face.
Professor Vedam’s scholarly work includes critical appraisal of the literature on planned home birth, evaluations of innovative models for fetal assessment, and development of the first US registry of home birth perinatal data. In 2010, she chaired the highly acclaimed 5th International Normal Labour and Birth Research conference in Vancouver, and she is currently on the Steering Council for sessions in China and Brazil. She has authored several national clinical practice guidelines and articles on evidence-based midwifery practice in low resource settings, and was a member of the Midwifery Task Force that led a Delphi process to draft the 2012 Joint Statement on Physiologic Labour and Birth. Supported by funding from the Canadian Institute for Health Research, Professor Vedam conducted a national, mix-methods study on factors leading to divergent attitudes among maternity care providers’ regarding planned home birth. She is currently principal investigator on a provincial community based participatory study on women’s preferences for model of care and decision-making during pregnancy.
John Wachtel MD is a private obstetrician gynecologist with a full time active practice. He has personally delivered over 6000 babies during his career. He has always practiced at Stanford University Hospital where he is an Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford Medical School. He has extensive experience in peer review and quality assessment and improvement at the local, state and national levels. He has served on numerous ACOG national committees including the Committee of Obstetric Practice for three years and the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee for 8 years, including 2 years as Chair. Dr. Wachtel is currently the Chair for ACOG District IX (California), Chair of the District IX Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee and chairs the District IX Speaker’s Bureau on Eliminating Elective Deliveries Prior to 39 Weeks. For 4 years previously he has been the Program Director for the ACOG Voluntary Review of Quality of Care Program. He serves on the CMQCC Executive Committee and has served numerous roles for the March of Dimes, including as an author and editor for the monograph, Towards Improving the Outcomes of Pregnancy III. He has lectured extensively both nationally and internationally on various Patient Safety topics.
Dr. Waldman has held a variety of regional leadership positions, including chair and vice chair of ACOG District II and the Syracuse-Utica Section. He has served as District II Scientific Program and Nominating Committee chairs and the Quality Assurance Committee co-chair. He was a member of the District II Primary Care Committee and Practice Management Committee and is a recipient of ACOG’s Outstanding District Service Award and Outstanding Section Service Award. Dr. Waldman is a past president of the Central New York Obstetrics and Gynecology Society and a former consultant to the International Childbirth Education Association.
He has been active in advocating for improvements in women’s health for many years and established the first hospital-based midwifery practice in Central New York. Dr Waldman has served on several New York State task forces working with the Commissioner of Health and the Superintendent of Insurance. Dr. Waldman received his medical degree from the New Jersey College of Medicine & Dentistry and completed his residency at Upstate Medical University, the State University of New York.
Allison Walsh IBCLC LCCE FACCE is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, who manages the Parent Education and Lactation programs at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. She is a past president of Lamaze International and currently serves as Chair of the Education Council and Lamaze’s alternate delegate to the United States Breastfeeding Committee where she serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer. Allison is a member of the New York City Breastfeeding Leadership Council and an active La Leche League Leader. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and mother of three children, two of whom were born at home.
Kristi Watterberg MD FAAP is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico. She served as Chief of the Division of Neonatology from 2006 – 2011, and is now the Director of the UNM Signature Program in Child Health Research. Dr. Watterberg has received federal funding for observational and interventional studies exploring the relationships between prenatal and postnatal inflammation, adrenal function, and the development of BPD. Dr. Watterberg is the Principal Investigator at New Mexico for the NICHD Neonatal Research Network, which has multiple ongoing observational and interventional studies, and was recently awarded a grant from NIH to study adrenal function at age 6 in children born extremely preterm. Author of over 60 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Watterberg serves on NIH peer review panels, is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research and the American Pediatric Society, and is chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn.
As the mother of eight children, Robin has both the personal and professional expertise that enables her to understand the important roles birth and parenting play in the lives of children. She also believes that her experience as both mother and a doula helps her stay in touch with the realities facing pregnant women and mothers today.
Claire Wendland MD is an associate professor in the Departments of Anthropology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Medical History & Bioethics at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist on the Navajo reservation for years before turning to medical anthropology.
Wendland has a longstanding interest in the entanglements of evidence and ethics in obstetrics: how people marshal evidence selectively to support ethical claims and “common-sense” conclusions about appropriate and inappropriate practices. In a recently published article in the Journal of Clinical Ethics, she argued that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists treats home birth as an ethical exception, not consistent with either the evidence or with ACOG’s own principles as clearly stated in other contexts. An ethically consistent policy would require obstetricians to provide respectful antenatal care for women wishing to have home births, refer them to the best available providers, provide appropriate consultation, and work towards smooth transfers when necessary.
Wendland’s primary ongoing anthropological research focuses on medical expertise in African settings. In A Heart for the Work: Journeys through an African Medical School (Chicago 2010), the first ethnography of a medical school in the global South, Wendland described the intellectual and professional journeys of Malawian medical students over the course of their studies. Her current research project, again in Malawi, explores explanations for maternal death in a context in which mortality rates are very high while the uncertainties surrounding any given death are substantial.