Following, in alphabetical order, is the list of invited delegates that attended one or more Home Birth Summits. 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.
Ellise Adams 2014
Ellise D. Adams PhD, CNM
is Associate Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Dr. Adams is Director of Nursing Honors, teaches women’s health and obstetrics and directs undergraduate, thesis and doctoral research. She is a member of the Research Advisory Panel for AWHONN, a member of the Physiologic Birth Toolkit committee of ACNM and on the board of directors for the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing.
Professor Adams’ scholarly efforts focus on normal birth. Her adherence to feminist theory as it relates to birth was influenced while studying at the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing, Case Western Reserve University and Texas Woman’s University, Denton. She is particularly interested in determining the connection between beliefs related to birth, birth practice and birth outcomes. She has studied the beliefs of intrapartum nurses related to birth and is currently collecting data on health care personnel’s beliefs related to skin-to-skin care in the operating room. Living in a state that restricts midwifery practice, Dr. Adams is conducting a qualitative study to listen to the voices of women who choose homebirth over hospital birth.
Elizabeth Armstrong 2011, 2013
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.
Jill Arnold 2011
is the founder and author of The Unnecesarean
, a patient advocacy web site (blog) that provides information about preventing an unnecessary cesarean and resources for making fully-informed decisions about childbirth while offering an irreverent take on the maternity care crisis in the United States and beyond.
Jill started site in August 2008 as a collection of big baby birth stories, as well as women’s accounts of their unnecesareans and VBACs (vaginal births after cesarean). After refusing a planned cesarean for suspected macrosomia based on a 38 week ultrasound estimate of fetal weight, she gave birth vaginally to a healthy baby and later found that the midwives model of care better met her needs as a pregnant woman.
Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran 2011
Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran MD PhD FRCS FRCOG
is Professor and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St George’s University of London. He has been in clinical practice for 37 years and in research and teaching for 25 years. Before joining St. George’s, he held posts at a number of high-profile institutions including the National University of Singapore, the University of Nottingham, the Asia and Oceania Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Previously the Secretary General and Treasurer to the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology for nine years, he is now President-Elect for the federation. Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran is also the past President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of the UK from 2007 and 2010. He is Editor-in-Chief of Best Practice and Research in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology and author of 245 indexed publications, 24 books and 164 book chapters.
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.
Alice Bailes 2011, 2013
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.
William H. Barth Jr. 2011, 2014
Bill Barth MD
is Chief of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology Service at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School. He is immediate past Chair of the Committee on Obstetric Practice for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an Oral Examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and an Editorial Board Member for the journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Before retiring as a Colonel in the United States Air Force in 2005 he served as Department Chair at Wilford Hall Medical Center, as Chief Consultant to the Surgeon General for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and as Commander of the 407th Expeditionary Medical Group in Iraq.
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 2013
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 2011
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.
Debra Bingham 2011
Debra Bingham Dr PH RN
has over 30 years of leadership experience in Maternal-Child Health where she has helped develop, implement, and evaluate hospital-based and public health quality improvement initiatives in both rural and urban settings. Debra has authored articles on leading change and quality improvement. Her primary expertise is translational research and effective implementation of quality improvement at the front-lines of health care.
Debra is currently the Vice President of Research, Education, and Publications for the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC), which is a state-wide initiative with approximately 300 hospitals where 560,000 births a year occur (one out of eight US births). The mission of CMQCC is to eliminate preventable maternal morbidity and mortality for all women. During my tenure at CMQCC she worked with the CA Department of Health to start the California Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) Committee and review methodology. Debra served on CA-PAMR for 3 years. Prior to 2006 she was the Director of Maternal Child Health Nursing for two hospitals in New York City. Debra is also past President-Elect of Lamaze International and past chair of the Lamaze Institute of Safe and Healthy Birth Committee.
Claudia Booker 2013, 2014
Claudia Booker CPM
practices as a home birth midwife in the Washington DC metro area and provides a full range of birthing services to expectant families.
Claudia graduated from the University of Hartford with a BA in sociology and a minor in science and later a Master’s in Education, with a specialty in urban education. Her graduate work focused on developing a community-based literacy program. She worked for the US Teacher Corps, teaching science to emotionally troubled middle school children in inner city of Hartford, CT.
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).
Ginger Breedlove 2013
Ginger Breedlove CNM PhD APRN FACNM President–Elect for ACNM is known and respected by many for her work in advancing women’s reproductive health and nurse-midwifery in both Kansas and Missouri. Some highlights of her career include: 1979, co-founding the Birth and Women’s Center in Topeka, the first freestanding birth center in Kansas; 1994, establishing the first hospital-based certified nurse-midwifery (CNM) service in the Greater Kansas City area at St. Luke’s Hospital; 1998, joining the University of Kansas School of Nursing in establishing the Kansas Collaborative Bi-state Nurse-Midwifery Education Program, to prepare the next generation of nurse midwives; and 2001, completing her PhD in nursing and publishing the book, co-authored with Rachel Abramson, The Community-Based Doula: Supporting Families Before, During, and After Childbirth. Ginger has served in numerous ACNM leadership roles, including 6 years as Secretary of the ACNM Board of Directors.
Jill Breen 2013, 2014
Jill Breen CPM, CLC
has been serving women, babies and families for 36 years as a homebirth midwife and natural family health consultant. Jill has been a MANA member since 1984, having served on the Board of Directors in several positions including president, and is currently serving on several working committees, including as Communications Chair. She is a founding member of Midwives of Maine, having served in every office over the past 33 years, and is a member of MACPM and NACPM and a FAM Birth Trustee. She was appointed to the Maine Governor’s Advisory Committee on Rulemaking regarding certified midwives. She is currently active on a Maine CDC multi-disciplinary Task Force called “The Continuum of Care” charged with addressing flow of care across birth settings, including developing guidelines for seamless transports from out-of-hospital births, women’s access to full spectrum care regardless of choice of primary provider, and good data collection through a birth certificate upgrade. Jill writes, speaks, mentors and teaches, including as a guest lecturer at University of Maine and Birthwise Midwifery School. She is the mother of 6 children, all born at home, and has 8 grandchildren, all born into the hands of midwives, including her own.
Laurie Cawthon 2013
Laurie Cawthon MD MPH
is a Public Health Epidemiologist in the Division of Research and Data Analysis, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. She conducts research and program evaluation studies about the health and welfare of women and children in Washington State, with a focus on those receiving publicly-funded medical services. Her specific areas of interest include maternity care and birth outcomes, health disparities, unintended pregnancy and family planning, early intervention, and chemical dependency during pregnancy. She has 20+ years of experience in study design, data linkage, analysis, and operationalizing health measures with administrative data. Dr. Cawthon is committed to improving the quality of data used to evaluate health care services, and to improving medical care through multi-faceted quality improvement strategies.
Dr. Cawthon received her MD and training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine from Oregon Health and Science University in 1982 and 1989 respectively. She completed her M.P.H. degree in Health Services Administration (Maternal and Child Health Data Analytic track) at the University of Washington in 1993.
Melissa Cheyney 2011, 2013
Melissa Cheyney PhD CPM LDM
is Associate Professor of Clinical Medical Anthropology and Reproductive Biology at Oregon State University (OSU) with additional appointments in Public Health and Women’s Studies. She received her doctorate in Biocultural Anthropology from the University of Oregon in 2005, where her research examined the U.S. Home Birth Movement. Dr. Cheyney is also a Certified Professional Midwife in active practice, the Chair of the Governor-appointed Board of Direct-entry Midwifery for the State of Oregon, and the Chair of the Division of Research for the Midwives Alliance of North America where she directs the MANA Statistics Project — the only existing data repository for planned homebirth in the United States. She is the author of the recent ethnography, Born at Home
(2010, Wadsworth Press) along with several, peer-reviewed journal articles that examine the cultural beliefs and clinical outcomes associated with midwife-led birth at home and in birth centers. Her most recent publication explores the contested space of intrapartum home-to-hospital transfers.
Dr. Cheyney currently directs the International Reproductive Health Laboratory at Oregon State University where she has developed an academic learning community comprised of five undergraduate research assistants, 12 graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow whose research agendas are focused on identifying culturally appropriate ways to improve access to high quality midwifery care as a means of reducing health inequalities for mothers and babies in the U.S and abroad. She currently serves as the PI on 21 maternal and infant health-related research projects in Uganda, Haiti, Ethiopia, Puerto Rico, India, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Sierra Leone and in the United States. She is an award-winning teacher and was recently nominated for Oregon State University’s prestigious Outstanding Student Mentorship Award for her work in the International Reproductive Health Laboratory. She is the mother of a daughter born at home on International Day of the Midwife in 2009.
Andrea Christianson 2013, 2014
Andrea Christianson CNM MS
is the Chair of the ACNM Home Birth Section, Division of Standards and Practice and this will be her second time to participate in the Home Birth Summit. She received a BSN from St Olaf College, Minnesota; a Certificate in Nurse Midwifery from the Institute of Midwifery at Philadelphia University and a MS in Midwifery from Philadelphia University. Andrea currently practices as a staff midwife with Birth and Beyond, a home birth practice in Madison, CT. Previously she practiced in RI, TN and MN and has experience in all birth settings. Primarily in home and birth centers for the last decade, she has also been a clinical instructor for nursing students at the University of Rhode Island College of Nursing and has served as a preceptor for midwifery and nurse practitioner students,
A nurse since 1969 and midwife since 1999, she is a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives, American Association of Birth Centers and Midwives Alliance of North America. She was a 2009 recipient of the ACNM Foundation Thatcher Leadership Award and has been active at the state and national level within ACNM. Andrea has particular interest in inter-professional collaboration to build respectful, seamless systems of care for women and supporting informed choice of providers and birth setting. She is also working to promote quality and accountability within home birth practices with emphasis on participation in data collection, peer review and individual clinical practice guidelines consistent with the ACNM Standards of Midwifery Practice.
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.
Erin Clark 2014
Erin Clark, MD,
is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City, UT. She is board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as the subspecialty of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Dr. Clark serves as Associate Director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Research Network, the research infrastructure for the University of Utah Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. She is Director of the U Baby Program for University of Utah Health Plans and is Associate Director for the Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship.
Dr. Clark’s research focus is the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to neurodevelopmental delay and cerebral palsy after preterm birth. She is funded by grants from the NICHD and Utah Genome Project. Dr. Clark serves on the Utah State Perinatal Mortality Review Committee and chairs the Out-of-hospital Birth Sub-Committee of the Utah Women and Newborn’s Quality Collaborative.
Linda Cole 2011, 2013
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 2011
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 2011
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.
Katsi Cook 2011
Katsi (guh jee) Cook
, wolf clan Mohawk, is a healer, midwife, researcher and a respected educator and elder in her community. For the past 25 years she has worked as a women’s health advocate and activist for environmental restoration in her Tribal community the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne in northern New York State straddling the U.S.-Canadian border. Katsi was the founding Aboriginal midwife of the Six Nations Birthing Centre, the first school of indigenous midwifery.
She has written numerous published essays, articles for Indian Country Today, and she was a featured speaker at Live Earth at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC in 2007. She was honored in 2005 where community leaders, including a generation of women who became mothers and social activists under her guidance, honored Katsi’s leadership and extensive body of work. Katsi was a recipient of a 2004-2005 Indigenous Knowledge Cultural Researcher Award from the Indigenous Health Research Development Program at the University of Toronto.
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.
Ida Darragh 2013, 2014
Ida Darragh LM CPM
Chair of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) has been involved in childbirth and midwifery since the birth of her first child in 1974. Early in her career Ida became involved in the politics of midwifery. After a midwife was served with a cease and desist order for opening a birth center in the poor, rural delta of Arkansas in 1982, Ida and a group of midwives lobbied successfully for a law to license midwives. Ida received the first license to practice midwifery in Arkansas in 1985. She served for many years on the Midwives Advisory Board of the Arkansas Department of Health, and was the founder of the Arkansas Childbirth Institute.
Ida serves on the Standards Committee for the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) – the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. She also serves on the Exam Resources and Advisory Committee for the Council on Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation (CLEAR). She currently works with the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) in test development. She also acts as a consultant with states that are interesting in licensing midwives through the CPM process, traveling to many states to speak about the CPM credential to midwifery groups and legislators.
Eugene Declercq 2011
Eugene Declercq PhD MS MBA
is Professor of Community Health Sciences and Assistant Dean, Doctoral Education, Boston University School of Public Health Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Boston University School of Medicine.
Dr. Declercq is Professor of Community Health Sciences and Assistant Dean for Doctoral Education at the Boston University School of Public Health. He is also a professor on the faculty of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Boston University School of Medicine. He was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award in Health Policy Research to study policy and practice related to cesarean section in the US and has served as lead author of three national studies of women’s experiences in childbirth and in the postpartum period entitled Listening to Mothers I & II and New Mothers Speak Out.
Anne Drapkin Lyerly 2013
Anne Drapkin Lyerly MD MA
is Associate Professor of Social Medicine and Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research addresses socially and morally complex issues in women’s health and reproductive medicine, with a focus on how women and men assign meaning to reproductive events, particularly (but not exclusively) those that involve loss. A central goal of her work is to inform and reframe debates based on the views of the women and men most profoundly affected by them, and to appropriately weight these individuals’ interests in shaping reproductive health care.
After finishing medical school and residency in obstetrics and gynecology, she completed the Greenwall Fellowship in Bioethics and Health Policy at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities, and spent ten years on the faculty at Duke before joining the Department of Social Medicine and the Center for Bioethics at UNC. Dr. Lyerly co-founded, with Maggie Little, the Obstetrics and Gynecology Risk Research Group, which brings together 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 theSecond Wave Initiative, a project aimed at addressing women’s health needs during pregnancy through responsible inclusion of pregnant women (and their interests) in biomedical research. 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. She is currently at work on a book reporting the findings of the Good Birth Project, aimed at describing what constitutes a “good birth” from the perspectives of birthing women themselves.
Dr. Lyerly has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Greenwall Foundation’s Faculty Scholars Program, and her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Science, the Hastings Center Report, and The American Journal of Public Health, as well as the New York Times. She was the 2007-2009 Chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Ethics, and Co-chair of the 2009 Program Committee for the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities. She serves on the March of Dimes National Bioethics Committee and the National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee to the Director’s Working Group on Stem Cell Research.
Farah Diaz-Tello 2011, 2013
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.
Marinah Valenzuela Farrell 2011, 2013
Marinah Valenzuela Farrell LM CPM
is a Licensed and Certified Professional Midwife with a degree in Politics from Arizona State University. Marinah is currently the 1st Vice-President for the Midwives Alliance of North America. Other non-profit organizations she is currently working with include: Board Member for the Phoenix Alliance for Community Health in the process of construction and formation of a free clinic for those unable to obtain medical care, working as a street medic with the Phoenix Urban Health Collective, and offering free midwifery care through the Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice. Marinah is also on staff at the Babymoon Inn, the only accredited birth center in Phoenix, Arizona and is the owner of Sage Midwifery, a homebirth practice serving the valley. Marinah has also lived and worked in Mexico, Central America and Africa doing volunteer work for NGOs located there.
Marinah’s favorite formative memories are political inquiry from a very young age and walks with her grandfather and mother looking for healing plants in the southwest desert and the mountains of Mexico. This combination of politics and traditional medicine are what led Marinah to midwifery, and she continues in her commitment to both activism and birth work. Marinah is specifically focused on the issue of health justice in communities where health disparities are a human rights issue. She is committed to bridging traditional Mexican medicine/healing with oriental and western healing in every aspect of her life and work.
Russ Fawcett 2011, 2013
Russ’ pathway to the Summit began as a consumer of midwifery services (both CPM and CNM) in which he had the presence of mind to follow his wife’s leadership as she planned 3 home births. He observed and followed his wife as she worked to become a Certified Professional Midwife and learned to appreciate how important having trained midwives is to women. He is now a leader of one of the largest statewide midwifery advocacy organizations in the U.S., the North Carolina Friends of Midwives. Russ engages the media and the body politic in an effort to cultivate a safe and supportive environment for the women and families that choose midwifery care and the home setting for birth in North Carolina.
Professionally, Russ is a nuclear engineer, a reactor physicist and engineering manager. Russ’ team is charged with the design of the advanced fuel assemblies and reactor cores for the power stations that provide about 7% of U.S. electricity capacity and more internationally. Russ has been engaged in safety analysis for 25 years, an area of expertise that makes him uniquely qualified to evaluate safety, human resource management, and regulatory oversight issues associated with maternity care in both hospital and out-of-hospital settings.
Kate Finn 2011, 2013, 2014
Kate T Finn MS LM (CM CPM)
is in private practice as a licensed midwife and owner of Woman’s Way Health Care, in Ithaca, New York, providing well-woman and maternity care, and currently attending planned home births. Kate has worked as an independent, full scope midwife in both Washington and New York states, practicing in home, birth center and hospital settings, as well as managing a provincial health program and providing midwifery training in Cambodia.
Kate holds a degree in nutrition with a maternal/child focus from Cornell University, and graduated from the Seattle Midwifery School. She pioneered direct-entry midwifery equivalency to nurse midwifery by challenging midwifery licensure in New York. In 1998, Kate received one of of the first AMCB Certified Midwife (CM) credentials, as well as the NARM Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential. As one of the first direct-entry midwives accepted into the MS completion program at Philadelphia University, Kate’s thesis focused on a strategic analysis of promoting direct-entry midwifery, both CM and CPM credentials.
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.
Timothy Fisher 2011, 2013
Timothy J. Fisher MD MS
practices general obstetrics and gynecology at the Hubbard Center for Women’s Health in Keene, NH and is the Chairman of Surgical Services at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dartmouth Medical School.
Dr. Fisher is a recent graduate of the Master of Health Care Delivery Science program at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. He obtained his medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, completing his categorical internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, California.
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.
Rixa Freeze 2011, 2013
Rixa Freeze PhD
is a researcher and writer. She has a PhD in American Studies from the University of Iowa with emphasis on childbirth and maternity care. She spent several years following direct-entry midwives in Iowa, and wrote her doctoral dissertation about the modern unassisted birth movement in North America.
Since her graduation in 2008, she’s written several articles and presented research on home birth and breech birth at Lamaze conferences and the International Breech Conferences in Ottawa and Washington, D.C. Her most recent article, for the Expert Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology, examined Attitudes towards home birth in the US. She’s also had three children—-hopefully four, by time the conference takes place!–all born at home in various circumstances: a planned unassisted birth, a CNM-attended home birth, and most recently a surprise unassisted birth (the midwife was en route). She blogs at Stand and Deliver.
Tara Gaston 2011, 2013
Tara N. Gaston JD
is an attorney, currently residing in Rhode Island and admitted to the New York State bar. She works primarily with women’s healthcare, general healthcare access, and parents’ rights. She is also currently working on her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in maternal and child health. She is a member of Legal Advocates for Birth Options and Rights (LABOR) and the Military Spouse JD Network, as well as other professional organizations, and a Writer-In-Residence at ms-jd.org
. In addition to her work as an advocate, she is also a homebirth consumer.
Ann Geisler 2011, 2013, 2014
Ann Geisler CPCU AU AAI
insurance career spans over 35 years. She attained the CPCU (Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter) designation in 1988 and continues her industry education through the Continuing Professional Development program. The St. Paul Insurance Company provided many years of underwriter training and experience which she has now transferred to the agency business.
Ann is principal of Southern Cross Insurance Solutions LLC (formerly with Dean Insurance Agency) which specializes in professional liability programs offered on a countrywide basis. She sponsored the Out of Hospital Birth Feasibility Study and continues to develop insurance policies meeting the unique needs of midwives and birth centers.
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.
Linda Glenn 2011
Linda Glenn RN CNM MPH PMHNP
has been Assistant Professor/Staff Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) with the Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Care Program at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), School of Nursing, since 1988. She has also had a private midwifery practice since 1990 and provided mental health counseling specializing in issues related to pregnancy, couples counseling, trauma, parenting, affective disorders and attention disorders. She has an appointment to the Oregon State Direct Entry Midwifery Board and participates in the following Board committees: Public Safety/Peer Review and Legislation & Rules.
Ms. Glenn earned a Master’s of Nursing degree from OHSU, a Master’s of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from University of North Carolina, School of Public Health, a Certificate of Nurse-Midwifery from the University of Mississippi, School of Nursing, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing with a Minor in Psychology from Central Missouri State College, Department of Nursing.
Wendy Gordon 2014
Wendy Gordon CPM MPH
has a prior degree and career in chemical engineering before coming to midwifery. She graduated from Seattle Midwifery School in Fall 2005 with the Jo Anne Myers-Ciecko Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Leadership. Wendy helped to grow a busy home birth practice in Portland, OR for 8 years and earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from Oregon Health & Science University before moving to Seattle. She is an Assistant Professor in the Master of Midwifery program of the Department of Midwifery at Bastyr University (formerly Seattle Midwifery School). Wendy is an active member of the Midwives Association of Washington State, as well as a board member and Director of Equity Initiatives for the Association of Midwifery Educators. Wendy is a Certified Professional Midwife and practices as a licensed midwife in a birth center practice in Seattle.
Marjorie Greenfield 2013
Marjorie Greenfield MD
is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist and fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology
(ACOG). She has practiced and taught ob/gyn since 1987, currently as Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
and Division Director for general obstetrics and gynecology at MacDonald Women’s Hospital of University Hospitals in Cleveland. She was recognized by Best Doctors in America, AOL Digital City, Consumer Research Council of America, Patient’s Choice, and Cleveland Magazine Top Docs.
In addition to clinical practice and teaching, Dr. Greenfield has written extensively for websites including drspock.com, yahoo, and babyzone. Her first book, Dr. Spock’s Pregnancy Guide, (Simon and Schuster 2003) was translated into eight languages. The Working Woman’s Pregnancy Book, (Yale University Press 2008) will be coming out in an updated ebook version this year. She is currently involved in a research project studying ob/gyn physician attitudes and knowledge about home birth.
Hermine Hayes-Klein 2014
Hermine Hayes-Klein, J.D., 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 2013
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 an 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, breastfeeding, and pregnancy-related mortality. She also serves as the Division’s Liaison to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, and a breastfeeding advocate and educator for the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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 interests include prevention of preterm birth, perinatal care quality improvement, clinician acceptance of evidence-based medical care in obstetric practice, and the role of the obstetrician-gynecologist in promoting and supporting breastfeeding.
Jennifer Holloman 2011, 2013, 2014
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 2011, 2013
Diane Holzer LM CPM PA C
is a home birth midwife of over 20 years, teaches classes in women’s health, natural family planning, and works as a physician assistant in a bi-lingual rural healthcare family practice clinic.
She has been actively involved with the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) for more than 16 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.
Diane is an internationally known speaker, including one of her favorite venues, the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing China.
Holly Hopkins 2013
Holly Hopkins CNM DNP candidate
has one and one-half years of experience as a certified nurse-midwife in home birth and five years of experience as a registered nurse in labor, delivery, and postpartum care. She is currently a student at the University of Michigan working towards her doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) with the intention of alleviating the strain at the intersection of policy and identified clinical problems, specifically the transport of clients from planned home births to the hospital environment.
Beyond the rights of women to choose a safe place of birth, Holly’s second passion is education. She has taught associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree-seeking nursing students as well as medical students. Holly understands that the education has the greatest impact in healthcare so she plans to obtain a clinical track faculty position upon completion of her DNP.
Debbie Jessup 2011, 2013
Debbie Jessup CNM PhD
has over 30 years of experience in midwifery, women’s health and health policy. Since 2005 she has been employed as a Health Legislative Specialist in the office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. In that position, she has been actively engaged in health appropriations work as well as helping the Congresswoman to develop and pass several pieces of health legislation. Most recently Deb helped conceptualize and draft the Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMS) for the 21st Century Act, which was first introduced in the 111th Congress.
In Deb’s early career she worked as a childbirth educator, a labor and delivery nurse, and a nurse-midwife. Her midwifery experiences included private, community health center and HMO practices, and incorporated hospital, home, and birth-center settings. Deb established the first midwifery practice in Billings, Montana in 1982, and the first home birth practice in that city in 1984.
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 Johnson 2013
Alexandra Johnson MD candidate Originally from San Francisco, she moved to New Mexico for college. She volunteered 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. Currently Alexandra is a third year resident in Family Medicine. Next year she will be doing a fellowship in rural family medicine through the University of Colorado, which will include surgical training.
Rima Jolivet 2011, 2013
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.
Jennie Joseph 2011
Jennie Joseph LM CPM
a British-trained midwife and women’s health advocate, moved to the United States in 1989 and began a journey which has culminated in the formation of an innovative maternal child healthcare system, The JJ Way®.
Executive Director of Commonsense Childbirth Inc, her non profit corporation, she owns and operates The Birth Place birthing center in Winter Garden, Florida and has established an outreach clinic for pregnant women who are at risk of not receiving prenatal care. Jennie is also the owner/director of Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery, a Florida licensed direct-entry midwifery, doula, childbirth education and lactation training program, and is an expert and activist regarding perinatal health disparities.
Lisa Kane Low 2011, 2013
Lisa Kane Low PhD CNM FACNM is an Assistant 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 optimal health outcomes. Lisa is also the chair of the ACNM Division of Standards and Practice, Clinical Standards and Documents Section where she ushers standard setting documents through a process of development to implementation, including those related to Homebirth.
John Kattwinkel 2011
John Kattwinkel MD AAP
is a Professor of Neonatology with the University of Virginia and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He joined U.Va. in 1974 following his residency, fellowship and research training at Duke, Case Western Reserve and the National Institutes of Health.
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 Kellogg Meade 2011
Sara Kellogg Meade RN MS
is the Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH. For AWHONN, she currently serves as a Section Leader of the NH Section and Chair of the Nominating Committee, and previously as Past Section Chair, 2006-2010.
Sara has broad clinical knowledge of both tertiary and community hospital perinatal nursing practice, having served in staff, education and administrative roles that promote multidisciplinary collaboration among individuals and organizations. She has presented two innovative program presentations at national AWHONN conventions in 2007 and 2000 and served as Co-chair of the planning committee of the 9th National Conference on Outreach Education in 2003.
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.
Holly Powell Kennedy 2011, 2013
Holly Powell Kennedy CNM PhD FACNM FAAN
is the inaugural Helen Varney Professor of Midwifery at Yale University and President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). She is on the faculty of King’s College London where she was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar during 2008. She served for a number of years as the co-chair if the International Confederation of Midwives Standing Research Committee.
She has practiced in numerous settings including rural health, community and tertiary hospitals, and in academic practices and has educated midwives since 1993. Her research includes numerous qualitative studies exploring the work of midwives and its relationship to health outcomes. One focus of her work is on “optimality” in perinatal care and the appropriate use of interventions in low risk women during childbirth. She has also completed a clinical trial of Centering Pregnancy, a group model of prenatal care, in two military settings. She speaks internationally on strategies to normalize birth care and her numerous research studies.
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 2011
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.
Wendy Kline 2014
Wendy Kline, PhD.,
is the Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine in the Department of History at Purdue University. She is the author of two books: Bodies of Knowledge: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Women’s Health in the Second Wave
(University of Chicago Press, 2010) and Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom
(University of California Press, 2001).
Her current book project, under contract with Oxford University Press, is entitled Coming Home: Medicine, Midwives, and the Transformation of Birth in Late-Twentieth-Century America. Based on interviews and archival records of midwives, doctors, and the records of ACNM, MANA, and ACOG, this book will be the first in-depth, historical analysis of the home birth movement in the U.S. Two articles on this topic are forthcoming: “Communicating a New Consciousness: Countercultural Print and the Home Birth Movement in the 1970s,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, and “The Little Manual That Started a Revolution: How Hippie Midwifery Became Mainstream,” in David Kaiser and Patrick McCray, eds., Groovy Science: The Countercultural Embrace of Science and Technology over the Long 1970s.
Mary Lawlor 2011, 2013, 2014
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.
Lawrence Leeman 2011, 2013, 2014
Larry Leeman MD MPH
is a family medicine physician with a focus on Maternal and Child Health. He is Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine; Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of New Mexico (UNM). He is director of the UNM Family Practice Maternal and Child Health clinical service and fellowship and co-medical director of the Mother-Baby unit at the University Hospital. His research interests include maternal and neonatal outcomes of childbirth, rural maternity care, and family planning.
After graduating from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Dr. Leeman completed a family medicine residency at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He was in rural practice with the Zuni-Ramah Indian Health Service from 1992-1998 where he was the Maternity Care Director for the hospital birth center that functioned without on-site cesarean capability. He subsequently completed a family medicine fellowship in operative and high-risk obstetrics at the University of Rochester (N.Y) School of Medicine.
He is the managing editor of the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) curriculum of the American Academy of Family Practice and co-editor of the Global ALSO curriculum both of which focus on the management of obstetric emergencies. He has helped introduce the ALSO curriculum in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador and China.
As a faculty member at UNM he has worked for eleven years as a consultant for home birth and birth center midwives and helped care for their clients who have required hospital transport. He was the physician member of the New Mexico State Licensed midwifery advisory board from 1993-1998. He has presented grand rounds for the UNM Ob/Gyn and Family Medicine Departments on Home Birth with a focus on facilitating improved collaboration from home to hospital.
Jacqueline Left Hand Bull Delahunt 2014
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 2013
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.
Audrey Levine 2011, 2013, 2014
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.
Ali Lewis 2011, 2013
Ali Lewis MD FACOG
is an acting Instructor at the University of Washington in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is the medical director of the midwives group at Northwest Hospital (a community hospital owned by University of Washington) where she also practices general obstetrics and gynecology.
She has a strong interest in interdisciplinary maternity care, out of hospital birth and safe transfer to the hospital when needed. She spends time teaching residents at the University of Washington on labor and delivery and helping them learn to care for women transferring in from an out of hospital birth setting. She has an interest in cross disciplinary education and forming collaborative relationships between hospital and out of hospital maternity care providers.
Judith Lothian 2011, 2013
Judith Lothian RN PhD LCCE FACCE
is an internationally respected childbirth educator and advocate for safe, healthy birth and breastfeeding. She is an associate professor in the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.
She currently chairs the Certification Council for Lamaze International that is responsible for developing the international certification examination for Lamaze certified childbirth educators. She is also the Associate Editor of the Journal of Perinatal Education and writes a regular column for the JPE. Her advocacy work includes national leadership positions in Lamaze International and national work with Childbirth Connection, the American College of Nurse Midwives, and the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services.
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 2014
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.
Marian MacDorman 2011, 2014
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 2011, 2013
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 2013, 2014
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.
Fay Menacker 2011, 2013, 2014
Fay Menacker DrPH CPNP
is a registered nurse (R.N.), and board certified pediatric nurse practitioner (C.P.N.P.) with a Doctor of Public Health degree (Dr.P.H.) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has experience in patient care as well as research, especially in the area of Maternal and Child Health. At Westat, Inc. (a federal contractor) her experience included acting as a lead study coordinator for a two-arm clinical screening trial to evaluate the effectiveness of screening evaluations for prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancer.
As research coordinator at the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), she coordinated all activities related to implementation, analysis, and evaluation of the benchmarking process for MedMARx ™, an Internet-accessible, program for documenting, tracking and preventing medication errors. She coordinated hospital recruitment efforts for the MedMARxTM beta test and developed the data analysis plan.
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 Michele 2011, 2013
Tami J. Michele DO FACOOG OB/GYN Board-Certified OB/GYN and Medical Director of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial OB/GYN in Michigan. Dr. Michele brought a CNM into the hospital-employed practice while the CNM also maintains a home birth practice in the community. Bridging the home birthing woman to safe options of care within the hospital, when needed, has always been a goal of her practice. Prior to medical school, Dr. Michele worked as a doula, childbirth educator, and midwife assistant to a CPM. She has provided obstetrical and surgical services to women in Togo, Africa, in addition to inner city, metropolitan, and rural areas of the U.S. Working to make Mother-Friendly care routine in hospital environments, Tami serves as a Board Member on the Leadership Team of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), and on the Michigan Hospital Association OB Advisory Committee for the Michigan Keystone OB Project. Two of her four children were born at home. Her experience has brought a unique perspective into her OB/GYN practice.
Shafia Monroe 2011, 2013
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.
Roberta Moore 2011
Roberta Moore CNM
was educated in nursing at Navajo Community College in the heart of the Navajo Nation, and as a nurse-midwife and family nurse practitioner at School of Midwifery and Family Nursing, in Hyden, Kentucky. She has attended births in homes, a birthing center, a small hospital and a tertiary care center. She worked for thirteen years as a clinician for New Mexico’s statewide Public Health Division in a variety of towns and cultures.
Still in New Mexico, her career took a different direction and she was employed for r thirteen years as the Maternal Health Program Manager for the New Mexico Department of Health, Public Health Division. In this role, she was in charge of licensing and regulating both Licensed Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives for the state. Another focus of the role included projects to increase access, participation in, and quality of pregnancy care in New Mexico. She has also advocated actively for home birth and for Certified Professional Midwives nationally.
Suzy Myers 2011, 2013, 2014
Suzy Myers LM CPM MPH
a midwife for more than 30 years, was a co-founder of Seattle Midwifery School and is currently Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Midwifery at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington, the first regionally accredited, direct entry program in the U.S. to grant a Masters Degree in Midwifery. Active in the midwifery profession since the mid-1970s, she had a busy home and birth center practice until 2009 when she became a full-time midwifery educator. In the early 1980’s she was active in legislative reform of Washington’s Midwifery Act and served on the first Midwifery Advisory Committee, writing rules and developing the licensing examination. In 1983 she helped to launch the Midwives Association of Washington State and served as its first president from 1983-1985.
In 1988 she earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Washington’s Maternal and Child Health Program. She co-authored the first study of outcomes of licensed midwife-attended births in Washington. From 1994-2008 she served on the Board of Directors of a Joint Underwriting Association created by the Washington State legislature to provide medical liability insurance to midwives providing out-of-hospital birth services. Since 2005 she has been a member of the Physician-Midwife Working Group of the State Perinatal Advisory Committee, who helped launch Smooth Transitions to improve the interface between out-of-hospital midwives and hospital personnel who receive their intrapartum transfers. Her national work has included her service on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) from 2002-13, as an invited member of the multi-disciplinary Clinicians and Educators Stakeholder Workgroup charged with writing background papers in preparation for Childbirth Connection’s 2009 Symposium: Transforming Maternity Care: A High Value Proposition, as well as serving on the Steering Council for the Home Birth Summit since 2009.
Jo Anne Myers-Ciecko 2011, 2013, 2014
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.
Carol Nelson 2011, 2013, 2014
Carol Nelson LM CPM
has been attending out of hospital births since 1972. She is in a midwifery partnership with five other midwives at the Farm Midwifery Center, Summertown, Tennessee. She has been actively involved with midwifery politics since 1977. She received her CPM in 1995 was actively involved in the Certification Task Force meetings and was the chair of the NARM pre-approval committee. She has worked on item writing and test development of the NARM Written Exam, Skills Assessment and Qualified Evaluator training, and has been involved in the 1995, 2001, and 2008 Job Analysis. She has been involved with the Eligibility Review Process of the CPM credential in 2010-2011. She has been on the NARM Board serving as the Treasurer since 1997 and Director of Applications since 2003. Carol has been involved in the US Midwifery Education Regulation and Association (US MERA) meetings and steering committee phone calls, the last 2 years.
Carol is co-author of the American Public Health Association (APHA) position paper “Increasing Access to Out-Of-Hospital Maternity Care Services Through State-Regulated and Nationally-Certified Direct-entry Midwives” which was adopted in 2001, by APHA. She is co-author of the APHA position paper, “Safe Motherhood in the United States: Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity”. This was adopted in 2003, by APHA. She is co-author of the APHA position paper, “Maternal Health as a Human Right: Strategies for Improving Maternal Health Outcomes and Care” a 2011 proposed policy. She is currently active in the Maternal Child Health Section representing the profession of Midwifery and Midwifery Educators. She is co-chair of the Innovations in Maternity Health Services Committee of the Maternal Child Health Section of APHA. This is the committee within APHA that holds the space for “normal birth”. She is currently serving on the APHA Governing Council as a representative for the Maternal Child Section. She has been a review editor for the Maternal and Child Health Journal, a peer reviewed journal, since 2002. She is on the Tennessee Council of Certified Professional Midwives. She works as a pro-bono lobbyist for the Tennessee Midwives Association in their legislative efforts.
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 2011
Marianne Nieuwenhuijze MPH
is head of the Midwifery Science research department of the faculty Midwifery Education & Studies Maastricht (Academie Verloskunde Maastricht (AVM)), which is part of Zuyd University in the Netherlands. Marianne is a midwife and holds a Master of Public Health. At the moment she is working on her PhD with a focus on women’s choices in midwifery care.
After graduation as a midwife, she worked in the labour ward of a regional hospital. Afterwards she joined a community midwifery practice with 4 colleagues in the south of the Netherlands. She worked as an independent, primary care midwife 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 sparked her interest in scientific research and the underpinning of midwives’ actions.
In 1999 she became a lecturer and later a staff member at the midwifery programme in Maastricht. Over the years, she was closely involved in the development of the curriculum, the official accreditation of the midwifery programme and organisational developments within the AVM. Important areas of attention in education for her are promoting physiological birth and the integration of evidence-based midwifery and research. She was appointed head of the Midwifery Science research department when it was established in 2007.
Currently, her main focus is on the scientific development of the midwifery knowledge domain. In research, her 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. Together with my team she is conducting a research project on the development and implementation of health promotion interventions for obesity and mental health in midwifery practices.
Marianne chaired the regional Kring van Verloskundigen (‘Circle of midwives’) (1993–99) and the Commissie van Overleg met de regionale zorgverzekeraars (Consultation committee with the regional health insurers) (1992–99). She has been a member of the Verloskundige Advies Standaarden van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Organisatie van Verloskundigen (national Midwifery Guidelines Commission of the Dutch midwives’ organisation) from 1998-2009 and chair of this commission from 2004 – 2008. She was also a member of the national Science Committee for Midwifery and since 2010 the Dutch representative in the European Cost Action on Childbirth Choices and Consequences.
Judy Norsigian 2011, 2013
speaks and writes on a wide range of women’s health concerns, most recently emphasizing reproductive health and justice, human biotechnologies, women and health care reform, and midwifery advocacy. She has appeared on numerous national television and radio programs, including Oprah, the Today show, Good Morning America, The Early Show and NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.
Since 1971, Ms. Norsigian has been part of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, now doing business as Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS). She is the Executive Director and the primary spokesperson for this nonprofit women’s health education, advocacy, and consulting organization. Ms Norsigian also serves as a board member of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research and on numerous other advisory and editorial boards. Her personal recognitions include: the Public Service Award from the Massachusetts Public Health Association; Radcliffe College Alumnae Association Annual Recognition Award; Boston YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers; the Massachusetts Health Council Award; and an honorary doctorate degree from Boston University. She was selected by Women’s eNews as one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century.”
Tomasina Oliver 2013
Tomasina Oliver CPM LM
is a Certified Professional Midwife, a Board of Medicine Licensed Midwife, a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and a graduate of the direct entry midwifery program at the School of Complementary Medicine in Florida. In addition to being a Master Herbalist, she is a experienced practitioner of Ethno-medicine, Kinesiology, Kemetic Histology and Complementary Medicine. Oliver holds attested degrees as a M.S. in Natural Science, a B.A. in Health Science and an A.A. in Para-education.
A resident of Washington, D.C., Oliver has been a midwife for 17 years. She teaches as an interim/sub/inclusion teacher for the District of Columbia Public Charter Schools and as a Childbirth Educator for GWU Hospital with Momease. She also has a home birth practice in Virginia and operates as a professional home birth inquiry source.
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.
Robert Palmer 2013
Robert Palmer MD FACOG
Bob obtained a BS Biological Sciences, University of California and his MD at Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. He did his internship at University of California College of Medicine and his residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.
He has been in private practice in obstetrics and gynecology in Washington State since 1988. He is currently an OB Hospitalist with Obstetrix Medical Group, Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA. He is Co-Chair, Physician-Licensed Midwife Working Group, State of Washington, Department of Health, Perinatal Advisory Committee, and has been since 2004. Serving in various roles with ACOG since 1998, he currently serves as Vice Chair ACOG District 8 until 2014. He lives in/on a floating home in Lake Union in Seattle.
Lauren Plante 2011
Lauren Plante MD MPH FACOG
is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, specializing in maternal-fetal medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.
A graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, she completed her residency in obstetrics & gynecology at MCP Hahnemann University and her fellowship in maternal fetal medicine at Temple University, both in Philadelphia. In addition, she completed a residency in anesthesiology and a fellowship in critical care medicine at Albert Einstein, in New York. Dr. Plante is board certified in anesthesiology, critical care medicine, general obstetrics & gynecology, and maternal fetal medicine. Her specific areas of interest are maternal medical conditions complicating pregnancy, maternal mortality, and critical care obstetrics. She is also interested in the application of simulation technology to postgraduate medical education.
She has authored/co-authored several publications on patient-choice cesarean delivery.
Brynne Potter 2011, 2013
Brynne Potter CPM
has worked in the field of midwifery since 1991 and has attended home births as a primary midwife for over 10 years. She is member of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) Board of Directors and representative to the US-Midwifery Education Regulation and Association (US-MERA) workgroup. Brynne served as a member of the Steering Committee MAMA Campaign , a coalition effort to pass federal recognition of the CPM. She was a midwife delegate to the Home Birth Consensus Summit (HBCS) in 2011 and is the Chair of the Legislation and Regulation Task Force of the HBCS. She is co-author on a paper under submission that describes the demographic, education and practice characteristics of CPMs in the US in 2011.
In 2010, Brynne co-founded Private Practice, an award winning, patient centered technology platform for charting and communication that today is utilized by over 20% of out of hospital providers in the US. She was one of a few electronic health record vendors to participate as a delegate at the 2012 ACOG-sponsored ReVitalize conference on Maternity Data Definitions. She also presented Private Practice’s patient engagement and data integration features at the IOM sponsored Heath Data Initiative Forum as one of the top 50 HIT Innovations of 2012. As CEO of Private Practice, Brynne currently provides advice and technical support related to EHR adoption and integration for both the Midwives Alliance of North America Data Registry and the American Association of Birth Centers Perinatal Data Registry. She has advised the American College of Nurse Midwives on the impact of EHR for patient engagement and patient centered data collection. She is the current representative for the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives to the National Quality Forum.
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.
Katherine Prown 2011
Katherine Prown PhD
has seventeen years of experience in communications, grassroots advocacy, and teaching. Her areas of expertise include creating effective messaging and branding materials and generating earned media in a variety of formats for both candidate and issue-based campaigns. During the last ten years she has placed dozens of articles in local, national, and international media outlets for the campaigns she has managed, with a particular focus on increasing public awareness of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) and out-of-hospital maternity care.
As Campaign Manager of The Big Push For Midwives Campaign, Katherine has worked with advocacy groups in multiple states, providing guidance and other assistance on such areas as drafting legislation, building strong grassroots networks, and utilizing savvy legislative strategies to advance and pass legislation to license and regulate CPMs. In her capacity as Legislative Chair for the Wisconsin Guild of Midwives, she co-led a statewide, bi-partisan grassroots campaign to successfully pass a CPM licensure bill into law in 2006.
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.
David Pulley 2013, 2014
David B. Pulley, MSM in RMI, RPLU
is responsible for new business underwriting with OneBeacon Professional Insurance’s (OBPI) Long Term Care division and the lead underwriter for midwives and birthing centers within OBPI’s Medical Facilities division. Understanding the complex and various needs of today’s risks, David’s creative thinking and responsive attitude help create opportunities and win-win situations for all players in the transaction. While David’s tenacity and negotiation skills have brought him to board-level meetings that have been key in securing business, his pragmatic approach and positive attitude have made him a favorite among OBPI’s brokers and a top producer for OBPI.
David’s extensive underwriting background includes program development and management for individual healthcare providers, professional liability for physicians, and hard to place professional liability business for healthcare and non-healthcare risks. With over a decade of healthcare liability insurance experience, David B. Pulley understands the complexities of professional liability insurance for physicians, midwives and other health care providers. As a father of six children, he also appreciates the challenges that young mothers face today when making life-altering decisions in the changing health care landscape in addition to the various pressures in today’s workplace. Mr. Pulley, who works as a healthcare underwriter for OneBeacon Professional Insurance, holds the Registered Professional Liability Underwriter (RPLU) designation from the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) as well as a master’s degree in Risk Management & Insurance from Florida State University.
Nichole Reding 2013, 2014
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.
Sheryl Rivett 2011
delivered her four daughters at home with midwives, one a lay midwife who was working in a state where she was “a-legal”, and the others certified nurse-midwives. She has worked in lay community health as a counselor for at-risk pregnant women and teens, grassroots organizing on both local (co-founder, Midwifery Options for Mothers, Inc.) and state levels (conceived of and facilitated state merger that resulted in Birth Matters Virginia), and, most recently, she was one of the facilitators of the 2011 Healthy Mothers Healthy Birth Summit, a national summit focusing on maternal mortality in the United States. In 2005, Sheryl was appointed to the Virginia Advisory Board on Midwifery for the Board of Medicine as the consumer representative. She served for three years.
Sheryl holds a B.I.S. in Women’s Studies in Communication from George Mason University, and she has worked in Communications as a human resource specialist and quality improvement trainer, community health trainer and supervisor, technical editor and writer, publisher, and as a writing and public speaking teacher in home school cooperatives. In 2005 she published Mothers & Midwives, Women’s Stories of Childbirth.
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.
Paula Rojas 2011, 2013
Paula Ximena Rojas-Urrutia
has 20 years of experience working as a community organizer. Born in Chile, passing through Houston, TX and Brooklyn, NY, she is currently based in Austin, TX. From the time she was a teen, Paula has been working on grassroots social justice issues affecting her own local community. Over the years she has co-founded various community non-profit organizations focused on issues affecting young and adult women of color including Sista II Sista, Pachamama and Community Birthing Project.
Paula’s own personal experiences during pregnancy have led to her work for the last 6 (7) years at the intersections of healthcare access, midwifery and community organizing. During the first half of her first pregnancy she experienced care under private insurance and then had to switch to Medicaid for the remainder of her pregnancy. She was forced to lay herself off at Sista II Sista, where she was working, due to funding cuts. After having worked on many issues, ranging from housing discrimination, to violence against women; Paula found the challenges and disparate access she faced during pregnancy to be key areas to be addressed in order to create a more just and equitable world. She decided to focus her community organizing work on birthing justice. She became a doula for low-income women, worked as a Childbirth Educator at the largest clinic for uninsured families in Austin and began organizing to address the disparities in pre-natal care and birth outcomes both locally and regionally. Currently she is an apprentice midwife and a member Mamas of Color Rising, a grassroots organization she co-founded in Austin, TX.
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 Romano 2011, 2013
Amy M. Romano CNM MSN
has worked in the maternity care field as a clinician, research analyst, educator, and consumer advocate since 2001. In 2010, she joined Childbirth Connection, where she directs the Transforming Maternity Care Partnership and works on a broad range of program activities. Prior to joining Childbirth Connection, Amy spent six years as a perinatal research and advocacy consultant to Lamaze International, during which she analyzed, summarized, and critically appraised research for the Lamaze community and implemented the organization’s social media strategy. She launched Lamaze’s award-winning research blog, Science & Sensibility, and worked as lead author and production consultant on a series of consumer-oriented videos on evidence-based care in labor and birth, viewed over 8 million times on YouTube.
In addition to her consulting work, Amy provided maternity care services to childbearing families for two years as a nurse in the postpartum and well-baby unit of a large teaching hospital and for four years as a nurse-midwife, during which she worked in the home, birth center, and hospital settings. She also coordinated the introductory labor and birth course for the Nurse-Midwifery Specialty at the Yale School of Nursing and frequently guest lectures for other courses both at Yale and the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. She is active in ACNM and was the 2012 winner of the College’s Kitty Ernst Award.
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 2013, 2014
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 2013
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 2011, 2013, 2014
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.
Kate Ryan 2011, 2013
Kate Ryan MPA
is the Senior
Program Coordinator at the National Women’s Health Network. In this role, she is responsible for developing and implementing a program of legislative and regulatory advocacy that focuses on reducing women’s exposure to unnecessary drug and medical treatment risks. Through work with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Kate advocates for increased research to improve healthy childbearing and birth outcomes in the U.S., including research to reduce unnecessary interventions and health disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity.
NWHN brings women’s voices to the health policy debates in Washington, DC and the states, and advocates for a health care system that is accessible to all and meets the needs of diverse women. NWHN supports women’s right to choose the place they give birth and the type of provider who attends them. NWHN also has a long history of advocacy around the standard of evidence necessary to prove that routine interventions used during pregnancy and childbirth, including medications, are safe and effective.
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 Sakala 2011
Carol Sakala PhD, MSPH
has worked on maternity care issues as an advocate, educator, researcher, author, and policy analyst for more than twenty-five years, with a continuous focus on meeting the needs of childbearing women and their families. In 1998-99, Carol worked with Childbirth Connection (then known as Maternity Center Association) to plan the organization’s long-term national program to promote evidence-based maternity care. She joined the staff as Director of Programs in 2000, and has since developed and led a broad range of program activities to advance Childbirth Connection’s mission of improving the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Through its programs, Childbirth Connection serves as a trusted and valued resource to health professionals, childbearing women, policy makers, the media, and a broad range of organizations and agencies. Ongoing program initiatives address labor pain, labor support, cesarean section, shared decision making in maternity care, and path breaking national Listening to Mothers surveys, as well as Childbirth Connection’s award-winning website.
Since the launch of Childbirth Connection’s Transforming Maternity Care initiative in 2007, program work has focused on improving maternity care quality and value by strengthening the effectiveness of the maternity care system. The initiative convened the relevant stakeholders for collaborative deliberation, planning and action, resulting in two foundational reports, 2020 Vision for a High-Quality, High-Value Maternity Care System and Blueprint for Action (published in Women’s Health Issues, January 2010). A broad multi-stakeholder partnership is now working to implement the Blueprint. In 2011, Childbirth Connection began a collaboration with the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making to develop tools and resources to help women make maternity care decisions.
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 Sandall 2011
Jane Sandall PhD SCM RN
qualified in nursing at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and has worked as a midwife in Malawi and as a midwife and health visitor working with homeless families in the UK. Her first degree was in Social Science/Social Policy, and her MSc was in Medical Sociology from Royal Holloway College. She taught on one of the first UK degrees in midwifery in the early 1990’s at King’s College and Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, and in 1993, she was awarded a Department of Health Research Training Fellowship. Her PhD in Sociology at Surrey University explored the impact of changes in UK maternal health policy on the organisation of midwifery work and on midwives lives. She joined King’s College in 2000, as Chair in Midwifery and Women’s Health, and now leads the maternal Health Services and Policy Research Group in the Division of Women’s Health. She also leads a programme of work on ‘Innovation’
in the NIHR King’s Patient Safety and Service Quality Research Centre
, and is member of NIHR Faculty. She is Associate Editor of Midwifery and Adjunct Professor University of Technology, Sydney and of the University of Iceland.
Jane’s research in maternal health and reproduction is interdisciplinary between the clinical and social sciences and focuses on issues of quality and safety in maternal health care. Key themes are: a) The impact of maternal health policy at a health system and service delivery level, and on health outcomes and users’ experiences b) The social and organisational implications of the translation of innovative health technologies into health care. Her research has been funded by the ESRC, MRC, Wellcome Trust, NIHR, and a range of charitable sources. Completed research includes: an evaluation of a programme of continuity of midwifery care aimed at improving access and outcomes for women in disadvantaged areas; an ethnographic study of transfer and handover in a midwife-led unit; the development and field testing of a training package for midwives and doctors to support women to have a ‘normal’ birth; the development of access, quality, and optimal outcome indicators in maternal health care; review of maternity workforce deployment and staffing and impact on safety; social and organisational implications of novel reproductive technologies and long term impact of caesarean section in Brazil. Current research includes: co-leading organisational case studies in Birthplace in England, a national study of birth outcomes in home, midwife led, and obstetric led units; investigating the relationship between measures of safety climate and health care quality in A and E and intrapartum care; and conducting nested process evaluations of two trials of obesity in pregnancy behavioural interventions.
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.
Valerie Sasson 2014
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 Schummers 2011
Laura Schummers BSc
is interested in the issue of home birth from a number of angles, both personal and professional. A woman of child-bearing age, with no children yet, she is a future consumer of maternity care.
In September, 2012, Laura will start her Master’s in Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, with a Maternal-Child Health concentration. Her focus will be on North American maternity care, birth outcomes, and obstetrical management decisions to optimize maternal-fetal outcomes.
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.
Jacqueline Sequoia 2011
Jacqueline Sequoia MD MPH MAS CLE
is currently a resident physician in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgia Health Sciences University. She recently completed a medical internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology. After realizing that she had less interest in being a surgeon and more interest in providing primary care to entire families, she decided to change specialties. She earned her medical degree and a Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research from the University of California, San Diego.
Prior to entering medicine, Dr. Sequoia completed a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology at San Diego State University. She worked with the internationally recognized Compton Foundation during a year-long fellowship on American Indian adolescent reproductive health education. She also adapted the Planned Parenthood resource,”There’s No Place Like Home for Sex Education to be culturally appropriate for the American Indian community. She is a certified lactation educator and is trained in clinical hypnosis. In addition to being passionate about birth, breastfeeding, and mother-baby care, she is also interested in the role Vitamin D deficiency in the development of chronic disease, especially as it applies to prenatal care.
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.
Geradine Simkins 2011, 2013
Geradine Simkins CNM MSN
is an activist, midwife, and author. She began as a direct-entry homebirth midwife in 1976 and became a nurse-midwife twenty years later. She has owned and operated Birthways Midwifery, Inc. for over 30 years, and is currently the CEO of Birthways Consulting. In 2003 she co-founded a freestanding birth center. Geradine is keenly interested in public health midwifery, particularly strategies for overcoming healthcare disparities and engendering a more equitable maternity care system for all women and infants. To this end she worked in a bilingual clinic for Hispanic migrant farmworkers for 7 years, she was a women’s health consultant for American Indian organizations co-managing maternal and child healthcare programs for 14 years, and she has worked for the past 10 years as a project consultant for the National Institutes of Health initiative called Healthy Native Babies.
Geradine is currently the Executive Director of Midwives Alliance of North America, a professional organization that promotes excellence in midwifery and is dedicated to unifying and strengthening the profession, thereby increasing access to quality healthcare and improving outcomes for women, babies and their families. As a leader in the U.S. midwifery movement Geradine works passionately to sustain the midwifery profession, advocate for healthcare reform, mentor the next generation of midwives, and collaborate with key partners and stakeholders. She is the editor of the recently published book entitledInto These Hands: Wisdom from Midwives, an anthology of the life stories of 25 remarkable women who have dedicated their lives and careers to the path of midwifery and social change.
Mark Sloan 2011
Mark Sloan MD FAAP
is a pediatrician and writer, and has practiced with The Permanente Medical Group in Roseville and Santa Rosa, California, for nearly 30 years. From 1997-2002 Dr. Sloan served as Chief of Pediatrics at the Santa Rosa Kaiser facility.
He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 1979, and completed his pediatric residency training at the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital in 1982. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and enjoys teaching clinical pediatrics to residents and medical students.
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 2013
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.
Kathrin Stoll 2014
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.
Jennifer Taylor 2011
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 2013
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.
Saraswathi Vedam 2011, 2013
Saraswathi Vedam RM FACNM MSN Sci D (hc)
is Associate Professor of Midwifery at University of British Columbia. She has been active in setting national and international policy on home birth and midwifery education and regulation, providing expert consultations in Mexico, Hungary, Chile, China, Canada, and the United States. She serves as Senior Advisor to the MANA Division of Research, Chair of the ACNM Transfer Task Force, and Executive Board Member, Canadian Association of Midwifery Educators. Over the past 28 years she has cared for families in all birth settings. As Chair of the Home Birth Consensus Summit Steering Council, she twice convened 68 multi-disciplinary leaders to develop and address a common ground agenda for ensuring access to high quality maternity care across birth settings in the US.
Professor Vedam’s scholarly work includes critical appraisal of the literature on planned home birth, 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, BC. Supported by the Canadian Institute for Health Research, Prof. Vedam has recently completed a national, mix-methods study to investigate the experiences of maternity care providers’ with planned home birth in Canada. She is also principal investigator on a multi-disciplinary project to develop a novel composite prediction model for fetal surveillance, and a community-based participatory action research project to explore shared decision-making in midwifery care. In recognition of her contributions to evidence-based maternity care, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by Amherst College.
John Wachtel 2014
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.
Richard Waldman 2011, 2013
Richard N. Waldman MD
is chair of the ob-gyn department and medical director of performance improvement at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, NY. He is a Past President of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
He is also president of the Associates for Women’s Medicine and clinical associate professor of ob-gyn at Upstate Medical Center, the State University of New York. An ACOG Fellow since 1981, Dr. Waldman has been involved in a number of ACOG activities. He has served as a member of the ACOG Executive Board and chaired the Council of District Chairs. He has been a member of the committees on Finance, Nominations, and Patient Safety and Quality Improvement and on the task forces on Safety in Residency Training, and District and Section Donation Policy. Dr. Waldman has also been a member of the Collaborative Practice Advisory Group and was team leader for the Voluntary Review of Quality of Care program. He has served as the Junior Fellow College Advisory Council advisor and the ACOG representative to Practicing Physicians Advisory Council National Committee for Quality Assurance.
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 2013
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 2011, 2013, 2014
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.
Claire Wendland 2014
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.