Following, in alphabetical order, is the list of invited delegates that attended one or more Home Birth Summits (2011, 2013, 2014). They bring a diverse array of experience and a variety of perspectives on the topic of home birth. The one thing that they all have in common is a passion for quality in maternity care and a commitment to working together to improve safety for women and babies across birth sites.
Delegates are those who are in positions to inform and influence a change process, and/or commit to measurable steps within their stakeholder groups. The delegates do not represent any organization but rather attend as individuals. Many of the attendees wear more than one hat in their personal and professional lives and therefore may represent more than one stakeholder perspective.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
She has presented widely and has numerous publications on medicalized birth. Most recently she co-edited, with Charlotte De Vries and Raymond De Vries, a Journal of Clinical Ethics special issue on “Place of Birth” (2013), and co-authored with Raymond De Vries “The Baddest Births in Town” (Atrium, 2014).
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).
Kirra has three daughters. Her eldest was born via caesarean and her younger two children were both born at home with the assistance of Certified Professional Midwives. Dr. Brandon has had one homebirth in Texas, where CPMs are licensed and regulated, and one in Maryland, where CPMs are not legal. Both as a physician and a homebirth mom, Dr. Brandon believes that licensure of homebirth midwives is critical to ensure safety as well as to improve access to out of hospital birth.
Ms. Bridgeman-Bunyoli also holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Antioch University (OH), and held an Elementary Teacher’s certificate for grades K-8 from the state of Ohio with a focus on primary education. She specialized in conflict resolution with young children.
Ms. Bridgeman-Bunyoli has also worked as a Community Health Worker, Community Organizer, Family Literacy Coordinator, and Parent Educator primarily in communities of African immigrants and refugees,
African-Americans, and low-income people.
In her work at the Community Capacitation Center, Ms. Bridgeman-Bunyoli has been a lead in the development of the Children’s Exposure to Violence Series, as well as the We are Health African and African-American Community Health Worker Movement series. The latter was developed in partnership with the Urban League of Portland with the involvement of a wide variety of community organizations.
Sarah’s work critiques pregnancy, birth, and parenting from the widest possible perspectives including scientific, anthropological, psychological, and experiential. She shares her unique blend of science and wisdom through writing and lecturing to parents and professionals worldwide.
Sarah has been interested in, and writing about, the hormones of labour and birth since 2002, when her popular article “Ecstatic Birth, Nature’s Hormonal Blueprint for Labour” was published in Mothering magazine. Since 2007, she has been working with Carol Sakala at Childbirth Connection (now National Partnership for Women and Families) on the report, The Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing, an in-depth review of four hormonal systems including the impacts of common interventions. This report is due for publication mid 2014.
Her other interests include:
-The safety of homebirth and other low-technology models of care
-Third stage of labour, cord clamping and lotus birth
-Sexuality and childbirth
-Ultrasound and prenatal testing for Down syndrome
-Early parenting practices including bed sharing and breastfeeding
Sarah encourages parents to be well informed, to listen to their hearts and instincts, and to take their rightful place as the real experts in their bodies, babies, and families. She also supports maternity care providers by providing science-based models and evidence around physiologic childbirth.
Sarah has been interviewed for TV, radio, print, and films internationally, including the films Orgasmic Birth, Freedom for Birth, and the series Happy Healthy Child. She lives on the semi-rural outskirts of Brisbane, Australia with her beloved Nicholas and two of their four children. For more about Sarah, and to read her work, visit www.sarahbuckley.com
His publications have been on the doctor-patient relationship, physician empathy, and more recently on ethical issues in clinical obstetrics, including cesarean delivery on maternal request (CDMR), birth plans, and home birth. He is currently involved in a research project studying cesarean section regret. This fall he is leading a panel with Melissa Cheyney PhD, CPM at the national bioethics conference (American Society for Bioethics and Humanities) on why obstetricians should seek out collaborative relationships with home birth midwives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Her areas of interest are medicalisation, iatrogenic effects, place of birth and woman’s involvement in decision-making and legal issues. Jette is also engaged in international work on human rights issues in maternity care with a special focus on European maternity care practices.
Jette completed her PhD at the Center for STS Studies, Faculty of Art, Aarhus University. Her thesis topic was: How does materiality shape childbirth practices? An exploratory journey into evidence, childbirth practices and Science and Technology Studies (STS). The point of departure is a non essentialist take on technology. She explored the relationship between technology in use in everyday birthing practices and the knowledge developed in randomized trials. She used empirical studies, interviews and field study as her methodology.
Her quantitative research includes co-authoring a Cochrane meta-analysis of planned hospital birth versus planned home birth (2012).
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.
Her interest in home birth began in the 1970’s as a home birth mother and midwife assistant at the Farm Maternity Center in Summertown, Tennessee. This experience was pivotal in her development as a midwife, because it grounded her perspective in the unique normality of the physiologic birth process. In the decades since then, she has endeavored to apply this perspective to her practice, teaching, research, writing, and advocacy. Kim has authored numerous publications, including research articles, practice guidelines, and policy papers on topics such as VBAC, delayed cord clamping, early elective induction, and other women’s health issues. Her work has been presented in the U.S., U.K., and the Czech Republic.
An active member of the ACNM, Kim serves as a member of the Division of Standards and Practice, Division of Research Data Management Section, and the Maternity Care System Subcommittee of the Normal Birth Task Force. In 2013, she represented ACNM at the ACOG, ACNM, & Childbirth Connection Invitational Meeting on Access to Vaginal Birth after Cesarean in Washington, DC. She is also a member of the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) and currently serves on the Research Committee.
Ellie is energetically involved in achieving state and federal recognition of CPMs through legislation and professional advocacy. She is also a small business owner (Morningstar Midwifery and The Green Store) and has a keen interest in sharing business management skills with midwifery organizations. She teaches at Birthwise Midwifery School in Bridgton, Maine, and regularly precepts students through their clinical experiences. She served on the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) for eleven years, eight as President, during which time MEAC achieved recognition of the US Education Department. She is an administrator and founding Steering Committee member for the MAMA Campaign. Most recently, she served on the Consumer Committee for the Task Force on Normal Physiologic Birth, helping to develop and distribute a consumer brochure.
Ellie dreams of a future when every woman has the opportunity to give birth in the setting of her choice with the care provider of her choice, in a healthcare system that provides a seamless continuum of care appropriate to her individual needs and the safety and wellbeing of her and her baby.
She has also been an avid advocate for safer out of hospital birth in the State of Oregon as the Oregon State Legislative chair 2009-2012 and has worked on issues such as mandatory licensure and data collection on out of hospital birth outcomes with the Center for Health Statistics/Oregon Health Authority.
She served as ACOG Oregon Section Fellow Vice Chair and Chair, District VIII Secretary and is currently the District VIII Treasurer. She has also served as the Chair for the Committee on Professional Liability and as an ex officio member of the Committee on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement and currently serves on the Committee for Practice Management and the Committee on Government Affairs.
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.
A nurse for nearly 30 years and a CNM since 1993, Colleen has practiced in home, hospital, and birth center settings, and has attended 2000+ births as primary midwife. In California’s Central Valley, Colleen developed a county-wide educational track for nurses to train as midwives in order to help reduce high pre-term birth and teen pregnancy rates in Kern County, and provided well woman and prenatal care in a community health center primarily serving migrant farm workers. She was honored to have been a part of the renowned LAC+ USC Midwifery Service, a large midwifery practice at LA County Women’s Hospital serving southeast Los Angeles back in the 1990s. Colleen helped expand an existing FQHC clinic in rural Mendocino County to include midwifery care while at the same time maintaining a private home birth practice, before relocating to the state of Washington in 2007. She has done volunteer work in Europe and Haiti.
She recently joined the US Midwifery Education and Regulation (US MERA) workgroup and steering committee. She was an active member of both California Association of Midwives and California Nurse Midwives Association, working as a liaison to the boards of both during the licensed midwife practice act legislation in the 1990s, and lobbied extensively for both CNM and LM legislative efforts. Colleen was the MANA Region 6 Representative before transitioning to her present role. She was appointed to the Midwifery Advisory Committee of the WA State Department of Health, maintains licensure in CA, HI and WA.
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 and Huffington Post. 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 currently serves on the National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee to the Director’s Working Group on Stem Cell Research and the March of Dimes National Bioethics Committee.
Currently, Marinah is the President of the Midwives Alliance of North America. She also actively practices midwifery at, and is a founding board member of, the Phoenix Allies for Community Health clinic in downtown Phoenix serving uninsured and vulnerable populations. Marinah is focused on the issue of lack of access to midwives and the profession of midwifery in communities where health disparities are overwhelming, as well as training in cultural safety. Marinah also continues to work with traditional midwives outside of the U.S and bridges traditional Mexican and Indigenous medicine/healing with western science and professional midwifery.
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 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.
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.
At the national level, she served as President of the American Association of Birth Centers (2007-9), and was also a member of the Health Professionals Council of the National Quality Forum. She has served as the Expert Midwife on www.pregnancy.org and www.storknet.com , answering several thousand questions sent in by the public and holding a monthly chat. Currently, she provides consulting for organizations wishing to start, expand or replicate birth centers in order to increase access for healthy women to a proven method of obtaining a healthy delivery. Her clients include hospitals and current and prospective birth center owners (www.flynncnm.com ). She is particularly interested in reducing national policy barriers to women’s access to community-based birth options, and serves on the Legislative Committee of AABC, as well as its Research Committee. Internationally, she has volunteered as a midwife in Mali, Senegal, Jamaica, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka after the tsunami. Her experience prior to midwifery includes founding and managing other successful businesses, executive recruiting, and health care administration for Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound.
Now “retired,” she is focused on using her diverse experience to make the Midwifery Model of Care the usual option for normal women, those women she calls the “marginalized majority” who do not receive optimal, evidence-based care for them, but rather care that is more appropriate for very high-risk pregnancies. Using such care for normal women leads to the shocking outcomes we have in the U.S. and the needless expenditure of billions of dollars. She is trying to find a way to break through the cultural forces that sustain the medical model and re-claim normal birth for normal women.
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.
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.
Dr. Gibeau obtained the Master’s in Science of Nursing – Midwifery from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and earned her Doctorate from the College of Nursing, New York University, New York, NY. Anne was fortunate as a midwifery student, as her final clinical semester was a three-month placement with two homebirth midwifery practices serving the communities located in and around Lancaster, PA. She returned to clinical practice and administration after completing her Doctorate, with the hope of conducting research within the nation’s largest municipal, “essential” hospital system. She was the Site Principal Investigator for an NINR-funded study investigating mechanisms of preterm labor and birth in women of African-descent, and is currently conducting a pilot project examining modifiable factors related to risk for preterm labor and birth. Other areas of interest and research are fear of labor and birth, pregnant women’s experience of childbirth preparation, and midwifery practices embedded in institutional departments of OB/GYN.
Anne has been involved with local midwifery and women’s health advocacy organizations in the New York metropolitan area, and among other positions was the Chair of “NYC Midwives” for two terms. She currently is Region 1 Representative for the American College of Nurse Midwives. She liaises with the Division of Research and the Committee for the Advancement of Midwifery Practice (CAMP), and chairs the “Home Birth Task Force”.
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.
She is a prolific author and public voice on civil liberties and human rights, particularly reproductive liberty, human trafficking for sex, labor, body parts, and marriage. Reviews of her work appear in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Publisher’s Weekly, Law and Politics Book Review, Book News, and the Library Journal, amongst other periodicals. Her editorials and commentaries appear in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Gene Watch, Christian Science Monitor, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Sun Times, Washington Post, AlterNet and Forbes Magazine. She is a columnist for the Conversation Section of the Chronicle of Higher Education Magazine and blogs for the Harvard Bill of Health.
Professor Goodwin is the founder and director of The Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at UC Irvine School of Law. She is also the president of the Defence for Children International U.S. affiliate and founder of the Institute for Global Child Advocacy. Professor Goodwin is the former Everett Fraser Professor in Law at the University of Minnesota. She served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago and as a Visiting Scholar at the University of California-Berkeley and Columbia University Law School. Prior to law teaching she was a Post Doctoral Fellow at Yale University.
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.
Alyssa also holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree from Purdue University in the State of Indiana. As a Registered Nurse (RN), Alyssa worked for six years in both the inpatient and outpatient settings before returning school to pursue a career in midwifery. It is this background in the medical field that helps inform the work she is involved in toward collaborative and smooth transitions from home to hospital.
Her work in systematic reviews has consistently addressed tough topics and has included documenting harms of episiotomy, the limitations of data about outcomes of fetal surgery, inconsistencies in results of programs designed to reduce use of cesarean, marginal effectiveness of medications for overactive bladder, and the burden on cervical cancer prevention programs introduced by liquid cytology collection for pap testing.
Her research portfolio includes findings that suggest disparities in adverse pregnancy outcomes begin as early as conception, multivitamin use around the time of conception prevents some miscarriages, over-the-counter use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents is not a probable cause of miscarriage (and may be protective in some women), and the vast majority of uterine fibroids are not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes including miscarriage and preterm birth, though fibroids are related to a moderately higher likelihood of cesarean.
Ongoing projects include studies of gene-environment interactions and adverse pregnancy outcomes , as well as informed medical decision making demonstration projects in Medicaid maternity populations and within HealthWise, the nation’s largest source of health information materials distributed through healthcare networks.
She is the recipient of many awards and honors for her work in maternal and child health, including the American Medical Association’s 2002 Dr. Nathan Davis Award and the 2003 Heroes in Health Care Lifetime Achievement Award through the Washington Health Foundation. In November of 2007 she received the APHA Helen Rodriguez-Trias Social Justice Award. In January of 2014 she received the Vince Hutchins Award for leadership in Maternal and Child Health.
Dr. Hayes is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle. She holds two honorary Doctorates Degrees: one from Spelman College and one from the State University of New York.
Dr. Hayes is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Hayes was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), October 2006.
Diane lives in Marin County and loves to watch whales and is a member of a stilt dancing troupe!
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.
Cathy is currently an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, TN. As an informatics nurse, Cathy focuses her research on standardizing data and the interoperability of maternal and infant health records across the care continuum and, through interoperability, assessing the ability to demonstrate the value of nursing and midwifery care to normal birth processes.
She evaluated the safety of home vs. hospital birth in the Province of British Columbia, Canada and published her findings in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. She has published widely on home birth, including studies of women’s experiences of home birth, the development of the COMFORTS scale to measure satisfaction with the labour experience and commentaries on methodologies used to evaluate home birth. She is currently undertaking an economic analysis of planned place of birth in British Columbia. For her work on home birth in British Columbia, she was the 2010 recipient of the University of British Columbia’s Presidents Award for Public Education through Media.
She is the Director of the Optimal Birth BC program, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which develops syntheses of evidence for clinicians, decision-aids and information packages for childbearing families, and uses local data to evaluate clinical practice and direct change to reduce rates of cesarean section in BC hospitals and health authorities.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Dr. Kotaska’s research interests focus on the over-estimation of risk and under-evaluation of parturient autonomy as a threat to informed consent modern obstetrics. He has published guidelines on vaginal breech birth and papers on the negative effect of epidural analgesia on labour, two-step delivery and the over-diagnosis of shoulder dystocia, the limitations of randomized trials for evaluating complex phenomena, the pitfalls of guideline-based care, and the ethics of re-infibulation.
He was in rural practice with the Zuni Indian Ramah Indian Health Service from 1992-1998 where he was the Director of Maternity Care at a facility using a birth center model. He authored two articles addressing the safety of the birth center model and low cesarean rate achieved. He continues to work with Native American communities in New Mexico through providing clinical care and consultation services at the Cuba PMS clinic in Northwestern New Mexico and at the First Nations Urban Indian clinic in Albuquerque. He is the Managing Editor of the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics course. He teaches ALSO each year on the Navajo reservation and helped with the introduction of ALSO into Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and China He received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco and an MPH in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of New Mexico and fellowship in Family Medicine Obstetrics at the University of Rochester. His research interests include maternal and neonatal outcomes of childbirth, rural maternity care, and family planning.
Prior to joining the Washington State HCA in May 2013, Dr. Lessler was Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and Senior Associate Medical Director at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA.
Dr. Lessler has participated in efforts both locally and statewide at improving the quality and cost effectiveness of health care. His research and administrative interests have focused on the design and operation of programs that promote high quality, cost effective medical care. He has a particular interest in improving preventive and chronic illness care for underserved and vulnerable populations, and the application of Health Information Technology as a means of achieving such improvement. Prior to joining the Washington State HCA, Dr. Lessler also maintained an active primary care practice and served as an attending physician at Harborview Medical Center.
A native of Connecticut, Dr. Lessler holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University. He earned his medical degree at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and a Master’s in Health Administration from the University of Washington. Dr. Lessler completed his residency training in internal medicine at the University of California/San Francisco.
She attended the University of Washington for medical school and residency where she taught residents for four years before transitioning to a full time position at Northwest Hospital. She has a strong interest in interdisciplinary maternity care, out of hospital birth and safe transfer to the hospital when needed. She has an interest in cross disciplinary education and forming collaborative relationships between hospital and out of hospital maternity care providers.
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.
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!
Previously, Emma worked with Kauffman and Associates (KAI) in Spokane as a Project Manager with contracts from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which entailed research on the increased impact of the Affordable Care Act on Indian Country and the then current, Tribal Consultation practices. She then developed training and resource materials, conducted training and technical assistance with tribes and states on Tribal consultation matters. She compiled information about the implementation status and practices in the American Recovery and Reform Act (ARRA). Developed training tools and resource materials, including a handbook/guide and website for both Tribal and state use. Collected and analyzed information, inventoried, and reported on current Tribal-state consultation mechanisms and practices in 50 states, including a compilation of all current Tribal-state consultation agreements and Tribal and state liaisons and contacts regarding consultation with an inventory of related state health care websites and resources.
Emma worked with the Centers for Disease control, as an evaluator Native Diabetes Wellness Program (NDWP). “Eagle Books” effort and an evaluator for CMS on Outreach and Enrollment to enrollment to Medicaid and Long Term Services and Support by creating a “Roadmap” of available services for Elders in Indian Country across the country. She served as evaluator to the Indian Health Service Department of Behavioral Health Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative and facilitated the Tribal Leaders workgroup and the Behavioral Health Technical Assistance workgroup meetings. Emma’s previous position at KAI was as the Project Director for the statewide effort with the National Indian Council on Aging Washington State Demonstration Project to train benefits counselors in 18 Tribes across the state to assist Elders access the social service benefits they were entitled to, and the Casey Family Foundation Indian Child Welfare Project.
She was previously the Director of SpiritWalk Health Foundation at the Seattle Indian Health Board, the Community Outreach & Grants Manager for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She developed and implemented strategies to raise breast cancer awareness and bring breast health services to medically underserved women in the Puget Sound region.
She has served as Outreach Manager, Leader Engagement for the Washington Health Foundation, (WHF), in Seattle where she focused on Improving Health for the People of Washington and the goal of making Washington State the Healthiest State in the Nation. Also while at WHF, she was the Program Manager for Tribal Health and Rural Health Washington grant programs.
Emma serves on the Executive Committee of the 49-community organization membered Equal Start Community Coalition, Seattle King County Race & Justice Committee, is a member of the Race and Equity Core Group at the National Network of Grantmakers. She has worked with the People of Color in Philanthropy Affinity group, Grantmakers of Color, National Network of Grantmakers People of Color Caucus, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Peoples Institute to Undo Racism Taskforce for Health Equity, Western States Center and multiple Philanthropic Organizations.
Emma also served on the Loma Linda Medical University American Indian Advisory Board. She also a Founding Board member and served on the Northwest Regional Potlatch Fund Foundation Board as Secretary and was a trainer for the Technical Assistance Program grant writing workshops on Tribal Reservations throughout the 4 state region, WA. OR, ID, MT. She also served as an advisor for the National Indian Council on Aging for the Seattle Pilot Project with Outreach and Enrollment to Benefits and an advisor on Inclusion for Philanthropy Northwest. Emma also spent many years working in health policy, education policy and social justice. She mentors/volunteers with high school and University students
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.
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.
Her path to motherhood started with a high-tech IVF conception and culminated in a low tech birth at home. Her first film, “Why Not Home?” is currently in production and explores risk, safety, and the experience of childbirth in America through the stories of doctors, nurses, and midwives who attend birth in the hospital and who chose to have their own children at home.
Jessicca comes to the summit as a consumer, a clinician, and a filmmaker with the goal of learning from other stakeholders and documenting the ways in which people with differing opinions are working together around a shared agenda.
Still in New Mexico, her career took a different direction and she was employed for 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.
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.
Dr. Neilson’s “second career” is as a Landscape and Wildlife photographer. He is married, and has four children working in the fields of arts (music and visual arts) and sciences (Medical genetics and geology) and 3 grandchildren.
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.
After graduation as a midwife, she worked in the obstetric department of a regional hospital. Five years later, she joined a midwifery practice with four colleagues in the south of the Netherlands. She worked as an independent midwife in the community supporting women through pregnancy, birth and in the postnatal period and doing many home births in close collaboration with other professionals such maternity care assistants, obstetricians and GP’s. This work sparked her interest in scientific research and the underpinning of midwives’ actions.
Her main research fields of interest are women’s views on care, and health promotion in maternity care, with a special focus on women’s mental well-being during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. Presently she is doing research on women’s choices and decision-making in midwifery care, e.g. with regard to birthing positions and place of birth. This was also the focus of her PhD project.
She participates in national and international research projects and is the official Dutch representative in the European COST Action: Childbirth – Cultures, Concerns and Consequences. She was a member of the national Science Committee for Midwifery in 2009-2010. She has been a member of the national Midwifery Guidelines Commission of the Dutch midwives’ organisation from 1998-2009 and chair of this commission from 2004 – 2008. Until recently, she was a member of the National Guideline Committee for Obstetrics.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
Constance has founded multiple birth centers, including: Thrive Center for Birth & Family Wellness (Santa Rosa, CA), The Hollywood Birth Center (Los Angeles, CA) and The Sanctuary Birth & Family Wellness Center (Los Angeles, CA). Constance brings her rich experience in every aspect of birth center development from visioning to the everyday operations of a thriving birth center practice. With over twenty years of midwifery in both home and birth center practice, Constance has had the honor of attending over 1100 births as well as the privilege of having over 20 apprentices, many who are now licensed midwives. Constance is a midwife, birth center owner, consultant, author, and mother of four beautiful and wonderful children.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
Michelle has provided strategic leadership to local, national, and international racial equity efforts. She was a key participant and advisor in a state-wide initiative to build a racial equity theory of change for the state of Washington’s Early Learning Plan. She was also an instrumental stakeholder in successfully bringing an equity focus to Seattle’s Midwifery education program and professional organization.
She is currently the Director of Programs at Open Arms Perinatal Services—an innovative community-based Maternal-Child health organization providing direct services, advocacy, and systems building expertise. Michelle is a board member of the Washington Association for Infant Mental Health and is also an appointed member of the Washington State Navigator Technical Advisory Committee– a committee established to provide expertise, experience, and professional perspectives related to developing the Affordable Care Act’s mandated Health Exchange Navigator program.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Susan received her undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University, her Masters of Science in Nursing from Marquette University, her certificate in midwifery from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Frontier Nursing University. She is currently President of the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers, and has served as a CABC Site Visitor since 1998 and on the board of directors since 2004. She previously served on the board of directors of both the American Association of Birth Centers and the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and has been active in both organizations at the local and regional level as well.
Susan is chair of the American Association of Birth Centers’ Research Committee and Data Coordinator for the AABC Strong Start for Mothers & Newborns Initiative. She was co-investigator for one, and primary investigator for a second, national prospective, multi-center studies of outcomes in freestanding birth centers in the United States. She headed the AABC Task Force for development of an online data registry, the AABC Perinatal Data Registry (formerly the Uniform Data Set) and has been primarily responsible for maintenance and ongoing development of the registry since its inception in 2007.
Lisa also holds a degree in Paramedic Science and has worked in the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) industry for 14 years. During her EMS career, she gained experience in both urban and rural communities across the United States. She currently volunteers for the Buckley Fire Department serving as a Paramedic, EMT instructor, member of the FEMA disaster response team and the EMS Integrated Community Healthcare committee. Lisa is collaborating with local EMS colleges and agencies to aid in the development of protocols and training.
Previously, Nan served as the Director of Maternal Health Research and Policy at Amnesty International USA, where she worked on maternal and reproductive health and health care, and the right to health. She was the lead researcher and co-author of the groundbreaking report, Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA in 2010.
Nan has been involved in campaigning, policy, advocacy, and media efforts regarding maternal health and has worked to develop and strengthen federal and state legislation on the subject. Prior to joining Amnesty, Nan worked as a staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she litigated cases in federal court.
Professor Vedam 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, the US, and India. She has given expert testimony for State legislative hearings on nurse-midwifery practice, compensation, and regulation and education in New York, California, Indiana and Connecticut. While Director of the UBC Division of Midwifery from 2007-2012, she was responsible for achieving support from the BC Ministries of Health and Advanced Education to support the expansion and revision of midwifery education.
Professor Vedam’s scholarly work includes critical appraisal of the literature on planned home birth, evaluations of innovative models for fetal assessment, and development of the first US registry of home birth perinatal data. In 2010, she chaired the highly acclaimed 5th International Normal Labour and Birth Research conference in Vancouver, and she is currently on the Steering Council for sessions in China and Brazil. She has authored several national clinical practice guidelines and articles on evidence-based midwifery practice in low resource settings, and was a member of the Midwifery Task Force that led a Delphi process to draft the 2012 Joint Statement on Physiologic Labour and Birth. Supported by funding from the Canadian Institute for Health Research, Professor Vedam conducted a national, mix-methods study on factors leading to divergent attitudes among maternity care providers’ regarding planned home birth. She is currently principal investigator on a provincial community based participatory study on women’s preferences for model of care and decision-making during pregnancy.
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.
Robin’s professional recognitions include Lamaze International’s prestigious Elisabeth Bing Award for outstanding contributions to childbirth on a national level, the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) Forum Award, and the Lamaze International’s Presidents Award for her work with The Birth Survey. She also serves on the Lamaze International Board of Directors, and is a founding member and past president of Birth Care Network’s board of directors, which Lamaze International honored with the Normal Birth Advocate Award. She is a member of the Lamaze International Normal Birth Institute and a past chairperson for the Lamaze International Birth Networks Committee; past president and vice-president of the Louisville Mothers of Twins Club; and a past director of publications for the Kentucky Childbirth Education Association.
As the mother of eight children, Robin has both the personal and professional expertise that enables her to understand the important roles birth and parenting play in the lives of children. She also believes that her experience as both mother and a doula helps her stay in touch with the realities facing pregnant women and mothers today.
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.
Nicole has collaborated on the regulation and licensure database project for the Summit and is currently working to further her research on skilled birth attendance while awaiting midwifery credentialing in British Columbia. She is the mother of three children, all born at home into the hands of midwives.