MANA 2015 Awards

MANA was proud to honor two powerful New Mexico midwives as Sage Femme this year. Friends and colleagues, who even shared the same birthday: Elizabeth Gilmore, MSM, CPM, LM and Barbara E. Pepper, LM worked together to promote midwifery locally and nationally. Read more about them, and the other 2015 MANA award winners, below… 

MANA SAGE FEMME AWARD 2015  – Elizabeth Gilmore, MSM, CPM, LM

MANA 2015 Sage Femme Elizabeth Gilmore

Elizabeth Gilmore was nominated by the MANA Board of Directors and the Advisory Council of Elders to receive the Sage Femme Award in honorarium for her generous and courageous life.

Elizabeth sought to protect traditional midwifery as well as to create a path for modern midwives. She co-founded the Northern New Mexico Midwifery Center in 1979 (later the Northern NM Women’s Health and Birth Center) and served as its Director, one of its staff midwives, and Director of Education until her retirement in 2001. In 1989 she began the National College of Midwifery. She was a founding member of the Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council in 1991 and the first CPM board member and site visitor for the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers. 

Elizabeth was a founding member of the New Mexico Midwives Association and served as a board member on the New Mexico Licensed Midwifery State Advisory Board. She was instrumental in the development of the New Mexico Licensed Midwife exam which was the precursor to the NARM exam. Through Elizabeth’s efforts Medicaid reimbursement for homebirths was reinstated in 2006, which was a critical piece of improving access to midwifery care in New Mexico. 

Elizabeth attended over 3,000 births in the US and abroad. She passed away in 2011 and is dearly missed by family, friends and the midwifery community.

MANA SAGE FEMME AWARD 2015  – Barbara E. Pepper, LM

MANA 2015 Sage Femme Barbara Pepper

Barbara Pepper was nominated by the New Mexico Midwives Association to receive the Sage Femme in recognition of her service to midwifery and families around the world.

Barbara is a founding member of the New Mexico Midwives Association and was instrumental in the development of the New Mexico Licensed Midwife exam, which was a precursor to the NARM exam. She has served as board member on the New Mexico Licensed Midwifery State Advisory Board as well as the New Mexico Midwives Association. 

Before becoming a midwife, Barbara spent seven years as a nun with the Sisters of Mercy. She was a political activist during the Vietnam War, rallying for peace; working alongside the movement lead by Cesar Chavez, addressing the harsh conditions of the farm workers and teaching elementary school. After giving birth at home, Barbara felt called to become a midwife. During her 40 plus year career, Barbara has served families not only in New Mexico, but also in Zimbabwe, Senegal, Guinea, Australia and Andra Pradesh, India. Barbara’s work includes holding fundraisers in Albuquerque to contribute to a vulnerable clinic in Chitisere, Zimbabwe.

Barbara doesn’t believe in the word “retirement.” But she has closed her practice and has just a few special births left. She plans to divide her time between the US and India, and spend time with her 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Having served close to 2,000 families and midwifing through the age of 70, Barbara truly is a Grand Midwife.

MANA SAPLING  AWARD 2015  – Dahlyt Berezin-Bahr, LM, CPM

Sapling Awardee Bahlyt Berezin-Bahr

Dahlyt Berezin-Bahr was born at home in Manhattan, NY. As a young girl she was surrounded by birth books and videos and fell in love with birth through this early exposure. She holds a BS in Business Management and Finance from Brooklyn College and a degree from Seymour Joseph Institute for American Sign Language.

Dahlyt began her work as a birth doula in 2008 and quickly realized that the hospital was not where she would best be able to serve birthing families. Her strong belief in the innate capacity of a woman to give birth brought her back to her home birth roots. She graduated from Birthwise Midwifery School in Bridgton, Maine and apprenticed with Jessica Lawlor, CPM and other NJ based midwives, attending study groups and availing herself of every learning opportunity. In 2012 she spent time at a birth center in Atiak, Uganda, where she received high-risk training with preceptor Vicki Hedley, CPM, CM. The best part about her trip to Uganda is that is where she met her beautiful husband, Moshe Casa.  She took the NARM exam at the Portland MANA Conference in 2013 and has been a busy midwife ever since! Her practice name is “Love Your Births.”

Dahlyt has a dynamic and strong personality. She is smart, confident, self-reflective, faithful, joy-filled, and FUN! She has the strength of character it takes to create boundaries when she needs them and yet she is in constant service. This is something we can all learn from. Dahlyt works with a great variety of birthing families, in religious and non-religious as well as very culturally diverse communities. She feels especially passionate about the work she is doing in the Orthodox Jewish community of Lakewood, NJ, a financially marginalized community where the women have very limited access to competent, safe and affordable care. Dahlyt is changing the face of maternity care in this community. Her skills with American Sign Language have given her the opportunity to work with deaf families as well, allowing them to feel empowered in their birth experiences because there is someone who can listen to their needs with an ability to fully communicate.

Dahlyt is a leader in her local community, training midwife assistants through a program she wrote and implemented two years ago. She is a go-getter, and sees challenges as opportunities. She has tremendous positive, forward moving energy and will be a driving force in the future of midwifery due to that passion and energy. We are thrilled to have her as our Sapling this year.  She truly SHINES!!!

Marsden Wagner Midwifery Partnership Award 2015

Larry Leeman

Dr. Lawrence M. Leeman, M.D.

Marsden Wagner was a champion for midwifery in the US and worldwide, and a dear friend of MANA. This year the MANA Board of Directors is proud to establish it’s first award for physicians who are strong advocates for both the midwifery model and collaboration between physicians and midwives, and who have helped advance midwifery in our country.

Educator of The Year 2015

Deborah Kaley

Deborah J. Kaley, LM, CPM

The Educator Award is given to an individual that has demonstrated excellence in innovative education, exemplary mentorship and advocacy for the profession.

Harris-Braun Outstanding Poster Award  for Graduate or Professional Research

Paula M. Hostler, CPM, ASM, MSM Candidate for the poster titled, “Old Order Mennonite Birth Culture: Honoring the Collectively Shared Cultural & Religious Birthing Practices During Midwifery Care.”

Harris-Braun Outstanding Poster Award for Student or Apprentice Research

Laura Galati for the poster titled, “The Association Between Method of Payment and Out-of-Hospital Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes.”

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