Speaker Biographies

Lynn ArnoldLynn Arnold CPM — is a midwife and midwifery educator who has been practicing and teaching since 1975. In that time, she has delivered more than 3,000 babies, has been the supervising midwife at over 5,000 births, and as the founder and director of Casa de Nacimiento, has been responsible for over 13,000 deliveries. Since 1985, Lynn has taught clinical and didactic midwifery to more than 800 students from around the world.



Sarita BennettSarita Bennett DO, CPM — is an Osteopathic Family Practice Physician and Certified Professional Midwife who began studying and practicing the Midwife Model of Care over 30 years ago. After working as a home birth midwife for 15 years, she entered the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, completed a family medicine residency with a strong women’s and children’s health component and went into private practice, providing family medicine and midwifery services in rural West Virginia for the past 15 years. Sarita’s unique experiences make her an expert in Integrative Women’s Health. She has recently opened her new midwifery and integrative medicine practice in Charlottesville, VA. Sarita takes an active role in midwifery and medical education. She co-founded and was a core instructor at Sacred Mountain Midwifery School throughout its 4-year history. She has served as an associate clinical professor for the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), and has served on the WVSOM faculty as an assistant professor in the Osteopathic Principles and Practice Department. Her new program, The Academy of Experiential Midwifery Education, opened in January 2014 in Charlottesville, VA.

Sandra Bitonti-StewartSandra Bitonti-Stewart — has been the Executive Director for the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council since November 2011. Prior to joining the MEAC staff, Sandra worked as a health care lobbyist in the State of Michigan, as a grant-maker for the Michigan Women's Foundation and as a fundraiser for a US Senate Campaign. As a proud consumer advocate for improving maternity care, Sandra is co-founder of Birth Network National and the CIMS' Birth Survey (Transparency in Maternity Care) project.


April BlackmoreApril Blackmore JD — is a lawyer and advocate for midwives and human rights in childbirth. She attended the College of Charleston in South Carolina and William and Mary School of Law. She drafted legislation for the Texas House of Representatives and Senate for five years, focusing on healthcare and social service laws. Currently she works as a doula and fundraiser for Circle of Health International, a non-profit that provides maternal and newborn care to women and babies in disaster areas and war zones. Her two young sons were born at home into the loving hands of midwives.

Karin BorgersonKarin Borgerson MBA — recently moved into the role of MEAC's Associate Director. Additionally, Karin is a DONA-trained birth doula. She has been a consultant to MANA and the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development. As a member of the board of trustees of Bainbridge Graduate Institute from 2005 to 2013, she helped guide the school through its accreditation process. She has been a senior associate in the climate and energy program at World Resources Institute (WRI) and the program director for climate and business development at an NGO focusing on consumption and institutional purchasing issues. Karin has also worked in project management and client relations in several software companies.

Melissa CheyneyMelissa Cheyney PhD, CPM, LDM — is an Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology and the Director of the Reproductive Health Laboratory at Oregon State University. She is a Certified Professional Midwife, Chair of the Board of Direct-entry Midwifery for the State of Oregon, Chair of the Division of Research for the Midwives Alliance, and the author of several publications on midwifery care including the recent JMWH (2014) article entitled “Outcomes of Care for 16,924 Panned Home Births in the United States: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, 2004 to 2009.”

Justine CleggJustine Clegg MS, LM, CPM —  is Association of Midwifery Educators Board President. A Florida Licensed Midwife since 1987, she is Academic Director and Faculty for Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery since 2009 and Miami-Dade Community College Midwifery Director/faculty emeritus (1993-2008). Former Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery Chair (1993-2001) and Miami FIMR committee chair (2004-2009), she is also a licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Lactation Counselor. She graduated from the South Florida School of Midwifery and earned her MS from Florida International University. She served on the MEAC and NACPM Boards.

Augustine ColebrookAugustine Colebrook CPM, LM — is a gifted teacher and mentor and leads Birthing From Within and Sacred Pregnancy Classes for expectant women and couples. She is a Nationally Certified Professional Midwife and an Oregon State-Licensed Midwife. She runs an apprenticeship-based midwifery training program at two of her State-Licensed Waterbirth Center in Oregon and is a teacher for her state’s required Ledged, Drug, and Device class for midwives. Augustine is an accomplished management executive with strong entrepreneurial heart, who takes much joy in mainstreaming midwifery and the midwifery model of care by bringing the modern community-centered birth center choice to all low risk women.

Catherine Collins-Fulea MSN, CNM, FACNM — completed her basic nursing and midwifery education in England then obtained her BSN at Mercy College of Detroit and her MSN at Oakland University. She is in full scope clinical practice as Midwifery Division Head at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit Michigan. Cathy has spoken national and internationally on various clinical and business topics such as Vitamin D deficiency, Preterm labor, benchmarking, Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, and Collaborative practice with Residents.

Jessica DanforthJessica Danforth — is the founder and Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, the first and only organization of its kind by and for Indigenous youth working across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice throughout the United States and Canada. She has spent more than half her life mobilizing individuals, families, and communities alike to reclaim their ancestral rights to self-determine decisions over their own bodies and spaces. Jessica is currently serving as the Youth Coordinator for the National Indigenous Youth Council on HIV/AIDS, and she is the North American co-chair for the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. In addition, she is a member of a number of national and international boards and collectives including SisterSong Women of Color for Reproductive Justice Collective and Women on Web/Women on Waves.

Ellie DanielsEllie Daniels CPM — has attended homebirths for 34 years. Ellie co-owns Morningstar Midwifery, teaches at Birthwise Midwifery School, is NACPM current president and MEAC past president. She serves on the Steering Committee for the MAMA Campaign to gain federal recognition for CPMs. Ellie also owns The Green Store, offering environmentally sustainable products. Over the years, Ellie discovered a natural business aptitude which she now shares within the midwifery community. Ellie has three children, three stepchildren, and five grandchildren, four of whom were born into her hands. She loves to garden, knit, hike, and spend time at camp on the pond.

Ida DarraghIda Darragh CPM — is a member of the NARM Board, currently acting as chairman and director of testing. She has been a midwife in Little Rock, Arkansas, since 1980. She travels to many states teaching workshops related to midwifery practice and the politics of midwifery, and represents NARM when speaking to state and national legislators and policy makers. On the local level, she has served on the Midwifery Advisory Board of the Arkansas Department of Health and in various roles in the Arkansas Association of Midwives.

Susan DerbySusan Derby CPM — is a CPM with 30+ years experience in home birth in upstate NY. She is also BSN of 40+ years, currently working as a public health nurse serving medicaid families and at risk mothers and babies. She has previous experience working in clinics on the Onondaga Indian Reservation, in hospital L+D,and with the regional Perinatal Mortality / SIDS committee.



Krystina Friedlander

Krystina Friedlander, Researcher at Harvard Divinity School — is a childbirth doula and homebirth midwifery student in Cambridge, MA. In addition to her experience with childbirth, she works on the Religious Literacy Project at the Harvard Divinity School, where she writes about global religious diversity. She holds an MA in Cultural Anthropology from Tulane University.



Amy Wright GlennAmy Wright Glenn MA, CD(DONA) — earned her MA in Religion and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught in The Religion and Philosophy Department at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey for over a decade. While at Lawrenceville, Amy was the recipient of the Dunbar Abston Jr. Chair for Teaching Excellence. She is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, a DONA certified birth doula, and a hospital chaplain. She is the voice for "Motherhood, Spirituality, and Religion" for Philly.com. She recently published her first book: "Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula."

Nicolle L. GonzalesNicolle L. Gonzales, BSN, RN, MSN, CNM — I am Navajo, and my clan is Tl’aashchi’I, Red Bottom clan, born for Tachii’nii, Red Running into the Water clan. My maternal and paternal grandfathers clans are Hashk’aa hadzohi, Yucca fruit-strung-out-in-a line clan, and Naasht’ezhi dine’e, Zuni clan. Growing up on and off the Navajo reservation near Farmington, New Mexico our traditional healing practices have always been apart of my life. I attribute my accomplishments to the many prayers and ceremonies done on my behalf as I was growing into the woman I am today. While obtaining my graduate education, it became apparent that our traditional healing practices and philosophies about “health” and “wellness” were vital to the care I provided as a Nurse Midwife. It is with this deep understanding and respect for our way of life as indigenous peoples that my worldviews are based on and are reflected the projects I participate in. My primary goal as a Nurse Midwife is to keep birth sacred and in native communities, by integrating and applying traditional knowledge. I received my Bachelors degree in Nursing and a Masters degree in Nurse Midwifery from the University of New Mexico. I have had the pleasure of being involved in several community projects since the completion of my education as well as being invited to serve on several health panels emphasizing cultural diversity in midwifery. In addition to my community service I have served as a mentor for emerging Native American midwifery students at the University of New Mexico and continue to support future midwives.

Wendy M. GordonWendy M. Gordon CPM, LM, MPH — is a licensed midwife, currently practicing in Washington State. She is an assistant professor at Bastyr University’s Department of Midwifery, where she developed and facilitates courses on Undoing Racism and Cultural Versatility in Midwifery Practice, as well as co-teaches the core midwifery theory courses. Wendy is also a board member of the Association of Midwifery Educators. (AME).



MJ HanafinMJ Hanafin CNM D.Hom — is a British-trained midwife and homeopath with 40 years extensive experience in home, birth center, and hospital births around the world. MJ has used homeopathy for her mums for most of her professional life. She finds that the women and babies seem to have less problems in pregnancy and birth when homeopathy is used. Both mother and baby appear to have a speedy and happy recovery too. Presently MJ has her own homeopathic practice and teaches homeopathy internationally. She is a faculty member of Academy of Classic Homeopathy giving distance learning courses.

Ellen Harris-BraunEllen Harris-Braun CPM — is the Database Development Coordinator for the MANA Division of Research, and is half of Harris-Braun Enterprises, an experienced Web- development team that wrote the software for the MANA Statistics Web site. Ellen is also a practicing midwife, MANA Stats contributor, certified doula and lactation counselor, and childbirth teacher, involved with birth since 1999 and with MANA since 2002. She lives in rural New York State in an intentional community with her family.


Elizabeth HeinemanElizabeth Heineman PhD — is mother of one stillborn and two surviving children. Her prize-winning essays on taking her stillborn child home have been published in salon.com and New Millennium Writings; her memoir of her stillbirth is Ghostbelly (Feminist Press, 2014). She is a professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches and researches on gender, sexuality, and human rights, including issues of reproductive rights and reproductive health.


Diane HolzerDiane Holzer LM, CPM, PAC — is a homebirth midwife of over 20 years and also practices as physician’s assistant in a rural healthcare clinic. She has been actively involved with Midwives’ Alliance of North America (MANA) for over 16 years and has been on the faculty at Maternidad La Luz, a midwifery training program, for over 10 years. She has been the regional representative for the Americas and is a past president of MANA.



Sarah HunterSarah Hunter CPM, CH — has been studying and working in the field of alternative and complimentary medicine since 1999. Her passion was lit with herbal medicine, which then naturally progressed into Midwifery. Certified with the North American Registry of Midwives, she has been working with pregnant families since 2004. Her view of illness and wellness is filtered through her understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Sarah has many projects and interests including managing two small businesses and volunteering as an Online Community Manager for MANA.

Jenni HuntlyJenni Huntly RM — is a dedicated midwife who is committed to professional excellence and to continuous learning as the foundation of her practice. Her focus on clinical practice and outreach assists her in supporting normal birth in all settings and in providing caring and accessible midwifery care. Originally trained and certified in Ontario, Canada, she is now working with a homebirth practice in Austin, Texas. Jenni has been also working with Maternity Neighborhood providing client technical support for the EHR Private Practice. Her interest in providing care in low-resource settings has taken her to the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium for a certificate program for nurses and midwives, to fill short-term replacement duties in a birth centre in Puvirnituq (Nunavik), and as a volunteer midwife and instructor in Hinche, Haiti. She continues to be an active member of the Association of Ontario Midwives Clinical Practice Guidelines Subcommittee, where she was a contributing author to recent guidelines on VBAC and GBS, among others.

Jessica Kelly-ShaiebJessica Kelly-Shaieb JD — is an Accreditation and Volunteer Training Coordinator for the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council. She has worked for MEAC since February 2012. Prior to joining MEAC, Jessica worked as a consumer advocate in the realms of maternity and midwifery care, circumcision, breastfeeding, and child passenger safety. Jessica has a small number of published and unpublished works related to those topics.



Sam KillermannSam Killermann — is a comedian and social justice advocate, and the guy behind It’s Pronounced Metrosexual, a one-man comedy show and blog about snap judgments, identity, and oppression (but in a totally funny way). He is the author of A Guide to Gender, which is an exploration of gender from a social justice perspective, with humor and comics sprinkled in. His well-received TEDx talk distilled a few hundred pages of gender-bending discourse into a few minutes of fun, energetic, and (with some luck) comprehensible speech. Sam is a dedicated ally and advocate, and blends humor into the work he does because he believes (like Mary Poppins believed) that sugar helps the medicine go down.


Indra LuseroIndra Lusero MA, JD — is a genderqueer latina parent with a diverse family of people from all over the world. Indra has been a teacher, a performance artist, a wall-paper hanger, a non-profit manager, and a counselor at law (among other things). Indra went to law school after attending a MANA conference in 2005 where folks were calling for a “hot shot team of lawyers” who could help defend midwives. Indra has endeavored to become just such a lawyer. Indra works closely with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Legal Advocates for Birth Options and Rights, and Human Rights in Childbirth.

Jeanette McCullochJeanette McCulloch IBCLC — has brought strategic communications to women’s health advocacy for more than 20 years. She is the co-founder of BirthSwell an organization improving infant and maternal health by changing the way we talk about birth and breastfeeding. BirthSwell provides local, national, and international birth and breastfeeding organizations and advocates with strategic communications, ensuring that families have access to high-quality care and information. She is a board member of Citizens for Midwifery and is passionate about consumer representation and health equity in birth and breastfeeding. She also speaks about social media, strategic communications, and health equity for birth and breastfeeding professionals at national conferences.

Tami J. MicheleTami J. Michele, DO, FACOOG, OB/GYN — is a Board Certified physician, Department Chair, and Medical Director of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial OB/GYN in Fremont, MI. Dr. Michele is on the OB Advisory Committee for the Michigan Hospital Association Keystone OB Project which is improving the maternity and perinatal safety in Michigan hospitals. She previously served on the Leadership Team of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS). As a delegate to the Home Birth Consensus Summit, she is an active participant on the Collaboration Task Force. She has provided obstetrical and surgical services to women in rural, inner city, and metropolitan areas as well as Togo, West Africa. Prior to medical school, Tami worked as a doula, childbirth educator, prenatal fitness instructor, and midwife assistant. Her experiences have brought a unique perspective into her OB/GYN practice. 

Sister Sandra MorningStarSister Sandra MorningStar CPM — has dedicated a lifetime to the preservation of instinctual birth. She birthed her own daughters at home and has helped thousands of other wimyn find empowerment through instinctual birth. She is the founder of a spiritual retreat center and author of books related to instinctual and spiritual living. She lives as a Cherokee Hermitess and Catholic Mystic in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.



Sherry Lenore PayneSherry Lenore Payne RN MSN CNE IBCLC — holds a BSN in nursing and an MSN in nursing education from Research College of Nursing in Kansas City, MO. She is a certified nurse educator, IBCLC, and midwifery student. Ms. Payne founded Uzazi Village, dedicated to decreasing health disparities. She is an editor for Clinical Lactation Journal, and sits on the board of CIMS. Her career goals include opening a birth center and increasing the numbers of midwives and lactation consultants of color. Ms. Payne resides in Overland Park, KS with her husband and six home-birthed and breastfed children.

Erica PeirsonErica Peirson ND — is a Naturopathic physician and the mother of a 5 year old son with Mosaic Down Syndrome. She sees patients privately at the Down Syndrome Treatment Center of Oregon. She also lectures whenever possible to help spread awareness to parents and physicians that the symptoms of Down Syndrome are treatable.



Vicki PenwellVicki Penwell CPM, LM, MS Midwifery, MA Intercultural Studies — has been a midwife 34 years, the last 23 spent in Southeast Asia, where she currently lives and runs a birth center featured in “Birth Models That Work.” She and her family started Mercy In Action, a non-profit organization that offers quality maternity care at no charge to families living in extreme poverty. Vicki has attended thousands of high-risk births and recently led a disaster response that set up birth tents at ground zero of the Philippine Disaster zone following the largest storm to ever make landfall on planet earth.

Dorothy RobertsDorothy Roberts — is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, with joint appointments in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School, where she is the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights.  She is also Director of the Penn Program on Race, Science & Society. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, she has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of gender, race, and class in legal issues and has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare, and bioethics. Professor Roberts is the author of the award-winning books Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Random House/Pantheon, 1997) and Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books/Civitas, 2002), as well as co-editor of 6 books on constitutional law and gender. She has also published more than 90 articles and essays in books and scholarly journals, including Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Stanford Law Review. Her latest book, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century, was published by the New Press in July 2011. Among her many public interest positions, Roberts is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Black Women’s Health Imperative.

Christine RomneyChristine Romney — is a Certified Medical Biller and President/CEO of Larsen Billing Service, LLC, the nation's leading billing service for midwives and birth centers. Christine is passionate about educating midwives and birth center owners regarding the business aspects of their practice. She has been billing for and consulting with midwives for over 12 years.




Bonnie RuderBonnie Ruder CPM, MPH, MA — is a researcher for the MANA Division of Research and the International Program Officer for TERREWODE, a Ugandan NGO. She received her master in public health and master in medical anthropology in 2012 from Oregon State University. Her research examined the cause of obstetric fistulas from the perspective of obstetric fistula survivors and traditional birth attendants, and the impact of international policies on local maternity care. Bonnie is a Certified Professional Midwife and has attended births in Oregon since 1997. She has also had the opportunity to live and work in Zimbabwe, Haiti, and Uganda.

Linda SchuttLinda Schutt BS CPM CM — has a BS in Maternal and Child Health, is a NY Licensed Midwife,CPM and CM. Her midwifery education, in hospital and home birth, was in the UK, with 1 1/2 years midwifery experience in W Africa, and 30+ years homebirth practice in upstate New York.



Brittany SimplicioBrittany Simplicio CNM, MSN — is a recent midwifery graduate from the University of New Mexico. She is both Dine (Navajo) and Zuni Pueblo originally from Shiprock, NM. She is happy to be back home on the Navajo indian reservation practicing at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance, AZ. Prior to midwifery she taught university level college success classes to low-income and minority high school students at the University of New Mexico. As a National Congress of American Indians Health Graduate Fellow her interests lie in health policy, health literacy, contraceptive counseling, traditional healing, and continuing education for teenage parents.

Shannon StalochShannon Staloch LM, CPM, IBCLC — is a mother to three homebirthed children. After working at the only birth center in San Francisco, Shannon now runs a private home birth and lactation practice in the Bay Area. She lectures frequently on midiwfery care, birth, and maternal nutrition. She also writes about these topics at www.birthrite.me.



Tara TulleyTara Tulley CPM, LCSW — is a Certified Professional Midwife and Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in psychosocial issues affecting childbearing women. Tara co-founded The Community School of Midwifery and The Community Health Clinic with programs emphasizing diversity and psychosocial wellness as a fundamental piece of maternal health care. Tara specialize in the treatment of eating disorders, PTSD, and pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders.



Ruth WalshRuth C. Walsh MA, CPM — served in the past as Southeastern Regional Representative of the Midwives Alliance of North America , past chair of the North American Registry of Midwives, President of Midwives Alliance of WV, Rural midwife for the last 25 years, Ruth is an advocate for physiologic birth. Ruth’s latest project is promoting Basic Disaster Birth Support (BDBS).



Pam WhitePam White NRP — has been a practicing Midwife since 1984 attending over 1500 births to date and became an NRP instructor in 1992. She has conducted over 125 trainings developing her classes to meet the unique circumstances of the out of hospital care provider. Pam’s philosophy of teaching includes the belief that Midwifery is better served as we create more community, and sharing knowledge is essential to that end.



Lisa Maureen WileyLisa Maureen Wiley MSM — is a recent graduate of Bastyr University’s Department of Midwifery (formerly the Seattle Midwifery School), where she dedicated her Master’s thesis to investigating the power dynamics inherent to the student-preceptor relationships within Direct-Entry midwifery education. Following an overwhelmingly positive response to broaching this subject matter, from aspiring and practicing midwives alike, she has been inspired to continue facilitating this dialogue in an effort to strengthen the profession of midwifery – beginning at its roots. Lisa is a Seattle native, though a traveler at heart.

Krysta WilliamsKrysta Williams — is the Advocacy & Outreach Coordinator for the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Krysta is of the Delaware Nation from Moravian of the Thames First Nation. She is a traditional singer and hand drummer, connecting these teachings to reproductive justice and Indigenous Feminisms. She currently volunteers with the National Pregnancy Options Infoline, a free 24/7 link to sexual and reproductive health information and services. Krysta recieved an undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo but is more interested in community and land based forms of education and learning.

Nicole WocelkaNicole Wocelka CPM — has been self-employed for over 12 years as a consultant in a variety of fields. With her degree in management, career in education, and experience as a midwife and business owner, Nicole is thrilled to bring these seemingly divergent skills together to serve midwives and their clients.



Mary Yglesia — is a graduate of the Seattle Midwifery School, practiced midwifery briefly in Eastern Washington before returning to the school to serve as a school administrator. She was a past Executive Director of SMS and is now the Practicum Coordinator of Bastyr University's Department of Midwifery. She is on the board of directors of the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) and the Association of Midwifery Educators (AME). She is the proud mother of three incredible young women who were all born at home into the hands of a midwife.