Global Perinatal Task Force on Quality Perinatal Care during COVID-19 - Members

Globally, pregnancy and childbirth are the most common reasons for accessing health care services and hospitals even in the time of the COVID 19 pandemic with increased risk for both nosocomial infection and human rights losses for the maternal-infant dyad. During the current pandemic, families have reported mistreatment by health care providers, such as forced separation from newborns, unwanted interventions, loss of labour support, and lack of access to antenatal and postpartum care. The potential for inequitable exacerbation of poor perinatal and maternal outcomes is immense.

In response to these pandemic related maternal child health threats, the Birth Place Lab (BPL) at the University of British Columbia convened a Global Perinatal Task Force of >150 multidisciplinary experts on maternal and perinatal care from across the world. They have collaborated to curate an online repository of over 350 advocacy, policy and clinical resources to facilitate rapid access, integration and response along the community-to-home- to-hospital continuum, as needed to contain the pandemic. The Indigenous led GIS Mapping research firm, The Firelight Group, has translated the Quality Perinatal Services Hub (QPS Hub) repository into a prototype for a digital dashboard that is ready for further development.

Vision:  To facilitate high quality, safe, rights-based, person-centered maternity service delivery during COVID-19 and beyond by working together as a global community of leaders drawn from diverse geographies, disciplines and stakeholders

Global QPC Taskforce Member bios

Eloho was born in Nigeria and raised in Boston. After graduating from MIT in 2014 with a B.S. in brain and cognitive sciences, Eloho served as an AmeriCorps member at the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center in Boston. She then went on to pursue her M.S. in medical sciences at Boston University School of Medicine prior to entering medical school. Through various OB/GYN research projects at Boston Medical Center, she researched anal cancer prevention in the HIV+ population and examined the use of participatory-action research to improve prenatal care delivery with both low-SES pregnant women and pregnant women with substance use disorder. Eloho is a 4th year medical student at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in the dual MD-ScM degree Primary Care-Population Medicine program, and plans on pursuing a career in obstetrics and adolescent family planning. She serves as the national Health Policy & Legislative Affairs committee co-chairperson and member of the Board of Directors for the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and a student member on the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Her passions include advocating for health equity, racial justice, and an appreciation of intersectionality through education, research, policy change, and practice.

Health Systems Planner, Health Systems Researcher

Molly Altman, PhD, CNM, MPH (she/her/hers) is an assistant professor and midwife researcher in the University of Washington School of Nursing. Her research is focused on respectful reproductive care for marginalized communities, in particular the effects of racism, stigma, and bias on interactions with health care systems and providers. She is currently working with the Birth Place Lab on a study examining respectful care for LGBTQIA2+ communities in the experience of building families through pregnancy.

Health Systems Planner, Health Systems Researcher

James Bair is a health system innovator, private equity impact investment strategist, and cross-sectoral partnership development specialist for sustainable global health solutions. He has sectoral expertise in sexual and reproductive health, women's health, maternal and child health. Extensive experience in business planning and strategic leadership roles and as a consultant with large private and public-sector health systems. 

He is current currently engaged with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Women's Rights & Gender Section, on a project to pilot materials supporting a human rights-based approach to care delivery among health workers in Sexual & Reproductive Health and Maternal & Child Health. As director of the Dept of International Medical Services, James represented Stanford University in Asia for 13 years. As Director of an NIH-designated National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health at the University of California San Francisco, James oversaw operations and planning for ambulatory services for women across 4 campuses. At California Pacific Medical Center James was Director of Strategy for Women’s & Children’s.In recent years, his research has focused on the evolving global ecosystems for impact investing and sustainable financing for health innovation in developing economies. James has a Masters in International Policy Studies and an Advanced Certificate in SDG Investing from the Graduate Institute Geneva. He divides his time between California and Switzerland.

Artist, designer, Professor, Environmental Design, Design for Health and Inclusive Design at OCAD University. Masters (1985, UCLA) and PhD (2017, UCD) in Architecture. Doctoral Dissertation: Light and Embodied Experience in the Reimagined Birth Environment. President, Colour Research Society of Canada; co-founder Global Birth Environment Design Network.

Katie Shea Barrett is the founding Executive Director of March for Moms, a national consumer-led organization that aligns the advocacy efforts of families, health care providers, industry, policymakers and other partners to ensure that all families can grow with dignity. She is a mom of two, a post-partum hemorrhage survivor, and brings over 15 years of leadership experience in health care policy and health system transformation. She holds both a MPH and a BA from Columbia University and lives near Boston, Massachusetts with her family.

Research Coordinator, Birth Place Lab, Vancouver

Lia Brigante has been working as a caseload midwife for the National Health System in London providing midwife-led continuity of carer before joining the Royal College of Midwives as Quality & Standards Advisor, contributing to improvement of maternity policy and midwifery practice across the UK. Lia is a consortium board member for the National Guidelines Alliance (NGA) and a member of the Clinica Quality Assurance group overseeing clinical guidance published by the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG).

Lia's academic work has focused on midwifery-led settings and midwifery models of care, she has worked as a researcher and conducted research on women’s experiences of continuity of carer as a co-investigator of the POPPIE trial at King’s College London.

Melissa Cheyney PhD, LDM is Associate Professor of Clinical Medical Anthropology at Oregon State University (OSU) and a community midwife. She co-directs Uplift—a research and reproductive equity laboratory at OSU, where she serves as the Primary Investigator on more than 20 maternal and infant health-related research projects, including the Community Doula Project. She is the author of an ethnography entitled Born at Home (2010, Wadsworth Press), co-editor with Robbie Davis-Floyd of Birth in Eight Cultures (2019, Waveland Press), and author or co-author of more than 60 peer-reviewed articles that examine the cultural beliefs and clinical outcomes associated with midwife-attended birth at home and in birth centers in the United States. In 2019, Dr. Cheyney served on the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Birth Settings in America Study and in 2020 was named Eminent Professor by OSUs Honors College. She also received Oregon State University’s prestigious Scholarship Impact Award for her work in the International Reproductive Health Laboratory and with the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) Statistics Project. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care and the mother of a daughter born at home on International Day of the Midwife in 2009.

Dr. Cidro is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and a Canada Research Chair in Health and Culture. Her main area of focus is on Indigenous Maternal and Child Health and Indigenous determinants of health.

I am a midwife and researcher focusing on trauma and reproductive health outcomes, maternal outcomes among women veterans, the midwifery model of care and birth setting.

Ms. Dickerson is a Women’s Health Specialist for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its supporting organization the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal). Ms. Dickerson leads the Foundation’s efforts to advance women’s health and health activism by directing the WHAMglobal initiative. She helps to outline the next frontier of women’s health and health services and build regional, national, and international partnerships. She supports JHF’s Health Activist Network and Feinstein Fellowships for multidisciplinary students and early-career professionals. Ms. Dickerson earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Rhetoric from the University of Pittsburgh and received her master’s in Healthcare Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College. Before enrolling at CMU, she served for two years as a federally-certified health insurance navigator and led the Health Center Advocacy Program for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. Prior to that, she was an outreach associate for health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C.


Marinah Farrell is the Founder of Parteras de Maiz, dedicated to advocacy projects for traditional birth work, health justice and working towards healing trauma and embracing dignity for midwives. Marinah is: President of Changing Woman Initiative, the Network Coordinator of Good Birth for All network, a Board Member for National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and currently a participant of SM+I Prototyping Labs for United Birthworkers of Color, Arizona.

Marinah identifies as a first generation twospirit Chicanx/Indigenous daughter of a medicine woman from Chihuahua, Mexico, and mama/stepmama to mixed race children including Pascua Yaqui, Mexican and Irish/English descent. Marinah is active in multiple maternal and public health initiatives within her community and at the national and international levels and served as the past president for the Midwives Alliance of North America. Her background includes street level medic work and immigration activism in Arizona, clinical/government policy work in Mexico and Africa, organizational development and facilitation in the U.S and Mexico with various non-profits, and as a founding board member of a primary-care free clinic in Phoenix. Marinah is the owner of Phoenix Midwife, a longstanding homebirth practice in Arizona.

Policymaker, Hospital Health Administrator

Kate T Finn MS LM (CM CPM) is in private practice as a licensed midwife and owner of Woman’s Way Health Care, in Ithaca, New York, providing well-woman and maternity care, and currently attending planned home births. Kate has worked as an independent, full scope midwife in both Washington and New York states, practicing in home, birth center and hospital settings, as well as managing a provincial health program and providing midwifery training in Cambodia.Kate holds a degree in nutrition with a maternal/child focus from Cornell University, and graduated from the Seattle Midwifery School. She pioneered direct-entry midwifery equivalency to nurse midwifery by challenging midwifery licensure in New York. In 1998, Kate received one of of the first AMCB Certified Midwife (CM) credentials, as well as the NARM Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential. As one of the first direct-entry midwives accepted into the MS completion program at Philadelphia University, Kate’s thesis focused on a strategic analysis of promoting direct-entry midwifery, both CM and CPM credentials.

Kate has been instrumental in promoting a safety, quality agenda in health care for women and infants, and developing collaborative models between midwives and obstetricians to engender integration of home birth into the maternity care system. Regionally, she nurtured midwives to consensus adoption of Home Birth Peer Review Guidelines, and Guidelines for Midwifery Care and Collaboration When Assisting Planned Home Birth. Kate assisted development of models for collaboration with the Regional Perinatal Center and an outreach program to 19 affiliated hospitals promoting transfer coordination. Steps along the way included many presentations, joint skills training, and reviews of transfer cases.

As a board member of the New York State Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM) since 2010, Kate provided strategic support for legislation strengthening independent midwifery practice, collaborative relationships, and birth centers. Kate was primary author for the NYSALM Position Statement on Planned Home Birth, outlining model behavior for both midwives and hospital providers during transfers, the NYSALM Policy on Complaints, and is currently chairing the committee developing Guidelines for Collaboration in Planned Home Birth Midwifery Practice.

An invited midwife delegate to the national Home Birth Consensus Summits in 2011 and 2013, Kate also contributed to the national multi-stakeholder task force which developed the Best Practice Guidelines: Transfer from Planned Home Birth to Hospital.

In 2013, the regional PBS station recognized Kate with a leadership award called Makers: Women Who Make America for her success in building bridges for home birth integration within the maternity system in central NY.

Timothy J. Fisher MD MS is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist and the Ob/Gyn Residency Program Director at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, the Medical Director of the Northern New England Perinatal Quality Improvement Network (NNEPQIN), and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He is a graduate of The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, completed his residency training at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, California and received a Master’s Degree in Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College.

Dr. Fisher’s academic interests include access to high quality maternity care in rural settings, collaborative practice models between midwives and physicians, and support of physiologic birth as a means of improving maternal and perinatal outcomes. He is currently participating in a project sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program to study rural labor and delivery unit closures in New Hampshire.

Raymonde Gagnon, midwife, is a professor and researcher at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (QC, Canada). She has a Master’s in community health specialized in intercultural ethnology from University Laval and a Ph.D. in applied human sciences (social anthropology) from Université de Montréal. Her research interests lay with the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, interculturality, professional identity and respectful care. She also founded one of the first birthing centres in Quebec.

Amanda Gallipeau is Manager with the Health Law Unit in Empire Justice Center's Rochester office. Her work is focused on assisting those who are struggling to access health benefits, providing direct client services, technical assistance and training to advocates. She is responsible for the management and reporting of the various funding contracts that support the work of the health team. Amanda serves on various workgroups that serve to increase health insurance coverage and expand access to care, by promoting universal coverage, monitoring state policy, and tracking the impact of the lack of insurance to the most vulnerable New Yorkers.
Before joining the Health practice group, Amanda previously worked in the Foreclosure Prevention unit at Empire Justice Center. Her work focused on advocating for low-income homeowners who had been targeted by predatory lenders as well as with those homeowners who are unable to meet current mortgage obligations in an attempt to prevent foreclosure.

National Coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance, India

Olga is a Prenatal Psychologist, Educator and a COST Action Researcher for the last 10 years (present engagement CA18211), with a background in law. She is the founder of cosmoanelixis, Prenatal & Life Sciences (online education). She has been the external educator for the Kapodistrian University, Athens (EKPA), founder of the International Journal of Prenatal & Life Sciences Academic, open access journal & the founder of Prenatal Sciences Research Institute “SOPHIA” (NGO) & a partner in Erasmus+ projects. She has travelled extensively teaching & participating in global projects has written a number of books in Prebirth Psychology: Soul Days, Welcome for Adults & Once Upon a Time in Embryoland for children of all ages, A Concise Epitome of Prenatal Psychology etc., & contributed chapters to many other books & publications. She has been the Editor of “Prenatal Psychology: 100 Years” and “Whole-Self Aspects in Prebirth Psychology & Medicine”.

Her main interest is to connect the Academic world with the community designing & implementing services that promote human consciousness evolution, well-being & peace.,,,

Dr. Nikia Grayson, is a public health advocate, anthropologist, and nurse-midwife who has devoted her life to serving and empowering people in underserved and marginalized communities.

Nikia graduated from Howard University with a bachelors and masters degree in communications and public health respectively, from the University of Memphis with a masters in medical anthropology and from the University of Tennessee with a masters in nursing and a doctorate in nurse practice. She completed her post-masters certificate in midwifery at Frontier Nursing University.

Nikia is a 2018-2019 Duke University Johnson and Johnson Nurse Leader Fellow and has more than 10 years experience working in public health, with her more recent work focusing on reproductive rights, birth justice, and midwifery. She is passionate about ensuring all persons have the rights and means to make decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.

She presently works as a family nurse-midwife in Memphis at CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, where they are working to open the first birth center in the city.

Dr. Pandora Hardtman, DNP, FACNM, Regional Representative, International Confederation of Midwives Board of Directors, She brings two decades of experience of coordinating rapid response health systems mobilization in disaster or high conflict zones, as well as service delivery to resource poor communities in North America. She has worked in diverse healthcare settings all around the world, including the Caribbean, South East Asia, the Arab states, the US, and Africa. She has served as a Midwifery Capacity Building Consultant for organizations including the UNFPA, DFID, GIZ, HRH 2030 and Engender /Health Fistula Care plus, specializing in midwifery/maternal child health services in low resourced and conflict/fragile settings. She has worked closely with Ministries of Health and midwifery organizations to provide strategic direction, clinical and programmatic assistance for the design and implementation of global, regional and country level MN and SRH programmes. Her expertise spans curriculum development and training, process and impact evaluations, leadership development and workforce capacitation. She obtained a BSN and induction into Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society of Nursing from John Hopkins University, a MSc in Nursing from the University of California Los Angeles, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from University of Alabama at Birmingham focusing on the International Competencies for Midwifery focusing on family planning and post abortion care. When not travelling and in the US, she serves in socioeconomically and culturally diverse practices in the Atlanta Metro area as supplemental midwifery staff, stating that while midwives do more than catch babies, catching babies can be a lot of fun!

Evelyn is a Nbissing Anishinaabe Registered Midwife currently engaged in non-clinical work to the needs of Indigenous communities and Indigenous midwives. Evelyn works to create inroads where possible to support the return of birth and Indigenous midwifery with the view that this is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities. Evelyn works as the Partnership Development Coordinator for the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, Indigenous Lead for the Midwives Association of BC, and Indigenous Student Coordinator for the UBC Midwifery Program.

J. Davis Harte (“Davis”) is a leading wellness design educator who bridges evidence and practice with work in children’s places, trauma-informed spaces and also in birth environments. She holds a PhD in Health (design focus) from the University of Technology Sydney, where she worked with the Birth Unit Design team of Maralyn Foureur, Carolyn Home, ;Nicky Leap, Deb Davis, Jenny Fenwick and Athena Sheehan. She also holds an MSc in Design & Human Environment (Interiors) from Oregon State University, with minors in free-choice learning and in human development and family sciences. She has deep and broad knowledge about attention restoration theory, biophilia, salutogenic design, symbolic interactionism, neuro-endo-hormonal systems, space and place making, and all things environment-behavior, especially for traumatized populations typically considered vulnerable. She is co-leader of the Global Birth Environment Design Network, with Doreen Balabanoff and Nicoletta Setola.

Sevil Hakimi is an Associate Professor At Tabriz University of Medical Science, Iran. Currently she is the visiting Associate Professor at Istanbul Medipol University, Turkey. 

Zsakeba Henderson MD is a Medical Officer in the Maternal and Infant Health Branch in the Division of Reproductive Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and leads the Division’s activities in support of state-based perinatal quality improvement collaboratives, which currently provides support to statewide collaboratives in California, New York, and Ohio. In this position she also provides clinical input into the development of the research agenda for the Maternal and Infant Health Branch, including activities in preterm birth and pregnancy-related mortality. She serves as the Division’s Liaison to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, and as a breastfeeding advocate and physician peer-educator for the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics EPIC Breastfeeding Program. Dr. Henderson received her BS degree in biochemistry from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. She then completed her internship and residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital Integrated Residency Program in Obstetrics and Gynecology, also in Boston. She subsequently entered the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she worked in the Division of STD Prevention in the Health Services Research and Evaluation Branch. Her work and interests include understanding clinician practices and decision-making, perinatal quality improvement, prevention of preterm birth, and the role of the obstetrician-gynecologist in promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

Rebecca Herman is a midwife and public health specialist. She has more than 15 years of experience advancing reproductive health and rights--having worked and lived throughout the United States, Central and Eastern Africa, and South Asia. Ms. Herman draws on evidence-based practices from the fields of midwifery, community mobilization, public health, trauma-informed service provision, and writing & communication. She holds degrees from the National College of Midwifery and Boston University School of Public Health, and is a trainer of trainers on the WHO tools and guidance for health sector response to violence against women.

Ms. Herman specializes in perinatal care for survivors of sexual trauma as well as strengthening connections between community and formal health systems to improve preventative and therapeutic women's health care. Visit for more information.

Unarose has spent the past fifteen years working in global health security, infection control, academia and clinical practice; primarily living in Sub Saharan Africa but also working in Central and South East Asia and Eastern Europe. Presently she is working as Infection Control Technical Specialist with Americares and for WHO EURO as COVID-19 Hospital Readiness. Formerly she has worked in several positions with WHO, served as Infection Control Officer during the Ebola Response with United Nations Mission Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER, Sierra Leone), PATH- CDC Global Health Security Partnership (Vietnam), GIZ (Malawi), New York University (Rwanda) Irish Aid and University of East Anglia (UK). She holds an adjunct lecturer position with University of Limerick for a master’s in Public Health. She has published broadly in operational research in low-income countries. She is a board member of the Irish Global Health Network.

Rose Horton MSM, RNC Executive Director of Women & Infant Services at Emory Decatur Hospital in Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

All of Rose’s clinical experience has been in the OB/GYN field with an emphasis in labor and delivery. She started as a staff nurse in L&D and had the opportunity to function in some amazing roles some of which are L&D Charge Nurse, high risk OB flight nurse, Nurse Recruiter, and Perinatal Nurse Specialist. She is a passionate about the care of women (and their families) during pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond.

The increasing maternal morbidity and mortality rate is a worrisome issue to Rose. It has always been a concern and now that she lives in Georgia, one of the states with the worse maternal outcomes, she has felt the need to do more. To that end she started a campaign at her hospital centered around the hash tag #notonmywatch. In this campaign she is helping her staff learn about implicit and explicit bias and racism, one of the causes of maternal mortality. The hospital had joined the Georgia Perinatal Collaborative and are committed to providing evidence based care. In partnership with Emory University she has recently implemented a student doula program which will begin on March 25, 2019. She is facilitating community conversations about the 4th Trimester and how the hospitals and community partners can collaborate to create a safety net for new moms and families.

Rose is an active member of AWHONN and served as the 2012 President.

Debbie Jessup CNM PhD has over 30 years of experience in midwifery, women’s health and health policy. Since 2005 she has been employed as a Health Legislative Specialist in the office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. In that position, she has been actively engaged in health appropriations work as well as helping the Congresswoman to develop and pass several pieces of health legislation. Most recently Deb helped conceptualize and draft the Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMS) for the 21st Century Act, which was first introduced in the 111th Congress.In Deb’s early career she worked as a childbirth educator, a labor and delivery nurse, and a nurse-midwife. Her midwifery experiences included private, community health center and HMO practices, and incorporated hospital, home, and birth-center settings. Deb established the first midwifery practice in Billings, Montana in 1982, and the first home birth practice in that city in 1984.

Throughout her career Deb has been significantly involved in nurse midwifery policy activities, including being the Virginia Chapter American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) Chair and Legislative Chair during the passage of state prescriptive authority for nurse-practitioners; serving on the ACNM Board of Directors from 1996 – 2000; and developing and chairing the ACNM Division of Health Policy from 2000 – 2005. She completed the HRSA Bureau of Health Professions Primary Care Policy Fellowship Program in 2000, and the Women’s Education and Research Institute (WREI) Congressional Fellowship Program in 2005.

Debbie is a Fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives, and recently completed a PhD in Nursing at George Mason University.

Amy Johnson-Grass ND LN LM CPM owns and is the Executive Director of Health Foundations Family Health + Birth Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her clinic provides a full range of birth services, well women care and various complementary + alternative modalities.

She graduated from Bastyr University with a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine, a Masters of Science in Nutrition and Midwifery Certificate. After graduation, she was offered a three-year National Institute of Health Post-doctoral Fellowship with the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundations and the University of Minnesota in Complementary & Alternative Medical Research. During the fellowship, she worked towards a Masters in Science in Clinical Research focusing on women's health and pediatrics. Along with the fellowship, she started her private practice and also worked as a clinician at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis in their Integrative Medicine Department.

Amy is active in her community as the vice-president of the MN State NACPM Chapter, active in MN state legislation to license birth centers and has sat on the Midwifery and Naturopathic Advisory Boards of the MN Board of Medical Practice. Amy is committed to being a part of training future midwives. She sits on Bethel University’s Midwifery Program advisory council and her and her team are preceptors for both CNM and CPM students.

Nationally she is serving her second term as President of the American Association of Birth Centers. She is also a faculty member of the How to Start a Birth Center workshop and has been a site visitor for Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Center.

Jennie Joseph is a British-trained midwife who fights to ensure every woman has their healthiest possible pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience with dignity and support.

Jennie created The JJ Way® which is an evidence-based maternity medical home model delivering readily-accessible, patient-centered, culturally-congruent care to women in areas that she terms 'materno-toxic zones'.

She is the Executive Director of her own non-profit corporation Commonsense Childbirth Inc. which operates a training institute, health clinics and a birthing center in Orlando, Florida, and is also the founder of the National Perinatal Task Force, a grassroots organization whose mission is the elimination of racial disparities in maternal child health in the USA.

Deborah Kaplan has served as Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health at the New York City Health Department since 2003. The Bureau is dedicated to improving and reducing inequities in maternal, infant and reproductive health outcomes through program, policy and research initiatives. The Bureau applies a sexual and reproductive justice and racial justice framework to our work, and strives to fully engage community partners to move this work forward. Dr. Kaplan has over thirty years public health experience in clinical care, health education, program and policy development, and program leadership. She serves on the Board of Directors of CityMatCH, the National Organization of Urban MCH Leaders. She received her training as a Physician Assistant at Johns Hopkins University, holds a Masters in Public Health from Hunter College, and a Doctor in Public Health from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

My role as Director of Midwifery provides clinical leadership to multidisciplinary teams setting up midwifery models of care and supporting midwifery education in collaboration with Government of India, UNICEF and WHO. I am a member of the East London Saving Lives (ELLY) team and provided Multidisciplinary Obstetric and Midwifery Simulation (MOMS) training in India. Fernandez Foundation now has trainers cascading training both in public institutions and other states.

As a Consultant Midwife for Public Health with Bart’s Health NHS Trust, I worked with vulnerable groups reducing inequality of health care access. I was involved in partnership with My Body Back Project, the world’s first maternity clinic in the Royal London Hospital to support women who experienced sexual violence. I have presented nationally and internationally in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), Royal College of Midwifery (RCM) and International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and Normal Labour and Birth Research Conference. I was acknowledged by the Chief Midwifery Officer in the U.K, Nov 19 and awarded the Gold Certificate award acknowledging outstanding contribution to the midwifery profession, maternity services and ultimately the lives of women and babies around the world.

Marie Klingberg-Allvin, is a midwife, and professor in global reproductive health at Dalarna University/Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and adjunct professor University of Michigan, US. She has a PhD in international health from Karolinska Institutet and 20 years’ experience of working within global Sexual and Reproductive Health in low resource settings. More specifically, her research area focuses on safe abortion, post abortion care, contraception, and immigrants’ SRH.Being a former director of the midwifery program at Dalarna University she initiated the development of a net-based masterprogramme in order to rebuild capacity within midwifery training institutions in Somaliland. This has further been implemented at 38 academic institutions in Bangladesh. She is a member of the International Board of the Swedish Association of Midwives and has five years’ experience in academic leadership as pro vice chancellor and acting vice chancellor for DU. Klingberg-Allvin has been invited as an expert to the international meetings on Strengthening Quality Midwifery Education organized by WHO and invited as keynote speaker at national and international conferences on global SRH. Her ongoing program of research targets maternal morbidity and mortality in the Somali region.

Liz Kukura is an Assistant Professor of Law at Drexel University’s Kline School of Law, where her research focuses on the law and politics of childbirth. In particular, she is interested in the legal dimensions of obstetric violence and the use of law as a tool to improve maternal health outcomes and reproductive and childbirth-related health care more broadly. She is a consumer member of the Pennsylvania Association of Certified Professional Midwives, a volunteer reviewer for the Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council, and a parent of two children born with the assistance of midwives.

Dr Kumar has over 16 years of public health research and policy translation experience with a committed focus on maternal, neonatal and child health. He established the Shivgarh research and demographic surveillance site in 2003, and since then has led several large-scale community-based and facility-based randomized controlled trials, formative research, program evaluation and implementation science research in UP, India.

Obstetrician/Gynecologist and public health specialist currently working as the RMNCAH/FP Regional Manager at Amref Health Africa. She is responsible for multicounty projects, coordination with partners including Ministries of Health (MoH), and strengthening health systems and communities. Dr Kuria has an excellent understanding of government/MoH procedures, service provision, and management of health facilities and organizing health services; she is an expert in Reproductive Maternal Adolescent Neonatal and Child Health having worked in Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. Dr Kuria will ensure QMNC Hub project awareness and alignment with MoH in Uganda and Kenya, as well as clinical expertise in Amref research cohort management.

Liselotte is a midwife in independent practise in the Netherlands (since 2009), as well as a medical anthropologist and researcher who combines these skills in her work as a project leader of international twinning collaborations between midwives as well as being the chief international policy advisor at the Royal Dutch Organisation of Midwives. Liselotte is a young sexual and reproductive health and rights game changer with many transferrable skills who is able to jump easily from high level abstract thinking, to every day practise and real life. As an example she is currently a member of the Covid-19 Response team for midwives in the Netherlands. Liselotte is well versed at evidence based practise and a curious yet diplomatic ambassador for midwives and midwifery. 

Winnie is a trained nurse, midwife and OBGYN sonographer licensed in the UK and holds an MSc in Public Health from the University of London.  She has extensive healthcare operation, research, clinical and teaching experience in women and child health in the UK and UAE.  She has dedicated most of her career in advocating person-centred care, improving quality of care, accessibility and equity through setting up and developing clinical and specialty services.  She has co-authored several publications and received media attention on her research in obesity and recurrent miscarriage which has been included in guidelines, earning her an award in implementing changes in clinical area.  Winnie is passionate about multidisciplinary collaboration, patient engagement and training to promote positive inter-professional work culture and cohesiveness to improve care, outcomes and experiences of service users.  She is excited to be part of the Birth Place Lab team, to facilitate multidisciplinary and community based participatory research on maternity health care and birth settings in BC and in Canada.

Judith Lothian RN PhD LCCE FACCE, FAAN is an internationally respected childbirth educator and advocate for safe, healthy birth and breastfeeding. She is a professor in the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. She currently is a member of 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. Her advocacy work includes national leadership positions in Lamaze International and national work with Childbirth Connection and the American College of Nurse Midwives.

Co-author of The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence and a contributor to the Science and Sensibility blog at Research interests are breastfeeding, childbirth, and home birth. She is currently conducting a qualitative research study of midwives experience of home birth.

Staff Attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, the President of the Birth Rights Bar Association, and founder of the birth justice capacity-building organization, Elephant Circle. Indra recently spearheaded the creation of “Birth Rights: A resource for everyday people to defend human rights during labor and birth.” Indra’s other publications include, “Challenging Hospital VBAC Bans Through Tort Liability,” “Making the Midwife Impossible: How the Structure of Maternity Care Harms the Practice of Home Birth Midwifery,” and “Birth Justice Like Reproductive Justice: Reclaiming Our Time.” Indra helped pass legislation to eliminate the shackling of incarcerated women during pregnancy and birth in 2010, to improve midwifery and birth center regulations in 2011, 2016, and 2017, and to better serve pregnant women and families dealing with substance use in 2020. Indra is currently consulting on federal legislation to abolish discriminatory child welfare practices. Prior to becoming an attorney Indra was the Director of Operations at a think tank specializing in Gay, Lesbian and Transgender military service where they commissioned studies and received Pentagon briefings. Indra has been instrumental in national efforts to advance equity in midwifery by starting the US MERA Equity Task Force and leading the Division of Access and Equity of the Midwives Alliance of North America. Indra was named “All Around Reproductive Justice Champion” by the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights and was recognized by The Association for Wholistic Maternal & Newborn Health and Human Rights in Childbirth for their advocacy.

 New York University, United States

Health Systems Planner

Jeanette McCulloch, IBCLC, is the co-founder of BirthSwell, spreading birth (and breastfeeding and MCH) genius, changing policy, and building businesses and organizations using strategic digital communications.

With more than 20 years experience in communications and women’s health advocacy, she provides consultation to local, statewide, national, and international birth and breastfeeding organizations and small businesses.

She has published research and spoken at national and international conferences on strategic social media, effectively reaching and engaging consumers, and health equity for birth and breastfeeding professionals.

She is passionate about eliminating the impact of racism on birth and lactation outcomes and ensuring that all families have access to high-quality, culturally sensitive birth and lactation care. Jeanette unplugs with her partner, two children, and dog while splashing around in the gorges of her hometown, Ithaca, NY.

Raegan McDonald-Mosley is the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of Maryland. In this role, she supports and promotes quality sexual and reproductive health services. Prior to her current role, Raegan served as the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Raegan has participated in several international public health projects in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Raegan earned her bachelor’s degree in African Studies and Chemistry, graduating with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed her postdoctoral training in obstetrics and gynecology at the New York University Medical Center. She also completed a specialized fellowship in family planning at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine during which she obtained her Master’s in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Raegan is a 2016 recipient of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 award. She is a Fellow of the third class of the Health Innovators Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Raegan is a passionate advocate for reproductive health, justice, and rights.

Monica McLemore, RN, MPH, PhD, is on faculty at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing. She is in high demand as an expert on inequities in health services, research, and as a policy advisor nationally. She has received numerous awards for her groundbreaking scholarship and excellence in service, including Person of the Year, Abortion Care Network, 2018, Agent - Provocateur of the Year Award, The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health, 2017, Amazing Women in Reproductive Health, Association for Reproductive Health Professionals, 2017. Hellman Family Award for Early Career Faculty, 2015-2017, and she was Speaking Race to Power Fellow, CoreAlign, from 2015-2016.

Her research is focused on understanding the factors that influence the health, wellbeing and livelihood of low-income and women of color who she serves clinically at Zuckerberg San Francisco General. Using the intersectional human rights middle range theory called reproductive Justice (RJ), enables her to design rigorous studies that answer novel and complex research questions because RJ is simultaneously a theory, practice and a strategy that is grounded in four principles. Simply put, RJ posits that every person has the right to decide if and when to become pregnant and to determine the conditions under which they will birth. Next, every person has the right to decide they will not become pregnant or have a baby and options for preventing or ending pregnancy are accessible and available. Third, individuals have the right parent children they already have with dignity and has the necessary social supports in safe environments and health communities without fear of violence from individuals or the government. Finally, individuals have the right to disassociate sex from reproduction and that health sexuality and pleasure are essential components to whole and full human life.

Tami Michele, DO, is a Board Certified OB/GYN in Grand Rapids, MI, and has been a delegate at all previous Home Birth Summits. She is a member of the Collaboration Task Force, and co-author of the Best Practice Transfer Guidelines.
Dr. Michele holds a Governor-appointed position with the Michigan Board of Licensed Midwifery, and participates on the Michigan ACOG Advisory council. She also has worked with Michigan AIM to increase maternal safety related to hypertension and hemorrhage.
She is currently an Advisory Committee member with the Obstetrics Initiative of the Michigan Value Collaborative to safely reduce the cesarean section rate in Michigan hospitals. Her professional focus also includes safe VBAC practices and access in rural areas, skin to skin during cesarean, doulas, supporting physiologic birth and the midwifery model of care.

Zoë is a graduate student in Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. Her research examines the intersections of immigration legal status and access to perinatal care. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked on perinatal health policy in Canada as a project coordinator for Perinatal Services BC. She holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Leicester and a BA from McGill University.

Dr. Mittal is a Family Physician who works at HealthNet as a Medical Director. She is a member of the leadership team that works to further equitable care through a population health model for all HealthNet members. Dr. Mittal has an expertise in the area of maternal child health.

She started at Boston University as a faculty member practicing full scope family medicine. She then moved to the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine, where she was an Associate Professor with a full scope clinical practice including obstetrics and inpatient medicine. At UCSF, Dr. Mittal was the Director of Maternal Child Health for the residency training program. She also served as an Assistant Medical Director of Family Centered Care, where she worked to improve the care of families across the life course.

Dr. Mittal also works at the National Clinicians Consultation Center at UCSF, a national HIV/AIDS warmline, where she is recognized as a national expert on Perinatal HIV care. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. In addition to her clinical work, she has published in the areas of well-child care, group visits, preconception care, and perinatal HIV.

Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine has established an exemplary record of research, teaching and mentorship, and service. Working with citizens, policy makers and like-minded researchers, he tirelessly leads innovative projects that have profound impacts on a range of stakeholders. His motto, ‘Think Globally, Act Locally,’ guides his research and has led him to focus, largely, on projects that locally address widespread social issues.

Dr. Muhajarine has been involved in more than 80 grants/contracts throughout his career. He has published more than 170 papers in refereed journals, penned 13 peer-reviewed books/chapters in books and has written more than 70 technical reports. For example, Dr. Muhajarine took a major role nationally in his work for the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW), which offers an alternate measure to GDP.

An exemplary mentor, he has supervised 7 post-doctoral fellows, 21 Ph.D. students, 42 Masters students. He is the recipient of multiple awards, e.g. U of Saskatchewan’s Distinguished Researcher Award (2019), U of Massachusetts’ 2014 Alumni Award for Significant Contributions, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation’s Achievement Award (2009) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Knowledge Translation Award (2006).

Founding Executive Director of Mamatoto Village, a perinatal family support organization in Washington, DC

I am midwife and midwifery care research. My work explores the potential of integrated models of midwifery care in creating health equity in historically disenfranchised communities. I use critical feminist theory, as conceptualized by women of color, and qualitative research methods to generate transformative and justice-oriented policy and programming. My practice as a midwife, in one of the largest urban public health care networks in the US, informs my commitment to imagining the equitable and emancipatory potentional of healthcare. Currently, I sit on the NYC Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Review Committee as the only midwife committee member. As a research fellow at the Birth Place Lab at the University of British Columbia, under the guidance of Dr. Saraswathi Vedam, my work and training expands into the fields of respectful care and decolonizing research methods.

Sarah Noble is Head of Midwifery at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust in
Warwick, which is part of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Maternity System. She
was invited by Baroness Cumberlege in 2015 to be one of three midwifery
representatives on the National Maternity Review and contributed to the publication
of the Better Births Report (2016). Sarah advises on several national groups
including the Maternity Transformation Stakeholder Council and the Continuity of
Carer Subgroup, and is the National Clinical Midwifery Lead for Work-stream 3 –
Choice and Personalisation. She is also currently working with NHSE to design a
workforce continuity of carer modelling tool.

Sarah is passionate about improving both the safety and experience of expectant
families, through relational based care with a known midwife and maternity team.
She believes that maternity care must play a larger part in building social capital to
achieve sustainable outcomes. South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT)
has reflected in their strategy the belief that all women booking for maternity care at
Warwick should know their midwife and maternity team. SWFT has taken a system-
wide approach and is embedding teams across their whole maternity service. The
midwifery practice teams have moved from the GP surgeries, which are based in
Community Hubs, and working closely alongside other partners who support
pregnant mums, babies and families. The aim is to effectively use community
assets, and build social connectively amongst parents and local communities to help
build healthier futures for children.

Dr. Wendy Norman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Practice and an associate member in the School of Population and Public Health and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Norman is the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada Chair in Family Planning Public Health Research and holds a Scholar award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research for her family planning research program. In 2015, Dr. Norman received the prestigious international Darroch Award from the Guttmacher Institute for her work that combines excellence in research with practical application to public policy and programs in the field of sexual and reproductive health.

Lauren Nunally received her nursing degree from the University of West London, England, UK in 1992 and shortly after pursued her desire to become a midwife and in 1994 successfully completed the postgraduate course at the University of Westminster. In the following years Lauren held various positions as a midwife, which included conducting births in hospitals, birthing centers and patients’ homes.

Lauren was instrumental in the development of Midwifery Group Practices within a large northern suburb of London that served over 1000 women. The service provided comprehensive midwifery care for low risk women by designated teams of midwives providing care from the first OB visit, through the antepartum period, 24 coverage for intrapartum care and up to 6 weeks postpartum.

Following arrival in the USA in 2006, Lauren transitioned to work as an OB nurse at a large facility in Atlanta, GA. She functioned in several roles in the busy L&D unit that included Charge RN, Clinical Educator and Operations Coordinator of the inpatient High-Risk Perinatal Unit, during which time she completed a Masters of Public Health degree with a focus on Health Policy and Management.

Lauren joined the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society in February 2018 as the Perinatal Quality Coordinator with a priority to collaborate with the Society’s OB physician membership, federal, state and nonprofit organizations, L&D units and other stakeholders to work on improving the health outcomes for mothers and babies in the state of Georgia. Lauren is also an abstractor for the state Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the clinical specialist with the Georgia Perinatal Quality Collaborative.

Dr. Rachel Olson is a citizen of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation from the Yukon territory. She has been a researcher in First Nation communities since 1998, working on various projects, from oral history, traditional land use mapping and natural resource management to First Nations health issues. Rachel has published on Indigenous mapping practices and considerations, as well as the role of Indigenous Knowledge in environmental assessment processes. Rachel completed a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Sussex, looking at the politics of midwifery care and childbirth in Manitoba First Nations communities. Rachel has worked as a consultant for the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) program at UNESCO in Paris, France and at the First Nations Centre at the National Aboriginal Health Organization on their maternal care file. Rachel has led research at the national level for national Indigenous organizations, at provincial and territorial level, and directly for Indigenous communities across Canada and abroad. She is an honorary member of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM).

Michelle Palmer, MS, CNM, FACNM has been practicing full-scope midwifery since 1998. Passionate about physiologic birth, she has been an innovator in her state and globally throughout her career. She has served multiple terms on the Advisory Council for Midwifery at the Rhode Island Department of Health and as Affiliate President as well as Chapter Co-Chair early in her midwifery career. She is currently serving as a member of the RI Department of Health Birth Center Regulatory Advisory Committee and is current chair of the Home and Birth Center Practice Subdivision and a member of the Liability Practice Subdivision for the ACNM Division of Advancement of Midwifery. She was a contributing author for the ACNM Handbook for Home Birth Practice. Michelle is also currently a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island pursuing research on the role of the midwife in care of the newborn and physiologic care of the newborn. Michelle is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Rhode Island for the College of Nursing.

She also works as a midwife attending home and hospital birth with obstetric and newborn privileges at local community hospital. She is responsible for increasing awareness of seamless transfer and importance of integration of community midwifery services into regional health systems in Rhode Island.

Part of this work includes work towards the goal of growing more midwives as a preceptor for midwifery students providing opportunities in home, hospital and birth center setting both in the United States and globally for all midwives.

With a background in both architecture and social science, Melissa Piatkowski dedicates her career to one big research question: How can design improve health? Melissa’s passion as a Research Associate with The Center for Health Design is working with healthcare organizations and designers to inform design with evidence and measure outcomes. Melissa has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design with an emphasis in Architecture from the University of Colorado, and a Master’s in Environmental Psychology from Cornell University.

Intern at the National Advocates for Pregnant Women and the Birth Rights Bar Association working to increase awareness amongst young people and provide access to legal guides relating to reproductive justice issues.

I studied anthropology in Italy where I also qualified as a midwife and worked in independent practice offering holistic care. In 2002 I moved to England where I worked for 13 years in the National Health Service in various clinical-academic positions including as a Consultant Midwife in Public Health in a large teaching hospital in London. My PhD focused on identifying the key ingredients for a well-functioning midwifery unit. Since 2015 I have been based at City, University of London where I work as a Lecturer and researcher. I am one of the co-founders and CEO of the Midwifery Unit Network, a community of practice which supports the implementation and improvement of MUs in Europe.

I am invited internationally to present at conferences, to facilitate training and to provide consultancy on how to develop and improve midwifery units. I have experience of mentoring midwives and medical staff in clinical practice in a wide range of settings from home births in London to the mountains of rural Afghanistan. I am passionate about supporting organisational change facilitation and the development of positive interdisciplinary team culture. I am committed towards women’s human rights in childbirth and the recognition of midwives’ autonomy globally.

Dr. Romanzi is a New York City-trained obstetrician/gynecologist who has worked as a maternal/reproductive health strategist, academic clinician, policy consultant and global health advocate over the course of her career, including extensive work in the prevention an treatment of pelvic floor fistula. In 2019 she transitioned from a position as EngenderHealth's Director of the USAID-funded Fistula Care Plus project to join colleagues working for maternal health equity in the United States and equitable access to quality surgery-obstetrics-anesthesia care worldwide. She currently works with New York City's Department of Health Maternal Health Quality Improvement Network as a Severe Maternal Morbidity consultant, with the Global Affairs Division at Thomas Jefferson University as a research and program consultant, and with the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change as a Lecturer to Harvard Medical School's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. Throughout her career, she has championed midwifery-led maternal/newborn service delivery.

Nick Rubashkin MD, MA, PhD(c) is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of California San Francisco, where he is also a PhD candidate in Global Health Sciences. His research interests include non-evidence based obstetric procedures, quantitative measures of respectful care, and social science methods. He was a visiting scholar at the Institute of Behavioural Sciences at Semmelweis University in Budapest in 2014, where he and his team–under the mentorship of Saraswathi Vedam–completed a survey of women’s experiences with evidence-based, respectful care across place of birth. Dr. Rubashkin has also published on the persistent use of uterine fundal pressure in Spain. His ethnographic dissertation research will concern constructions of age, race, and obesity as they relate to VBAC in the United States. Dr. Rubashkin was born at home on an island twenty miles off the coast of Rockland, Maine.

Catherine Ruhl, MS, CNM is Director of Women’s Health Programs at the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). Catherine has 36 years of experience in maternal health as a clinician, manager and educator. Catherine represented AWHONN at the 2013 Homebirth Summit and has continued work with the Collaboration Task Force. She co-coordinated AWHONN's 2018 Leadership Summit on Racial and Ethnic Disparities which addressed disparities in women's health outcomes and in the nursing workforce. Catherine is project manager for AWHONN's sexual and reproductive health facility recognition program. She obtained her Bachelors in Nursing from the University of Kansas and her Masters in Nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Catherine has been a certified nurse-midwife for 31 years and currently practices at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, NM. She is clinical adjunct faculty for Frontier Nursing University’s nurse-midwifery program.

I am a longtime community midwife and reproductive justice activist in Philadelphia, currently working in NIH-funded perinatal health research at Temple University while pursuing my Master's in Urban Bioethics at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. I have a focus on anti-racism work and community-driven perinatal quality improvement in urban health systems through leveraging relationship based, trauma-informed models of care (midwifery and doulas/perinatal community health workers) to eliminate racial health disparities in maternal and infant outcomes and am co-PI on a workforce development program to train Black and Brown women in North Philadelphia as Perinatal Community Health Workers. I am also involved in ongoing organizing and policy advocacy for legal recognition and integration of community midwives in Pennsylvania, and the citywide birth community response to COVID-19.

Christina Schmidt is a third-year medical student at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Her primary research interests include family planning and obstetric care, and she has worked in global reproductive health research for 5+ years. She also maintains an interest in social enterprise, and holds founders equity in AskNivi, a social enterprise that connects tens of thousands of women in Kenya and India to reproductive health services through accessible digital platforms. She holds a double degree in Global Health and Evolutionary Anthropology from Duke University, where she graduated as a Robertson Scholar.

Dr Scott is an ObGyn and Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University. She is the Director of the Global Health Unit in the Department of ObGyn at Dalhousie University and is the Obstetrical Director of the Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia. This program oversees maternal and newborn care throughout the province and works with care providers on Quality Improvement initiatives .

Dr. Scott is the Chair of the External Advisory Committee to the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System. CPSS is a national health surveillance program delivered through the Public Health Agency of Canada. She is involved in a number of global initiatives and has done a sabbatical at the WHO in Geneva and a second sabbatical in South Africa where she reviewed the South African Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths.

She is an Instructor for the Canadian Network for International Surgery and for ALARM Canada and ALARM International and sits on the board of CNIS . She has taught Obstetrical Triage and Saving Mothers Lives, most recently in Ghana and is a member of mentorship teams conducting funded research in Tanzania and Rwanda.

Jen (she/her) is midwife, attorney, and Director of the Master of Arts in Maternal-Child Health Systems program at Bastyr University, where she teaches on topics related to law, ethics, social justice advocacy, and maternal-child health. Jen also currently serves as the co-President for the Midwives’ Association of Washington State. Her experience as a reproductive rights attorney inspired her to further her professional interest in reproductive health and, in particular, parental health and childbirth.This work eventually led her to midwifery, as a consumer and professional, where she found a healthcare model that had capacity to truly serve a reproductive justice framework. Prior to birth work, Jen volunteered as an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Gender Violence Recovery Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. Jen’s central interest is the intersection of reproductive rights and midwifery care and community-based birth and their utilization as viable solutions to the rising parental and infant care crisis in the United States, as well as the systemic and policy changes necessary to make midwifery a more sustainable, equitable, and representative option for birthing families.

Nicoletta, MSc Arch - Architect - PhD in Architectural Technology, is Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture at University of Florence ( She is member of TESIS Centre “Systems and Technologies for Healthcare and Social Facilities”, Member of European Network Architecture for Health (ENAH), and Member of Global Birth Environment Design Network (GBEDN).

Her research focuses on the topic of socio-healthcare building, particularly on birth environment, public spaces in hospital, and primary care facilities. She is expert in methodology and tools for the spatial configuration analysis related to people flow in healthcare buildings and built environment to favour users rights. She was involved in the European Research BIRTH: “Building Intrapartum Research Through Health” PI: Prof. Soo Downe (UK), where she investigated the relationship between architectural space and birth outcomes.

She is involved in maternity research project in Kenia with the University of Notre Dame US ( and action researches Italy to support the NHS local Trusts in realizing new Birth Centres (

I am Garry X. Shen, Professor in the Section and Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Department of Internal Medicine in the University of Manitoba. I graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, and have been trained in Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Joslin Diabetes Center in Harvard Medical School. I have served as Co-Chair of Endocrine Research, Associate Director of Diabetes Research Group in University of Manitoba, and the Editor-in-Chief of Cardiovascular and Hematological Disorders-Drug Target. I have initiated a series of projects funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Diabetes Canada or Lawson Foundation on diabetes research on gestational diabetes, prenatal education, breastfeeding and diabetic complications. We are currently conducting researches on remote prenatal education in rural and remote Indigenous communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, prenatal education care essentially discontinued and we received increasing request to expand remote prenatal education in rural or remote communities. We are collaborating community partners to help to establish remote prenatal education system for the second wave of pandemic and long-term capacity building to reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity in Indigenous people.

Tanya Smith-Johnson is a mother, Navy veteran and former hospital corpsman, spouse to an active duty Civil Engineer Corp Officer and homeschooler. Tanya is the mother of 6 children, two in the hospital with a midwife/doctor team, one birth center and 3 home births.

She has a breadth of experiences and knowledge from all spectrums from military medicine to the civilian sector. She has worked and trained within the medical system as a Navy hospital Corpsman and former medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She has experienced both sides of birth as a consumer and birthing person of 3 children born with midwives as well as the care provider as a midwifery student and apprentice. She is passionate about reproductive justice , birth equity and the improvement of Birth outcomes for black and brown people.

She is the former president of California Families for Access to Midwives/CFAM and current Vice president of the California Association of Midwives and board member and Oahu representative to the Midwives Alliance of Hawaii. She has worked with California stakeholders and legislators to help the passage of key legislation to increase access to licensed midwives and define their scope. Tanya is also a Student Ambassador to the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery and co-chair of the Birth Disparities and Equity Team for the California Association of Midwives.

Tanya holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Masters of Science in Medical Science from Hampton University. She currently resides in Honolulu with her husband of 19 years and 6 children .

Dana Solomon has both an MA and PhD in interdisciplinary studies. Her research focuses on the relationship between entertainment and ideology and the ways in which entertainment can be used to facilitate communication about complex problems. Her research interests include ideologies of genocide and international conflict, knowledge translation, and the impact of bias within the medical profession on women with obesity, chronic medical conditions, and disabilities. Dana’s publications include several journal articles, book chapters, and a book published by Lexington Books, titled "Ideological Battlegrounds: Entertainment to Disarm Divisive Propaganda." She has also published and presented conference papers on the influence of theatre and paratheatre on the Holocaust and innovative approaches to genocide education and conflict resolution. Dana has experience in both integrative mixed-methods and qualitative research practices. She also has decades of experience as a theatre artist, having worked as a director, actor, voice over artist, stage manager, and designer. When Dana is not working at the Birth Place Lab, she owns and operates her own business, D-Editions, providing research and publication support, as well as creative problem solving and knowledge translation solutions.

Dr. Stoll is a social scientist with degrees in psychology, family studies and interdisciplinary studies. Her PhD spanned three disciplines (public health, nursing and midwifery) and she completed a five-year postdoctoral fellowship in Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a one-year CIHR fellowship in primary health care research. Since 2005 Dr. Stoll has held various research positions in the Division of Midwifery at UBC and worked closely with epidemiologists, clinicians, community members and researchers, on various research and knowledge implementation projects in the area of reproductive health. Between 2007 and 2012, she served as co-editor of the Canadian Journal of Midwifery Research and Practice. In addition to her position at the Birth Place Lab, Dr. Stoll holds an appointment as lecturer at Hannover Medical School in Germany, where she has taught and supervised midwifery graduate students since 2012. To recognize her work in rural maternity care research, she was recently invited to become a fellow at the Centre for Rural Health Research

Nan Strauss is the Managing Director of Policy, Advocacy & Grantmaking for Every Mother Counts, where she leads the organization’s efforts to advance policies and programs that expand access to evidence-based, respectful and equitable care practices for all members of the community.

Previously, as the Director of Research & Policy at Choices in Childbirth, Nan’s work included research and advocacy framing midwifery care and doula support as high value models, aligned with the “Triple Aim” for healthcare improvement. She conducted program evaluation and development for the Healthy Women, Healthy Futures Initiative, a program providing community-based doula support to several hundred women a year in all five boroughs of New York City.

Nan’s work on maternal health began at Amnesty International USA, where as the Director of Maternal Health Research and Policy, she co-authored the groundbreaking report, Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA in 2010. Her work framed maternal and reproductive health in the context of the right to health and included campaigning, policy, advocacy, and media efforts related to maternal health. She has briefed members of Congress on the U.S. maternal health crisis and worked to develop and strengthen federal and state legislation.

Assistant Professor. Director, Midwifery Program at the University of Manitoba 

Heather Thompson, MS, PhD, is a molecular and cellular biologist, clinical researcher, birthworker and queer parent. She has worked on issues related to reproductive health for more than 25 years, advocating for equity, access and autonomy in childbirth. From 2010-2017 she was the Research Director at a freestanding birth center in Colorado, advocating for midwives and community birth through data generation, analysis and dissemination. Currently she is the Deputy Director of Elephant Circle, a birth justice organization allows her to combine her background in birth access and equity with science and community organizing. She is passionate about supporting the family unit and helping families navigate their own journey, particularly as it relates to maternity care, birth choices and legal cannabis. Born and raised in Colorado, Heather enjoys being outside around a campfire with her partner, two kids and larger community.

Mr. Udho Samson is a Midwifery and Women’s Health specialist registered with the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council (UNMC). He has five years of teaching and clinical experience largely in the post-conflict Northern part of Uganda. Samson has a track record of leadership since his days in school and he aspires to develop as a global midwifery educationist and a research leader in the area of safe motherhood, respectful maternity care and violence against women with a special interest in working with adolescents, teenagers, and HIV/AIDS clients. He has served for the last three years as a faculty in the Department of Nursing & Midwifery, Lira University where he teaches, assesses, supervises and mentors Midwifery students both in clinical and classroom areas. Samson is also affiliated to Lira University Hospital where he serves as a Clinical Supervisor-Midwifery tasked with the role of overseeing clinical work, mobilizing midwives and ensuring that their knowledge and practice are up to date through continuous professional development (CPD) training. Samson is also a Trainer of Trainers (TOTs) on community engagement to support HIV/AIDS programs in Northern Uganda. Mr. Udho Samson is fluent in the English language and currently resides in Lira District, Northern Uganda.

A bold and challenging women’s healthcare pioneer, Nynke established a multifarious career in leading the development, delivery and evaluation of large, complex and cross-country implementation of innovative programmes to improve access to, availability and quality of healthcare. Internationally experienced, she effectively navigates diverse, multi-national stakeholder groups at the highest levels of authority to forge a collaborative vision of success, a shared sense of purpose and ethos. With a strong strategic acumen and sharp operational insight, Nynke identifies opportunities and addresses challenges with urgency and flair, distilling complexity to deliver innovative solutions and translate strategy into ground-breaking practice. An engaging, passionate and inclusive leader, she remains dedicated to creating truly impactful programmes and strategies, serving the most marginalised and underrepresented members of society.

Now seeking to leverage her global clinical expertise in an advisory capacity, helping organisations achieve strategic objectives.

Lead Investigator of the Birth Place Lab and Professor of Midwifery, at University of British Columbia. She has been a clinician and a health professional educator for over 35 years. Professor Vedam has successfully coordinated multi-stakeholder research projects in national and international settings. Her transdisciplinary research projects include the Access and Integration Maternity care Mapping (AIMM) Study examining the impact of integration of midwives on maternal-newborn outcomes. She has coordinated several community based participatory projects, including Changing Childbirth in BC, a provincial study of women’s experiences of maternity care, and the Giving Voice to Mothers Study that established significant differences by race, type of provider, and place of birth in experience of mistreatment by maternity providers in the US. In 2017, she was named as a Michael Smith Health Research Institute Health Professional Investigator. She is currently PI for RESPCCT, a national study to examine respectful maternity care across Canada, with a focus on amplifying voices of communities that are seldom heard. 

Professor Vedam has been active in setting national and international policy on place of birth, and midwifery education and regulation. She has provided expert consultations to policy makers in Mexico, Hungary, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Canada, the US, and India. She was Convener and Chair of 4 national Home Birth Consensus Summits. At these historic national Summits a multi-stakeholder group of leaders (clinicians, consumers, policymakers, legislators, researchers, ethicists, and administrators) crafted a common agenda to address equitable access to high quality care across birth settings in the United States. She is convener and chair of the Global QMNC Task Force during COVID-19.

-Self motivated task oriented Executive
-Program development and infrastructure refinement
-Cross marketing and strategic goal alignment
-Leadership development
-Customer service based business models to increase net revenue
-Relationship building

Specialties: Business infrastructure development, Diplomacy and Protocol, international governmental liaison, branding, streamlining and ROI analysis, crossmarketing. 

Associate Professor/Co-Chair of School Psychology Program at Eastern University