Are You Listening?

Real Talk About Safe Care In Pregnancy and Childbirth

Join us for a webinar to launch the Giving Voice to Mothers Study Report, a study on quality of care as experienced by pregnant persons from communities of color (Black, Indigenous, and Latinx) and those who planned to give birth in homes and birth centers.

June 28, 2022

11:00 am - 12:30 pm Pacific

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Mountain

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Central

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Eastern

ASL Interpretation Available

What do quality and safety mean to service users?

In the Giving Voice to Mothers Study, community members worked with clinicians, NGO leaders, and researchers to design a study on quality of care as experienced by pregnant persons from communities of color (Black, Indigenous, and Latinx) and those who planned to give birth in homes and birth centers. Together they developed and administered a cross-sectional online survey to explore novel topics including: agency in decision-making, coercion and non-consented procedures, access to supportive services, and systemic respect or discrimination over the course of care.

In this webinar, we will explore the key findings from the report, and discuss how they can transform how the lived experience of perinatal services and assure equitable access to the highest quality of care for all service users.

All are welcome. Free, registration required (see below).



Nzinga Blake

Executive Producer, Race & Culture - ABC Owned Television Stations

Nzinga Blake is an Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer with a specialty in capturing multicultural & underrepresented voices. She has had the pleasure of being on both sides of the camera as the first African American “human” to host a show on Cartoon Network, in addition to appearing as talent on ABC, Showtime, Current TV, Network 10 Australia TV Guide, and BET. She has also produced for production companies, organizations, and social impact companies, including For Good Entertainment, Causecast, Emergency USA, the United Nations International Labour Organization, Tribune Media and is currently a Race & Culture Executive Producer for ABC Owned Television Stations. The work she has co-executive produced at the owned stations has been featured in various news outlets that include Variety, Deadline, Forbes Magazine, TV News Check, Cronkite News Lab, etc. On a personal note, she spent most of her childhood in Japan, Kenya, and the US. Nzinga is a proud Bruin and is a Cum Laude graduate of the University of California Los Angeles School of Film, Television, and Digital Media.



Saraswathi Vedam, PhD, RM, FACNM, Sci D(hc)

Principal, Birth Place Lab

Saraswathi Vedam is Lead Investigator of the Birth Place Lab and Professor of Midwifery in the Faculty of Medicine at University of British Columbia. Over the past 35 years, she has served as clinician, educator, researcher, and mother of four daughters. Dr. Vedam has coordinated several transdisciplinary and community-led research projects across North America, including the Access and Integration Maternity care Mapping (AIMM) Study on the impact of integration of midwives on maternal-newborn outcomes, 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. 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.

Dr. Vedam and her team developed and validated three new person-centred measures, the Mothers’s Autonomy in Decision Making (MADM) scale, the Mothers on Respect (MOR) index, and the Mistreatment by Providers (MIST) index. In 2017 MADM and MORi received the 2017 National Quality Forum Innovation Prize, and they are now are being applied in 23 countries to evaluate quality of maternity care at the institutional, system, and country levels.

Professor Vedam has provided expert consultations to policy makers, public health agencies, and legislators in Mexico, Hungary, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Canada, the US, and India. She was Convener and Chair of 4 national Birth Summits in the United States. At these historic summits a multi-stakeholder group of leaders crafted a common agenda to address equitable access to high quality perinatal services for all communities across birth settings. In 2017, she was named Michael Smith Health Research Institute Health Professional Investigator.



Tatyana Ali

Mother, Actress & Advocate

With a career spanning 35 years, Tatyana Ali is best known to millions, worldwide, for playing “Ashley Banks” in the iconic comedy series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. Born in Brooklyn, NY, she is a Broadway-trained actress, singer, producer, activist and Harvard University graduate.

Ali has appeared in numerous television, film and theatrical projects over her career, which began at four years old including Sesame Street, the Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway production of Fences, The Young and the Restless and Disney’s Glory Road. The 5-time NAACP Image Award winner, Harvard Aspiring Minority Business Leader and Black Girls Rock! honoree, was named one of most beautiful women in the world by People Magazine en Español and People Magazine.

She holds a gold record for her 1998 debut album Kiss the Sky, which included the hit singles “Daydreamin” and “Boy You Knock Me Out” and joined both the *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys world tours. In 1999, her recording of “Precious Wings” for The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland soundtrack won a Grammy Award for “Best Musical Album for Children”. In 2013 Ali released the independent EP “Hello”.

She has produced numerous projects for television networks including several holiday films for Lifetime TV and “Love That Girl!”, the first original scripted program on the TV One Network.

Ali has spent most of her life engaging in humanitarian efforts. During the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, she served as a surrogate for President Obama, speaking to communities and young people across the country about voting as an imperative. She did the same grass roots work for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. She has hosted the United Negro College Fund’s “Empower Me” Tour 3 years in a row, has been a spokesperson for the Millennium Momentum Foundation for 8 years and is actively involved in Black Girl’s Rock!, an organization dedicated to educating and mentoring young women. After publishing her first op-ed in Essence magazine entitled “Birthright” where she shared her own harrowing journey, Tatyana was asked to serve as a Celebrity Council Advocate for the March of Dimes. She works to advance Black maternal health. She currently serves as a board member of Hedgebrook, an organization dedicated to supporting women identifying writers.

She resides in California with her husband and two sons.


Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM

Founder and President of Commonsense Childbirth, Inc.

Jennie Joseph is a British-trained midwife who fights to ensure every person has their healthiest possible pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience with dignity and support. Jennie created The JJ Way®, which is an evidence-based, maternity care model delivering readily-accessible, patient-centered, culturally-congruent care to women in areas that she terms “materno-toxic zones”. Her focus and drive is to ensure that Black women and other marginalized people remain safe and empowered inside broken and inequitable maternity health systems that have become dangerous and all too often, lethal.

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. In July 2020 her school, Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery became the first and only privately-owned, nationally accredited midwifery school owned by a Black woman in the United States. Jennie is the founder and a proud member of The Council of Midwifery Elders, she serves on the Advisory Council for the Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus, is a Fellow of The Aspen Institute, and has been recognized as a TIME Woman of The Year 2022 for her work in promoting perinatal equity.


Nicholas Rubashkin, MD, PhD

UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Division of Hospitalist Medicine  Human Rights in Childbirth

Nicholas Rubashkin, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UCSF where he works as an obstetric hospitalist. He holds a PhD in Global Health Sciences, also from UCSF. In his clinical practice, research, and advocacy, he focuses on the provision of evidence-based and respectful maternity care. He seeks to address the social, cultural, and economic drivers of poor quality maternity care and mistreatment of women in birth facilities. He has published on such topics as informal cash payments in maternity care, uterine fundal pressure, and obstetric violence. His dissertation research concerned the ways in which a vaginal birth after cesarean prediction tool, called a “VBAC calculator” reproduced racism in American maternity care. Since 2015 he has served on the board of the international non-profit Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC).


Chandra A. Adams, MD, MBA

Board-Certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist and Women's Health Economist Physician Owner, Full Circle Women's Care of Jacksonville, FL Medical Director, Transitions Birth Center of Jacksonville, FL

A direct descendant of two of the last granny midwives in southern Alabama, Dr. Adams believes in integrating the midwifery model of care with modern obstetrics. She works closely with midwives who perform in and out of hospital births, and has created a system at her private practice, Full Circle Women’s Care of Jacksonville, that boasts a labor-to-Cesarean conversion rate between nine and eleven percent per year. As a VBAC (vaginal-birth after Cesarean) mom of three young children at home, Dr. Adams is a strong proponent for evidence-based medicine and women’s safe choices in labor, with her practice averaging an annual VBAC-success rate around 85%. As a bonus mom to a college grad on a pre-med track, she understands the importance of inspiring the next generation to reach their full potential. To that end, serves as an Obstetric Preceptor for Family Medicine Residents in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Dr. Adams is a fierce community advocate, known for challenging the status quo on sensitive topics such as maternal mortality, surrogacy, trauma-informed care, the impact of maternity on healthcare economics, and mental health evaluation in all phases of care. She was named Women’s Advocate of the Year by the JAX Chamber Professional Women’s Council. She is a sought-after speaker, and has addressed the American College of Nurse Midwives at multiple state conventions. Dr. Adams often appears on WJXT in Jacksonville, FL as an expert on women's health. Expecting mothers travel hundreds of miles to be under the concierge care of her team for what Full Circle has coined, “The 180-degree Birth Experience.”

Dr. Chan Adams is a board-certified physician specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is an alumna of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and completed her post-graduate training at Hahnemann University Hospital via Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a Lean Six Sigma green belt, with an Executive Healthcare Masters of Business Administration from the University of Miami. Dr. Adams is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


P. Mimi Niles, Ph.D, MPH, CNM/LM

Assistant Professor, New York University

Mimi Niles, PhD, MPH, CNM/LM is an Assistant Professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. She is a theorist, educator, researcher and certified nurse-midwife. Her work explores the potential of integrated models of midwifery care in creating health equity in historically disenfranchised communities. She is trained in utilizing critical feminist theory, as theorized by Black and brown feminist scholars, and qualitative research methods as a means to implement policy and programming rooted in pro-social and anti-oppression frameworks. As a researcher, she hopes to generate midwifery knowledge as a tool to build equity and liberation for marginalized and minoritized people and grow the profession of midwifery globally.