Birthing Justice Forum – Human Rights Summit 2016

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Human Rights in Childbirth U.S. Summit

2016 Birthing Justice Forum 

&  Maternal-Child Health Champion Awards Ceremony

Sisterhood

Photo by Linda Jones

Participants had  the unprecedented opportunity to help draft a consensus statement on the Human Rights of Childbearing Persons in the United States. For more information on the Universal Rights of Childbearing Persons, go to: Human Rights in Childbirth’s website

Flyer-1 Birthing Justice Forum

 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

8:30 am to 3:30 pm (Forum)

4:00 pm -6:00 pm (Awards Dinner)

California Endowment Center

1000 N. Alameda St.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Yosemite B Room & Courtyard

Cal Endow Map & Directions & Floor Plan 

MCH Champion Nomination Form | Dinner Menu| Download Brochure

This Event is Co-Sponsored by

Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health

and

HRiC-Logo-Text-Wrapedx100

FACULTY:

Paula X. Rojas, LM, CPM, Co-Founder, Mamas of Color Rising 

Hermine Hayes-Klein, JD, Founder, Human Rights in Childbirth

PHOTO GALLERY

Photos by Linda Jones

AUDIENCE

Lawyers, perinatal health professionals (midwives, physicians, nurses, doulas, childbirth educators), Maternal-Child Health (MCH) professionals, community health promoters/promatores de salud, breastfeeding peer counselors, social workers and psychotherapists, human rights activists, women’s rights activists, and students of midwifery, public health, nursing, medicine, law, political science, women’s studies,  medical sociology, medical anthropology, etc.

DESCRIPTION

Maternity care providers and childbirth activists, maternal-infant advocates alike are working to make birth safer and more satisfying for pregnant people everywhere. While all agree that all pregnant people ought to have access to quality care during pregnancy, not everyone receives equal treatment or equal caliber of care in America and elsewhere.

RATIONALE

Worse birth outcomes exist in communities of color, and lower-income communities. During pregnancy, place  and ethnicity matters. It shapes how healthy a mother will be and how well or poorly her child will fare. Furthermore, reproductive rights and women’s rights in the U.S. have primarily focused on access to contraception and safe abortion, gender-based violence and trafficking. Though the fact that the other aspect of reproduction is pregnancy and childbirth, this aspect has not been the focus of reproductive  and women’s rights AA-Mom-Baby-Happy-Upcloseactivists. Woman-abuse not only takes the form of rape and domestic violence, but also obstetrical violence occurs more frequently than one might expect. This is an area where those who are concerned about violence against women  must also focus. Additionally, LGBTQ activists have not as often focused on the rights of childbearing persons within their communities. This forum will shine a light on some of the issues faced by LGBTQ parents during childbirth.

This Forum  explored the political, social, systemic and historical reasons for maternal-infant health inequities and disparities in communities of color, from the voices of  women themselves.

Using a human rights framework, participants learned about each of the fundamental rights of childbearing persons, including the right of informed consent and refusal, privacy, equal treatment, and more. The forum highlighted the , historical and cultural factors which have kept ethnic perinatal health disparities intransigent for decades.  Participants came away with practical strategies and increased awareness of how to foster respectful and inclusive care and engender a more equitable maternity care system for all.

HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHILDBIRTH U.S. SUMMIT

The Birthing Justice Forum and US Human Rights in Childbirth Summit brought together  a diverse interdisciplinary group of maternity care providers, public health professionals, legal experts, birth  and women’s rights activists, policy makers and reproductive justice advocates  committed to advancing respectful and evidence-based maternity care.

Participants had  the unprecedented opportunity to help draft a consensus statement on the Human Rights of Childbearing Persons in the United States. For more information on the Universal Rights of Childbearing Persons, go to: Human Rights in Childbirth’s website

Birthing_Justice-259x400

You may also buy a copy at Amazon.com and donate to your favorite charity, AWMNH.

BOOK FOR SALE AT EVENT BY JULIA CHINYERE OPARAH, PH.D. AND DR. ALICIA BONAPARTE, PH.D

Dr. Alicia Bonaparte, Ph.D.

Dr. Alicia Bonaparte, Ph.D.

Alicia D. Bonaparte co-edited with Julia Chinyere Oparah: Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy, and Childbirth released this spring by Paradigm Publishers/Routledge. Birthing Justice addresses the global crisis in maternal health care for black women. This anthology is a mix of scholarly, activist and personal perspectives, with black women’s voices at the center of the debate on how to fix the broken maternity system. Bonaparte said the book is also a call to action for more parties to become allies in the fight against black women’s maternal health disparities. Read More About the Book.

 

 

 

FORUM FACILITATORS

Hermine Hayes-Klien

Hermine Hayes-Klein

Hermine Hayes-Klein, JD is an American lawyer, mother, and founder of the international organization, Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC) based in Portland, Oregon.  Hermine has represented children as their attorney or guardian ad litem, litigated for LGBT rights, and mediated family disputes and divorce, among other things.  Hermine lived in the Netherlands from 2007 – 2012, where both of her children were born at home with a Dutch midwife.  She taught international law at the Hague University, and before moving back to the US, helped organize the first Human Rights in Childbirth conference in The Hague.  Hermine’s practice now focuses on advocating for the legal and human rights of birthing women, including the defense of midwives and doctors who support women in the exercise of autonomous decision-making about their care. Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC) which Hermine founded and directs,  has convened several international summits to bring together human rights advocates, health care professionals, civil society organizations, and community representatives to discuss human rights concerns faced by women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum in regional maternity care systems around the world. Conferences have been held in Europe, Africa and in 2017, India.

Paula X. Rojas

Paula X. Rojas

Paula X. Rojas, LM, CPM is a Licensed Midwife and Certified Professional Midwife and a consultant/trainer for social justice organizations both locally and nationally. She is the co-founder of Mamas of Color Rising, based in Austin, TX. She has 20 years of experience working in community organizing.  Following in the footsteps of her family members in Chile, Paula has worked on grassroots social justice issues affecting her own local community since she was a teen. The bulk of her grassroots work has been focused on the issues of gender violence, healthcare access, police violence and worker’s rights. Paula’s own personal experiences during pregnancy have led to her work, since 2005, at the intersections of healthcare access, midwifery and community organizing. After having worked on many issues, ranging from housing discrimination, to violence against women; Paula found the challenges and disparate access she faced during pregnancy to be key areas to be addressed in order to create a more just, loving and equitable society. She decided to focus her community organizing work on birthing justice. She became a doula for low-income women of color. Since moving to Austin, TX in 2008, Paula has worked as a Childbirth Educator at the largest clinic for uninsured families in Austin and began organizing to address the disparities in pre-natal care and birth outcomes both locally and regionally. With other mothers of color, Mamas of Color Rising the  group launched a sister project, Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman in 2012- a free holistic pre-natal health clinic with volunteer midwives, pre-natal dance and yoga classes and support groups for low-income women of color in Austin. After years of organizing, in 2012, Mamas of Color Rising won a campaign to get Texas Medicaid to cover CPM’s in Texas.

Dr. Sayida Peprah, Psy.D., CD

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Dr. Sayida Peprah, Psy.D., C.D., Has a Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, with a Multicultural Clinical-Community Emphasis, from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. She is also a Certified Doula with Doulas of North America and offers services through Conscious Surrender Birthing. 

Dr. Peprah completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology and Religion at Spelman College.  Dr. Peprah’s background, both academically and in the field, afford her unique competence in instructing courses, counseling and consulting, from a multicultural perspective. She is interested in cross-cultural mental health approaches, indigenous culture and local spiritual traditions. Professionally, Dr. Peprah is both an Educator, Clinician and Consultant.  As a clinician, she has worked with a diverse client population and in a variety of clinical settings.

Currently, she works as a psychologist inside a prison.  In this position, she supervises and provides a full spectrum of psychology services for incarcerated men and women.  Prior to this, she has worked for several community mental health agencies, providing child, family and adult therapy. As an educator, Dr. Peprah has taught for over 5 years, at the graduate and undergraduate level.  Additionally, Dr. Peprah has guest-lectured at numerous colleges, on topics of clinical considerations for working with special ethnic populations including Native Americans, African Americans and Muslim Americans.

Sayida is also a Birth Doula, who has worked with women of diverse backgrounds, and is a Board Member and Co-Instructor with The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health, teaching cultural awareness, cross-cultural communication and perinatal mood disorder content for the organization’s trainings, and is a Psychological Consultant for the organization’s clients both individual and corporate. Sayida is married and is the mother of two young daughters, both naturally with midwives, one in the hospital and one at home in a birth pool.

Cordelia Hanna-Cheruiyot, MPH, CHES, ICCE, CLE, CBA (Master of Ceremonies)

Cordelia Hanna-Cheruiyot, MPH, CHES, ICCE, CLE, CBA

Cordelia Hanna-Cheruiyot is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health.  She obtained her Masters in Public Health (MPH) in Health Education and Promotion/Global Maternal-Child Health from Loma Linda University and is a Certified Health Education Specialist (NCHEC).

Cordelia comes from a musical and politically active family. She is the child of Civil Rights and Anti-Viet Nam war activists, and attended the 1964 March on Washington at the tender age of three, pushed in a stroller by her parents, co-founders of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Indiana University in the 1960s. Her grandparents were labor union organizers in the 1930s, and members of the Socialist Party. Her great-grandparents fled Latvia in the 1890s to escape the Jewish pograms, and were Anarchists. Cordelia attended her first homebirth in 1972 at age eleven in Colorado, an experience which undoubtedly made a huge impact upon her. Given these early influences and family history, it is natural that Cordelia would become a Birth Activist and Birth Worker. Cordelia worked with California Association of Midwives to help pass the law that would legalize midwifery in California in 1993, and also in 1994, advocated to National Organization for Women (NOW) to expand their definition Reproductive Freedom to include choices in childbirth–including midwifery care.

Cordelia obtained her  Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance from Indiana University, Bloomington. She has worked for twenty-five years as a childbirth activist, childbirth educator, primary midwife under supervision, doula, monitrice, and lactation educator in public health, clinic, community, and  hospital settings.  Cordelia has focused her work on the intersection of public health and midwifery  to address  health disparities and to engender a more equitable maternity care system for all women and infants. Cordelia is passionate about improving birth outcomes  and providing  training opportunities for women of color to become birth workers and community perinatal health promoters. For 9 years she worked for the Pasadena Public Health Department Black Infant Health Program, a California state funded program dedicated to reducing perinatal health disparities among African-American women and infants. Here, she was instrumental in establishing a community-based childbirth education, breastfeeding peer counselor,community-based doula program and father-involvement programs.

Cordelia  has a Maternity Concierge practice in Los Angeles, providing expectant  and new parents services as a  Certified Childbirth Educator (ICEA), Certified Birth Assistant (ALACE), Certified Lactation Educator  (CAPPA), and Postpartum Doula.

Cordelia  was the Co-Chair of the Los Angeles Best Babies Collaborative for SPA 3 (San Gabriel Valley) from 2003-2007 and the Co-Chair of The Evidence in Action Committee of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) from 2007-2008. She was also a delegate and volunteer at the first Women Deliver Conference   in London in 2007, a global forum  focused on maternal mortality, women’s rights and gender equality.

Cordelia is  a mother of a daughter and son who were  home-born, family-bedded,  breastfed and attachment-parented, and who are now bright and capable young adults. She is married to a man from Kenya, East Africa.

SPEAKERS

Indra Lusero , J.D., has been a teacher, a performance artist, a doula, a wall-paper hanger, a non-profit manager, and a counselor at law (among other things). This Indra Luserointerdisciplinary approach is part of what makes Indra a Social Midwife: a term coined by Civil Rights leader and longtime Denver, Colorado activist Vincent Harding to describe people who help give birth to a new way. This term captures the way Indra works, whether it is as a volunteer helping to give birth to a new organization, or as a doula supporting a family through labor: Indra listens deeply and assumes that the organism in question knows what it needs. Indra’s interdisciplinary toolbag includes a B.A. in Creative Writing, an M.A. in Theatre, and most recently a law degree. Indra is published in various places including the William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law, The Journal of Democracy and Education, Educational Insights, and Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology. As a genderqueer, Chicana parent with a diverse family of people from all over the world, Indra is committed to building “a world in which all worlds fit”.

Nicolle Gonzales, CNM  is Navajo and her  clan is Tl’aashchi’I, Red Bottom clan, born for Tachii’nii, Red Running into Nicolle Gonzalesthe Water clan. 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 her traditional healing practices have always been a part of Nicolle’s life. She attributes her accomplishments to the many prayers and ceremonies done on her behalf as she 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 she provided as a Nurse-Midwife.  It is with this deep understanding and respect for our way of life as indigenous peoples that Nicolle’s worldviews are based on and are reflected the projects she  participates in. Nicolle’s primary goal as a Nurse-Midwife is to keep birth sacred and in native communities, by integrating and applying traditional knowledge.   Nicolle received her Bachelors degree in Nursing and a Masters degree in Nurse-Midwifery from the University of New Mexico. She has had the pleasure of being involved in several community projects since the completion of her education as well as being invited to serve on several health panels emphasizing cultural diversity in midwifery.  In addition to my community service Nicolle has served as a mentor for emerging Native American midwifery students at the University of New Mexico and continues to support future midwives.

Kellee Coleman has over 18 years of equity and social justice community organizing experience integrating media, and popular education as strategies for social change. In 2008 she co-founded kellee-coleman-150x150Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana prenatal clinic, a project of Mamas of Color Rising, where she currently works as coordinator for their Black Women’s initiative. The project works to provide holistic and culturally specific prenatal care, birth companions, midwifery services, prenatal fitness and nutrition services to lower income Black and Latina folks in the Austin area.   In 2013 she facilitated the Austin Travis County Health Department’s community health workers training focused on health equity issues impacting Black women in Austin, Texas. She has conducted original research on the social determinants of health as they impact Black women locally. She is a member of the national leadership collective of Incite! Women and Trans*people of Color against Violence. She has consulted with numerous national and local organizations including US MERA, MANA, UT LBJ School of Public Policy, and Women’s Community Center on equity and reproductive justice issues.

Monica Raye Simpson, CD,  is the Executive Director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. A native of rural North Carolina, Monica has organized extensively against Monica Simpsonhuman rights violations, reproductive oppression, the prison industrial complex, racism and intolerance and is deeply invested in southern movement building and the fight for Black liberation. She is also committed to birth justice as a certified Doula. Monica couples her activism with her artistry and released her first live album entitled Revolutionary Love where she blends her gospel roots and her passion for social justice with deep soul to create the sound known as Revolutionary Soul. Because of her “artivism” Monica was named as a New Civil Rights Leader by Essence Magazine and chosen as one of Advocate Magazine’s 40 under 40 leaders.

Denise Johnston, M.D. is the founding director of Families & Criminal Justice and its predecessor agency, the Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, she graduated with highest honors from Mills College and received her doctorate from Stanford University School of Denise JohnstonMedicine. Dr. Johnston is a leading national authority on children of criminal offenders.Under Dr. Johnston’s direction, the Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents served more than 25,000 families and conducted over 60 educational, family reunification and therapeutic projects using a developmental, relationship-based approach to practice. In 2002, she implemented the first Early Head Start program to be conducted in a jail. In collaboration with the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, she designed and directed the Mother-Child Reunification Program [MCRP] in California prisons. This comprehensive program of prison-based mother-child services included a leadership institute for imprisoned mothers.

The focus of Families & Criminal Justice [FCJ] is justice-involved women and their infants/young children. Dr. Johnston has developed and directs a continuum of FCJ projects that provide reproductive health, prenatal and postpartum health, infant development and early childhood development services; she is currently a practitioner in the MIRACLE Project, which serves pregnant prisoners in Los Angeles County jails and in the community after their release.

As principal investigator, Dr. Johnston has completed 17 major research projects. As lead trainer, Dr. Johnston has directed and delivered training to more than 14,000 professionals who work with children of criminal offenders, including judicial officers, social workers, law enforcement and correctional personnel, drug treatment providers, teachers and early childhood workers.

Dr. Johnston was the editor and primary contributor to the first American text on incarcerated parents and their children, published in 1995. She also edited “Parental Incarceration: Personal Accounts & Developmental Impact” (Taylor & Francis, 2016), the first book to describe the development of adults who experienced the incarceration of their parents in childhood. She most recently authored the forthcoming “Working with Children of Criminal Offenders & Their Families: A Handbook for Practitioners”.

RaShaunda Lugrand,CHBD, NLP, IPBC ­

Founder and director of The InTune Mother ProjectTM,  an Independent Perinatal Birth Consultant, Breastfeeding Support Coach, Holistic Doula via The Matrona, Chairperson of Social Justice and Language Inclusion of The BirthKeeper Core Council, and member of Central Oklahoma Perinatal RaShaundaCoalition.With the support of her husband Melvin, RaShaunda started her work in this field in 2007, after the birth of their first son.  She chose Marinah Farrell, midwife, activist, and now president of Midwives Alliance of North America to support her in a magical homebirth. This experience empowered RaShaunda to honor her sacred abilities and trust her intuition, with her husband in mind. After the birth of their third son, they were inspired to formally create the social welfare company The InTune Mother, LLC in 2013. Their work advocates for safe birth anywhere, for consciousness in birth, and parenting, particularly for home birth. She is a self-­directed student and stay-­at-­home mom of 3 children under the age of 10, which she homeschools, while assisting other homeschooling families via her experiential unschooling platform SOIL GrassRoots Academy. Her focus is conscious conception, self-­directed homebirth, culturally centered perinatal care, breastfeeding education, healthy male to female relationships, and early childhood education. She is a published author of The Karma of The Butterfly, singer, songwriter, and poet. Homeschooling is her greatest commitment. RaShaunda is an activist rather than a reactionist. Spiritually she gravitates towards the mystical forms of all religions. “Love is the highest law and only true religion”.

Julia Chinyere Oparah, Ph.D.

Dr. Chinyere Oparah is an activist scholar, social justice educator and experienced community organizer, who is dedicated to producing critical scholarship in the service of progressive social movements.  Dr. Oparah is an African Julia Chinyere Oparahdiaspora specialist, whose interests span a number of different social concerns, including activism by women of color, violence against women, women and the prison-industrial complex, restorative justice, queer and transgender liberation, race and adoption, research justice and birth activism. Her work is informed by personal experiences of crossing racial, gendered and national boundaries as a biracial, transracial/ transnational adoptee, survivor of intimate violence and queer parent with ties to Britain, Nigeria and the U.S.

Dr. Oparah is professor and department chair of Ethnic Studies at Mills College. She played a leading role in the establishment of Mills’ Queer Studies Program and sits on the Advisory Committee for that program. She recently led the College’s Gender Expression and Identity initiative, leading to the production of an important report on improving the experiences of transgender and gender-fluid students at Mills. Dr. Oparah was awarded the Rockefeller Fellowship in Sex, Race and Globalization in 2002, and held the prestigious Canada Research Chair in Social Justice and Diversity at the University of Toronto from 2004-6. Educated at Cambridge University and Warwick University, she has graduate degrees in Sociology and Ethnic Studies. In addition, Chinyere trained in community development. Prior to entering academia, she coordinated a black women’s center in the UK, and was executive director of a national development agency for non-profits serving communities of color. Dr. Oparah is author of Other Kinds of Dreams: Black Women’s Organizations and the Politics of Organization, the only comprehensive history of the black women’s movement on Britain. She is editor of Global Lockdown: Race, Gender and the Prison-Industrial Complex, a seminal work that mapped the connections between globalization, gender and mass incarceration. She is also co-editor of 3 books: Activist Scholarship: Antiracism, Feminism and Social Change, Color of Violence: the Incite! Anthology and Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption. Dr. Oparah along with her colleague Dr. Alicia Bonaparte worked  with the grassroots community organization Black Women Birthing Justice on a participatory action research project about black women’s experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, and co-edited an anthology on black women in the birth justice movement, Black Women and Birthing Justice. This book will be for sale at the event. In her spare time, Chinyere practices mindfulness meditation and Vinyasa yoga, sings along to gospel music, hangs out with toddlers and is learning horse-riding. Chinyere has Nigerian (Igbo) and British origins, and immigrated to the US in 1995. She lives in East Oakland with her partner and daughter.

Kimberly Turbin

I’m Kimberly Turbin, and I’m one of the many women living in America who has experienced Kimberly TurbinObstetric Violence. Luckily I am able to speak about my trauma with others and share what happened to me, so that other women can learn from my experience and know their rights.  I gave birth to my son Rio in 2013.  While I was giving birth, the OB cut my vagina with scissors, completely 100% against my will, twelve times. I put my birth video on YouTube, just to see if it has happened to anyone else or if anyone thought it was normal. That’s when I realized that disrespect and abuse during childbirth happens to so many other women. I knew that I had the right to say “no” to that doctor, and that what he did to me was not only wrong, it was illegal, and I decided to stand up.  In the three years since the incident, I have filed a police report that’s being investigated at the moment, filed a complaint to Medical Board of California, and filed a lawsuit by myself before any lawyer would take my case.  None of this was easy, but there are things we can do to stand up to bullies.

Claudia Booker, CPM, M.Ed. JD
Claudia Booker  is a home birth midwife serving the families of the Washington DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia area; and adjunct faculty member at Mercy in Action and visiting presenter at

American University and the University of Maryland, Montgomery County. Before beginning her life as a birth worker Claudia served two terms as a Judge with the DC Contract Appeals Board and several years as a DC Assistant Corporation Counsel and Chief Contracting Officer for several of the District’s largest agencies. In 2011 Claudia became a CPM and over the last five years she has participated in several key activities that have impacted midwifery education and licensing. In addition, she has written numerous articles and interviews published in national and international newspapers on the topics of access to care, disparities, health inequities and the benefits of the midwifery model of care. In 2005, she began her birth worker career at the DC Family Health and Birth Center (now The Community of Hope) where she developed one of the country’s first community-based doula and birth assistant programs. In 2009 and 2015 she spearheaded the “Heads Up: For Infant Mortality DC Project”, which collected over 2,000 handmade infant hats and delivered them to local District NICUS. For the last eight years she has been a participant on the District of Columbia Infant Mortality Review Committee. After taking her midwifery skills overseas to serve families in Senegal, Bali, and the birth camps in Dulag, Philippines following Typhoon Yolanda, Claudia recently completed the NARM CPM Bridge program. In 2006 she won the AABC Community Service Award for this program, in 2010 the ICTC National Leadership Award, and in 2015 the Birth Matters Virginia Advocate of the Year Award.

Marinah Farrell, CPM

Marinah Farrell, CPM ‘s Politics and traditional medicine are what led Marinah to midwifery, and she has a firm commitment to both political activism and birth work. Marinah FarrellMarinah has worked in waterbirth centers and medical facilities for international NGOs, in freestanding birth centers in the U.S, and is the owner of a long standing homebirth practice in Arizona.  In addition, Marinah is a founding board member and the Director of Maternal Health for Phoenix Allies for Community Health (PACH), a community funded free clinic in downtown Phoenix that provides free care to those who have no other resources. Marinah is also the President of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA). MANA is a professional association for all midwives, honoring all pathways to midwifery, since 1982.  Marinah is known locally, nationally and internationally for her advocacy work, focusing on issues of lack of access to   midwives and the profession of midwifery in vulnerable communities, and continues to support the work of traditional midwives and health workers, bridging professional midwifery with community traditions.

MATERNAL-CHILD HEALTH CHAMPION AWARDS
Maternal-Child Health Champions who have done exemplary and extraordinary work in the field of maternal health and childbirth reform will be nominated by their peers and recognized at the Semi-Formal Dinner on Thursday, May 26, 2016 from 4-6 pm following the Birthing Justice Forum at California Endowment Center’s courtyard  in Los Angeles.   The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health, Black Women Birthing Justice and Human Rights in Childbirth will be honoring several leaders and visionaries  for their inspiring and paradigm-changing work in maternal health.

 

Awards Recipients

 

VISIONARY OF THE YEAR– Hermine Hayes-Klein, JD

Description: For exemplar and paradigm-shifting models of childbirth and/or  maternal and infant health, causing significant social change or improvement in childbirth nationally, locally or internationally.

About Hermine Hayes-Klien, JD

Hermine Hayes-Klien

Hermine Hayes-Klein, JD is an American lawyer, mother, and founder of the international organization, Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC) based in Portland, Oregon.  Hermine has represented children as their attorney or guardian ad litem, litigated for LGBT rights, and mediated family disputes and divorce, among other things.  Hermine lived in the Netherlands from 2007 – 2012, where both of her children were born at home with a Dutch midwife.  She taught international law at the Hague University, and before moving back to the US, helped organize the first Human Rights in Childbirth conference in The Hague.  Hermine’s practice now focuses on advocating for the legal and human rights of birthing women, including the defense of midwives and doctors who support women in the exercise of autonomous decision-making about their care. Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC) which Hermine founded and directs,  has convened several international summits to bring together human rights advocates, health care professionals, civil society organizations, and community representatives to discuss human rights concerns faced by women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum in regional maternity care systems around the world. Conferences have been held in Europe, Africa and in 2017, India.

Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM

http://www.commonsensechildbirth.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Jennie-08.jpgJennie is a British-trained midwife, a women’s health advocate, the founder and executive director of Commonsense Childbirth Inc. and the creator of The JJ Way®. She moved to the United States in 1989 and began a journey that has culminated in the formation of an innovative maternal child healthcare system, markedly improving birth outcomes for women in Central Florida.

Jennie has worked extensively in European hospitals, American birth centers, clinics and homebirth environments. She has been instrumental in the regulation of Florida midwives since the 1990’s and has been involved in midwifery education since 1995. She is the chair of Florida’s State Council of Licensed Midwives. Currently she owns a Florida licensed midwifery school attached to The Birth Place, her nationally renowned birth center and maternity medical home in Winter Garden, Florida.

AGENT-PROVOCATEUR OF THE YEAR – Paula X. Rojas, LM, CPM and Racha Tahani Lawler, CPM

Description: To honor a person who has demonstrated  revolutionary ingenuity in developing programs and projects promoting the health of mothers and infants and/or transforming childbirth locally, nationally or internationally.

About Paula Rojas, LM, CPM

Paula X. Rojas, LM, CPM

Paula X. Rojas, LM, CPM is a Licensed Midwife and Certified Professional Midwife and a consultant/trainer for social justice organizations both locally and nationally. She is the co-founder of Mamas of Color Rising, based in Austin, TX. She has 20 years of experience working in community organizing.  Following in the footsteps of her family members in Chile, Paula has worked on grassroots social justice issues affecting her own local community since she was a teen. The bulk of her grassroots work has been focused on the issues of gender violence, healthcare access, police violence and worker’s rights. Paula’s own personal experiences during pregnancy have led to her work, since 2005, at the intersections of healthcare access, midwifery and community organizing. After having worked on many issues, ranging from housing discrimination, to violence against women; Paula found the challenges and disparate access she faced during pregnancy to be key areas to be addressed in order to create a more just, loving and equitable society. She decided to focus her community organizing work on birthing justice. She became a doula for low-income women of color. Since moving to Austin, TX in 2008, Paula has worked as a Childbirth Educator at the largest clinic for uninsured families in Austin and began organizing to address the disparities in pre-natal care and birth outcomes both locally and regionally. With other mothers of color, Mamas of Color Rising the  group launched a sister project, Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman in 2012- a free holistic pre-natal health clinic with volunteer midwives, pre-natal dance and yoga classes and support groups for low-income women of color in Austin. After years of organizing, in 2012, Mamas of Color Rising won a campaign to get Texas Medicaid to cover CPM’s in Texas.

About Racha Tahani Lawler, LM, CPM

Racha Tahani Lawler LM, CPM

Racha Tahani Lawler, LM, CPM is the granddaughter and great-granddaughter, great niece, and second cousin of midwives. After being in attendance of her cousin’s homebirth right out of her teens, she immediately answered her call to midwifery. While working as a nurse assistant at a local Hospital in the women’s wing, she was privileged & honored to train with a community midwife as an apprentice. Racha moved to El Paso Texas where she began a formal midwifery education at Maternidad La Luz. Upon graduation she sat for and passed her NARM in 2004 and became a Certified Professional Midwife (exp. 9/2014) & Texas Licensed Midwife. Racha returned home to California with her family in 2007, completed the California Challenge Process and earned her California Midwifery License in 2008. She has been blessed to sit at the feet of over 600 birthing women, and hundreds more as a physical & emotional support. With the help of family, friends and countless supporters she has recently opened The Community Birth Center. A freestanding birthing center in South Los Angeles that provides well woman, pre-conception, prenatal, labor/birth and postpartum care to families in the city of Los Angeles. She is committed to providing midwifery care to ALL who seek it regardless of race, socio-economic status or gender. Her passion is to aid in the great maternal child health disparities seen with women of color. Racha gave birth to all three of her children, post date, at home in water and they have attended upwards of 100 births in their own right. Her mission, is to “Grow our community, one baby at a time”, in reducing prematurity rates in women of color and infant deaths. She is currently guiding student midwives in their journey as they work towards licensure.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Shafia Monroe, CPM, MPH, Founder, International Center for Traditional Childbearing and Janice French, CNM, MS, Director of Programs, Los Angeles Best Babies Network

Description: To honor a person who has shown many years of dedication, perseverance and service to mothers and infants and the birth professional community. This category can be given to someone posthumously or living.

About Shafia Monroe, DEM, MPH

shafia-m-monroe

Founder and President of International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) and community activist devoted to infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding promotion, and increasing the number of midwives of color.

In addition to being a Certified Midwife by the Massachusetts Midwives Alliance, she is also a Childbirth Educator, a Doula Trainer, and mother of seven children. Shafia M. Monroe is a health activist, organizer, and international speaker. She holds a BA in sociology, with a concentration in medical sociology, from the University of Massachusetts. Monroe is the founder and President of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC); the nation’s first Black midwifery training, breastfeeding promotion and capacity building non-profit organization, headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Shafia is the visionary behind the prominent Black Midwives and Healers Conference that brings midwives and other health care providers together to galvanize resources and implement strategies for reducing infant mortality and strengthening families.

 

About Janice French, CNM, MS

Janice French, CNM, MS

Jan French is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and Director of Programs for Los Angeles Best Babies Network (LABBN). LA Best Babies Network coordinates the work of organizations that are dedicated to improving the health of pregnant women, newborns and their families. Launched as part of First 5 LA’s Healthy Births Initiative and based at Dignity Health – California Hospital Medical Center — the Network works to ensure that high-quality perinatal care and social support are available to all families throughout Los Angeles County. To achieve this goal, the Network focuses on the five interrelated strategies of the Healthy Births Initiative, including Home Visitation Programs. With a long history of working clinically as a nurse-midwife and as a researcher in the areas of women’shealth and preterm birth prevention, Janice is a nationally recognized speaker on the prevention of preterm birth. She is a past faculty member at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, Nurse Midwifery faculty and School of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her passion is to translate information from research into practice in order to help more women have healthy pregnancies, and to see more babies be born healthy.

MOST AUDACOUS AWARD: Indra Lusero, JD, Birth Rights Bar Association and Stuart James Fischbein, MD, FACOG

Description: To honor a MCH professional who has shown remarkable courage and boldness to change childbirth or maternity care.

Indra Lusero , J.D., has been a teacher, a performance artist, a doula, a wall-paper hanger, a non-profit manager, and a counselor at law (among other things). This Indra Luserointerdisciplinary approach is part of what makes Indra a Social Midwife: a term coined by Civil Rights leader and longtime Denver, Colorado activist Vincent Harding to describe people who help give birth to a new way. This term captures the way Indra works, whether it is as a volunteer helping to give birth to a new organization, or as a doula supporting a family through labor: Indra listens deeply and assumes that the organism in question knows what it needs. Indra’s interdisciplinary toolbag includes a B.A. in Creative Writing, an M.A. in Theatre, and most recently a law degree. Indra is published in various places including the William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law, The Journal of Democracy and Education, Educational Insights, and Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology. As a genderqueer, Chicana parent with a diverse family of people from all over the world, Indra is committed to building “a world in which all worlds fit.”

 

 

Dr-Stu-Fischbein-130x130

Dr. Stu is a physician that collaborates with midwives. He believes in human rights in maternity care. He is happy to be able to provide Los Angeles’ mothers options for birth that they would not otherwise have: VBAC, twin and breech deliveries at home. He also hosts a weekly pod cast where he interviews guests on maternity care issues and discusses the important issues and debates in obstetrics and midwifery. Dr. Stu has long been courageous in standing up to ACOG and for this reason, we are proud to award him with this honor of being “Most Audacious”.

 

 

DR. PAUL M. FLIESS  MEMORIAL STUDENT LEADER AWARD-Kimberly Durdin, IBCLC, Student Midwife

Description: To honor an up and coming professional/student in the field who shows great promise and aptitude to make a significant change in society or the field of medicine, midwifery, nursing or doula support. This award is given in remembrance of Dr. Paul M. Fleiss, MD, MPH, beloved Los Angeles pediatrician who inspired and supported many Maternal-Child Health practitioners and leaders.

Kimberly Durdin, IBCLC, Student Midwife

Kimberly Durdin, IBCLC

Kimberly Durdin is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Doula, Childbirth Educator and Student Midwife. After experiencing Cesarean delivery with her oldest child, Kimberly knew she wanted a different experience with future children. Kimberly was attended by homebirth midwives for her subsequent births, which empowered her greatly to learn how to help other families who were desiring empowered, supportive births and breastfeeding experiences.

Kimberly’s 25 years of experience includes being a La Leche League Leader and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for the WIC program in Brooklyn, NY where she also worked with Brooklyn Doula Service providing post-partum and birth doula care to families. Kimberly worked in Washington D.C.  as an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) where she joined the BLESS Project (Breastfeeding Lactation Education Support Services) at historic Howard University Hospital in creating their first ever lactation clinic providing 24 hour lactation services free of charge for HUH families. Kimberly was named one of the Top Lactation Consultants in the area by Washington Families Magazine.

Kimberly worked as a Lactation Consultant for the Watts Healthcare Corporation’s  5 site WIC Program after moving to Los Angeles, where she trained staff, oversaw breastfeeding peer counselors, and provided one on one LC care for families throughout South LA. In 2009, She joined the groundbreaking company The Sanctuary Birth & Family Wellness Center, and acted as the Director of Lactation Services. She has been an LC for twelve years and has begun teaching a 45-hour Lactation Consultant Exam Prep Course, as well as mentoring IBCLC candidates.

When not working with the families of Los Angeles, Kimberly enjoys spending quality time with her husband, her six children ages 3 to 23, and her 2 year old grandson. She holds the vision in her life and in her work, that ALL families deserve access to the highest quality of respectful and supportive care from providers as well as the community, during the childbearing years regardless of income level, race and/or gender identity.

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