Organizational History

Organizational History & Strategy

An African American mother cradles her newborn daughter after giving birth at home in a birthing pool of water.


Wholistic Midwifery School of Southern California was founded in 1993 as an educational venture by a Certified Nurse-Midwife Lorri Walker, Certified Professional Midwife/Licensed Midwife Shelly Girard (both of whom are no longer affiliated with our organization) and Cordelia Hanna, a  Childbirth Educator/Birth Activist, Childbirth Companion and Student Midwife.

Wholistic Midwifery School of Southern California’s original intent was to establish a professional direct-entry  midwifery training program. In 2011, we established the DBA The Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health to reflect our evolving work.

Our revised mission includes providing training and professional development of perinatal healthcare providers including community health promoters and other paraprofessionals, and continuing education and networking opportunities for nurses, midwives and physicians and a Community-Based Doula Program focused on the disadvantaged and under-served pregnant women  of Los Angeles. We also provide MotherBaby-Centered support and education for expectant and new parents.

About Our Founder & Executive Director

In 2010, Cordelia Hanna MPH, CHES, ICCE,CLE, CBA, assumed the role of CEO and Executive Director of the organization and oversees all of it’s programs and initiatives, with the support of consultants, a dedicated team of volunteers and board members.

Cordelia’s training, education and experience as a Homebirth Mother, Direct-Entry Midwife, Birth Activist, Doula, Lactation Educator and Public Health Practitioner give her a broad perspective which enables her to guide the work of the organization. Cordelia received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance from Indiana University-Bloomington in 1986. She received her Masters in Public Health in Health Education and Promotion/Maternal and Child Health from Loma Linda University in 2008. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Health Education and Promotion/Global Health at Walden University. She has worked for 27-years in Los Angeles County as a Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Lactation Counselor, Midwife  and Midwife Assistant and Public Health Educator in private practice, clinic, community birth center and hospital settings. Her decade of experience working for Pasadena Public Health Department Black Infant Health Program solidified her commitment to addressing perinatal health disparities and injustices. Cordelia  is a humanitarian, offering her skills in  health education/ promotion and  community organization  in South Los Angeles and,  in 2017, to Sierra Leone, West Africa, where Cordelia will actualize a long-held dream to be of service to the Motherland.

What We Do

We provide staff development training for community perinatal health workers, nurses, and other professionals. We design community-based initiatives, engage and mobilize diverse stakeholders to develop wholistically-oriented programs and policies that improve maternal and child health.

Our Strategies

  • Providing networking and continuing education opportunities for perinatal professionals: seminars, conferences, webinars, panel discussions, film screenings, etc.
  • Offering free and low-cost doula, lactation support and childbirth education for disadvantaged, hard-to-reach pregnant women and adolescents.
  • Offering certification programs in maternity care: Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, Perinatal Support Specialist, Midwife Assistant and Postpartum Doula.
  • Organizing for Community Empowerment.
  • Consulting with hospitals and clinics to implement evidence-based, mother and baby-centered, respectful maternity care.


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