Panelists for BirthKeeper Summit 2016 


Suzanne Arms
–Organizer,  Author of Immaculate Deception and 6 other books, photojournalist, speaker-teacher and practical visionary; co-founder of The Birth Place freestanding Birth Center (Palo Alto, California, 1978-1994); founder of Birthing The Future® Colorado, USA-based nonprofit/charity.

Julie Bonapace,  MA in Education; social worker and couple mediator; teaching physicians & nurses non-pharmacological pain management for birth in Canada, Europe, Middle East & North Africa; helping parents to view the transition into pregnancy, birth and parenthood as a unique opportunity for personal transformation.

Malika Morisset Bonapace, D.Psy- Doctor in clinical psychology, specialized in the perinatal phase (clients who are pregnant or new parents). Cognitive-behavioral therapist, special focus is anxiety (generalized anxiety, specific phobia including fear of birth, social phobia, OCD, panic attacks) and mood disorders (pre and postpartum depression, bipolar disorder) in both women and men. Research studies on the transition to parenthood.


Sandra Bardsley, APPPAH President, Moderator


Debra Pascali-Bonaro – Birth & postpartum DONA doula trainer; former LAMAZE International birth educator; international speaker/teacher to parents and health care professionals in 30 countries; chair of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative; advisor to Human Rights in Childbirth; creator of Pain to Power Online Childbirth Class; director and author of the book & film, “Orgasmic Birth” – exploring the intimate and sacred nature of birth.   


Kate Bowland, CNM-  Midwife attending over 2,000 home births since the early 1970s; a writer and artist; before she became a nurse-midwife she was one of 3 self-trained midwives arrested and tried for practicing medicine without a license and her case went to the California Supreme Court; a feminist.


Ilka Braunstein –Organizer, Ilka Braunstein- Born and raised in Germany, BA in Marketing/Journalism, Certified Yoga Teacher,  CMT, certified Birth Doula & Perinatal Health Coach,  birth activist, Somatica Sex- and Relationship Coach, advocate for empowered women, healthy intimate relationships and parent-child bonding.


Betty-Anne Daviss, RM MA - Senior midwife for 40 years (Canada & internationally, on 6 continents), adjunct professor in Women's and Gender Studies, Carleton University, social science writer, co-editor, Birth Models That Work (exploration of maternity care around the world), co-author of a study of over 5,000 planned home births in North America (published in the British Medical Journal in 2005), activist who helped get home birth midwifery legal in Canada. Published on breech in the ACOG Journal, JOGC, and has attended over 140 planned vaginal breech births. Now works as a primary caregiver attending breeches without transfer to obstetrics and is teaching the midwives, physicians, and nurses the upright position for breech.


Barbara Findeison – pioneering psychologist in healing birth-related trauma in adults & past president of Association of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology and Health.


Claudia J. Ford , Ph.D., African-American working in environmental studies; professor in environmental humanities & international business ethics. global career of three decades on all continents; research interests: gender & women’s health; traditional ecological knowledge, ethnobotany, sustainable agriculture; midwife, musician, writer & visual artist; mother of an adopted and a biological child.


Camalo Gaskin – African-American, Birth Companion & Founder/curator of Birth to Birth Talks, a series of public symposiums engaging health care professionals, policy makers, culture influencers, and parents on long-term implications of current practices. Co-founder Fearless Birth Film Festival & Fund.  Contributor to Huffington Post on global motherhood and the state of maternity care options available to millennials and beyond. Speaker at the Long Night of Ideas, Unlearning the Given: Exercises in Demodernity and Decoloniality of Ideas and Knowledge, an initiative of the German Foreign Office. Residing in Berlin.


Fadwah Halaby, CNM- midwife and women’s health care provider; had home births for all six of her children; worked in hospital ER units and in a busy OB/GYN practice before opening her private midwifery practice; has helped more than 1700 babies enter the world; working to empower women within the birth experience they choose.


Ken Johnson, Organizer, PhD - Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa, Canada; former senior epidemiologist in the Public Health Agency of Canada; home birth and midwifery researcher - author with his wife, Betty-Anne Daviss, on the safety of midwife-attended home birth in US and Canada (published in the British Medical Journal).

Gena Kirby- is a Parent Advocate. Birth Activist, Doula Trainer and Radio Show Host.


Ryan McAllister, PhD – Ryan is on the research faculty at Georgetown University in bio-physics. He is the coordinator of You may know Ryan though his two YouTube videos: "UnBreaking Birth" and "Circumcision: an Elephant in the Hospital". He facilitates workshops on communication, relationships and parenting, is an adoptive parent of an adult child with profound developmental differences, and lives with his family in an intentional cooperative household of 15. Areas of focus; circumcision & male sexuality; birth, obstetrics & parenting, viewed through the lenses of science, anthropology, and bioethics.

Deb Puterbaugh LM, CPM  Organizer,  Midwife; grandmother; community organizer; dedicated to empowerment, healing, and cultural change; devotes her volunteer time to BirthKeeper™, a grassroots coalition to radically shift the paradigm of human reproduction in our world, founded by her in 2005 (in honor of her beloved teacher Jeannine Parvati)

Dave Paxson - is a semi-retired Clinical Social Worker, Epidemiologist and Craniosacral Therapist. He is a past President of the Craniosacral Therapists Association. He has an MBA and also has an academic background in Economics, Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology.

He has been active in APPPAH  (Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health)   for 15 years, and sponsored an APPPAH conference in Washington, DC in 2011. He is one of the core committee founders of the Birthkeepers. He is the organizer of the "Birthkeeper Bibliography" and he is making it available to all upon request.  Dave was an Army Nurse during the Vietnam War, was an unofficial member of the Counter-Culture, and was at Woodstock. These facts indicate that he is both old and wise.


Raylene Phillips – MD, IBCLC, FABM, FAAP, and MA in Developmental Psychology - Neonatologist in a large Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU); Medical Director of Newborn Nursery; lactation consultant (IBCLC); Fellow of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine; a stay-at-home mother of 3 children prior to medical school; mother-infant attachment and family-centered, developmental and neuro-protective care of premature and sick infants in the NICU; breastfeeding education and support; “The Sacred Hour” – uninterrupted skin-to-skin during the first hour after birth.

Robin Lim – With deep regrets, Ibu Robin Lim has had to cancel her attendance.

Marina Liu MelloMarina Liu Mello – Chinese-American; MA in Integrative Health with a focus on prenatal to postpartum experience; student at California Institute of Integral Studies; certified Reiki practitioner, guided imagery facilitator, and wellness coach; practicing conscious attachment parenting with her husband and home-born son within a multi-generational family system.


RaShaunda and Mel Lugrand: Founders of The InTune Mother, LLC a grassroots social welfare organization who operates under The InTune Mother Project. They are focused on conscious conception, homebirth, culturally centered perinatal support, breastfeeding, the role of the father figure, and intuitive, nature based parenting for the traditional African American family.

Shatia Owsley-Humphrey Shatia (Tee) Owsley-Humphrey is a graduate student in the department of Health Promotion (Community Health Education) at Maryland University of Integrative Health located in Laurel, Maryland. Shatia’s main fields of interest are race and ethnic relation and addressing the social inequalities in perinatal and reproductive health, particularly among women of color. Her research specifically explores how race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, environmental conditions and stressors affect the birth outcomes in women of color, particularly African American women. She is drawn to this work due to the alarming statistics in infant and maternal mortality by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Equally compelling is the opportunity to address the weakened breastfeeding statistics surrounding initiation and duration among African American women, risk factors in preterm labor and the promotion of drug-free holistic natural child birthing.

Barbara Rivera– Founder of and BirthPower Week Awareness Campaign. She is an attachment parenting, midwifery, breastfeeding and empowered birth, and homeschooling activist. Social Media Manager for the Association of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology and Health’s (APPPAH).

D’Ana Soto
– Chicana/ Chihenne Apache teacher & activist; mother & grandmother; BA women’s studies, birth attendant, farmer, seed saver. Focus: birth, midwifery, breastfeeding, indigenous 1st foods & women farmers. Board Member - Oregon Intertribal Breastfeeding Coalition. Her journey: “to decolonize myself”, heal historical, familial & personal traumas; her passion: working with Earth and her people, learning & sharing wisdom and strategies from other indigenous communities.


Kathleen Kendall-Tackett – PhD, Health psychologist, Certified Lactation Consultant, Editor-in-Chief of Praeclarus Press; editor-in-chief of Clinical Lactation and Psychological Trauma; Fellow of the American Psychological Association in Health and Trauma Psychology; past president of the APA Division of Trauma Psychology; Her focus: breastfeeding, trauma, health psychology, and psychoneuroimmunology of maternal depression and lifelong health effects of trauma.

Marcy Axness, PhD 
 An early development specialist, parent coach, and author of Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers. The premise of her book is, if we really want to change the world, we need to raise a generation who are "hardwired" with the brain-based capacities of a peacemaker – such as self-regulation, empathy, trust, imagination and of course, intelligence.  Parenting for Peace is user-friendly scientific guide for how to do exactly that, while bringing more joy into family life. Dr. Axness is a worldwide trainer of adoption, education, and childcare professionals on new findings in the latest science of human thriving, and its implications for practice – and as a gift to all interested in BirthKeeper Summit, she's offering a free copy of her "Empowered Birth Checklist for Couples" ebooklet, 25 concrete ways to confidently parent for peace during this momentous family experience!  Marcy considers as her most important credential being mother to Ian and Eve, both flourishing in their twenties.


Gabrielle McSherry – Senior at Rhode Island School of Design, taught art in Nepal; has practiced many healing techniques while living in U.S & Netherlands; her passions: menstrual & reproductive health; family history of drug addiction, alcohol abuse & trauma (her mom was a sex worker); a feminist embracing issues of environment, race and privilege.

Music for our Rally!
Courtney Dowe
Growing up with a musically gifted mother, Courtney Dowe began writing songs from a very early age. She does not think of her relationship to music as a career as much as a calling.
Guided by the philosophy that music should be accessible to as many people as possible and in as many ways as possible she has performed in places as humble as subway stations and as legendary as The Filmore in San Francisco. Her interest in human rights has inspired "protest songs" ranging from the subject of police brutality in the United States to the persecution of Falun Gong by the Communist Regime in China. She is not just an artist she is an adventurer who reflects the nature of her life into her music.