CLEAR PLENARY PANEL -What does it mean to be a BirthKeeper in the community I come from and serve?   
FRIDAY, MAY 1, 9 AM- 11:45 AM


Facilitator

Yeshi Neumann, has been working as a midwife since 1970. In 2000, she created Homestyle Midwifery , a unique model of care, blending home and hospital birth. In 2006 Homestyle Midwifery received a certificate of honor from Mayor Gavin Newsom, and in July 2007 was voted "Best Way to Have a Baby" by San Francisco magazine.

In addition to her work in the United States, Yeshi has taught and learned from nurses and midwives in Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Trinidad, Tibet, Morocco, India, and China. She is the team leader and principal educator of the maternal-child health project, Jungle Mamas , in the Amazonian rainforest in Ecuador.

Yeshi has facilitated hundreds of workshops about women's leadership, diversity, conflict resolution,organizational development, communication and healing family relationships. She brings her passion for women's empowerment and social justice to her work with mothers, grandmothers and community leaders. Yeshi also trains social change leaders from the non-profit, philanthropic, labor and socially responsible business sectors in the Art of Leadership at Rockwood Leadership Institute .

Yeshi has developed a relevant and inspiring curriculum for the grandmothers of our time, Conscious Grandmothering Workshops , and is the founder and director of the Conscious Grandmothering Council Network ( Conscious Grandmothering Councils )

Yeshi is a dedicated student and practitioner of Mindfulness. She teaches Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting
In addition to being a Certified Nurse Midwife, Yeshi has a Masters degree in History and a Masters degree in Public Health. She is a regular speaker at national and international conferences.

Facilitator

Dr. Melanie Tervalon is a nationally and internationally renowned physician, educator, community activist and thought leader. Her broad expertise in medical and social science, public health, and public policy is informed not only by her stellar academic training and professional experience, but also by the connections she has woven to the streets where everyday people and their triumphs and challenges reside.
Early Life

In many ways it makes perfect sense that Dr. Tervalon was born and raised in Philadelphia the city of brotherly love and host to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Her independent streak is legendary as is her commitment to social justice and equity. While she embraces the goal of health and wellness for all people, she is ever vigilant in challenging systems and practices that neglect, disregard or discard the underserved and less fortunate among us.

Themes in a medical school commencement speech* she gave over 30 years ago indicated that she would forge new ground in her profession. In this critique of her medical school, it wasn’t necessarily the science or the medicine she was taking on, but in the application or withdrawal thereof, she observed that doctors often made erroneous and prejudicial assumptions about patients they marginalized.
Career

As a practicing Pediatrician at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA, she founded the Multicultural Curriculum Program. “Cultural humility” was the moniker that described her efforts to train doctors to set aside the pre-conceived notions about patients that substituted for their own lack of knowledge about the diverse and culturally complex communities they served. For more than two decades since the inception of this program, Dr. Tervalon has demonstrated in myriad ways how cultural humility can make the difference between sickness and health in the treatment of individuals and/or communities.

In her current role as a consultant, Dr. Tervalon crafts strategic plans for program and funding initiatives, provides expert knowledge in the field of culture, race, ethnicity and identity in health and health services, guides leaders or teams from ideas to implementation while modeling participatory processes, synthesizing large amounts of often disparate information for use in organizational planning or redirection, facilitates meetings for large and small groups, and provides individual coaching.

Dr. Tervalon has a reputation for building constructive, participatory relationships inside and outside of institutions, modeling respect for divergent points of view.

Dr. Tervalon received her MD from the University of California , San Francisco and a MPH and BS from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a highly acclaimed public speaker.

Facilitator

Arisika Razak, (Health Care Administration, UC Berkeley 1978, Certified Nurse Midwife, UC San Francisco 1980), is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Women's Spirituality, and past Director of the Women's Spirituality MA and PhD program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is also Director of Diversity at CIIS. Arisika is an African-American healer, ritualist, spiritual dancer, and educator who practices an eclectic mix of Earth-based spiritual traditions. She has worked with indigent women as an inner-city nurse-midwife for more than 20 years, focusing on the lives and cultures of women of color, which has led to her research interest in feminist, womanist, mujerista, and postcolonial epistemologies and worldviews, and in women's health. Arisika is a diversity trainer and spiritual dancer who leads spiritual and healing workshops. She has performed nationally and internationally; she was the 2008 American Association of Religion-Western Region's conference chair and vice president, and she is the organization's 2009 president.



Nedya Walker-- I am a collective member of Black Women Birthing Justice, an organization committed to transforming birthing experiences for Black women. I graduated from Mills College in 2013 with a degree in sociology, and hope to continue my education in midwifery to serve low income women in the Bay Area. I currently work at the Glide Foundation in San Francisco in the Men in Progress Program. In addition to my advocacy work, I enjoy singing in the Mills College Choir and serving on its executive board as Alumnae Liaison.

Virginia Sushila Schwerin (birth keeper,lifegiver of five sons, sexual health and wellbeing instructor) The World Classroom

Virginia Sushila Schwerin CPM LM CSE a maverick midwife, workshop and ceremonial leader since 1977.Sushila is a self defined "carrier of the pomegranite seed" one of Jeaninine Parvati's early accolades.She has five sons and a large multicultural family.Her path of mothering started as a teen mama of seventeen. At nineteen she attended Donna Ha's direct entry midwifery training:a first in the SF Bay Area.Sushila was a founder of the collective: In The Family Way. She is a " midwifery survivor' who rode in on the second wave of midwives in the era of near extinction of the American midwife. She has surmounted barriers to practice such as the prosectution of her own practice partner. In The Family Way created defense funds for persecuted midwives, rallies, PR strategies helping to launch the social change movement to humanize birth and to put women at the helm of birth care. Sushila worked with Kaati Shaff as the first chidlbirth educators at The Federal Correctional Institute.She has been a community midwife in rural New England, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, as staff at the midwifery school Maternidad La Luz, and in secondary care in New Zealand.Including competancy on the Treaty Of Waitangi. Sushila was widowed at 33, raising her sons as sole head of household.She is grandmother to Cyrus Ali and to one angel baby; Lela Yasmeen. Lela Yasmeen was born and died at a Bay Area hospital.Sushila was chief witness at the deposition that resulted in the hospital being charged with medical malpractice.Sushila honors her teachers for helping her live the ceremony of life into death in an intentional way. She asks to mention those : her mother and father, Sri Ma and Swamiji of the Devi Mandir, afro caribe elder; Dona Gloria Vargas. Grandmother and Godfrey Chips for sharing the chanupa & gifting the sweat lodge tradition to our woman's lodge of seventeen years, Swami Kripalu, James Etsitty whose ceremony brought her back, and the brave mamas,papas and babies who trusted in life enough to allow Virginia Sushila to catch their babies as a mere green maiden and become a keeper of sacred thresholds.


Theodora Wiyaka Itancan Chief // TaOyateKinWyunkapiWin - Her People See Her Woman // Oglala Lakota - born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Porcupine, South Dakota Sept.1980 // I was born at my Grandfather Theodore Ted Means home and delivered by my Grandmothers, Great Grandmother and parents Lakota Harden and Burton Chief. I grew up in the East Bay Area ,Oakland Ca. I am blessed to be the mother of Five beautiful children. Cetan Chief, 18 / Keshkoli Attakai , 15 / Cinnamon Kamimila , 13 / Sage Chief, 9 / Kinyaanii Mahpiya Chief , 5 // One day I hope to work as a midwife with my people on the Pine Ridge Reservation

Poonam Dreyfus-Pai, MPH, MSW is the Fellowship Manager at CoreAlign, where she develops the vision, direction, and implementation of the Generative Fellowship and Speaking Race to Power Fellowship programs. A long-time reproductive health, rights, and justice advocate, Poonam is also a full-spectrum doula, and co-directed the Bay Area Doula Project from 2012-2014. Her past work includes research of abortion stigma at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), evaluation of suicide prevention hotlines at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and program development at Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD). She currently serves on the Board of Directors for ACCESS Women’s Health Justice and for Backline. Poonam lives in Oakland with her partner and their cat, Starbuck. When not working, she likes running, feeding her loved ones elaborate meals, re-watching Friday Night Lights, and attempting to photograph every minute of Starbuck's life. She is committed to building collaborative networks that support all sexual and reproductive experiences.

Sara Flores is the founder of ReCLAIM (Resisting Colonial Legacy And Its Impact on Medicine) Midwifery & ReCLAIM Healers Collective. Her roots in Detroit and Honduras, as well as her travels to Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Northern Ireland, and Africa have shaped her work in demanding and creating access to midwifery care for all under served communities, especially in urban areas, and in weaving traditional healing practices with allopathic medicine.
Sara lives and works as a Reproductive Justice and Birth-tivist (birth activist) at the intersection of her LGBTQ community, her Mestiza Indigenous community, and her radical urban social justice community. She is a Certified Nurse Midwife and Nurse Practitioner in Women’s and Transgender Health, and currently serves families in the Bay Area and Sonoma County as a home birth and birth center midwife. She is a co-author of Freeing Ourselves, a Guide to Health and Self Love for Brown Bois, the first health guide to centralize the voices of masculine-of-center and female to male transgender people of color in reshaping gender justice and holistic health. Central themes in Sara’s professional and personal life are building autonomous healing communities and reclaiming sacred indigenous science and healing traditions. She is currently practicing as a core healer and collective member of the Healing Clinic Collective, which provides free traditional healing clinics to communities most impacted by injustice throughout the Bay Area. Sara is now also the proud mother of Ruby Quetzal.

Lian Cheun is the Executive Director of Khmer Girls in Action. She is a 1.5 generation refugee from Cambodia. Lian spent close to 2 decades working in low-income communities of color. Lian started out as a youth organizer on the Kids First! Campaign and has since worked for funding for youth programs, organized for educational and health justice, volunteered and trained for numerous GOTV efforts and fought for workers’ rights regionally and internationally. In 2007, Lian helped Migrant Forum in Asia organize the very first regional, migrant domestic workers’ assembly in Asia. She was also the former director of the Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) at the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO). Currently, Lian also serves as a commissioner on The White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders.


MotherBaby Mother Earth is the archetype for our living and understanding who we are. Our true story is about the extraordinary connection in ourselves that goes all the way back to the first stirring of life gathered on this earth. We were born from our mothers, they were born from their mothers, and we were formed from bits of their bodies and environments all the way back to the first amoeba- there is still a small bit of that star-burst life spark in us. It is a wonderful story of relationship based on love and compassion, unbreakable, freely given. We have just lost our connection to our Mother Earth and to ourselves and our fellow kin, but becoming aware that we are all in the same interdependent living system is hopeful, faithful and so biologically real. We have since the beginning of time, given our feminine, nurturing, maternal gifts to our children, with no thought for payment. That instinct for offering ourselves will be found again-to reclaim our rightful place in the order of life.

We have a responsibility to pass on a Mother Earth that is flourishing and beautiful to the future generations.By seeing the truth of what is happening now, processing it in our hearts and naming it in public, we can change the harmful systems in our culture to ones of care and compassion.

Introducing Katsi Cook

Sage LaPena is a Clinical Herbalist, Ethnobotanist, lecturer, teacher, and gardener specializing in both Native American and Western herbal traditions. ‎From the age of 7, Sage has worked with local medicine people from various tribes of Northern California. Sage has birthed five children, four born at home. Sage was a lactation consultant and doula during some of the almost ten years as a nursing mother. She was also a Community Health Rep and Diabetes Educator with IHS for two years. Sage's focus is metabolic syndrome / Diabetes Maintenance and Women's Wellness for All.

    Plenary Speaker
    Katsi Cook (Executive Director at Woman is the First Environment Collaborative)

    Sherrill Elizabeth Tekatsitsiakwa "Katsi" (pronounced Gudji) Cook is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk tribe. She was born on the St. Regis Reservation in northern New York State, the youngest of the four children of Evelyn Kawennaien Mountour and William John Cook. Her mother was educated by Catholic nuns, and died when Cook was eleven years old; her father was a captain in the U.S. Marines and a World War II fighter pilot. Cook was delivered by her paternal grandmother who was also a midwife. She was educated at Catholic boarding schools, attended Skidmore College from 1970 to 1972, and then transferred into the first class of women accepted at Dartmouth College. Soon after, stirrings of the American Indian Movement (AIM) sparked a "generational call to consciousness" and she left school. She married Jose Eugenio Barreiro, a Cuban-born academic and indigenous activist, and the first of their five children was born in 1975. She and Barreiro worked with the Kanienkehaka Longhouse Council of Chiefs from 1972 to 1977 and from 1979 to 1983, where she helped write and produce Akwesasne Notes and toured the U.S. and Canada with the White Roots of Peace, a "communications group" that Cook describes as a traveling university through which participants learned Native knowledge and imparted it to others.

    Cook took up midwifery in 1977 following the Loon Lake Conference of the Six Nations, where control of reproduction was designated as a prerequisite to Native American sovereignty. In 1978 she undertook a midwifery apprenticeship at The Farm in Tennessee, followed by clinical training as a women's health specialist at the University of New Mexico. Cook lived briefly in South Dakota, where in 1978 she attended the founding meeting of Women of All Red Nations (WARN), and in Minnesota, where she founded the Women's Dance Health Project in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Cook returned to Akwesasne in 1980, where she practiced midwifery, helped develop the Akwesasne Freedom School, and founded and directed the Women's Dance Health Program (funded by a grant from the Ms. Foundation). When concerns arose among women on the reservation about the safety of breastfeeding, Cook started the Mother's Milk Monitoring Project in 1984, to monitor PCB levels in breast milk and to address the environmental impact of industrial development of the St. Lawrence Seaway Project, begun in the 1950s. The Mother's Milk Project is still extant and provides services and advocacy for residents of Akwesasne (one of the most severely polluted Native American communities), among them inclusion in the Superfund Basic Research Program.

    From 1994 to 1998 Cook was a Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology at the University of Albany School of Public Health. As a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University's American Indian Program during those same years, she also worked on environmental justice issues within the Six Nations Iroquois communities. In 2001 she served as the Dr. T.J. Murray Visiting Scholar in Medical Humanities at Dalhousie University, and she has lectured on the subject of alternative and complementary therapies at the State University of New York at Buffalo Medical School and at Cornell University.

    Cook has participated in national and international women's health movements, including service on the board of the National Women's Health Network, involvement in the Nestle boycott, and work with Mayan midwifes in Guatemala. She monitors indigenous rights in the drafting of midwifery legislation and is the founding aboriginal midwife of the Six Nations Birthing Centre where she assists with student training, curriculum development, and community education. Cook is Director of the Iewirokwas Midwifery Program of Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Supported by a Ford Foundation grant, she is currently developing the First Environment Institute to restore indigenous puberty rites as means of advancing maternal and child health on the Akwesasne and Pine Ridge reservations. She is also conducting research with the Indian Health Service and writing Daughters of Sky Woman: A Cultural Ecology of Birth.

    Articles and media:

    Katsi Cook has written multiple news articles for Indian Country Today. All of her scholarly articles are a part of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.
    2007 – featured speaker at Live Earth Concert at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C..

    Honors and legacy:
    2004-2005: Indigenous Knowledge Cultural Research Award from the Indigenous Health Research Development Program at the University of Toronto.

    References:

    "Katsi Cook: Meet Board Member Katsi Cook". Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
    "Katsi Cook : Co-founder". Konon:kwe Council. Konon:kwe Council. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
    Follet, Joyce (October 2005). "Katsi Cook interviewed by Joyce Follet". Voices of Feminism Oral History Project.
    Cook, Katsi (30 September 1997). "Women are the First Environment". Native Americas XIV (3). Retrieved 14 November 2014.
    Hoover, Elizabeth. "Biographical Note". Five College Archives & Manuscripts Collection. Five College Archives & Manuscripts Collection. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
    Hoover, Elizabeth (May 2010). Local Food Production and Community Illness Narratives: Responses to Environmental Contamination and Health Studies in the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne. Providence, RI: Brown University. p. 87. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
    "Akwesasne Freedom School". Akwesasne Freedom School.
    Johnson, Jeff (1996). "Mohawk environmental health project integrates research into the community". Environmental Science & Technology/News 30: 20A. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
    "Birthing Centre". Six Nations Health Services : Birthing Centre. Six Nations Health Services. Retrieved 14 November 2014.



       Panel Moderator
      Molly Arthur (Convener at EcoBirth- Women for Earth and Birth)

      Molly Arthur is a native San Franciscan; she graduated from UC Berkeley and has had extensive experience working with startups and growing networks in her professional sales career. She and her husband of 41 years have raised two children in Marin County and happily her 4 year twin granddaughters live close by in San Francisco! She is the inspiration behind EcoBirth whose vision is -Relating earth and birth- caring for one natural life so we will all be well. She has a fierce desire to protect all our children and grandchildren and fully appreciate the freely given gifts of our Mother Earth. She sees birth as the metaphor for transformation and creation that if honored, will create a paradigm shift in our culture’s consciousness. Her focus is on inspiring women to change our culture’s story to compassion for the environments of Earth and Birth and to impel social change to sustain healthy, caring humans and a healed earth home. "I am a mother and grandmother. I want to leave my legacy as a Beloved Ancestor. But right now I am responsible for the bad shape the world is in. I want to try to change that as much as possible, as quickly as possible. I have a fierce desire to protect my children and grandchildren and make a better world. So EcoBirth inspires me to tell the stories of love and compassion and work with women to tell those stories so we understand our unbroken lineage to all life on earth and connection to future generations."


        Stacy Malkan  is author of the award-winning book, " Not Just a Pretty Face:The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, " and media director for the new consumer advocacy group U.S. Right to Know . For over a decade, Stacy has been a leading media strategist for environmental health campaigns. She co-founded the national coalition the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and led campaigns that generated worldwide media coverage about toxic chemicals in personal care products and the availability of safer alternatives. She has been interviewed by  New York Times Washington Post USA Today Globe & Mail , San Francisco Chronicle New York Daily News Minneapolis Star Tribune  and many other radio and printoutlets. Television appearances include  Good Morning America Democracy Now,   Fran Drescher Tawk Show,   ABC 7 Chicago  and  ABC’s View from the Bay .

        From 2001 to 2008, Stacy was the Communications Director of  Health Care Without Harm , an international coalition of health care groups, nursing organizations, environmental and labor groups working to reduce pollution in the health care industry. Prior to her work as an environmental health advocate, Stacy was a reporter and newspaper publisher for eight years in the Colorado Rockies. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

        Clip of  Stacy Malkan at TEDx conference

        Awards and Recommendations for “Not Justa Pretty Face”

        “Not Just a Pretty Face” wins Silver IPPY Award!

        2010 Best of Green Award for best Fashion/Beauty Book

        Today Show.com : The Gift of Knowledge: Six Green Reads

        Wall Street Journal recommendation  by Kathy Gerwig, Kaiser Permanente

          Susan Highsmith (President/Counselor & Educator at HRS Enterprises: Highsmith Renaissance Seminars)

          Susan Highsmith, Ph.D. is an educator and counselor residing in Tucson, Arizona. She received her doctorate in Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology from Santa Barbara Graduate Institute (SBGI). She has a BA in Women's Studies and an MA in Counseling & Guidance. She instructs masters and doctoral candidates, lectures at universities and community colleges, and speaks at international congresses addressing consciousness in the womb and the long-lasting effects of our earliest experiences. Susan is a National Board Certified Counselor (NBCC). She holds a Doctorate of Divinity from the American Institute of Holistic Theology, and seeks to balance psychological theory and practice with spiritual and holistic wisdom.

            Suzette Johnson, MSW, MPA

            Suzzette Celeste Johnson, MSW, MPA has breadth and depth in the health and human services field which spans public health, alcohol and other drugs services, mental health, criminal justice, and education. Her experience includes direct services, program planning and development, systems coordination/integration, health services administration, and training.

            Ms. Johnson’s professional and personal mission is to achieve health equity through developing transformational leadership approaches, fostering collaborations and coalitions, changing organizational practices, and educating providers. She is a skilled facilitator, educator, critical thinker and perennial student of social justice innovation, shifting paradigms, cultural humility, and Universal Spiritual Principles.


              In discussions of the future the emphasis is usually on the effects of myriad new technologies on our lives (examples being Al Gore’s The Future and Michel Serres’ Petites Poucettes). However, former obstetrician and revolutionary childbirth pioneer Michel Odent argues that the aspect of human lifestyle that has been most profoundly changed in recent decades is the period of time surrounding the birth of a child. Since this formative time is considered critical in defining our species, Homo sapiens, fundamental changes in this area should herald significant evolution in regard to how babies are born. This, surely, should be at the heart of our discussions of the future, even above considerations of how humanity and planet earth interact.

              The period surrounding birth is a phase of modern life that has been dramatically altered in recent decades, and emerging scientific disciplines have shown that this short period is critical in the formation of human beings. Dr. Michel Odent believes that these are two good reasons to raise questions about the way babies are born, and the consequences this may have for the evolution of Homo sapiens. Furthermore, the transmission of acquired traits to subsequent generations can now be scientifically interpreted (epigenetics, the transmission of the mircobiome, etc), which may represent a defining moment in our understanding of the mechanisms by which evolution occurs. Recent scientific advances have been so spectacular that Dr. Odent has written and updated an new edition of his groundbreaking book Childbirth and the Evolution of Homo sapiens, that was originally published in 2013, which encourages us to think about modes of birth in the long term, and to consider the impact they have on our species and its evolution.

              Introducing Michel Odent and Panel Moderator
              Suzanne Arms (Birthing The Future)

              Suzanne Arms's name is readily recognized by many in the field of perinatal education. For 30 years she has been a tireless advocate for childbearing women, a fighter for change in the traditional maternity care system, and a feminist with strong beliefs about the physical, emotional, and spiritual impact of birth. Arms's well-known books and frequent speaking engagements have allowed her to spread her message and her plea to humanize the childbirth experience. Talking with Arms is an energizing encounter. Her life path is a powerful and compelling story that is an inspiration to all who continue to work to make birth a positive event in the lives of women and their families.
              Suzanne Arms is a familiar name to many from her seven groundbreaking books (on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and adoption), films, photographs, and the hundreds of talks she has given at conferences worldwide since 1975. She has been an inspiration behind the Birth Movement. Her second book, Immaculate Deception, was named a New York Times Best Book of the Year and inspired thousands of midwives, nurses and physicians, as well as parents-to-be. Arms is an advocate for holistic, sustainable health policies and practices and conscious parenting. Her focus – and the focus of Birthing The Future, the U.S. non-profit she founded and directs – is birth and the mother-baby connection, which lays the foundation for love and trust, health and resiliency, cooperation and community.
              Arms’ presentations range from large multi-media events, using films and her photographs, at conferences and colleges to workshops for professionals and students, and intimate sacred circles for healing and deepening community. She weaves a tapestry of knowledge from ancient and cross-cultural wisdom to modern science (cellular biology, neurobiology, psycho-immunology and attachment theory), with ecology, feminism and spirituality.
              “My purpose is to help shift the paradigm that drives the loneliness, anxiety, addiction, greed and aggression so prominent in post-modern societies to one that promotes joy, wellbeing and peace. I work at the beginning of life, where the patterns are set. We must transform how we bring human beings into the world and care for each childbearing woman and mother-baby pair from conception to the first birthday, when they are one biological system and the baby’s developing brain and nervous system are laying down patterns for a lifetime.”
              In 1977 Suzanne made her debut as a video filmmaker with a half hour black and white documentary called “Five Women, Five Births,” a film about choices. Many childbirth educators continue to use this film in their classes, as it takes the uninitiated gently into the feelings and reality of labor and deliver.
              “For too long our approach to childbearing and caring for mothers and babies has been fear-based, its hallmarks isolation, intervention in natural processes, hyper-stimulation and maternal deprivation. Women’s experiences and their feelings about themselves, their babies and motherhood, translate directly into thoughts and biochemistry that lay down patterns in their baby’s developing nervous system and brain. These patterns shape, not only how we see ourselves as children, but the relationships we form as adults and how we care for others and our world. The mother-baby relationship is crucial. Thus, how we treat the women who bring children into this world – with honor and tenderness or neglect and abuse – profoundly influences the direction of our society.
              Love and fear, and peace and violence, begin in the womb. And that is where the roots of faith or alienation lie. The new paradigm, which is really based in ancient wisdom and supported by modern science, is available to us today, as is healing the birth-related trauma so prevalent in modern society.”
              Arms, a mother and grandmother, former pre-school and Head Start teacher, is a founding and active member of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children. At the pioneering Holistic Childbirth Institute in San Francisco, in 1977, Suzanne created and taught the first course on the evolution of childbirth practices and how we got the practices we have today. A year later she co-founded The Birth Place, the country’s first resource center for pregnancy, birth and new parenting and one of the first independent birthing centers in the U.S. Located just minutes from Stanford University Medical Center, The Birth Place also began the first training of doulas. Suzanne was a founding and active board member of Planetree, the international organization working to transform hospitals and clinics into true healing centers.
              Her film “Giving Birth”, which contrasts the medical model for birth with the biological or midwifery model, is used extensively by birth educators, doulas, progressive hospitals and university women’s studies programs. It has inspired thousands of women and men to make different choices about how to bring their baby into the world. In 2003 Suzanne Arms founded Birthing The Future, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Suzanne and co-producer/director Christopher Carson of Reverie Films in Los Angeles, have completed a made-for-tv documentary called BIRTH, to air on PBS, the largest public television network in the USA. This film discusses the natural ecology of childbirth and contrasts that with routine artificial interventions and drugs and shows why it is important to follow sound biological processes.
              Suzanne lives near Durango in SW Colorado and works with the help of volunteer assistants, interns, and advisors from across the world.

              Plenary Speaker

              Michel Odent , MD has been in charge of the surgical unit and the maternity unit at the Pithiviers state hospital (1962–1985) and is the founder of the Primal Health Research Centre (London). In the 1970s he introduced the concepts of home-like birthing rooms and birthing pools in maternity hospitals.
              He is the author of the first article in the medical literature about the use of birthing pools (Lancet 1983), of the first article about the initiation of lactation during the hour following birth, and of the first article applying the ‘Gate Control Theory of Pain’ to obstetrics. He created the Primal Health Research database ( www.primalhealthresearch.com ) and the website www.wombecology.com . He is the author of 12 books published in 22 languages and author (or co-author) of 92 articles listed in www.pubmed.com .

              From Primal Health Research
              "Primal Health Research" explores correlations between the 'primal period' (fetal life, perinatal period and year following birth) and health and personality traits in later life. In the book "Primal Health" (first edition 1986)1 we predicted a new generation of research confirming that our health is shaped during the primal period. In order to prepare for a renewed understanding of health and diseases, a simplified vocabulary was proposed (see glossary). Today the point is not to anticipate a phenomenon, but to observe its development and to draw preliminary conclusions. From 1993 onwards, our quarterly newsletter did just that. Since 1998 a computerised database is a necessity.

              It is not possible to identify the studies that belong to this new framework through the usual scientific and medical networks, because they are unrelated according to the current classifications. For example it would take a long time - without appropriate keywords - to find out that a pregnancy disease such as pre-eclampsia has been studied in relation to health conditions as diverse as prostate cancer, breast cancer, schizophrenia, autism, mental retardation and cerebral palsy.

              wombecology@aol.com

              Marcy Axness (Parenting for Peace)

              I'm the author of Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers, and I write and speak worldwide on prenatal, child and parent development. I also have a private practice coaching parents-in-progress. I'd say my most important (and joyful!) credential is being mother to Ian and Eve, both flourishing in their twenties. I'm happy to offer BirthKeeper Summit participants a free copy of my "Empowered Birth Checklist for Couples" ebooklet: 25 concrete ways you can confidently parent during this momentous family experience!

                Raylene Phillips, MD (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Division of Neonatology at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital)

                After raising three children as a stay-at-home mother, Dr. Phillips received a Masters degree in Developmental Psychology, became NIDCAP certified as an Infant Developmental Specialist, and then attended medical school at University of California, Davis, graduating in 2004. She completed her pediatric residency and neonatology fellowship at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital in Loma Linda, CA and is currently an attending neonatologist in the NICU at the same hospital as well as Medical Director of Newborn Nursery at Loma Linda University Medical Center-Murrieta.

                Dr. Phillips is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, is a Fellow of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and is the current President of the National Perinatal Association. Her primary areas of interest are mother-infant attachment, breastfeeding support, and Family-Centered Neuroprotective Care of premature infants in the NICU.

                  Betty Idarius (Process Coaching Center)

                  Betty is the director of Process Coaching Center and co-founder of Full Circle Wellness Resource Center in Ukiah, California. She practices there as a process coach, teacher and trainer, family constellation facilitator, as well as classical homeopath. She works with individuals, couples, and families.

                  Her background includes 30 years supporting pregnant women and their families as a homebirth midwife, counselor, and educator. Betty dedicated herself to fostering an experience of birth that was gentle, supportive, and honoring of the sacred. She was one of the pioneers of waterbirth in the U.S. and is featured in the documentary Waterbabies.

                  She graduated from the Pacific Academy of Homeopathic Medicine in 1995. Her special interest is women and children's health. She is the author of The Homeopathic Childbirth Manual: A Practical Guide for Labor, Birth, and the Immediate Postpartum Period.

                  Betty has extensive training and experience in pre and perinatal psychology, rebirthing, gestalt therapy, bodywork, constellation work and indigenous wisdom and shamanic practices. She is certified as a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and as a Practitioner of Hypnosis using Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

                  Beginning in 2000 and continuing to the present, Betty has immersed herself in learning and developing the modality of Process Coaching. Here she discovered the tools needed to be her own Healer, connecting with and bringing healing to the deepest parts of self.

                  "I am an adventurer who loves to explore and discover the new territory of generating a world from the inside out where there is no longer any suffering, a world that feels wonderful to be a part of, where real love exists, and where we are each free to follow and manifest our deepest dreams, our deepest desires."

                    Katsi Cook (First Environment Collaborative)

                    Sherrill Elizabeth Tekatsitsiakwa "Katsi" (pronounced Gudji) Cook is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk tribe. She was born on the St. Regis Reservation in northern New York State, the youngest of the four children of Evelyn Kawennaien Mountour and William John Cook. Her mother was educated by Catholic nuns, and died when Cook was eleven years old; her father was a captain in the U.S. Marines and a World War II fighter pilot. Cook was delivered by her paternal grandmother who was also a midwife. She was educated at Catholic boarding schools, attended Skidmore College from 1970 to 1972, and then transferred into the first class of women accepted at Dartmouth College. Soon after, stirrings of the American Indian Movement (AIM) sparked a "generational call to consciousness" and she left school. She married Jose Eugenio Barreiro, a Cuban-born academic and indigenous activist, and the first of their five children was born in 1975. She and Barreiro worked with the Kanienkehaka Longhouse Council of Chiefs from 1972 to 1977 and from 1979 to 1983, where she helped write and produce Akwesasne Notes and toured the U.S. and Canada with the White Roots of Peace, a "communications group" that Cook describes as a traveling university through which participants learned Native knowledge and imparted it to others.
                    Katsi Cook at an Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment Vision Workshop, 2002

                    Cook took up midwifery in 1977 following the Loon Lake Conference of the Six Nations, where control of reproduction was designated as a prerequisite to Native American sovereignty. In 1978 she undertook a midwifery apprenticeship at The Farm in Tennessee, followed by clinical training as a women's health specialist at the University of New Mexico. Cook lived briefly in South Dakota, where in 1978 she attended the founding meeting of Women of All Red Nations (WARN), and in Minnesota, where she founded the Women's Dance Health Project in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Cook returned to Akwesasne in 1980, where she practiced midwifery, helped develop the Akwesasne Freedom School, and founded and directed the Women's Dance Health Program (funded by a grant from the Ms. Foundation). When concerns arose among women on the reservation about the safety of breastfeeding, Cook started the Mother's Milk Monitoring Project in 1984, to monitor PCB levels in breast milk and to address the environmental impact of industrial development of the St. Lawrence Seaway Project, begun in the 1950s. The Mother's Milk Project is still extant and provides services and advocacy for residents of Akwesasne (one of the most severely polluted Native American communities), among them inclusion in the Superfund Basic Research Program.

                    From 1994 to 1998 Cook was a Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology at the University of Albany School of Public Health. As a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University's American Indian Program during those same years, she also worked on environmental justice issues within the Six Nations Iroquois communities. In 2001 she served as the Dr. T.J. Murray Visiting Scholar in Medical Humanities at Dalhousie University, and she has lectured on the subject of alternative and complementary therapies at the State University of New York at Buffalo Medical School and at Cornell University.

                    Cook has participated in national and international women's health movements, including service on the board of the National Women's Health Network, involvement in the Nestle boycott, and work with Mayan midwifes in Guatemala. She monitors indigenous rights in the drafting of midwifery legislation and is the founding aboriginal midwife of the Six Nations Birthing Centre where she assists with student training, curriculum development, and community education. Cook is Director of the Iewirokwas Midwifery Program of Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Supported by a Ford Foundation grant, she is currently developing the First Environment Institute to restore indigenous puberty rites as means of advancing maternal and child health on the Akwesasne and Pine Ridge reservations. She is also conducting research with the Indian Health Service and writing Daughters of Sky Woman: A Cultural Ecology of Birth.

                    Articles and media:

                    Katsi Cook has written multiple news articles for Indian Country Today. All of her scholarly articles are a part of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.
                    2007 – featured speaker at Live Earth Concert at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C..[1]

                    Honors and legacy:
                    2004-2005: Indigenous Knowledge Cultural Research Award from the Indigenous Health Research Development Program at the University of Toronto.[1]



                    PRESENT PLENARY PANEL-- Modern Women - challenges, realities, solutions  SATURDAY, MAY 2, 9 AM-10:15 AM
                    In this moment of unhealthy political, social, economic and environmental conditions, how can we stay connected with our passions, our personal autonomy and our inherent strengths? As we life-givers respond to today's challenges, fully-resourced communities are needed to support us in the many roles we play.  An extended panel will be moderated by Hermine Hayes-Klein and questions from the audience will be taken.


                    Panel Moderator
                    Hermine Hayes Klein (Founder at Director at Human Rights in Childbirth)

                    Mother and human-rights lawyer Hermine Hayes-Klein is the founder of Human Rights in Childbirth, an international, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing women's human rights in maternity care. Hermine lived in the Netherlands for 5 years, where both of her children were born at home with a midwife, and where she taught international law in The Hague. After organizing the first Human Rights in Childbirth conference in The Hague in 2012, Hermine moved back to the US with her family. She works with human rights advocates, activists and agitators the world over to amplify women's voices about their experiences in maternity care and to help them claim their right to respectful, non-violent care in childbirth. Hermine also has a private law practice devoted to advocating for mothers and home birth midwives.


                      Khatera Aslami-Tamplen is an Afghan American who came to the U.S. as a young child with her family seeking refuge. She is a social justice advocate and a leader in bringing patient and family centered care to transform mental health and healthcare systems. Khatera is the Consumer Empowerment Manager for Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services and a governor appointee to the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. Khatera is married and the mother of two: one angel baby and a son. Her experience during the birth and death of her daughter, Lela in 2009 in a SF Bay Area Hospital brought the harsh realities of America's high infant mortality rate and health system failures to the forefront of her own life.This pivotal experience has informed her life's work.Along with her family support it has given her insight onto the Birth activist movement. She believes healing happens through sharing our stories and will be sharing her story for the first time.

                        Ruth Blanding

                        I am a Birth and Postpartum Doula (student CPM), a Certified Body worker, and a Fitness/Dance Instructor. I am a Birth Educator, a Certified Sacred Pregnancy Instructor, and much, much more. I am so glad you joined me here. Let’s heal and grow together!

                        It is my mission in life facilitate you as you are birthed back into the fold of the natural flow of the world around us by rekindling your connection to this flow in birth, body work and energy work, as well as ways to nurture healthy and loving self care!

 To me, Lotus Fire Bliss is not just services to be provided but a way to bring yourself to a healing space, renewing and recharging your “batteries”, and strengthening your light, so that you can more fully embrace life.


                            Kathi Valeii (Birthanarchy.com))

                            Kathi is a mother, writer, speaker, and activist. She is the mind and voice behind the blog and facebook page, Birth Anarchy, and is a former birth doula and birth educator. Her decade-long years of bearing witness and listening to women’s stories offer a unique lens into the rampant abuses of women in today’s maternity care system. Kathi has been called “a true artist,” and “one of the brightest minds in this movement.” Her essays have appeared in numerous birth journals and online publications including, Squat Birth Journal, Midwifery Today, Mutha Magazine, and The Birth Institute. Kathi recognizes the continuity of reproductive justice from pre-conception to birth, and is passionate about advancing the security of those rights for all women.



                                SOCIAL PLENARY PANEL --Human Rights for Women: Emphasizing the Intersectionality of Social Justice Issues   SATURDAY, MAY 2, 1:30 PM-2:45 PM

                                Introducing Loretta Ross

                                Farah Diaz-Tello is a Staff Attorney at National Advocates for Pregnant Women, where her work has focused on using the human rights and reproductive justice frameworks to ensure women's right to birth with dignity and freedom from obstetric violence. She has filed numerous briefs speaking out against criminalization and shackling of pregnant women before state appellate courts and has defended women threatened with court-ordered obstetrical interventions in states across the U.S.


                                Plenary Speaker

                                Loretta J. Ross was a co-founder and the National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective from 2005-2012, a network founded in 1997 of women of color and allied organizations that organize women of color in the reproductive justice movement.

                                She is one of the creators of the term "Reproductive Justice" coined by African American women in 1994 following the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt. She is a nationally-recognized trainer on using the transformative power of Reproductive Justice to build a Human Rights movement that includes everyone.

                                Ms. Ross is an expert on women’s issues, hate groups, racism and intolerance, human rights, and violence against women. Her work focuses on the intersectionality of social justice issues and how this affects social change and service delivery in all movements.

                                Ross has appeared on CNN, BET, "Lead Story," "Good Morning America," "The Donahue Show," "Democracy Now," and "The Charlie Rose Show. She is a member of the Women's Media Center's Progressive Women's Voices. More information is available on the Makers: Women Who Make America video at
                                http://www.makers.com/loretta-ross .

                                Panel Moderator

                                L. Samsarah Morgan, DD. Dr. Morgan is an Interfaith Minister and Counselor, Apprentice Midwife, Family Life Coach, Birth and Postpartum Doula and Hypnotherapist. She is the founder & director of Nia Center for Birth and Family Life. Samsarah is the director of the Birth Professionals of the Bay Area, which has for the past 18 years trained birth and postpartum care givers & educators, with a focus on compassionate care as well as an inner focus and healing of internalized oppression and racism. In response, and in an attempt to heal the horrible rates of infant and maternal mortality, especially where this affects families of color, Samsarah is the founding director of Oakland Better Birth Foundation. This organization facilitates the training of birth workers of color, especially traditionally trained midwives and doulas. It offers grants to families wishing to work with a midwife or birth worker. She is member of the board for the Sacred Birth Angels Foundation, and the founder of The Decolonize (Occupy) Pregnancy Birth and Parenting Caucus of Occupy Oakland. She is also on the board of KPFA community radio.
                                Dr Morgan is a birth and postpartum caregiver and childbirth and parenting educator, celebrating over 34 years as a birth worker and trainer. Her private practice has offered counseling and healing sessions as well as workshops, seminars and retreats for individuals, couples, and families since 1991. In May 2014, she became a Dr. Sears Certified Health Coach. She is a contributing writer for several on line magazines, including Weight Loss Solutions, 360 magazine, Every Little Thing, Birth Babies and Beyond, The Professional Doula, and The Occupy Oakland Media Collective.

                                Dawn Thompson has been in the birth industry since 2003, supporting hundreds of families as a Labor & Postpartum Doula. Because of her own personal struggle through three preventable cesareans before a healing normal birth, her passion for birth has become her life mission.

                                Dawn spent five years as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the San Diego Birth Network, and even longer researching informing and educating birth workers and parents about Cervical Scar Tissue and its effects on laboring women. She is proud to say that she helped bring awareness about Cervical Scar tissue to the forefront among those in the birth community.

                                Before becoming a doula, Dawn worked in marketing and public relations: owned and operated a small retail business; and ran a dental continuing education program for surgeons. She brings all of these skills to ImprovingBirth.org in her goal of transforming maternity care from the inside out.

                                Laura Marina Perez is currently the only Latina home birth midwife residing in San Francisco. Laura is also a co-founder and co-owner of Oakland's Bay Area Midwifery, A Community Wellness and Birth Center. She is passionate about women's reproductive health and reproductive justice. One day, Laura hopes to be an abuela and a curandera.

                                Shelley Sella, M.D. (abortion provider at Southwestern Women's Options) Albuquerque, New Mexico

                                After completing medical school and a year of internship, I worked with home birth midwives in Santa Cruz for two years. I subsequently completed medical training and became an obstetrician/ gynecologist. Since 2000, I have been exclusively providing abortions. Before his assassination, I worked with Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas, providing first through third trimester abortions. For the past five years, I have been providing the same service at Southwestern Women's Options clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am a fervent supporter of the midwifery model of care and and bring that belief into my work as an abortion provider.