The Board will support the work of FAM and provide mission-based leadership and strategic governance. While day-to-day operations are led by FAM’s executive director, the Board-ED relationship is a partnership, and the appropriate involvement of the Board is both critical and expected.
At the age of 19, while studying Human Biology at Stanford University, I was struck with the realization that midwifery was my life path. I was deeply engaged in the feminist movement and was committed to empowering women. After graduation I studied and worked in El Paso Texas and then started a home birth practice in Vermont. I have worked as an independent midwife, a CPM, and a CNM. I have attended births in all settings, at home, in the hospital, and in birthing centers. After 25 years in a private practice called Long River Midwives, I have worked for the past 12 years in a community hospital birthing center. I consider teaching the next generation of midwives both my responsibility and my joy. I have worked with students from Seattle Midwifery School, Birthwise, Frontier Nursing University, and Yale. I have also been deeply involved with the politics of midwifery, serving on state boards, promoting midwifery legislation, and working within state midwifery organizations. I am driven by a passion to give all women the opportunity to have a joyful, transforming pregnancy and birth experience. Pregnancy and birth are the gateway to motherhood and I believe healthy mothering strengthens society. My own experience of being mother to three (now adult) home born children has informed both my practice and my passion. Birth matters and midwives understand that. I am inspired to work for FAM because it is my dream that all women will have the choice to birth in the manner that creates the optimum foundation for themselves and their family.
Priya Morganstern is a public interest attorney who specializes in the law of tax-exempt organizations.
She directs the Connecticut program of the Pro Bono Partnership, a legal aid organization that provides free legal assistance to nonprofit organizations serving the public interest. Priya has been involved in women’s health and midwifery advocacy since the 1970’s as a founding member of Long Island (NY) Childbirth Alternatives and the Massachusetts Friends of Midwives, and later as president of Connecticut Friends of Midwives. She trained as a midwife in El Paso Texas, taught medical students for a number of years as part of a woman run gynecological teaching program, and was a contributing editor of “The Whole Birth Catalog.” But her favorite role is as a passionate advocate for midwives and for midwifery, and assisting the organizations that are working so hard to make midwifery care accessible to all women. Priya’s training as a midwife, her belief in the midwifery model of care, and her long term commitment to FAM are evident in how she continuously shows up for the foundation and tirelessly promotes it’s work. Priya is married with one daughter and lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Justine first became part of the birthing community in 2009 when a friend asked her to be the support person during the birth of their first child. She immediately enrolled in birth and postpartum doula training programs through San Francisco’s renowned parenting support organization, Natural Resources. Although she volunteered as a doula over the next several years, the demands became unsustainable once she had her own children while also maintaining a full-time job.
Justine remains connected to Bay Area’s birthing community and frequently consults families through pre-conception preparation and early postpartum adjustments. She is ecstatic to add “midwifery advocate” to her birth work repertoire as a zealous board member of FAM.
Justine lives in San Francisco and works as the Deputy Director of HR for one of San Francisco’s major city departments. She is a CA licensed attorney, the fierce mama to two beautiful, home-birthed babies, and the partner to her conscious, self-reliant husband.
Lauren Miller has her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Through her undergraduate studies she discovered her passion for women’s health. She has been a birth doula since 2007 and has helped support close to 400 families. She is also a massage therapist and has been incorporating her massage skills with her doula practice since 2008. In 2011, Lauren enrolled in the National Midwifery Institute and went on to be trained as a homebirth midwife in San Francisco. She graduated from the program in 2014 and is currently studying for her upcoming NARM exam. Lauren joined FAM in 2016 after being referred by her long-time friend, colleague, former board member Nile Nash a practicing midwife in California. Lauren brings her extraordinary interpersonal skills to the board and her knack for using the latest technology to connect FAM to the current and potential donors. She is honored to be a member of FAM’s board.
Janis has been a birth worker for over 30 years. She was called into this work before becoming a mother, and the experience of bearing 4 children and raising them has deepened her work. Her path to becoming a midwife has been experiential, beginning with her own home births, and then serving as doula and educator to women and families navigating their own journey of birth. Janis is now about to graduate from Birthwise Midwifery School and will take her NARM exams for certification as a CPM, licensed in NJ. She believes that pregnancy and birth are normal, natural, healthy processes and that the knowledge of how to birth exists within every woman. Janis believes in establishing a culture of community around birth, in which each woman is supported to find her place along the continuum of birth as it has existed throughout time. She believes in each woman’s right to choose her place of birth and provider, based on equal access to the most culturally appropriate care. She believes it is essential that our society recognize the role of midwife as the gold standard in maternity care for low risk women in our country. To that end, Janis believes that increasing access to midwifery education is essential to fulfilling the vision of “a midwife on every block.”
Emily has been working as a consumer advocate for safe, accessible perinatal care. She founded the Bay State Birth Coalition to advocate for state recognition of certified professional midwives in Massachusetts, and is an elected consumer representative on the Board of the Massachusetts Midwives Alliance, a professional society for home birth midwives. Emily is an Executive Director of “Why Not Home,” a 2016 film exploring maternity care in the US through the stories of doctors and nurses who attend births in hospitals but choose to have their own babies at home. She finds fundraising and grant making a joyful, meaningful, and satisfying way to advance midwifery in North America.
Emily had her two children at home attended by midwives and was herself born at home with a midwife. She is motivated by her gentle, respectful birth experiences. Feeling called to join the movement to improve birth, she has focused her efforts to date on safe, accessible perinatal care in the midwifery model. Emily is long time FAM Birth Trustee and is delighted to join the FAM board as of spring 2017. Emily Anesta has a Master and Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and is a Gordon Engineering Leadership Fellow. For over a decade, she led technology research and development projects at MIT. At MIT, she also advocated for lactation support and high-quality childcare in the workplace.
Kirsten became interested in midwifery while attending graduate school for public policy. While in school, she became pregnant with her first child. Her care by nurse-midwives was so affirming in her belief in normal birth that she chose to give birth to her second child at home with midwives two years later. These experiences became the catalyst in her pursuit of a career in midwifery.
Her love for midwifery comes from a place of constant delight in the strength of mothers and the belief that excellence in the care of women and babies is critical to public health. Her training as a birth professional initially began as a doula. Then, after years of training and apprenticeship, she became a homebirth midwife. In order to serve a broader population of birthing women, she returned to graduate school at Yale University to become a certified nurse-midwife.
Kirsten brings a varied background to her work, having previously completed a bachelor’s in English from Trinity College and a master’s in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She has worked in the fields of education, land conservation, and disability services. In addition, she built and managed a maternal-child wellness center, directed a non-profit family center and taught antepartum and intrapartum to aspiring midwives, childbirth educators, doulas and prenatal yoga teachers. She has served on the board of the Massachusetts Midwives Alliance, was the Yale student representative to the American College of Nurse Midwives, and in 2015, she was appointed to the board of the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery. Kirsten resides in Northampton, MA, with her husband, her teenage children and a menagerie of pets. She loves planning celebrations with her family and friends, spending time near the ocean, watching her children participate in sports, music and theater.
Vicki is the mother to five children and one grandchild, born into her hands in October of 2012. She has been attending births since 1996, first as a doula, doula trainer, and childbirth educator and since 2008 as a CPM when she graduated from the National College of Midwifery. In 2010 she also became a CM and she serves families in New Jersey and New York. Her learning occurred through the apprenticeship model in many different settings with beautiful and wise midwives who taught the art of midwifery through their example. She continues the tradition of mentoring others through study groups and apprenticeship. Before becoming a midwife, Vicki had a private accounting practice for sixteen years, midwifing her clients through the stresses of finances and taxes. Vicki is the current president of the Midwives Alliance of North America and the organization’s liaison to FAM. Vicki believes the birth of a child is an amazing mixture of physical happenings, emotional ups and downs and spiritual and personal growth. It brings with it the realization that we are powerful and powerless at the same time; that we can be in control while surrendering; and that nothing else at that moment, hour, day or even days matters, only the intensity of the work we have to do to bring this precious life from us, to us. It is a true blessing and an honor to be present, and she feels privileged to be a part of the journey.
When she was 3 months pregnant with her first child, midwifery captured her heart and her imagination. For over 40 years Geradine has worked as a practitioner, activist, leader, author and consultant. She began as a direct-entry homebirth midwife in 1976 and became a nurse-midwife twenty years later. For over 30 years she provided healthcare for women, infants and families in a variety of settings: home, freestanding birth center, clinics, and hospitals. Some of her favorite work has been with migrant farmworkers and American Indian Tribes focusing on health equity, which creates the seedbed for nurturing a lifetime of good health and well being. She is also dedicated to transforming the current US maternity care system to reflect principles of health equity.
Geradine has served as a state and national leader. She was a founding member and first President of the Michigan Midwives Association. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) for over 15 years, including two terms as President, and MANA’s first Executive Director, as well as holding other national leadership roles. She has been a member of the Governing Council of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). Geradine is the author/editor of ‘Into These Hands: Wisdom from Midwives,’ an anthology of the life stories of 25 remarkable women who dedicated their lives to midwifery and social change.
Currently, Geradine is the Owner of Birthways Consulting, LLC. For over a decade she has been an expert consultant and trainer for Healthy Native Babies, a project of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). She has also provided consulting and fieldwork for 1000 Grandmothers, a project in Indian Country of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She was just appointed by the Governor to the new Michigan Board of Licensed Midwifery. Geradine has returned to FAM as the President, after having been on the Board nearly two decades ago.
Geradine has 3 adult children, all home born, with her first grandchild on the way. She lives in Northern Michigan with the love of her life, Fred, who she recently married. For fun they spend a lot of time sailing on the Great Lakes and scuba diving in the deep blue oceans of the Caribbean.
Tamara Wrenn, Executive Director, has a diverse and varied professional background that includes organizational consulting for nonprofits with a focus on health advocacy. Prior to assuming this role, Tamara was a FAM board member from 2011 to 2015. She brings maternal child health management, administrative, and leadership skills to the organization. Tamara has the pleasure of working nationally providing technical assistance and training on subjects that include the long-term impact of improving women’s wellness throughout the lifespan, putting the theory of the Life Course Model into practice, and applying the model as an intervention to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in infant and maternal mortality. With a successful grants management track record, Tamara serves as a grant reviewer for the Health Resources & Services Administration and provides strategic grant writing services. Joining the FAM family has given her the chance to make a difference in lives and communities across North America and she is grateful for the opportunity. Tamara lives in New York, where she is active in the birth community, and is the proud mother of an amazing daughter and a yummy grandson, both helped into the world by midwives.