Board of Directors

FAM board of directors
FAM board of directors

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.

Emily Anesta

emilys-photoEmily is 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. Emily was an Executive Producer 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 grantmaking 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 a 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. For over a decade, she led technology research and development projects at MIT.

Janis Gildin

janis-photoJanis 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.”

Vicki Hedley

vicki-headshotVicki 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.

Kirsten Kowalski-Lane

kirsten-kowalski-lane-photoKirsten 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.

Lauren Miller

laurens-photoLauren 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.

Priya Morganstern

Senior Advisor

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 has one daughter and lives in Hartford, Connecticut.

Chanel L. Porchia-Albert

Chanel L. Porchia Albert is the founder of Ancient Song Doula Services a reproductive health organization focused on providing resources and full spectrum doula services to women of color and marginalized communities. Her work within infant and maternal health has led her across the globe to Uganda were she has served as a maternal health strategist in rural war torn areas to address the lack of resources to birthing mothers, she is a certified lactation counselor, midwifery assistant and vegan chef and has served on various advisory boards throughout the country. Currently, she serves as a consultant for the NYC Department of Health in Mental Hygiene engaging providers in birth justice and serves on the advisory board at Ariadne Labs at Harvard Medical School. When she is not teaching or facilitating workshop you can nd her spending time with her six children.

Geradine Simkins

Geras-photoWhen 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

Staff Executive Director

tamara-bTamara 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.

Student Ambassadors

Haikanarumi Lara

Bastyr University

Haikanarumi is a Midwifery student at Bastyr University, due to graduate in 2019. Haika was born and raised in Venezuela, and was inspired by her mother who had given birth three times at home. She first became part of the birthing community while attending high school back in 2011. Prior to midwifery school Haika was certified as a Birth and Postpartum doula in Chicago, IL. She has a strong passion for making midwifery more accessible for everyone, and improving the care that pregnant individuals get in our community. Currently, Haika lives and attends births as a student midwife in Los Angeles, CA. Her goal is to practice midwifery in Los Angeles, CA and serve her community.

Sydney Logan

Florida School of Traditional Midwifery

Sydney Logan Is a first-year student attending the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery in Gainesville Florida. She moved to Florida from her hometown in Ohio right after high school graduation, knowing Midwifery was her passion. She intends to be part of the legal advancement of midwifery across the country and hopes to one day have a practice in Chicago specializing in serving pregnant people who have experienced sexual trauma. Sydney is known to bring humor and light to her clinical sites and ensures her total focus on giving informed, respectful, empowering care.

Elle Stanforth

Birthwise Midwifery School

Elle has lived in many communities but now calls Burlington, VT home. She lives in the Old North End with her husband Adam, and two boys Maxwell and August. Elle is currently a student at Birthwise Midwifery School in Bridgton ME. She has been studying midwifery since 2014 when she attended a smaller program in Amherst, MA. Different life experiences has brought Elle new and valuable insight which she is excited to share. After the birth and subsequent death of her daughter, Elle’s passion for midwifery was reignited and cemented. She believes in serving others and enthusiastically pursues that in every facet of her life. Elle is a recipient of her RYT 200. As a yoga teacher, she specializes in Ashtanga, prenatal and postnatal yoga. Additionally, Elle volunteers at the University of Vermont Medical Center with No One Dies Alone. NODA is a program that ensures individuals will have company in their last moments. In her (limited!) spare time, Elle enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family and cooking fun, nutritious food!

Tanya Smith-Johnson

Midwives College of Utah

Tanya Smith-Johnson is a Navy veteran, military wife , homeschooler and mother of 6. Tanya holds a BS. in Biology and Master’s of Science in Medical Science. She is the former president of California Families for Access to Midwives and current Vice President of the California Association of Midwives Foundation. Tanya believes in the midwifery model of care and believes every one should have access to it. Tanya is currently a midwifery student at Midwives College of Utah and resides in Hawai’i .

Marqui Taylor

Birthwise Midwifery School

little boy reading a newspaper

Bio and picture coming soon!

Laurie Foster

lauries-photoAt 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.

Justine Hinderliter

Justine

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.