I bear witness to the success of the midwifery model of care. Learning about the legacy of the Black midwife in the rural south really transformed my life. It sparked me to want to serve birthing women.
There have been a few midwives that have especially inspired me along my journey. You should know them also.
I include Mama Shafia here because she is the midwife that provided my doula training. You'll read below about her dedicated contributions to increasing the number of professional labor support for Black women.
"Shafia M. Monroe is a visionary, a leader, a Master of Public Health, a veteran midwife, a Certified Childbirth Educator, a Doula Trainer, and a health activist. Shafia Speaks Birth is the platform for inspiring all to embrace birth as the beginning of inner change, growth and world peace; she connects the human family in the universal experience of birth.
Shafia is a motivational speaker; her work transcends color, religion, sexual orientation or class status. She elevates health inequities as a Human Rights issue to motive action in leadership, cultural competency, birth work and women led birth. She is divinely guided; her words unite, motivate and empower the human spirit to embrace the best that one can offer and to act on it.
Shafia is the founder of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) a renowned and respected international non-profit that increases the number of cultural competent midwives and doulas to empower families to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and build capacity in communities of color.
Shafia created the ICTC Full Circle Doula Training program validating a woman’s ability to serve using the traditional midwifery model of care. As a midwife activist, she leads neighborhoods, state and national initiatives to improve maternal, child and family health.
In 2009 she obtained federal funding to create the Oregon Coalition to Improve Birth outcomes, creating a legislative concept for OR HB3311; a bill investigating the use of doulas to improve birth outcomes in vulnerable populations. The bill led to the inclusion of doulas for Medicaid reimbursement as a national model in 2014.
Shafia receives numerous awards for her ground breaking work and is featured in articles, documentaries and in a mural “Women Making History in Portland,” in Portland, OR.
She mothers seven children and nine grandchildren. She gardens, writes, dances and cooks for family and friends.
She mentors 1,000’s of women aspiring to midwifery and mothers the mother to confidentially care for her new born. She champions fatherhood with testimonials, acknowledgements and workshops."
More on Shafia: http://www.shafiamonroe.com/
Kennasha is awesome for so many reasons. I've had the opportunity to work with Kennasha in DFW on occasion. I've had the opportunity to get to know her personally. I have observed her growing her midwifery business. I have seen her contribute to her community. She's a blessing to our metropolitan area. I've been greatly inspired by her energy and dedication to serving families.
Kennasha Jones, CPM, LM
"From my mother, grandmother and aunts, I learned the importance of sisterhood, unity and healing through prayer and laughter. Because of the love for my communities and a passion for pregnant women and healthy newborns, I decided upon the field of midwifery.
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelors of Arts in 2006. In 2008 I began studying midwifery at Maternidad La Luz – The Birth Place, which is a MEAC accredited and noteworthy birthing center in the heart of El Paso, Texas. This is a high volume birth center that experiences 2 or 3 births daily! While there, the majority of my clients were of the Latina/Hispanic race and mainly speak Spanish. I am bi-lingual, with a degree in Spanish and I welcome clients who mainly speak Spanish. I graduated in 2009 and after satisfying all requirements set forth by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), I am a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and licensed in the State of Texas. I have personally attended many births while working at Maternidad La Luz, yet despite the number, I still consider each birth unique and an individual process.
I have recently relocated to the Mid-cities area and am working at Gentle Beginnings Birth Center at both the Keller and Hurst locations. We are a team of hard-working, knowledgeable and caring midwives that acknowledge pregnancy and birth as sacred and honorable.
On a personal note, I recently married the world’s most magnificent man, Lorenzo Jones. He continues to be God’s perfect gift to me. In my spare time I love to travel, sing and sample exotic dishes."
I love the work the Jennie Joseph does. The first time I heard about the Easy Access Clinic and the JJ Way, I felt so inspired. I thought to myself, "as soon as I get a facility, I will implement an easy access portion to it." The way she shares her method is so easy to understand. I am hopeful that facilities and practitioners across the world will implement her methodology. I got to meet Jennie at the 2014 Southwest Birth Roundup. I am so grateful that she was able to share her message with our community.
Jeannie Joseph, CPM, LM
"Jennie Joseph is a British-trained midwife, a women’s health advocate, the founder and executive director of Commonsense Childbirth Inc. and the creator of The JJ Way®. She moved to the United States in 1989 and began a journey that has culminated in the formation of an innovative maternal child healthcare system, markedly improving birth outcomes for women in Central Florida.
Jennie has worked extensively in European hospitals, American birth centers, clinics and homebirth environments. She has been instrumental in the regulation of Florida midwives since the 1990′s and has been involved in midwifery education since 1995. She is the chair of Florida’s State Council of Licensed Midwives. Currently she owns a Florida licensed midwifery school attached to The Birth Place, her nationally renowned birth center and maternity medical home in Winter Garden, Florida.
Due to the high prematurity rates experienced by low income and uninsured women she established an outreach clinic for pregnant women who are at risk of not receiving prenatal care. Her ‘Easy Access’ Prenatal Care Clinics offer quality maternity care for all, regardless of their choice of delivery-site or ability to pay, and have successfully reduced both maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in Central Florida. The Birth Place offers a unique opportunity for pregnant women to choose the site, setting and type of provider for their prenatal care and the delivery of their baby. Working in partnership with women by raising their status from patient to client, Jennie has empowered them to be proactive about their treatment and care. Fathers, family members, and friends are brought in as part of the mother’s team and engaged in the goal of helping her achieve a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
Jennie has pressed for linkages and collaboration with other public and private agencies in an effort to maintain continuity of care for the safety of her clients but also in order to bridge the gap between America’s maternity care practitioners. She has developed and administers perinatal professional training and certification programs to address the health care provider shortage, diversify the maternal child health (MCH) workforce and address persistent racial and class disparities in birth outcomes. There are both quantitative and qualitative studies underway regarding Jennie’s work as well as continuous reviews of the impact of her clinical and educational programs. Jennie’s model of health care, The JJ Way®, provides an evidence-based system to deliver MCH services which improve health, reduce costs and produce better outcomes all round.
Jennie Joseph has built up a reputation across the United States and has given numerous presentations, including a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill, in order to discuss the statistical data as well as describe practical solutions to improving birth outcomes. Jennie is a regular presenter at maternal child health conferences and organizations; she has a leadership position amongst US and international midwives movements and is a subject matter expert on racial and perinatal disparities in the USA.
Jennie firmly believes in patient-centered, woman-centered care and works tirelessly to support the systems, providers and agencies charged with delivering that type of care. “Until women and their loved ones feel that they have enough knowledge and agency to be part of the decisions around their care and until they have access to the education and support that they are lacking, they will continue to be at risk.”-Jennie Joseph"
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