Board of Advisors
Meet these high-profile changemakers who support and believe in BirthWorks. Their expertise guides our cutting edge strategy, and as a member you benefit from their knowledge and experience.
Suzanne Arms is is a practical visionary for transformation. Through seven groundbreaking books including Immaculate Deception: A New Look at Women & Childbirth (1975) and Immaculate Deception II: Myth, Magic & Birth (1997), and her far-reaching video Giving Birth: Challenges & Choices, she inspires practitioners toward holistic care and empowers parents to chose their birthplace. Suzanne is “grandmother” of the US birthing movement. She taught the first course on evolution of childbirth practices; and co-founded one of the first independent birthing centers which offered the first formal training of doulas. Also, she revealed the reality of hospital labor and delivery units by sneaking in to interview and photograph them. She runs Birthing The Future and is working on “Being Born” TV series. She blends ancient feminine wisdom, traditional practices, biological evidence and leading-edge science. She lives in Colorado, USA. www.birthingthefuture.org
Renowned expert Elizabeth Davis is a midwife, reproductive health care specialist, educator and consultant for over 35 years. She is internationally active in promoting pregnant person-centered birth, with expertise in midwifery, organizational development, reproductive rights, birth trauma and intuition. She travels widely lecturing and offering workshops, fulfilling her mission of sharing an integrated view of birth, sexuality, family and ecology. Her book Hearts and Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth discussed controversial birth routines and how birth occurs on different levels of emotion and care. She authored three other books, including Orgasmic Birth. She served on Midwives Alliance of North America, was Midwifery Education Accreditation Council President, and co-founded the National Midwifery Institute. She holds a Holistic Maternity Care degree and North American Registry of Midwives certification. She lives in California, USA and mothers three children.
Raymond Devries, Ph.D.
Raymond De Vries, PhD is Associate Director at Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at University of Michigan, USA as well as Professor in both Departments of Learning Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Additionally, he’s a visiting Professor of Midwifery Science at CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. His interests include how trust/mistrust shape the medical field; regulation/production of scientific knowledge; genetic therapies; export of western moral traditions to non-western societies; and social, ethical, and policy issues associated with the medicalization of pregnancy and birth. His varied publications include A Pleasing Birth: Midwifery and Maternity Care in the Netherlands and varied research projects include Ethics of Electronic Fetal Monitoring: The Intersection of Ethics, Law, and Everyday Medical Practice (2018-2020). He lives in Michigan, USA.
Jean Sutton is a mother, grandmother and midwife with a family background in farming and engineering. As a teenager, she worked as a nurse-aid in a rural maternity hospital, in her first year witnessing over 200 babies being born! Even after becoming a general nurse, she stayed in maternity care, and after several women in her family had traumatic births, she also became a mid-wive. Her life-long observations and study of normal birth processes (in animals and women) led to her pioneering work, Understanding and Teaching Optimal Foetal Positioning. It has helped numerous women comprehend the miraculous engineering of a woman’s pelvis and baby’s head, so they can enjoy the miracle of straightforward birth. Her book Let Birth Be Born Again explains this pelvic positioning that helps a baby move through birth naturally. She is from New Zealand.
Henci Goer is an award-winning medical writer and internationally known speaker. An acknowledged expert on evidence-based maternity care, her first book, Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities, was a valued resource for childbirth professionals. Its successor, Optimal Care in Childbirth: The Case for a Physiologic Approach, has won the American College of Nurse-Midwives “Best Book of the Year” award. Goer has also written The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, which gives pregnant women access to the research evidence, as well as consumer education pamphlets and articles for trade, consumer, and academic periodicals. Currently under development, Goer’s latest project is Childbirth U, a website selling narrated slide presentations at modest cost that will help pregnant women make informed decisions about care. You can find out more about CBU and sign up for CBU’s e-newsletter on CBU’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ChildbirthU.
Phyllis Klaus MFT, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and social worker. She teaches and practices at the Milton H. Erickson Institute in Santa Rosa, California, and in Berkeley, California, providing psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and counseling to individuals, couples, families, children and groups. She has worked with the concerns, both medical and psychosocial, of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period for the past 30 years, and has been involved in research and training of maternity caregivers. She is a founder of DONA International. She is a National Board Certified Fellow in Clinical Hypnotherapy and Fellow in the American Psychotherapy Association, as well as the American Academy of Experts of Traumatic Stress. She is an EMDR Institute Facilitator, and Trainer, an EMDRIA Approved Consultant. She consults nationally and internationally and is co-author of Bonding, Your Amazing Newborn, The Doula Book, and When Survivors Give Birth.
Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD
Lewis Mehl-Madrona holds an M.D. from Stanford University and is currently a research assistant professor in the Native American Research and Training Center at the University of Arizona college of Medicine in Tucson. He is boarded in family practice, geriatrics, psychiatry, and is board eligible in emergency medicine. He has been helping his patients find wellness and recovery and has worked extensively with women fed up with the abuses of impersonal hospital births, and with anyone having an interest in achieving spiritual and physical health. He is author of Pregnancy As Healing Vol. 1, Cesarean Birth Risk and Culture, Mind Over Matter, and Coyote Medicine. His new book will describe the consequences of for-profit health care in the United States. He is also continuing his research on a computer model to predict the outcome of birth. He writes “ I am interested in being on the Board of Advisors of Birth Works because I would like to support the move toward more normal birth in the United States. Classes like those proposed by Birth Works are an important part of this.”
Heloisa Lessa PhD, is an autonomous midwife attending home and hospital births in Rio de Janeiro and a birth activist. She trained with indigenous traditional midwives. She organized several birth conferences in Brazil and abroad and is an international speaker. She is the founder of a multidisciplinary team of midwifes and obstetricians caring for women in Rio and the Founder of Instituto Michel Odent. In 2019 Heloisa won the Human Rights in Childbirth, she received over 350 nominations for the Champions Prize. Her website is: https://www.heloisalessa.com/
Ina May Gaskin
Ina May is often referred to as the most famous midwife in America. She is founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, located near Summertown, Tennessee. She has lectured all over the world at midwifery conferences and at medical schools, both to students and to faculty. The Farm is noted for its low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality. Recently selected as a Visiting Fellow at Morse College of Yale University, Ina May also teaches midwifery, writes books and articles for medical journals and edits her quarterly journal, The Birth Gazette. She is author of Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding, Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and Birth Matters, books read around the world.
Jan Tritten is the founder and editor-in-chief of Midwifery Today magazine and a midwife who was in active practice from 1977 to 1989. She became a midwife in 1977 after the powerful homebirth of one of her daughters. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies in the United States and around the world. Meet Jan at Midwifery Today’s conferences around the world!
Michel Odent, MD
Michel Odent, MD, OB/GYN has been presented in the Lancet as “one of the last real general surgeons.” He directed the surgical and maternity units of the Pithiviers hospital in France from 1962-1985 where he introduced the concepts of home-like birthing rooms, birthing pools and singing sessions for pregnant women. He is founder of the Primal Health Research Centre in London, and designed a database (primalhealthhresearch.org) in order to compile epidemiological studies exploring correlations between what happens during the “Primal period” (conception to the end of the first year of life) and health into adulthood. He is the author of 14 books published in 22 languages. His books constantly refer to the concept of reduced neocortical activity as a key to rediscover the basic needs of laboring women and to make possible a real “fetus ejection reflex.” His books include: Birth Reborn, Primal Health, The Farmer and the Obstetrician, The Caesarean, The Scientification of Love, The Functions of the Orgasms: The Highways to Transcendence, Childbirth in the Age of Plastics, Childbirth and the Future of Homo sapiens, reissued as Childbirth and the Evolution of Homo sapiens in 2014, and his most recent book Do we need Midwives? He is currently focusing on the possible evolution of Homo sapiens in relation to the modern ways to be born.
Dr. Price received a Bachelor in Behavioral Science from the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Old Dominion University. She completed her graduate degree at the University of Cincinnati, with a Master of Nursing in Midwifery, and a post-Masters certificate in Global Women’s Health. She received her Executive Doctorate in Nursing from The Johns Hopkins University, with a research focus on Respectful Maternity Care, particularly the intrapartum monitoring of obese patients, and improving maternal-fetal outcomes in that population. She is board certified through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB), and is a voting member of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM). She is President-elect of the American College of Nurse-Midwives VA, and a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, as well as the Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders. She was nominated for Birth Advocate of the Year in 2015. Amber is currently Vice President at The Women’s Hospital at Henrico Doctors’Hospital. Originally from the Netherlands, she attended births in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Japan and New Zealand before returning to practice in VA.
Kerstin Uvnas Moberg, MD, Ph.D.
Dr. Moberg is recognized as a world authority on oxytocin. Her research takes place at the famed Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and at the Swedish university of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, where she is Professor of Physiology. The author of over four-hundred scientific papers, Dr. Uvnas Moberg lectures widely in Europe and the U.S. Her work has been influential in a variety of fields, including obstetrics, psychology, animal husbandry, physical therapy, pediatrics, and child development. Her books include The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the hormone of calm, love, and healing and The Hormone of Closeness: The role of oxytocin in relationships. She is the mother of four children, she lives in Djursholm, Sweden.
Nancy Wainer is a Certified Professional Midwife who attends home births and who has been present at over 2100 births. She trains student midwives, teaches childbirth classes, is the author of two (soon to be three) books on Birth in the USA. She coined the term VBAC and her work is being archived at Harvard University’s Schlessinger Womens’ History Library. She was selected as one of Mothering Magazines “Living Treasures.”
Barbara Harper is a leading voice for childbirth and maternity care reform, an author, educator, midwife and internationally recognized expert on the use of warm water immersion for labor and birth. She became a registered nurse in 1975 and has worked in obstetrics, pediatrics, cardiac, neurosurgical intensive care and as a holistic nursing specialist. In 1988 she founded Waterbirth International after researching water immersion as a gentle birth option for mother and child. Her award winning book and DVD, Gentle Birth Choices, has influenced hundreds of thousands of parents and professionals and has been translated into nine languages. The 2016 Chinese publication of Gentle Birth Choices sold over 10,000 copies in six months. She has been featured on radio and television shows including ABC Morning Show, LA Live, and The Doctors on CBS and has lectured in more than 60 countries.
Bethany Hays, MD, FACOG
Bethany Hays, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist who trained as a perinatologist and practiced obstetrics for 29 years, delivering her first baby in 1972 as a medical student at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She delivered her last baby in 2001 when she decided to put all her energy into “midwifing” the creation of a holistic health center in Falmouth, Maine. For 14 years Dr. Hays was the Medical Director of True North, a nonprofit organization whose mission was to change health care in America, starting in southern Maine. She found her way to the Institute for Functional Medicine in 1999, has been teaching for IFM since 2000, and currently serves on the board. She has been affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine, University of Vermont Medical School, University of New England, and Dartmouth Medical School and is affiliated currently with Tufts Medical School.
Susan Luddington, Ph.D.
Susan Luddington, Phd, FAAN, is a certified nurse midwife who graduated from the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing/Child Development from the Texas Woman's University, has a Master of Science in Maternal-Child Health University of California, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of California, and a Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology from the University of California. Her research interests lie in the areas of Kangaroo Care, Physiologic Responses to Skin-to-Skin Care, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, Early Development Issues, and Infant Obesity all of which have led to numerous research publications. She is currently a professor of pediatric nursing at the Carl W. and Margaret Davis Walter Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve.
Jeanne Ohm, DC-Honorary Member
Jeanne Ohm is an international lecturer, post-graduate instructor for numerous chiropractic colleges and author of many papers on pregnancy, birth, children and chiropractic. She is also Executive Coordinator and Executive Secretary for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and editor of its quarterly magazette. Dr. Ohm’s professional mission is to provide doctors of chiropractic with the skills and motivation to take care of more pregnant mothers and children. Dr. Ohm is married to Dr. Thomas Ohm, Chiropractor. They have six children, all born at home, not vaccinated, and living drug-free, healthy lives.
Marshall Klaus-Honorary Member
Marshall H. Klaus, M.D., internationally known neonatologist and researcher, is the author or coauthor of several standard works in the field, including Bonding, Care of the High Risk Newborn, and Mothering the Mother. A pioneer in neonatology, Marshall did the original work in isolating and identifying the surfactant critical to early respiration, a breakthrough that led to life-saving clinical application in nurseries everywhere. He took the lead in opening the premature nursery to parents and has been a leader in the humane care of mothers and babies, including support for parents dealing with the death of a baby.