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How will new leadership affect the ways CAM educates families and expands access to licensed midwifery in California?
Jocelyn Dugan, former CAM treasurer, took on the role of president in January. Tanya Smith Johnson stayed on as Vice President, while former CAM President Rosanna Davis stepped into the treasurer position. (She also fills one of the two board slots held for licensed midwives.)
CAM’s new president and vice-president duo sat down (something either leader rarely does given their busy lives!) with Jeanette McCulloch, CAM’s communication consultant, to share their vision for CAM and midwifery in California.
Jeanette:It has been three years since CAM became what it is today: an organization focused on education and access to midwifery, a sister organization to CALM (the professional organization for California licensed midwives.) Tanya, tell me about the role that CAM plays or will be playing in access to midwifery in California.
Tanya: I think CAM's role in increasing access to midwifery is about educating and informing the public at-large about what midwifes do, who midwives are . . . and how great their work is.
Midwives affect families and their general well-being in the reproductive year and beyond. From conception to birth, midwives are an integral part in that transition in a family’s life.
The relationship a family has with their midwife, though, goes beyond that period. Often, the care between a midwife and a family may be the first time a family has received care that is deeply respectful, that centers the family’s values and preferences. The relationship with the midwife then sets the standard for how they go about getting their care for themselves, their children (who have witnessed the positive care), and so on and so forth.
By informing and educating the public at-large about how important the midwifery model care is, we are also contributing to our society's well-being. One family receiving midwifery care affects the individuals receiving care, their children, and their children’s children.
Jocelyn: There is a micro and a macro in this world. The micro is the person having the baby and the experience that they have and that their child has and their partner has, if they have a partner, through the process of birth. And then the macro is how you apply that to, like Tanya said, the well-being of the population of people. If we look at the evidence that we have about midwifery care and how it can help the maternal healthcare crisis we are suffering from in America, you can apply that to the individual and then you can apply that to the macro.
And if you look at the outcomes that midwives provide and improve on, especially in communities of color, relative to the number of people actually receiving midwifery care, there is tremendous work to be done. What if more midwives of color were available to provide care within their communities? There is a way to fix the problem of the impact of health disparities on pregnant people of color and their babies.
Jeanette: How is this different than what CALM does?
Jocelyn: In one important way: we are very similar: both CAM and CALM exist to advance midwifery in California. But we serve very different audiences.
CALM is a professional organization for licensed midwives. As a professional organization, they provide much-needed benefits to their members, like clinical training opportunities, advocacy around legislation and regulations that impact midwives, and other tools to support their practice as LMs.
Our work at CAM is complementary, but different. CAM exists to engage families and to support, ultimately, the families in California who would want the care of or to learn more about licensed midwifery.
Jeanette: I know you both have these amazing stories of how your births have impacted your decision to be engaged in this work. Is it okay for me to ask that question of one or both of you?
Jocelyn: Yes, go for it.
Tanya: Yeah. Jocelyn can go first since she has fewer births to think about and talk about.
Jocelyn: True. And my two births are polar opposites. I'm going to try to say this in the least negative way possible for the medical establishment. My first birth was traumatic and many interventions that could go wrong, did. And I did not feel like I had any level of autonomy, and I knew that I wanted more.
There was a lack of support and knowledge of who I was and what I needed from my birth attendants. And I came through that depressed and unable to bond with my child and unable to feel any joy about what happened. Having a C-section, and not just having a C-section, but all of the other things that happened along the way or after the fact . . . my first recollection of holding my baby, I was high on morphine and I didn't even know that I had a morphine IV.
When I realized that I wanted to have another child and I wanted to feel that autonomy, that respect, that trust. I started researching midwives and I found the group of midwives that I had Quinn with. From the get go, my care was different. They met with me in my home. They talked to me about nutrition. They talked to me about my relationship stability. They talked to me about what I wanted out of my birth. Questions that people had previously not even included me in. So having the autonomy and the ability to express my voice about my own medical situation was hugely liberating. And I had a difficult and challenging birth and still came out the other side thinking it was so much better, and I would do it all over again the same way.
So when there was a need for someone who had used a midwife to step into an organization that needed accounting help, I was like, "Yes, I will do this." I think everybody should be able to feel the difference or to feel the way it is to have care with someone who cares about you, ultimately. Having the experience that's such a juxtaposition of one really terrible and one really difficult but amazing experience made me think that everybody needs to at least know this is an option for them. And if they choose to do something else, great. But if they don't even know about it, they can never make that decision.
Jeanette:Tanya, how about you?
Tanya: I had a completely different experience. And even though I've given birth six times, all of them were great in their own way. They got increasingly better. But my first two were with a doctors/nurse midwife team. In my mind, I thought that I was doing a thing where I was really informed, where I was choosing care providers and this maternity care that was "natural" . . . as natural as it could be. I thought that was what I was choosing.
I had this great birth. The first was with the doctors. The second was with the nurse midwife. The way the practice ran, you rotated between the two and you chose who was going to show up for you in the moment. It was great and amazing. What I didn't like was how I was treated after I had the baby. It was little things that, in hindsight, were big.
The birth itself was great, but how the nurses treated me ... how once I had my daughter they whisked her off and literally my legs were still up in stirrups. Everybody was over with the baby and I literally remember whispering "Hey, is somebody there?" I'm like, "I'm cold," or ... I am completely exposed and my husband is having to advocate for my wishes in the room with the nurses in regards to what we discussed in our plan. For instance, I was a first-time mother and being told, "Oh, your birth is going to be longer" than what it was. My first birth was just three hours, but they're like, "Oh, you can't be moving this fast," and all these things. And, "Oh, do you want pain medication?" My husband is literally having an argument with the nurse trying to advocate for me and say, "No, we've discussed this. She doesn't want an epidural. She doesn't want these things." They're arguing in the corner while I'm trying to birth.
Those little experiences made me be like, "Huh, I don't want to be here after I have my baby", to where, literally, I advocated for leaving as soon as possible from the hospital after having my baby. And of course, the doctor's like, "Absolutely." So it wasn't the doctor and it wasn't even the midwife. It was the care I felt I was getting afterwards. I had to ask for a bar of soap. My husband's grandmother had to go into the hall and go to the closet to get a wash towel. These little things ... I was like, "I don't want that." I wanted to be able to feel at home wherever I am. I want to be comfortable.
I just remember the little things about how scratchy the plastic mattress was and just literally not being able to sleep in the midst of this ravenous newborn on my boob. I just like, "I want to be comfortable. I want to feel at home."
When my son was just 6 days old, I started med school, where I was planning to become an OB GYN. Most med students have not had children yet. In school, I’m being told about birth and what it's like from people who've never done it and with students who don't get it, and I was informed in a different way.
Midwifery was just kind of whispering to me. I thought, "There has to be something else other than this," ... even other than nurse midwifery. I didn't know that CPMs even existed. I knew they did in the past. I didn't even know there was a option to birth outside of a hospital. I knew you could birth at a birth center, but just completely at home, I thought those were rogue people who were just doing something that was completely against the law. I didn't know.
So then by the time I was pregnant with my third, I had left med school. I decided we were absolutely birthing with midwives. But we're military. So we're moving to different states with different laws about who you can birth with. So we were in a place where there weren't CPMs. We were in Hawaii and CPMs were illegal and you can't find them, so I chose to birth in a out-of-hospital birth center, and it was great and amazing. I was like, "Okay, we can go even further than this. We can actually birth at home. I've completely birthed this way. We got this. We can just do this, right?"
Then, by our fourth baby, I definitely know what I'm looking for. I know what kind of experience I want. I know that I'm in California where I can have the midwife. So California and my fourth baby was the first time I had a home birth. I had that baby on Stanford's campus. I found my midwife at 36 weeks, which is late in the game, and it was great and amazing. Even in that short period of time of me meeting my midwife and connecting with her, beat out the entire nine months of being with a different kind of care provider. It was instant. She got me. She heard me. And I had the birth of my dreams.
At that point, I was like, "Whoa, where do I sign-up? How do I let other people know that this exists and how do I help this?" And that's how I got involved from that point on. Just me coming from it from all the angles ... as a former med student, as someone who was going to be a doctor, someone who has birthed in the hospital, someone who's birthed in the birth center, even, and then now, someone who's actually had a home birth. I had all these experiences with different providers in different settings, and nothing compared to my experience with a midwife in my home.
I never went back. My last three births have all been at home. That was the only place where I felt like I was completely comfortable. I was not only in my home but felt at home in my body. I felt at home with the people around me. I felt that they knew my wishes and they actually did them. It was the first time and only time where I felt that I had complete informed consent from start to finish, I knew what my choices were and whether or not I could refuse.
I feel like I'm fairly informed about what's out there because I've actually experienced it. I can say honestly from my heart and soul that the midwifery model of care is what everyone needs and deserves to know about.
I then also thought about how I’m a fairly educated woman, who has gone to college and hold masters degrees. I was on track to become a doctor. And if I didn't know about these options and what they meant for my births, imagine how little others know about their options.
I realized I wanted to make sure people know about and have the option of the midwifery model of care, whether they choose it or not.
Jeanette: What challenges did you face choosing midwifery care?
Jocelyn: It was really hard to be pregnant and vulnerable and trying to argue a case that midwifery care was ok for my family. I felt like I had to really battle people around me, like friends and family, to even explore this option because nobody knew what it was, and they were all so scared. If I could eliminate that for one other person by letting it become more normal and less fringe, I'd feel like I'd done something.
Tanya: I got the most criticism from people who were in the medical profession and other medical students. "You know better than this. You're smarter than this. Why are you choosing this?" It's a hard argument to be in, explaining that "Well, you all know me. I'm right in school with you. You know that I wouldn't make a decision that I didn't think was a good one and I wasn't informed about."
I can't imagine the push back other people get. Even if they have a support system, they have to go up against what their support system thinks and whether or not they can still stand by them in their choice.
It's not just even educating the person who's birthing, but their entire family and their entire support system so they can do it. I've been in births where family was on-board but the in-laws and mothers who were going to be at the birth weren't. And it made it so stressful for them, and it was so tense to where it changed how that birth went just from having people there who didn't believe and didn't know and weren't informed.
It's bigger than just the individual family. It's like who's actually birthing, but everybody else who's around. So if you could change all of those people's minds and inform all of those people about the choices that are out there and the choices that a loved one has made or choices a particular family member has made, it's changing so much. And those people go out and tell other people, and so on and so forth.
My children are telling me now that they know nothing else. This is what they think birth is.
Jocelyn: It's redefining culture.
Tanya: It's a whole paradigm shift.
Jeanette: When you look ahead to the next year, what are CAM’s top priorities?
Jocelyn: First, the JumpStart Program. Our goal is to get a cohort through the program this year.
We are also defining CAM as an organization that values all people, and centers people of color and those from nondominant cultures in everything that we do.
We are continuing to work on things in ways that make us stand out, even if they're small, like a whiteboard video that educates families about midwifery care.
Tanya:And we are doing it intentionality from the beginning. Everything that we do, it's not in hindsight, it's not about optics, it's not about this new wave of diversity and equity that everybody's on so they're just picking people based on how they look to place them in their organizations just for the look of it, but not because they really care about their voices and how they're being heard and how those voices are affecting what happens and what organizations do.
CAM is not just saying we hear you, we want to include you. CAM is making a table where the seats – and the power - are held by all the vulnerable and marginalized voices we can find. These voices are speaking to every decision we make.
That's what different. I think lots of people, lot of organizations they ask a person of color once a product is finished to give their feedback, as opposed to engaging them from the jump.
Then, we see an end product that at best doesn’t speak to our community, and at worst is offensive. And we ask, "Wait, how did they get past so many eyes and so many people and no one thought it was a problem?" Because the right people aren't in the room from the beginning.
I think that what CAM is doing can be modeled by other organizations on a state level and a national level. And I can say that because as Vice President of CAM and as someone who's actually sitting at the table, it's what I feel and it's what I know to be true. I know the effort that is taken to get the right people in the room and to get the right voices heard. That's huge and it takes a lot of trust-building. It takes a lot of time to do that from jump, but I think the end result in what we'll see with the project, the very concrete project that we do, you'll see that represented in those things that we put out, in the programs that we push, and in the whiteboard that we put out. That's, I think, what we're about.
Jeanette: You two have a very collaborative working style. Can you tell me a little bit about your style of working together and what makes it work, and what makes it work for the two of you, and what makes it work for CAM?
Tanya: I was the president of another organization. I left it because I didn't feel, as leadership, I was being listened to and heard. I thought I brought a lot to the table and after a point, I didn't feel like I wasn't being heard in the way I should be. So from the beginning, when Jocelyn even approached me about possibly being a part of CAM, I was a bit skeptical because I didn't want to do that same kind of thing again with another organization, especially one that was pretty much white and white-led. I didn't want to be tokenized. I think what made the difference was Jocelyn was genuine in building a relationship with me, Tanya, not me as a black person who will be great for CAM, but me, Tanya, who I've seen, who I think would be great for CAM, who I would want to be here. She took the time to get to know me and also took the time to give me the space to feel CAM out, give me the space to decide and see that they really were about what they said they were about, and that is what made the difference.
And that enabled me, as a person of color, to reach out to other people of color and say, "No, this organization is different. Jocelyn means what she says. You want to be a part. I trust her. This is the relationship that we have. From everything that I know and have been shown, it is authentic and true and real, and it's done with integrity. That gives other people the same trust and the same willingness to become a part of CAM.
That’s what most organizations need: to try to build relationships. It takes more time that way, but I think in the end, we get rid of a lot of the shenanigans that happen otherwise.
Jocelyn: Jeanette, you ask us all the time if we want to do “relationships first.” I feel like that's what we do here. For Tanya, specifically, having her be skeptical of me, as a white person, was a good wake-up call. And having her still talk to me even though I was white and she was skeptical was amazing and a gift. I've learned more from Tanya in two years than I've learned in my whole life.
Tanya's fierce, and I've developed so much love for her that I feel like our relationship sort of defines the board ... that we provide people space to think about things or take time off or confide in us in really deep ways. And I don't think that could happen if we didn't have that fierce love for each other and that safety net with each other to say, "Hey, I've had a really rough day. Can you help me with this?" We set the example, and we lead by example, and I think people feel it.
Tanya: I think as women leading an organization, me as a woman of color and her white, this is one model for how you do this. This is a model for how you can juggle all the hats that you're wearing. This is a way of truly diversifying a board. This is how you give up power.
Jocelyn reaches out to me when opportunities come to her, she says “People are pinging me, but they should be pinging you. Do you want this project or opportunity?" Always, always, and that is a show of giving up power, giving up whatever because she doesn't have to. It's a way of paying homage to me in what I do. And just me, as a black woman, as a woman of color, period, that is all that we ask of organizations and of people and of spaces that we walk into ... to consider us, consider our work, give us a chance, give up power.
I think if more people in places and organizations could do that in a real way and figure out how to do it, it would be huge. We do it well, and I think it shows. It's what attracts the people that we have here with.
Jeanette:For others who learn about CAM's work, who learn about the way that you work together and want to get involved, what's a good way for folks to do so?
Tanya: For me, I'm always reachable. We're totally accessible, and we answer people back. We do want great people working with us and we're willing to share the love to them. We're willing to task people as much as they can be tasked. I think that, too, is a beautiful thing. We can see other people and see where they fit and what they can do in a realistic way.
Jocelyn: People can also financially support CAM’s work. There's a lot of ways to get involved, but the most accessible for many people, especially if you're white and you want to support this work, is to give us money. Go to our website. Support the JumpStart program so that we can fully realize our vision.
A growing body of research is confirming that the experience of racism is causing black families to lose mothers and babies at much higher rates than their white counterparts. It also finds that improving access to midwives in these states could have powerful positive benefits for black families.
As a part of our efforts to increase access to culturally aware midwives, the California Association of Midwives recently offered a workshop, Advancing Your Skills: Tools for a Culturally Aware Midwifery Practice, presented by Heather Thompson, Deputy Director of Elephant Circle.
Heather shared a number of resources designed to further support cultural awareness, both in ourselves and in midwifery practices. If you are midwife or birthworker from a dominant culture, please consider taking a look at these resources along with the other work you may be doing to better support your clients from non-dominant cultures.
Books to read:
Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, by adrienne maree brown
Japanese American Midwives: Culture, Community, and Health Politics, 1880-1950 (Asian American Experience), by Susan L. Smith
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman
Video to watch:
Deconstructing White Privilege by Dr. Robin DiAngelo, via the United Methodist Church
Implicit Association Test
I Can Fix it guide
The overwhelming majority of participants in our last trainings found it to be an invaluable way to build their skills. We intend to host more workshops in our series on cultural awareness. If you would like to be notified about our next event, let us know here:
We are also working to increase the number of available, culturally-matched midwives in California. Watch here for more information as we further develop those efforts.
The California Association of Midwives Foundation (CAM) is honored to announce our newest Board of Directors.
Please join us in thanking them for committing their time, energies, and considerable talents to making CAM’s goal a reality: ensuring that California families have access to a licensed midwife for their care in pregnancy and birth.
To learn more about CAM or to get involved, visit www.californiamidwives.org.
Debbie’s pursuit of natural birth, education, and choice for women was inspired by her own birth experiences. After a hospital birth that included unnecessary interventions, she found it difficult to find an alternative. Her second and third children were born at home surrounded by family and friends and under the care of a midwife. After 17 years as a doula, Debbie studied midwifery in California, Utah, and Florida. She now serves families in the greater Los Angeles area at Tribe Midwifery.
Strongly committed to improving birth outcomes, Debbie’s mission at Tribe Midwifery is to offer respectful prenatal care and contribute to reducing birth disparities caused by racism. She is committed to educating all families about birth statistics and choices that will afford them the best possible birth outcome. Debbie is also a member of the CAM Birth Disparities & Equity Team.
Rosanna was a midwife 20 plus years in the making. She attended her first childbirth at The Birth Place in 1981 and felt "the call" to midwifery. She subsequently attended a year long childbirth assistant training at the Birth Place and taught childbirth education classes. However, she put her strong call to midwifery on the back burner, because she felt the risk of being arrested for providing care during the 1980s and 1990s too great a stress and risk for her family to weather. While waiting for the California licensed midwifery practice act and midwifery schools to be approved by the Medical Board of California, she worked as an electrical engineer. Eventually, Rosanna graduated from National Midwifery Institute and secured her midwifery license in 2004. Rosanna’s midwife mentors were Donna Driscoll and Faith Gibson. Birthing From Within informs much of her work with clients (cultural preparation, physiological birth education and neuro-linguistic programming). She is the creator of Prenatal Village Care™, a prenatal group care experience for small midwifery practices.
Rosanna never pictured herself in a leadership role in midwifery, but, having been asked and elected to the California Association of Midwives (CAM) board in 2013, she’s felt a strong sense of responsibility to help protect and forward midwifery, while in a leadership role with CAM and CALM. Having avoided politics for most of her life, she’s felt it necessary to learn and grow political skills so that CALM can be effective at legislative advocacy. She’s applied logistical and visionary skills creating CALM's organizational foundation for sustainability and in preparation for bringing in strong leaders to carry midwifery forward in the coming years.
Rosanna loves midwives; she knows how passionate and hardworking they are. She sees and experiences the disheartening ways that midwives and their clients are sometimes misunderstood and mistreated. She’s hopeful for the future of midwifery in California, having discovered that a professional association is a powerful tool in creating positive policy and cultural change.
Jocelyn Dugan, an accountant by trade, is a home-birth-after-cesarean (HBAC) parent who was introduced to CAM by her midwives at Birthstream in Sacramento. Homebirther turned advocate, she’s been the Treasurer of CAM since 2011 and was appointed to the Midwifery Advisory Council in June of 2016. Jocelyn experienced the transformation that can occur with the midwifery model of care and since then has been a passionate voice for educating families about safe, evidence-based options for one of the most fundamental moments in their life. Jocelyn is passionate about improving birth outcomes among the most vulnerable people in our society. Jocelyn is part of CAM’s Birth Disparities and Equity Team, who’s goal is to eliminate birth disparities caused by systemic racism.
Cynthia’s interest in midwifery and childbirth stems from her personal experiences with birth and her graduate studies. Much of her graduate work has focused on enslaved African American women in the Antebellum South and infanticide, which has informed her awareness that motherhood and childbirth have been experienced differently by women of color throughout American history. This academic knowledge in conjunction with her own birth experiences has led her to spending her last year of graduate studies researching midwives and birth workers of color.
Both of Cynthia’s births were hospitalized and neither went the way she wanted. She realized that her experience is not unique, and that many women/people of color have far worse experiences. Cynthia believes everyone should have equal access to quality care regardless of race, gender or sexuality.
Cynthia is a full time graduate student and a mother of two. She works on campus for the McNair Scholars Program which services low-income first generation underrepresented junior and senior undergraduate students.
Jen Kamel helps birth professionals, and cesarean parents, achieve clarity on vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) through her educational courses, training programs, and consulting services. As the Founder of VBAC Facts®, a VBAC Strategist and nationally recognized consumer advocate, her mission is to increase VBAC access through education, legislation, and amplifying the consumer voice.
She has presented Grand Rounds at a hospital educating obstetricians, maternal fetal medicine specialists, midwives, residents, and midwifery students on the latest VBAC evidence. She has traveled the country as a California Board of Registered Nursing Continuing Education Provider presenting her signature program "The Truth About VBAC" to hundreds of professionals and highly motivated parents. She speaks at national conferences and has worked as a legislative consultant in several states focusing on midwifery legislation and regulations that threaten VBAC access. Over the years she has testified multiple times in front of the California Medical Board and legislative committees on the importance of VBAC access, met with legislators in regards to individual pieces of legislation, and has served as an expert witness in a legal proceeding. She envisions a time when every pregnant person seeking VBAC has access to unbiased information, respectful providers, and community support so they can plan the birth of their choosing in the setting they desire.
There is a picture of Jerred that thrills his colleagues and business partners. It’s one of him, as a small child in a stroller, being pushed by his mother at a rally for homebirth. In his small hands is a sign that says, “The Real Crime is a Forced Hospital Birth!” Two years earlier Jerred’s mom had birthed him at home in Santa Cruz and his midwife was jailed. Jerred’s experience created a deep connection to birth and an unwavering commitment to protecting a family’s right to choose their birth provider. When Jerred met the kind hearted and successful homebirth midwife Caitlin, he found himself wanting to make an impact on the world of birthing. He started attending midwifery conferences and realized that supporting relationship-based midwifery care was a passion of his.
As an investor, Jerred’s aim is to support the midwifery community with financial and business expertise to accelerate the growth of birth centers. Access to high quality midwifery care and shifting the paradigm of thought towards community birth is important to Jerred. As a founder of Thrive Birth Center, working with the birthing community has proven to be some of the most rewarding work Jerred has ever done.
Racha Tahani Lawler
Racha Tahani Lawler is a California licensed midwife, skilled in the midwifery traditions of her Southern U.S. and South African ancestors. She is the descendant of midwives, dating back four generations. Racha obtained her formal education in hospitals as a nursing student and at the historically accredited midwifery school Maternidad La Luz. She ultimately chose traditional midwifery and obtained her license to practice midwifery in 2004 after the home waterbirth of her firstborn son.
In 2011, she opened The Community Birth Center, where she served hundreds of families in Southern California promoting the “Free Friday” program, inspired by Florida licensed midwife, mentor and friend, Jennie Joseph. After five years and an overwhelming desire to reclaim traditional South African midwifery practices, Racha closed The Community Birth Center.
Always fighting to improve birth outcomes for African-Americans who rank the highest in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, Racha attends families in home birth, water birth, and occasionally labor support in hospital. She has traveled continents to provide midwifery services for clients. Firmly committed to providing midwifery care regardless of race, socioeconomic status or gender, she is blessed to have attended well over 1,200 births in the United States and abroad.
Racha is the recipient of both California Congressional and Senate awards for her work as a community midwife. She is acknowledged by the City of Los Angeles and her local counsel member, who awarded her for her community health work. In 2013 she was privileged to receive the “Midwife of the Year” award from the Doulas Association of Southern California. In March of 2015, she received the Lillian Mobley Community Service Award for her commitment to serving the community, and missed her presentation while midwifing at a birth!
Haize Hawke Rosen
Reverend Haize Hawke is currently a student midwife of color with NCM. Haize believes in living an emotionally intelligent life and uses meditation, dance, prayer, Reiki, and emotional work to create harmony and balance in her life. She takes her clients through a journey of self-discovery as they learn how to walk in their power.
Haize has experience as a traveler, educator, circle facilitator, as a leader of Sister Circles, Coming of Age Circles and Rites of Passage, and as a mother. Haize is a Priestess, advanced doula, facilitator of Red Tent ceremonies, and a healer with over 17 years of training and experience. She is proud to be mentoring girls and women to be activated, in tune, strong, loving, grounded, and powerful beings.
Tanya Smith-Johnson is Navy veteran and military spouse, mother of six, home-birther, and homeschooler. She is passionate about racial and birth disparities, health policy and reproductive justice and is the Co-Chair of CAM’s Birth Disparities and Equity Team. Tanya holds a BS in Biology and MS in Medical Science from Hampton University and is currently in her last year of midwifery school at Midwives College of Utah.
Dear CAM Friends and Supporters,
Wow, what a year! The California Association of Midwives Foundation (CAM) worked so hard this year to shift and expand. Our goal: help all families have safe, evidence-based care in their communities through:
This year we created the Birth Disparities & Equity Team headed by Tanya Smith-Johnson and Jocelyn Dugan. In California, racism has the greatest impact on birth disparities. Our goal is to help eliminate such birth disparities through addressing racism.
Our first project aims to grow the midwifery workforce by creating a study program that successfully prepares aspiring midwives of color to pass the midwifery (NARM) exam.
Per data from the CDC, we know that Black women die 4 times more than their white counterparts. The World Health Organization cites that midwifery care can prevent up to 83% of maternal deaths, stillbirths and newborn deaths. We also know that midwives can make a significant impact by lowering preterm births, low-birth weight infants and unnecessary cesarean sections, and increasing breastfeeding rates.
And that's not all - midwives support their communities before, during, and after childbirth.
Help support our work today with a meaningful donation so that you can be part of the solution to the maternal health care crisis in California.
Other highlights this year include:
This work (and so much more) would not be possible without your support. Your tax-deductible contribution helps us to bring the change our communities want to see. Thank you for making a meaningful financial contribution today.
California Association of Midwives Foundation
Kayti Buehler, Rosanna Davis, Jocelyn Dugan, Jen Kamel, Jerred Kiloh, Tanya Smith-Johnson
P.S. Your support – every dollar – supports families and midwives throughout California and increases access to safe, evidence-based midwifery care. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.
Did you attend #MANACAM17? Were you in the room when the amazing Jhoanna Galvez asked the CAM Board to stand as she and her community addressed us? Were you there to bear witness as CAM leadership stood, together, in commitment to taking action against racism and the oppression of 2SLGBTQIA+ midwives and midwives of color?
Jhoanna and her community stood and asked the room if we could do the following:
We all stood with Jhoanna because these issues are important to us. CAM is a work in progress, but we are putting our resources towards all of the above and will continue doing the following:
We have heard from many midwives at our sister organization of their desire for language that honors their role in serving women, while also being inclusive of members of our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities who birth. We believe that achieving both aims is possible. We will work to become more gender inclusive by adopting language that is sensitive to our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, and developing trainings with groups like Elephant Circle on issues that impact our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. We will actively seek funding for scholarships/financial support for 2SLGBTQIA+ student midwives/midwives as well.
We recognize that there is work to do to move forward. There is work to do to heal. As a midwifery community we need to be able to work together respectfully to take on the challenges we face. We envision a future where working together does not mean setting aside our differences, but embracing all of our differences and all of our assets to improve birth for all families. CAM is willing and able to offer educational materials, and we can be reached for phone calls to process and unpack the emotional toll. We can also refer folks to our partners to help process if necessary.
2SLGBTQIA+ = Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual
9 Things People Don't Realize Happen During Home Births
Sitting in a comfy, flower-print upholstered chair, Sunshine Tomlin asks if I want any water or hot tea. The soft colored walls are inviting and homely, welcoming guests to sit back and relax. The air is filled with the sweet smell of scented candles. It’s the calm, warm environment one would expect a loving home to be, so it makes sense this is how Tomlin would want to design her birthing center.
To provide guidance on the process, DHCS has published a bulletin you can find here.
Midwives applying will need the following forms:
NOTE! There are some out-of-date forms on the Medi-Cal site awaiting update. If you encounter it, don't use the form DHCS 6248. Be sure to read the entire bulletin first and use the links provided above.
If midwives so choose, they can begin to provide care to clients as soon as the LM submits the complete application. However, it is important to be aware of the potential for reimbursements to take up to a year or longer (retroactive billings cannot be processed until the LM's application process is complete and the LM is enrolled, which can take up to 180 days). It is also possible that, for some reason, an individual midwife's application may be denied. In that case, the LM would not have a source of reimbursement for the retroactively billed care.
Yesterday, California Association of Midwives celebrated the successful 2015 legislative agenda at two parties - in the Bay Area and San Diego - with nearly 80 supporters. CAM President Rosanna Davis and Legislative Chair Sarah Davis shared their gratitude with the community in two toasts. Because we want the entire community to hear our thanks for YOUR efforts, we’re sharing a toast here with you:
Thank you for celebrating with us!
There is no “i” in CAM and we have many people to thank for helping to expand access to midwifery care in California, including:
• Our legislative team: Firen Jones, Jessica Johnson and Pearl Yu.
• The team at California Families for Access to Midwifery (CFAM), including Tanya Smith-Johnson, Treesa McLean, Jen Heystek, Alex Rounds, Wendy Askew, and JayVon Muhammad.
• All our clients and individual supporters. There are many, so many I don’t even know who they all are!
• Our partners in crime: Jeanette McCulloch and Katie Prown.
• Jocelyn Dugan for keeping everything running at CAM.
• CAM board: Sharon Potteiger, Jessica Johnson, Kayti Buhler, Laura Perez, Dania Shelton .
• Our donors.
• Medical Board of California for sponsoring the midwife assistant bill.
• Legislators and their aides, including: Senator Mike Morrell (R) Rancho Cucamonga) for authoring the bill; Jessica Sandin (legislative aide); Holly Mitchell (D) Los Angeles; Lois Wolk (D) Sacramento.
If you aren’t already involved at CAM, donating time and resources is fun and satisfying. Impactful work takes a village. Your resources and involvement matter. The non-profit sector is where we can really be change agents. Roll up your sleeves and donate your time.
If you are short on time, your donations are fully tax deductible. We know that’s the last reason people donate funds to CAM. The primary reasons are for alignment of values and feelings of making a difference in the world. Please support midwives and our ability to impact more families.
Midwives change lives with positive implications that last a lifetime for mothers, fathers, and children.
Our tangible thank you to CFAM today is a check for $2000 to help offset some of their operating expenses.
For those of you unable to attend the webinar (or those who wish to re-watch all or part of the session), CAM has made a recording available here. You can also read a transcription of the session here.
Have questions about implementation? Planning to bring LMs into birth centers or to start a birth center? Contact Sarah Davis, CAM’s policy chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is happy to answer your questions and wants to hear about your birth-center-related work so that CAM can best support your efforts.
These changes are the result of efforts by many volunteers at CAM working alongside midwives and families like you across the state, including California Families for Access to Midwifery. We’re hosting parties to celebrate!
Join us in celebration of expanded access to licensed midwives in California. Lunch, libations, and learn about CAM's future plans. Family friendly.
Sunday, November 8th
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Urbn Coal Fired Pizza and Bar
3085 University Ave in San Diego (North Park Neighborhood - click here for directions)
Buffet-style lunch and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Alcoholic beverages available for purchase.
$15 per adult
$5 per child 5 - 12
FREE for children under 5
REGISTER FOR SAN DIEGO HERE
Join us in celebration of expanded access to licensed midwives in California! Enjoy the *amazing* food at Commonwealth Cafe and Pub in Oakland and learn about CAM's future plans. Family friendly.
Sunday, November 8th
12 pm - 4 pm
CommonWealth Cafe and Pub
2882 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland (click here for a google map)
Appetizers and non alcoholic beverages will be provided. Lunch and alcoholic beverages available for purchase. Check out their fabulous and highly rated beer and cider list here!
$15 per adult
$5 per child 5 - 12
FREE for children under 5
Thank you to Commonwealth for donating space for this event!
REGISTER FOR BAY AREA HERE
If you register NOW for either the San Diego or Bay Area event, you’ll be entered in a raffle to win a stainless steel California Association of Midwives Travel Coffee Mug. Our drawing will include all registrants through Tuesday, November 3rd at noon pacific and will be announced on our Facebook event pages.
Earn extra entries in the drawing! Here’s how:
Invite your friends to the event using the “invite” button in the top right corner. Click HERE IN SAN DIEGO and HERE IN BAY AREA and leave us a comment to let us know that you’ve invited your friends.
Invite your friends to the event using the “invite” button in the top right corner. Click HERE IN SAN DIEGO and HERE IN BAY AREA and leave us a comment to let us know that you’ve invited your friends.
Share the event on your Facebook page. Click HERE IN SAN DIEGO and HERE IN BAY AREA and leave us a comment to let us know that you’ve shared on your Facebook page.
Share the event on your Facebook page. Click HERE IN SAN DIEGO and HERE IN BAY AREA and leave us a comment to let us know that you’ve shared on your Facebook page.
Share the event FLYER with your clients and friends. You can find the event flyer here in color or in black-and-white. Click HERE IN SAN DIEGO and HERE IN BAY AREA and leave us a comment to let us know that you plan to post the flyer or share with your clients.
Print and share our flyer with your clients - in color or in black-and-white. Thank you for helping to make our celebration a true community event.