2013-2014 NACPM Board Members
Ellie Daniels Jamie A. Eidsath Illysa Rene Foster Kaye Kanne
Tanya Khemet Audrey Levine Autumn Vergo
Audrey Levine, CPM
I'm a licensed midwife and a CPM in practice in Olympia, Washington since 2001. Both of my boys, now 18 and 20, were born at home with midwives. Like so many of us, I was completely transformed by my beautiful and powerful birth experiences and dove into birth work before my youngest was even out of diapers. I got certified as a childbirth educator, then became a doula. I then apprenticed for two years with a wonderful midwife, Judy Luce, before entering the Seattle Midwifery School in 1998. My apprenticeship and my formal midwifery education contributed immeasurably to who I am as a midwife and I value each of these experiences deeply.
My solo midwifery practice has grown from 2 births a month to 40-45 births a year, mostly home births, although I have privileges at two freestanding birth centers. I'm fortunate to have an amazing professional relationship with an OB willing to provide collaborative care with me so that women expecting twins or planning VBACs can have the option of prenatal care with a midwife, planned hospital birth with a supportive team, and me as their doula.
I believe strongly that cross-disciplinary communication and collaboration are a key component to ensuring the safety of families planning home and birth center births.
As a delegate to the historic Home Birth Consensus Summit in October 2011, I helped draft the following statement about collaboration:
We believe that collaboration within an integrated maternity care system is essential for optimal mother-baby outcomes. All women and families planning a home or birth center birth have a right to respectful, safe, and seamless consultation, referral, transport and transfer of care when necessary. When ongoing inter-professional dialogue and cooperation occur, everyone benefits.
Strengthening communication and making hospital-based providers our allies has been a primary focus of my work as President of the Midwives' Association of WA State since 2008 and prior to that as a member of the Physician-Licensed Midwife Workgroup, a multi-disciplinary entity under the auspices of the Washington State Perinatal Collaborative. The workgroup recently launched Smooth Transitions, a quality improvement initiative to enhance the safety of planned out-of-hospital birth transports, including a multi-disciplinary perinatal transport committee to review and improve transports. I believe that Smooth Transitions could serve as a model for similar projects around the country.
In addition to my experience with collaborative relationships and improving transports, I would bring strong advocacy skills to the NACPM Board. As MAWS' legislative liaison for 6 years before my presidency, I helped educate legislators about the significant health and cost benefits of midwifery care and cultivated key allies such as Dr. Jeff Thompson, Chief Medical Officer for Medicaid in Washington State. Dr. Thompson has become an outspoken supporter of midwifery care and is committed to ensuring that women receiving Medicaid in Washington have the option of home and birth center birth. He has been influential in conversations with congressional leaders and representatives from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
It would be an honor for me to serve on the NACPM Board at what feels like a critical juncture. The challenges that were laid out at the CPM Symposium were both daunting and inspiring: We need, first and foremost, to commit ourselves to improving maternity care outcomes for ALL mothers and babies. This will require us to move beyond rhetoric and engage in the hard work of rooting out deeply seated patterns of oppression within our own community. I anticipate that the journey will be not unlike labor: longer than we'd like for it to take, painful at times, but in the end rewarding beyond what we can possibly imagine.