NACPM President Tanya Khemet Taiwo, CPM-Ret., MPH, PHD, considers herself blessed to be the mother of three beautiful girls who were all born into the hands of midwives. She lives in Sacramento, CA where she has practiced in community clinic settings for 16 years. After serving as clinic administrator and staff midwife of The Birthing Project Clinic for eight years, she became one of the founding mothers of Birth and Family Health Center, women’s health clinics housed in community health centers located in medically underserved areas of Sacramento. These community health centers provide primary care, pediatrics, dental care and behavioral health; serving women who would otherwise have little or no prenatal care or reproductive health services. Women’s health services are enhanced with health education, nutrition and social services. She currently works in a Federally Qualified Health Center, continuing to care for low-income families in a multi-disciplinary setting. She comes from a family tradition of midwives, was trained at Seattle Midwifery School, and apprenticed with midwives in Seattle, Senegal and Jamaica. She joined the NACPM Board of Directors in the fall of 2012 because of her commitment to bringing the midwifery model of care to the medically underserved and those at risk of poor birth outcomes. Before being elected as president, she served as co-President for 2 years and Secretary for four years. Dr. Khemet Taiwo is an assistant professor of midwifery at Bastyr University, and a research fellow at The
Birth Place Lab at the University of British Columbia. At the Birth Place Lab she’s collaborating on the Giving Voice to Mothers Study, a research project that examines how race, ethnicity and birthplace affect maternity care in the United States. Her dissertation research in epidemiology examined how prenatal socioeconomic and psychological stress impacted child neurodevelopment, and how these stressors are amplified by environmental exposures.
NACPM Vice President Keisha Goode, PhD, joined the Board as the first appointed Public Member. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at The State University of New York College. Her primary research area is Medical Sociology with specific attention to the medicalization of childbirth and the historical and contemporary complexities of black midwifery in the United States. She is completing a book proposal for the publication of her dissertation research, Birthing, Blackness and The Body: Black Midwives and Experiential Continuities of Institutional Racism.
NACPM Secretary Khailylah, “Kiki” Jordan, LM, CPM, is the Birth Center Director & Midwife at Marin Family Birth Center and practices as a Midwife at The Golden Belly. She studied midwifery through the apprenticeship model in home and birth center settings. She attended the International School of Midwifery (Miami, FL), and obtained a license to practice out-of-hospital midwifery care in the state of California in 2005. She has attended over 300 births and is proud to have served as a midwife in freestanding birth centers completely owned and operated by licensed midwives. She is passionate about preserving the out-of-hospital option for all women. Kiki states that “for me, being a midwife is a statement about our commitment to respecting and protecting women’s bodies, respecting and protecting women’s emotions and respecting and protecting the very significant role that women play in ushering in the future. When I think about the future of Certified Professional Midwifery, I consider the hard work that has been done to move us closer to federal recognition and integration into community health care systems. For us to truly impact the maternal health crises in America we must start to see ourselves as the essential primary maternity care providers that we are. Being a CPM means expanded midwifery access. It allows me to be a part of a national movement of direct entry midwives, who mirror the face, cultures and experiences of everyday women.”
NACPM Treasurer , Megan Koontz, MSM, LM, CPM is a midwife, a midwifery educator and is passionate regarding midwifery issues. She currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska having moved in 2016 from Ridgecrest, California, but she is originally from New Zealand. Megan has worked across a variety of settings including as a home birth, birthing center and hospital midwife. She has attended births in New Zealand, England, Alaska, Utah, and California. The variety of birth place means that Megan has supported people through a wide range of birthing experiences, from natural home births to hospital births that included epidurals and cesarean sections. Megan obtained her Bachelor of Midwifery in New Zealand in 2001, and Masters in Midwifery in 2015. She started as faculty with the Midwives College of Utah and currently holds the position of Core Academic Faculty and Academic Dean. Megan is currently completing the Postgraduate certificate in Educational Design and Technology through the University of Memphis. Megan loves the outdoors including skiing, skating, hiking and biking and is surprising herself by enjoying winter in Alaska almost more than she enjoys summer.
Laura Perez, LM, CPM from California writes: “When I learned that I had a womb, I became a feminist. When I learned that there were people actively trying to control and colonize my womb, I became a reproductive freedom and rights activist. And when I learned what a midwife was, I decided to become one. I suppose I need to be mindful about what I learn about since these things tend to shape my life. Some of the things I’ve done include being a member of the Women of Color Organizing Project with CARAL, being a co-founder of Exhale, a national multilingual after abortion counseling talk line, and being a regional rep for CAM, the California Association of Midwives. I’ve taught well over a hundred medical students how to do women-centered and comprehensive breast and pelvic exams as a Gynecological Teaching Associate, using my own aforementioned womb and breasts as teaching tools. I’ve done volunteer and paid doula work on and off for the past 13 years. And I’m an apprentice trained Certified Professional Midwife, a Licensed Midwife, with my own practice, and one of only two midwives of color based in San Francisco. I’m proud to identify as a working class immigrant of Native and Latin American heritage. My partner and I are also parents to a seventh grader who owns our hearts.”
Mimi Niles, CNM, MPH, PhD from New York writes: “I am a midwife and a midwifery care researcher based in New York City. My dissertation work titled ‘Kairos care in a Chronos world: An analysis of midwifery care in urban public hospitals’ explores both the rich potential and hard fought challenges of practicing midwifery in integrated care settings that are situated in historically disenfranchised communities. This research was funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health – a division of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
My message to NACPM, as your newest public board member, is that not a day goes by that I am not thankful in my heart, body, and soul that I was chosen to be a midwife. I am deeply committed to reclaiming a unified midwifery workforce that works to make people whole through their birth experience; I refuse to let midwifery be a fracturing force- especially within oppressive systems that were designed to hurt or ignore Black, Indigenous and other people of color. Being a midwife is my life’s work and like Sweet Honey in the Rock sings, ‘When we work for freedom, we cannot rest.’ I have radical political integrity and I am not ashamed of that – if anything, being a midwife, has made that part of me stronger and bolder.
I am also the proud daughter of a midwife and I birthed my two glorious child human beings at home with the loving and radical support of my midwives.”
Jennifer Ross, CPM writes, “I love being a midwife, the organic growth of the relationship between midwife and family is one of my favorite aspects. But at the same time, I was drawn to midwifery to help change the broken maternity system in the United States. It is unacceptable that our maternity mortality rate is consistently rising, the safety disparities for people of color are astronomical and 1 in 3 pregnancies end in cesarean. I believe everyone should have access to safe and respectful care. Studies are clear that people often experience better outcomes in community settings with culturally appropriate care. As such, I am dedicated to supporting the advancement and expansion of a diverse and representative midwife population and increasing access to high-quality maternity care in homes and freestanding birth centers.
Jenny Jahn, CPM, LM, CHD writes, “I am a midwife, humanitarian, mother, and passionate promoter for the betterment of childbirth. I believe that all people should be treated equally and strive to live by example when sharing my knowledge as a midwife. I have served in Nicaragua on many medical trips, on the US/Mexico border, and helped open a birth center in Southern Mexico. I am in the unique position of practicing midwifery with my wife and together we have a homebirth practice in southwest Idaho, serving both the rural and urban population. I am a member of the Idaho Midwifery Council and am the chapter president of the Idaho State Chapter of NACPM. In addition, I have served as a volunteer doula and childbirth educator at a halfway house and homeless shelter for pregnant and displaced teens.