Today’s Theme: Collaborating for Woman-Centered Care
Join us LIVE from the AABC Birth Institute in Anchorage, Alaska, for a panel discussion with co-editors and some authors of the new book, “Freestanding Birth Centers: Innovation, Evidence, Optimal Outcomes.” Through a Q&A discussion, learn about the evolving role of birth centers and the future outlook for the birth center model of care. Compared to the hospital-based birth model, the freestanding birth center offers a well-documented, healthier, more cost-effective, and more humane way to care for women and newborns. This rapidly expanding model of care has many positive implications for high-quality, individualized care and birth outcomes across the United States.
Click the button below to join the LIVE webcast here on Oct. 6 at 9:20 p.m. EST (5:20 p.m. Alaska time). This will be a live-streamed panel discussion from AABC.
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As a birth center midwife in rural Appalachia for 28 years, Jill Alliman, CNM, DNP has worked to improve access to care for some of the most underserved women in the U.S. She serves as course faculty at Frontier Nursing University in the Nurse-Midwifery education program. She is Program Director of the AABC Strong Start project, a grant program to measure the impact of birth center care on the reduction of preterm birth rates, collecting data in 45 birth centers with funding from CMS. Jill is past president of the American Association of Birth Centers, and currently serves as chair of the AABC Legislative Committee.
Jill believes that giving birth in the birth center can be a transformative experience for women–including the neediest–empowering them to improve their families’ situations for the better. Having helped a rural birth center to survive for over 26 years, she now uses her experience to make contributions to extending the birth center model of care to a wider group of women.
Melissa D. Avery, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN is a professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. She directs the nurse-midwifery education program and has 25 years full-scope midwifery practice experience. Her current research involves examining prenatal care practices to enhance maternal confidence for physiological labor and birth. Dr. Avery has been a pioneer in distance education and is currently partnering with colleagues to develop interprofessional learning opportunities for midwifery students and OB/GYN residents. She is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Minnesota and is a past president of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).
Dr. Linda Cole, DNP, CNM, CNE spent most of her professional life in full-scope practice at a freestanding birth center in Knoxville, TN. Dr. Cole joined Frontier Nursing University in 2012 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Midwifery and Women’s Health. She served as President of the American Association of Birth Centers from 2009-2013. She continues to volunteer at the national level with the American Association of Birth Centers Foundation. Her professional interests are focused on the birth center model of care and the triple aim of cost, quality and patient satisfaction. She is an avid gardener and has two grown sons, both born into the hands of a midwife.
Diana R. Jolles FACNM began as a National Health Service Corp Scholar in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas at Holy Family Services Birth Center. There, she was mentored in public health innovation, appropriate use, quality measurement and implementation science. Jolles is recognized as a national leader, largely for her development of the Denver Health Medical Center inpatient midwifery service and her directorship of the Family Health and Birth Center in Washington, DC. As faculty for Frontier Nursing University, Jolles teaches innovation, quality improvement and healthcare finance. As a scholar, her research includes evaluation of unwarranted variation in NQF endorsed quality measures within populations of Medicaid beneficiaries. Jolles works at El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson Arizona where she attends families at El Rio’s Birth and Women’s Health Center and Tucson Medical Center.
Kathryn Schrag CNM, FNP became a midwife in 1978. Her first years as a CNM were spent in a midwifery practice in Tucson serving the Hispanic population in a county hospital. In 1982 she and another midwife left that practice and started Arizona’s first freestanding birth center, which 35 years and over 10,000 births later, continues to serve southern Arizona families. She remains active on their advisory board.
In 2002, Kathryn moved to a rural community an hour south of Tucson, and joined the faculty of Frontier Nursing University. She added an FNP certificate to her credentials, and worked in that role in a small hospital on the border with Mexico. She became full-time faculty in midwifery and women’s health at Frontier Nursing University in 2007.
Kathryn has been involved with birth centers on a national level: as a board member for the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), a volunteer site visitor for the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers, and state chapter President. For over 20 years she has been the lead faculty for AABC’s How to Start a Birth Center workshops. She has received national awards for her work in midwifery, and is the author of chapters in two midwifery textbooks.
Dr. Neel Shah, MD, MPP is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Delivery Decisions Initiative at Harvard’s Ariadne Labs. As an obstetrician-gynecologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Dr. Shah cares for patients during critical life moments that range from surgery to primary care to childbirth. As a scientist and social entrepreneur, he is a globally recognized expert in designing, testing, and spreading solutions that improve healthcare.
Dr. Shah is listed among the “40 smartest people in health care” by the Becker’s Hospital Review, and has been profiled by the New York Times, CNN, and other outlets. He is senior author of the book Understanding Value-Based Healthcare (McGraw-Hill), which Don Berwick has called “an instant classic” and Atul Gawande called “a masterful primer for all clinicians.” Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, Dr. Shah founded Costs of Care, a global NGO that curates insights from clinicians to help delivery systems provide better care. In 2017, Dr. Shah co-founded the March for Moms Association, a coalition of 20 leading organizations, to increase public and private investment in the wellbeing of mothers.
Susan Rutledge Stapleton, CNM, DNP, FACNM is founder and former director of Reading Birth & Women’s Center, attending birth center, hospital and home births for 25-years. She is currently chair of the American Association of Birth Centers’ Research Committee and previously Data Coordinator for the AABC Strong Start for Mothers & Newborns Initiative. Susan is co-investigator for one, and primary investigator for a second, national prospective, multi-center studies of outcomes in freestanding birth centers in the United States. She has served on the Board of the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers since 2004 and previously served as president of the American Association of Birth Centers and on the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
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