Conference deadlines approaching; don't miss Aviva Romm!
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Issue #15, August 19, 2015

Social Justice In Birth

MANA Partners With Elephant Circle

the elephant circle
As a part of its ongoing commitment to social justice, the Midwives Alliance of North America is partnering with Elephant Circle (EC).

EC is a legal service, organizing, and capacity building organization rooted in an anti-oppression framework, working at the center of the birth justice movement. Notably, this work centers around the interrelatedness of economic justice, and birth and reproductive justice, both locally and nationally, as a way to address root causes and actualize systemic change. EC provides sliding scale legal services, builds local networks and accessible reproductive justice educational curricula, and engages with national organizations, their leadership, and their membership. 

Recently, EC was awarded a $12,000 grant from the Groundswell Fund's Community Midwifery Fund to help further this important work. In the coming year, EC will use these funds for a number of projects, including earmarked resources for work with MANA's Division of Access and Equity and the U.S. Midwifery Education, Regulation, and Association (MERA) Equity Task Force.

Look for a more detailed article on Elephant Circle and their compelling projects in the next MANA newsletter.

Aviva RommAviva Romm on the Impact of Midwifery Care on Lifelong Health

We are incredibly excited to have the honor of hosting Dr. Aviva Romm at this year's MANA conference, Shine, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We took this opportunity to talk with her about her why she thinks midwifery care can improve lifelong health, the impact of interprofessional tensions between maternity health providers, and critical opportunities for midwives to seize now. Read the full interview over on the MANA blog.


Special Events at #MANA15

From the opening ceremonies to the MANA dance, there's a special event taking place every day at #MANA15! Learn more here about events including:

MANA Dance Party! Join #MANA15 the evening of Saturday, Oct 17 for Chris Dracup, a life long musician and resident of New Mexico who began his performing career at the age of fifteen in his hometown of Taos. His acoustic guitar playing draws heavily on the southern delta blues tradition. His original songwriting and regular performance schedule have garnered him critical and popular acclaim and won him an enduring Southwestern fan base. It's going to be a boot-stomping fun evening! If you'd like to give him a listen, check out a few samples on his website.

Local Birth Center Tour. The American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) invites you to tour a local accredited birth center in Albuquerque after the close of #MANA15. The tour will leave the conference hotel after Closing Ceremonies (approx 4:45pm) on Sunday afternoon (October 18) to arrive at Dar a Luz Birth Center by 5:00pm. Enjoy some wine and cheese while you learn about this non-profit birth center that serves women in every phase of their life. The tour will last 1 hour. Spaces are limited to the first 44 people that sign up. Come to the AABC booth in the exhibit hall and sign up.

Seeking Sapling Nominations for #MANA15

Gennette Thelusmond

Check out out our 2012 Sapling Award Winner Genette Thelusmond (left) being thanked for her work to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Haiti by former President Bill Clinton in New York City on March 9, 2015. (PRNewsFoto/Midwives For Haiti)

We are seeking nominations for this year's Sapling award, presented to a new midwife who is making an impact in her community. We're looking for nominees who have earned the respect and support of mothers and families, can inspire other young midwives, and shows leadership in furthering the art and practice of midwifery. She should be a MANA member. She may be working in underserved communities or practicing in an innovative way. You ll know her when you see her! Nominations are due by August 31st and should be submitted to Nicole White at The following information should be included with the nomination: 
  • Nominee’s name and area of residence,
  • Address and phone number,
  • Short biographical sketch describing the nominee’s background and practice, 
  • Specific reasons for nominating this candidate,
  • Assurance that the nominee can attend the annual conference to receive the award.

#MANA15 Exhibit Spaces Filling Fast!

Exhibit spaces are going fast! Remember  in addition to exhibits, there are high visibility sponsorships, as well as advertisement opportunities in the final program. We anticipate 300+ attendees, including midwives, nurses, physicians, childbirth educators, doulas, parents, midwifery students, childbirth advocates and birth center administrators. Supporting their work as a conference sponsor, exhibitor, or advertiser offers an opportunity to connect with the birth community and gain valuable exposure and recognition for your brand. Click here to learn more.

Reserve Your Hotel Now For #MANA15

The deadline to reserve your room at the hotel is September 24, but if you wait, your preferred dates may have sold out. This is a beautiful property in the heart of Old Town Albuquerque, with a swimming pool, great restaurant, free wifi and free parking! Reserve your room here.

News From the DOR

Missy CheyneyDOR Chair Missy Cheyney in BJOG

In the August edition of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, MANA DOR Chair Missy Cheyney provided much needed perspective in the feature, "BJOG Debate: Home Birth Is Unsafe."

This pro/con feature explored questions around home birth safety. The first section was authored by a group of physicians (lead author, Amos Grunebaum, MD) and suggested that home birth is unsafe. The article shared common misconceptions held by US physicians, including a lack of awareness of many of the safeguards in midwifery care. The article made clear that they are not familiar with the training, equipment, or care of home birth midwives, including the fact that midwives hold the same resuscitation skills and training as hospital staff; are trained to administer antihemorrhagic drugs; and receive training to spot complications and transfer to hospital settings when needed.

The response, Safe For Whom? (lead author, Missy Cheyney) first calls into question the premise of the discussion: that hospital birth is inherently safe. She highlights the impact of interventions and the high cesarean rate in the US. After identifying the limitations of studies that rely on vital statistics data, she provides data demonstrating the safety of home birth in many countries around the world.

She concludes by calling for improved integration of home birth into the US maternal health care system and additional research to help improve outcomes in all settings.

"Finally, although this conversation has been dominated by discourses of risk and danger, homebirth is also clearly associated with less frequently discussed benefits: high rates of breastfeeding, normal physiologic birth, and patient satisfaction. Let us move beyond this polarizing debate on whether homebirth is safe, towards a more nuanced and collaborative research agenda aimed at improving access to high-quality maternity care for all women, across all settings."

The article was co-authored by Marit Bovbjerg and Paul Burcher. The article is available in the online first edition for a fee and can be found here

Save the dates:

Aug 31: Sapling Nominations Due

Sept 1: Poster Abstracts Due

Sept 23: Print Program Advertising Deadline

 24: Conference Hotel Room Reservation Deadline

Oct 15-18: SHINE: MANA 2015 Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Copyright © 2015 Midwives Alliance of North America, All rights reserved.

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