MEAC Board of Directors

Abigail Reese, PhD, CNM
Albuquerque, NM
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Education: Abby completed a PhD in Nursing with a focus on Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, where she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nursing & Health Policy Collaborative Fellow (2018). She earned an MSN in the Nurse-Midwifery Specialty (1998) at the Yale School of Nursing, and has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology with a certificate in Latin American Studies from Princeton University (1992).
Professional Activities: Abby is a CNM who has practiced in a variety of settings, including home, birth center, hospital, academic medical center, and community health center models. She has conducted qualitative policy research that addresses access to maternity care in rural New Mexico communities, and has conducted evaluation research with community-based participatory research partnerships. Abby has been actively involved in the clinical teaching of medical students, resident physicians, and nurse-midwifery students, and has a strong commitment to a multidisciplinary collaborative care model. She currently works as the interim Executive Director for the New Mexico Perinatal Collaborative, where her efforts focus on convening all stakeholders to improve outcomes for women, infants, and families across New Mexico.

Aimee Eden, PhD, MPH
Public Member
Lexington , KY
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Education: Dr. Eden earned her Doctorate in Philosophy in Applied Medical Anthropology and a Master of Public Health in Community and Family Health from the University of South Florida in 2013. She also holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs (1996) and Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology and in English (1993) from Ohio University.
Professional Activities: Dr. Eden is a medical anthropologist who leads the qualitative research efforts at the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). Since joining ABFM in 2013, she has designed and implemented qualitative and mixed methods projects related to family medicine scope, comprehensiveness, accreditation, training, physician Maintenance of Certification experience, and professionalism. Her research has focused on issues of maternal and child health, maternity care, breastfeeding, the health care workforce, and education. Dr. Eden currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Monetary Investment for Lactation Consultant Certification (MILCC) and on the editorial review board of the Journal of Human Lactation. She previously served as a member of the board of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) from 2010-2016. She has published book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Human Lactation, Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, Family Medicine, and the Anthropology of Work. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer (public health, Kazakhstan 2000-2002).

Cassaundra Jah, LM, CPM, IBCLC, MS
President
Austin, TX
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Education: 2010 Associates of Science in Midwifery, National College of Midwifery; 2002 Masters of Science in Aerospace Sciences, University of Colorado; 2000 Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Professional Activities: Cassaundra has been the Chief Development Officer for the National College of Midwifery for the past five years. Her primary focus in all organizational work is efforts toward equity, inclusivity and diversity. She is a former LM member of the New Mexico State Licensed Midwifery Advisory Board, Former Co-chair of the New Mexico Midwives Association, a CPM and a Licensed Midwife in New Mexico and Texas, and a Recertified Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She has authored two books and various articles for birth professionals. Cassaundra regularly facilitates organizations’ growth using the Technology of Participation methodology helping them uncover their shared vision, make effective action plans and build healthy communication.

Gina Gerboth, MPH, RM, CPM, IBCLC
Denver, CO
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Education: Masters of Midwifery, Student, Midwives College of Utah, August 2019,Masters of Public Health, Maternal and Child Health concentration, Colorado School of Public Health, December 2015 Certified Phlebotomy Technician, NHA, January 2013, North American Registry of Midwives Certified Professional Midwife, March 2010, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Certification, October 2008, DONA Birth Doula Certification, February 2009, University of Colorado at Denver, Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Summa Cum Laude, May 1995, Colorado School of Mines, Chemistry major, 1991-1993

Professional Activities: Gina currently works as a midwife in Denver, Colorado. She is a partner at Metro Midwifery, a home birth practice that emphasizes educational opportunities for midwives and students in their community. She and her midwifery partner also co-host a midwifery podcast: Mod Midwives. She has been a faculty member at Midwives College of Utah since May 2016 and is currently a Core
Faculty member and curriculum writer, which has given her knowledge of and familiarity with
educational competencies. Gina has done original research on interprofessionalism in midwifery and has
developed a two-part continuing education course. She is passionate about midwifery education and is
eager to assist with the elevation of midwifery education in the US.

Karen Ehrlich, CPM, LM, MA
Lexington, Felton , CA
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Education: Master of Arts, Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont, 2003, Independent Study in Childbirth and Midwifery, 1973, Apprenticeship in Midwifery, 1975-1976, Bachelor of Science, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, 1968
Professional Activities: Karen Ehrlich, MA, CPM, LM has been a childbirth educator, health educator, and midwife since 1976. She is a current Continuing Education Unit reviewer for MEAC. Additionally, she has worked as a midwifery educator at Sage Femme Midwifery School and the Institute of Feminine Arts. She has been a member of the California Association of Midwives, Midwives Alliance of North America, National Association of Certified Professional Midwives, the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council, Citizens for Midwifery, Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health, International Childbirth Education Association, and Citizens for Health.

Kathleen Krebs, MPH,
Gorham, ME
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Education: BA in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder (2006), and MPH in Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology from the Boston University School of Public Health (2011). Katie studied comparative health systems through a non-degree program at the Universitaet Bremen, in Bremen Germany (2007).
Professional Activities: Katie is the incoming Executive Director of Birthwise Midwifery School. She is the author of Business of Being Born: Classroom Edition high school and college education modules, was an early contributor to the Birth by the Numbers website, and has written and taught childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care curriculum for organizations and professionals in the greater Boston and Denver areas. Prior to coming to Birthwise, Katie worked in clinical research, managing regulatory requirements, working directly with research participants, and providing professional development and training for physician researchers and research staff. Most recently, Katie was the Program Manager for a pediatric surgical outcomes research group at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Kristi Ridd-Young, B.S., ICCE
Vice President for Outreach and Development
Alpine, UT
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Education: Bachelor of Science in Public Health Administration, ICCE (International Childbirth Certified Educator) CD(DONA), DONA-approved doula trainer
Professional Activities: Kristi Ridd-Young has been the president of Midwives College of Utah for the past 11 years. MCU is the largest MEAC-accredited, distance-education midwifery school offering two undergraduate degrees along with a Master of Science in Midwifery degree. Kristi is the former president of MEAC and currently serves as MEAC’s Vice-President of Outreach. She has been a member of US MERA’s Steering Committee for the last five years. As the founder of the Utah Doula Association which is one of the oldest and largest doula groups, she continues to influence the education and networking opportunities for doulas and childbirth educators. Kristi has been involved in the development of doula and midwifery education in Kuwait, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In addition, Kristi is an adjunct professor at Salt Lake Community College, is a DONA-approved birth doula trainer, and specializes in training doulas to support survivors of sexual abuse.

Mariana Cerqueira Aikolani, M.D., MPsy, CPM, LM
Phoenix , AZ
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Education: MD; Masters in Clinical Psychology with specialization in Pre-, Perinatal, and Early Childhood Psychology; and Certified Professional Midwife Licensed in Arizona
Professional Activities: Mariana Cerqueira worked for 4 years as an occupational health MD as she was studying to become a Clinical Psychologist. Since 2009, she focused on Pre- and Perinatal and Early Childhood Psychology. For her Masters in Clinical Psychology, she conducted a study in Fetal Psychology at a teaching hospital in Lisbon and practiced Psychology at an Early Childhood Mental Health Facility. She moved to the US in 2014. Here she saw the opportunity to become a midwife as helping her continue her goal of gaining the best education and training to help bring healthier babies into the world. She studied midwifery at Maternidad La Luz in El Paso Texas for two years. She became licensed in Arizona in 2017 as a CPM and has a midwifery practice in South Phoenix. Along with this she also operates a coaching practice working with Pre-, Perinatal, and Early childhood related trauma and other issues, (e.g. birth trauma, postpartum mood support, miscarriage support, etc.). Mariana is very active in her community, being part of the board of the Arizona Association of Midwives as well volunteering with local Phoenix area disadvantaged community organizations oriented around birth education and doula services.

Maya Johnson, LM, CPM, MA
Kirkland, WA
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Education: Maya holds a Master of Arts in Maternal-Child Health Systems (2017) from Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA. She earned her Bachelor in Midwifery (2012) at University of São Paulo (USP) in São Paulo, Brazil.
Professional Activities: Maya is primarily a licensed midwife practicing in Washington State. She practices at Sprout Birth Center and Ranier Valley Community Clinic serving South Snohomish and King counties. In addition to clinical practice, Maya serves as a Teacher Assistant at Bastyr University for the Midwifery School. She also serves the Department of Access and Equity (DAE) from the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) and she is part of the HealthConnect One Birth Equity Leadership Academy (BELA) as Faculty. In addition, Maya has been a member of Midwives Association of Washington State (MAWS) and National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM).

Safiya McCarter, ND
Kirkland, WA
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Education: Dr. McCarter received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine in 2010 and her Masters of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree in 2015 from Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA. Her undergraduate education was completed at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Mathematics.
Professional Activities: Dr. McCarter is a Naturopathic Physician licensed to practice medicine in the state of Washington. In addition to practicing at Masa Integrative Clinic in Seattle, WA, she serves as adjunct faculty at Bastyr University for the School of Naturopathic Medicine and the School of Natural Health Arts & Sciences. In addition, she also serves as Co-Director of the Daniel K. Church Center for Social Justice and Diversity. In these roles she has been involved in curriculum design, development and implementation, accreditation standards review and the development and delivery of workshops and trainings related to social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion for staff, students and faculty. Dr. McCarter’s clinical interests include pediatrics and women’s health. Committed to increasing access to Naturopathic medicine, she has provided care to formerly homeless women in a transitional housing program. Her clinical approach incorporates psychological and emotional health and forming a partnership with her patients.

Sarita Bennett, DO, CPM
Charlottesville, VA
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Education: Bachelors of Science (Board of Regents Degree) – West Virginia University; Doctor of Osteopathy – WV School of Osteopathic Medicine; Family Medicine Residency – United Hospital Center; Experience-taught Midwife (CPM through the Experienced Midwife route)
Professional Activities: Sarita currently provides home and birth center midwifery care in Charlottesville, VA. She teaches a variety of health professional students, in both didactic and clinical settings, with a focus on mentoring CPM students who are completing the PEP. As an advisory faculty for the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) course, her goal is to make this course relevant and accessible for community midwives. Sarita serves as the Vice President of the Midwives Alliance of North America.

Whitney Mesyef, JD
Montvale, NJ
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Education: JD (Washington University Law School), BA Anthropology (Brown University)
Professional Activities: Whitney Mesyef has been the Director of Financial Aid and Compliance for the Midwives College of Utah (MCU) for the past seven years. MCU is the largest MEAC-accredited, distance-education midwifery school offering two undergraduate degrees along with a Master of Science in Midwifery degree. Whitney is a member of MCU’s Senior Leadership Team.