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).

Carolina Nkouaga, MPH, LM, CPM
Lexington , KY
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Education: Carolina received her Master of Public Health from the University of New Mexico in 2017 and her Bachelor of University Studies with concentrations in socio-economic development, women’s studies and community health from the same university in 2005. She completed the New Mexico midwifery apprenticeship pathway in 2020.
Professional Activities: Carolina Nkouaga is a public health consultant and a community midwife. For over a decade, she served as the Director of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Office for Community Health, where she collaborated on the development of the health extension model and various community health worker initiatives, as well as the implementation of the University’s strategic goal to work with community partners to improve the health and health equity in the state of New Mexico more than any other state. Carolina is passionate about the development of collaboration and partnership and has been a key driver in the community health worker model in New Mexico which is currently being replicated in many other states. She currently serves families in central New Mexico during the prenatal, birth and postpartum period, holding space and honoring their traditions as they welcome a new life. She draws on her experience of working in indigenous communities throughout Latin America on community development projects, as well as the Bahá’í principles of unity and service, to guide her work.

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.

Elon Geffrard, B.Sc.
Detroit, MI
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Education: Elon received her Bachelor of Science in Health Studies from Michigan State University in December of 2010. She has completed post baccalaureate coursework in pharmacology, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology of health and disease, nutrition and developmental psychology at the Lansing Community College.
Professional Activities: Elon Geffrard is a Detroit native who has been a birth doula since 2016, she entered doula work as a community home visitor with a national infant mortality prevention program. Since that time, she maintains a private and community-based doula practice that centers Black women and their experiences. Elon has served as project coordinator, statewide speaker and maternal health equity consultant with several public health projects and initiatives. She finds her greatest joys in serving women as they transition into motherhood and the inherent right for all families to experience holistic, quality and respectful care as they welcome new life. She currently works with the Michigan Prison Doula Initiative serving incarcerated pregnant persons and provides support directly during their labor and birth experience. Since 2018 she has been a board member for the Michigan Breastfeeding Network. She is the godmother to ten godchildren and curates a March reading month nightly Facebook live storytime for families called “Auntie Lon’s Story Time.”

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
Felton , CA
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Education: Master of Arts, Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont, 2003; North American Registry of Midwives Certified Professional Midwife 1996-present; State of California Licensed Midwife 1996-present; California Association of Midwives Certified Midwife 1988-1992; Homebirth Midwifery Practice 1976-2015; Apprenticeship in Midwifery 1975-1976; Independent Study in Childbirth and Midwifery, 1973-1976; Bachelor of Science, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, 1968
Professional Activities: Karen was part of the renaissance of American midwifery that flourished across North America in the 1970s. She was instrumental in founding the Santa Cruz School of Midwifery and Institute of Feminine Arts that began in the late 1970s. For nearly 50 years Karen has worked as a childbirth educator, health educator, midwifery educator, and midwifery activist. She has taught for Sage Femme Midwifery School and mentored up-and-coming midwives throughout her career. She also has taught classes in maternal/newborn health, community health, and sexual health for local agencies, clinics, and hospitals. She has been active in state and national organizations that have advocated for recognition and integration of midwifery care in all settings. In 2003 she wrote her master’s thesis Life is a Sexually Transmitted Condition: The Sexuality of Labor and Birth (available to read online) in partial fulfillment of her master’s degree. Karen maintained a homebirth practice from 1976 until she retired from clinical care in 2014. She became a continuing education reviewer for MEAC in 2007 and joined the MEAC board in 2015 to continue her commitment to midwifery and midwifery education.

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.

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.

Sandra Lee Wise, PhD
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Education: Dr. Wise’s primary health care background is in public health. She received her Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Bowling Green State University and Master’s degree in nursing from The Ohio State University. Between Ohio and Colorado Dr. Wise acquired her doctoral degree in Health Education while raising 3 daughters.
Professional Activities: Dr. Sandra Wise was most currently the Sr. Director for the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Dr. Wise has a diverse background and strong record of service in higher education and to CAPTE having served as a CAPTE commissioner from 2007-2011 and as a team member on 16 accreditation site visits to PTA programs. During her tenure at CAPTE she was involved in several transitions in education, accreditation and the association, including the formation of the Education Leadership Partnership, and the transition of 4 chairs of CAPTE. Her staff leadership has prepared the accreditation division to move into CAPTE’s future with a continued commitment to accountability and excellence.
Before her role as Sr Director she was campus president and chief academic officer at Argosy University. In that role she was responsible for administration of all campus-based programs including undergraduate studies in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Business, Information Technology and Psychology; graduate studies in K-12 Education Leadership, Postsecondary Education Leadership, Counseling Psychology and Business. She effectively executes the vision and strategic direction for the institution to ensure academic excellence while maximizing the return on invested capital.
She has authored and presented on numerous higher education topics including competency-based education and adult learning. She continues to be actively engaged in professional organizations that advance the health professions’ roles in evidence-based practice.

Scottie Hale Buehler, CPM, MA
Los Angeles, CA
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Education: PhD in the history of science and medicine from UCLA; MA (2015) in the history of science and medicine from UCLA; CPM (2010); studied midwifery at the Association for Texas Midwives Training Program; BA (2006) in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies.
Professional Activities: Scottie Buehler is a midwife turned historian of medicine. Her book monograph explores the pedagogical practices and objects of midwifery training programs in the eighteenth-century French Atlantic. After earning her BA in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, she became licensed as a Certified Professional Midwife in 2010 and founded and operated a homebirth midwifery practice in Austin, Texas. She continues to assist at births and is on the board of directors of a non-profit, social justice-oriented birth center.

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.