MEAC Board of Directors
Kristi Ridd-Young, B.S., ICCE (Vice President for Outreach, Interim President) Alpine, UT
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. As a former midwife and currently a midwifery education administrator, Kristi often presents throughout the US and Middle East on topics relevant to midwives, doulas, and educators. Though she has been mentored by many leaders in maternal and child health, Kristi accredits her six children, seven step-children and 15 grandchildren for the real-life lessons that influence her philosophy that everyone deserves freedom of choice based on an understanding of and education about all of the available alternatives.
Heidi Fillmore, CPM, NHCM, BS (Vice President for Accreditation) Bridgton, Maine
Education: 1987 Womancare Birth Center, Monett, MO. Internship with Diane Barnes, midwife. 1986 Certificate of Graduation, Midwifery Training Institute, Albuquerque, NM. 1982, BS Architecture, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL.
Professional Activities: Founder, Executive Director, and Faculty member of Birthwise Midwifery School; Practicing Midwife in a private Home Birth Practice, Birthwise Midwifery Service; Community Midwifery Educator; Member of New Hampshire Midwives Association; Member of Midwives Alliance of North America, Member, Midwives of Maine; and Member, National Association of Certified Professional Midwives.
Abigiail O. Aiyepola, ND, (Secretary) San Diego, CA
Education: 2011 Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine, Bastyr University, Seattle, WA; 2011 Certificate of Licensed Midwifery, Bastyr University, Seattle, WA; 2004 Bachelor of Science, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, Interdisciplinary Studies, Pre-Medicine; 2004 Bachelor of Arts, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, Africana Studies and Global Health Studies.
Professional Activities: Abigail has done rotations with licensed midwives, certified nurse midwives, and naturopathic midwives and also completed three years of integrative residency where she was adjunct faculty helping to train future physicians in their clinical work. She is currently employed as a Medical Consultant for Nutritional Fundamentals for Health, and as the Resident Physician, at A Woman’s Time. Abigail has also worked as Adjunct Faculty and Resident Physician at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, supervising naturopathic medical interns in clinical and academic settings and facilitating student learning of clinical diagnoses and patient management.
Henci Goer ( Public Member) Sunnyvale, CA
Education: Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University with a major in biology.
Professional Activities: Founder and Director of Childbirth U, an online resource to help pregnant women make informed decisions and obtain optimal care. Co-author of Optimal Care in Childbirth: The Case for a Physiologic Approach and author of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, and Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities. Author of consumer education pamphlets; articles for trade, consumer, and academic periodicals; and guest poster on Lamaze International’s Science & Sensibility. Project director and Expert Work Group member on the document, “Evidence Basis for the Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care,” commissioned by the Coalition for Improvement in Maternity Services. Recipient of the BOLD Atlanta Lifetime Achievement Award, DONA International’s Klaus & Kennell Research Award for “Evidence Basis for the Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care,” Blossom Birth Services’ Mother’s Day Achievement Award, Lamaze International’s President’s Award, and the Media Award from the National Association of Childbearing Centers (now the American Association of Birth Centers). Optimal Care in Childbirth has received the American College of Nurse-Midwives “Best Book of the Year” award.
Cassaundra Jah, LM, CPM, IBCLC, MS (Treasurer) Albuquerque, NM
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: Chief Development Officer, National College of Midwifery; LM member, New Mexico State Licensed Midwifery Advisory Board; Former Co-chair New Mexico Midwives Association; Licensed Midwife in New Mexico; Recertified Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant; Author of two books and various articles; former Labor Doula
Karen Ehrlich, CPM, LM, MA, Felton , CA
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.
Courtney Everson, PhD, Denver, CO
Education: PhD, Applied Medical Anthropology, Oregon State University (2015); MA, Applied Medical Anthropology, Oregon State University (2009); BA, Cultural Anthropology, Western Washington University (2004), AA, Anthropology, South Puget Sound Community College.
Professional Activities: Dr. Everson is the Dean of Graduate Studies and Academic Faculty at the Midwives College of Utah. Dr. Everson is also the Director of Research Education for the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) Division of Research (DOR); the Vice President for the Association of Midwifery Educators; a Research Working Group (RWG) member of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH); an Accreditation Review Committee (ARC) member for the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC); and serves on the Boards of Directors for the Australasian Professional Doula Regulatory Association (APDRA) and the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH). As a Medical Anthropologist, Dr. Everson’s research and teaching specializations include: maternal-child health; human childbirth; adolescent pregnancy and parenting; psychosocial stress; social support; doula care; midwifery care; research and clinical ethics; evidence-informed practice; collaborative care models; mixed methodologies; health inequities; cultural competency/humility; social justice; and underserved populations. She actively publishes in academic forums, and is an invited, avid speaker at local, national and international venues. Courtney also serves families in her local community as a perinatal health educator, birth doula, and postpartum doula.
Safiya McCarter, ND, Kirkland, WA
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.
Rachel Hargy, BAS, AS, Gainsville, FL
Education: Rachel Hargy has a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services Management from Santa Fe College, an AS degree in Accounting Daytona State College Technology from, and certifications in Health Information Management and Project Management.
Professional Activities: Rachel Hargy has been on staff at the Florida School for Traditional Midwifery for two years, and currently serves as Director of Financial Aid and Regulatory Compliance. Her previous work experience includes the Santa Fe College Health IT Workforce Training Program and the University of Florida College of Medicine. An expert in higher education regulatory compliance, Rachel has worked on numerous certification, re-certification, accreditation, and licensure projects during her career, as well as routine regulatory reports, audits, along with compliance policy and procedure development. FSTM was founded in 1994 and became MEAC-accredited in 2000. With an active, involved, and distinguished Board of Directors as well as an experienced and dedicated staff, Rachel brings to MEAC real-world skills and experience and a strong and well-developed support system.