Featured Speakers

Learn about our featured 2018 Birth Institute speakers, including our Keynote, Closing, and General Session speakers.


Shafia M. Monroe, DEM, CDT, MPH

Keynote Speaker

Shafia Monroe is an internationally renowned midwife, doula trainer, healer, author, and speaker.  She is founder of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), the first U.S. Black midwife non-profit organization, founded to increase the number of midwives and doulas of color.  She has championed reproductive justice for more than three decades. In 2012, Madame Noir noted her “Queen Mother of a Midwife Movement,” because of her pioneer midwifery work intersecting with reproductive justice work.  In 2014 she opened Shafia Monroe Consulting/Birthing CHANGE, helping health care professional and doulas achieve cultural competency, increase clients, and improve birth outcomes.  In 2017 she founded Midwives, Others, and Mothers Alliance (MOMA)_Against Police Violence in response to the murders of pregnant of women by the police.  Shafia’s message calls us to the work of ‘birthing change’ – increasing personal capacity, as health care professionals, doulas, and birth workers, that will ensure inclusion for better birth outcomes, and a world where all babies see their first birthday, and where mothers live to raise them.


Jaqxun Darlin, CPM, LDM

Jaqxun is a midwife and educator at Every Body Midwifery and Health, a midwife at Canyon Medical Center, and the Director of Professional Development for the Midwives Alliance of North America.  They came to midwifery from a background in community health work, education, and health equity activism.  Jaqxun began doing birth and postpartum doula work in 2001, and began midwifery training in 2010.  They attended Birthwise Midwifery School and apprenticed with both rural and urban homebirth practices in Minnesota and Maine, and Cambodia.  Jaqxun became a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) in 2014 and is an Oregon Licensed Direct Entry-Midwife (LDM) as well. Their commitment is to give each family they work with the unique, attentive support they deserve.


Sister Angela Murdaugh, CNM, MSN, FACNM

Closing Speaker

Sister Angela is a Franciscan Sister of Mary and a native Arkansan.  She came to Texas in 1972 after finishing nurse-midwifery school at Columbia University in New York and an internship at St. Vincent’s Home and Hospital in Philadelphia.  In Raymondville, Texas she established the first freestanding birth center in Texas as part of Su Clinica Familiar, a migrant health clinic. In 1981, Sr. Angela was elected the President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.  During her term of office she helped to forge the Joint Statement between the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists which remained in place for 20 years.  Sr. Angela returned to Texas after her presidency and established another freestanding birth center, Holy Family Services.  It is a private, non-profit model that brings quality nurse-midwifery care to a population of underserved and impoverished women.  She served on the Department of Health committee that wrote the Texas Birth Center Regulations and also assisted in the revision ten years later, as well as another revision in 2002.  


Dr. Maria Valentin-Welch, CNM, DNP, MPH, CDP, FACNM

Dr. Valentin-Welch is presently Frontier Nursing University’s Chief Diversity Inclusion Officer.  Maria is a National Certified Diversity Professional and an Assistant Professor. In the past, she was the State Maternal Health Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She has over 30 years of public health, clinical, didactic teaching experience, and has worked with vulnerable populations such as pregnant homeless women, uninsured, underprivileged, and undocumented women from different cultures. Dr. Valentin-Welch is a strong supporter of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and was instrumental in assisting the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) down the path of adding D/I into their strategic goals during her tenure as chair of the Midwives of Color Committee (MOCC).

More Dynamic Speakers

  • Jill Alliman, CNM, DNP, FACNM - Project Director, Strong Start Project, American Association of Birth Centers; Faculty, Frontier Nursing University

  • Kim Bookout, DNP, RN, PNP - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Health Partners, PLLC

  • Mary Brucker, PhD, FACNM, FAAN - Associate Clinical Professor, Georgetown University

  • Marnie Cabezas - Chief Executive Officer, Innovation Billing Service, Inc.

  • Gina Cardona, CNM, MSN - Clinical Director, Holy Family Services

  • Rebecca Costello, MPH, IBCLC - Director of Lactation Services, Women's Birth & Wellness Center

  • Jaqxun Darlin, CPM, LDM - Midwife/Educator, Every Body Midwifery & Health; Director of Professional Development, Midwives Alliance of North America

  • Shannon DaSilva, DNP, CNM - Midwife, Fort Worth Birthing & Wellness Center

  • Erica Deerinwater, CPC - Billing Specialist, Dar a Luz Birth & Health Center

  • Chris Dominguez - Business Administrator, All About Babies

  • Donnellyn Dominguez, LM, CPM - Owner/Midwife, All About Babies

  • Ann Geisler, CPCU, AU, AAI - President, Sourthern Cross Insurance Solutions

  • Rosanne Gephart, MSN, CNM, IBCLC - President, Better Beginnings

  • Tyler Hixson, BFA - Co-owner, Marketing TEA

  • Diana Jolles, PhD, CNM - Faculty, Frontier Nursing University

  • Abigail Lanin Eaves, CNM, MSN - Executive Director, Dar a Luz Birth & Health Center

  • Audrey Levine, LM, CPM Retired - Co-President, NACPM

  • Ali Lewis, MD, FACOG - OB/GYN, Northwest Hospital; Medical Director, Midwives Group Northwest Hospital

  • Lee Lewis, BS - Area Vice President, Arthur J Gallagher & Co.

  • Ann McCarthy, MSN, CNM - Clinical Director, The Midwife Center for Birth & Women's Health

  • Casey Messmer - Co-owner, Marketing TEA

  • Shafia Monroe, DEM, CDT, MPH - President, Shafia Monroe Consulting/Birthing CHANGE

  • Julie Moon, CNM - Clinical Director, Alaska Family Health & Birth Center

  • Sr Angela Murdaugh, CNM, MSN, FACNM - Founder, Holy Family Services

  • Ashley Musil, LM, CPM, BA - Co-owner/Clinical Director, Wellspring Midwifery Care & Birth Center

  • Barbara Norton, MSN, CNM, APRN - Owner/Director, Geneva Woods Birth Center

  • Judith Nowlin, BA - Chief Growth Officer, Babyscripts

  • Stephanie Palacio, CNM - Owner/Midwife, Bay Area Community Birth Center

  • Glenda Pearson - Executive Director, Breath of Life Women's Health & Birth Center

  • Kim Pekin, BBA, CPM - Founder/Clinical Director, Premier Birth Center

  • Dave Pulley, MSM-RMI, CPCU, RPLU - Assistant Vice President, Senior Care Group, MedPro Group

  • Olga Ryan, MS-NL, RN - Clinic Manager, Birth & Women's Health Center, El Rio CHC

  • Karen Shea, MSN - Vice President, Maternal Child Health, Anthem, Inc.

  • Maria Valentin-Welch, CNM, DNP, MPH, CDP, FACNM - Chief Diversity Officer, Frontier Nursing University

  • Sabrina Wood, DHA - Project Leader, Palmetto Health

  • Jennifer Wright, MA - PDR Manager, American Association of Birth Centers

  • Kendra Wyatt, BS - Co-Founder, New Birth Company


More speakers to come!