(2011 - Present) Dawn Thompson is a healthy birth warrior. She is the founder of ImprovingBirth.org and former Vice President of the San Diego Birth Network. Since 2003, she has supported hundreds of families as a Labor & Postpartum Doula. Before becoming a doula, Dawn worked in marketing and public relations in the private aviation industry. She owned and operated a small retail business and also ran a continuing education program in the healthcare industry. This wide range of experience has prepared her to tackle the ambitious goals Improving Birth has identified–with the help and support of others who share her passion for and belief in evidence-based care for childbirth.
Because of her own personal journey through three Cesarean births, her passion and desire to empower people through education has become her mission. Dawn has six children and lives with her family in San Diego, California.
(2016 - Present) Victoria Macioce-Stumpf has been a Birth and Postpartum Doula and Childbirth Educator for over 25 years and was originally certified through DONA International, ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) and CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association) as well.
Victoria is a former President of BirthNetwork National as well as serving as the Consumer Advocacy Coordinator and other board positions as well. She is also the current and final Chair of the Leadership Team (board) of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) after first serving as the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the CIMS' Leadership Team for three years.
Victoria also served on the CIMS Forum (Conference) Planning Committee for several years, helping to plan and implement Mother-Friendly conferences in Austin, TX, Chapel Hill, NC and Kansas City, MO as well as hosting a Leadership Summit in Washington, DC with 19 different birth and breastfeeding organizations.
The birth of Victoria’s first of three children is what inspired her to begin working to improve maternity care, as she wants all women to feel empowered to make informed choices during labor, birth, breastfeeding and postpartum and be treated with respect throughout every part of those stages.
Victoria has been both proud and excited to work with ImprovingBirth and BirthNetwork National to merge the two organizations together with CIMS to “become a powerful, change-making national organization that is rooted in local communities.” Bringing the MFCI to life has always been the goal of CIMS and by joining forces, we have expanded our vision of improving maternity care.
Victoria is also currently a full-time university student studying Wellness, Health Promotion and Injury Prevention (WHP) and is a first-time grandmother to a beautiful little boy that has already stolen her heart.
(2016 - Present) Amanda Hardy Hillman, MA, Ph.D, LPC, ICCE is a faculty member at a larger Midwestern university and a licensed mental health professional. Her work and research primarily focuses on childbirth, parenting, child development, and the intersectionality of these three.
Amanda first entered into the "birth world" in 2008 as a 1st-time parent and eventually training to become a doula by the end of that year. She also works with families providing mental health support to address concerns surrounding birth trauma processing and recovery. She is the co-founder and president of Iowa Birth Organization, an organization whose aim is to promote equal access to evidence-based maternity care.
(2016 - Present) Anna Graybill is an organizer and community builder. She believes that we can change the face of birth by engaging in our local communities and connecting our local communities to a shared mission nationally. To work towards this goal, she joined the BirthNetwork National board and served as President. During her presidency she helped facilitate the merger of BNN with ImprovingBirth. She has organized many events both locally and nationally to bring birth activists together, including a Birth Activist Retreat at The Farm that connected a brand new (at the time) ImprovingBirth to a national community of Birth Activists who were ready to get to work. After the retreat she went home to Salt Lake City, Utah, hosted her first ImprovingBirth rally, and has been a passionate supporter of their mission ever since. Anna is also a doula and energy worker where she enjoys exploring in the personal, ecstatic, and energetic side of pregnancy and birth.
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Committee Board Members
(2016 - Present) Medical Director - Dr. Emiliano Chavira, MD, MFM obtained his MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his Ob/Gyn residency at LAC+USC in Los Angeles. He stayed on at the same institution to complete his fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine (high risk pregnancy). He has a passion for caring for women with complex medical problems in pregnancy, especially those who thought they could never have a baby, or who have been told that it is too dangerous to do so. His goal is to provide objective and caring guidance to these women without the language of fear that is so often introduced into the process of pregnancy and childbirth. In addition to caring for women with medical problems and complicated pregnancies, he also has an interest in supporting natural birth and breastfeeding for women and babies in general. He believes that medical interventions, which can be miraculous and life saving in some cases, should be reserved for those limited circumstances in which they are truly necessary.
In recent years, it has become clear to me that obstetric care as it is practiced in the community falls far short of the code of ethics and the beautiful ideals that are espoused by the profession of medicine. However, it was hard for me to articulate the issues, and even harder to imagine a course of action for improving things. When I met Dawn Thompson and learned about ImprovingBirth, I felt that I had entered into a circle of kindred spirits. It is with great hope and excitement that I now join this group and this movement to improve things for moms and babies in our maternity care system. Onward and upward!
(2015 - Present) Research and Implementation - Mary Regan, RN, Ph.D is an associate professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Maryland. Her program of research is focused on optimizing childbirth outcomes and the studies she conducts includes topics related to the micro biome and diet, best practices for evidence-based maternity care, provider perceptions of risk, and women's decision-making in childbirth. Originally from the U.K., where she received her basic education in nursing and midwifery, she later earned her Masters degree and Ph.D at the University of Minnesota. She completed a National Library of Medicine post doc before taking up her current position in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Media and Technology Coordinator
Candace Edwards LaFon
Membership and Chapter Coordinator
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Rachelle Hansen, Wisconsin
National Rally Task Force
Rachelle Hansen, Wisconsin
Jennifer Jeppson, Texas
Valerie Meharg, Michigan
Kim Baxley Wilson, Georgia