The International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization Board of Directors
Debra Pascali-Bonaro, IMBCO Chair, is an internationally renowned childbirth expert, a 26-year speaker in childbirth education, a Lamaze-certified veteran in maternity care, and a DONA-approved doula trainer. A graduate of McGill University, Debra travels the world working to ensure that women and their partners understand their rights related to the circumstances of giving birth. In the U.S. she teaches nursing, midwifery and medical students at University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and New York University, has spoken about doula care at the White House, and has been instrumental in the development of several hospitals and community-based doula programs. Abroad she provides consultation to H.O.M.E., a project of the European Community, and works in Brazil to implement doula programs; she also provides in-services to nurses, midwives, residents and Grand Rounds to physicians at hospitals and universities internationally, and teaches doula trainings in many countries.
Debra served on the first Board of Directors of DONA International and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Childbirth Connection. She co-authored Nurturing Beginnings: Mother Love’s Guide to Postpartum Home Care for Doulas and Outreach Workers and received the Lamaze International Elizabeth Bing Award in 2002. For her first documentary film, Orgasmic Birth, Debra videotaped births in New Zealand, Mexico, the U.K., South America, and the U.S. to help educate and inspire people to consider their options and the implications of the circumstances of birth for women's and babies' health and well being. This documentary is being shown around the world to great acclaim.
Robbie Davis-Floyd PhD, Editor for the IMBCI, is a Senior Research Fellow in the Dept. of Anthropology, University of Texas Austin and a Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology. She is a medical anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of reproduction. An international speaker and researcher, she is author of over 80 articles and of Birth as an American Rite of Passage (1992, 2004); coauthor of From Doctor to Healer: The Transformative Journey (1998); and coeditor of eight collections, including Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (1997); Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots (1998); and Mainstreaming Midwives: The Politics of Change (2006). Birth Models That Work, an edited collection that highlights excellent models of birth care around the world, is in press. Her research on global trends and transformations in childbirth, obstetrics, and midwifery is ongoing. Robbie speaks regularly at universities and at national and international childbirth, obstetrical, and midwifery conferences around the world. She has been involved with the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) since its founding at Mt. Madonna in 1995, serving on its Leadership Council and as Chair of the CIMS Editorial Committee for the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI). She currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction.
Soo Downe, Professor Soo Downe, BA(hons), RM, MSc, PhD OBE. Soo spent 15 years working as a midwife in various clinical, research, and project development roles at Derby City General Hospital. From January 2001 Soo has worked at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in England, where she is now the Professor of Midwifery Studies. She set up the UCLan Midwifery Studies Research Unit in October 2002. She now leads the Research in Childbirth and Health (ReaCH) group.
She was the inargural Chair of the the UK Royal College of Midwives Campaign for Normal Birth steering committee until December 2011, and she co-chaired the International Confederation of Midwives Research Standing Committee until June 2011. She has been a member of a number of national midwifery committees, and she has held a range of visiting professorships, most recently in Belgium, Hong Kong, and Sweden. She was awarded an OBE for services to midwifery in 2011.
Her main research focus is the nature of, and culture around, normal birth. She is the editor of Normal Birth, Evidence and Debate (2004, 2008), and of four other books, and she is the founder of the International Normal Birth Research conference series. She has published over 50 peer reviewed papers in academic and professional journals. This work also informs her undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and especially a masters level module on normal childbirth, that is underpinned by story telling around clinical practice. As well as running a number of locally funded projects, she is currently the principle investigator on two large funded studies, the SHIP trial of the use of self-hypnosis in labour (funded by the NIHR RfPB) and an EU COST Action on childbirth contexts, cultures and consequences, currently involving over 100 people from 19 countries.
Kathy Herschderfer, Midwife and Researcher worked more than 20 years in a community midwifery practice in the Netherlands. She combined her love for travel with her work and consulted in the fields of health education and midwifery training in Central America and Africa. She later combined midwifery practice with a position as midwife-researcher working in national and international coalitions. Between 2003 and 2008 she worked as Secretary General of the International Confederation of Midwives at Headquarters in The Hague representing the midwifery profession in the international arena and advocating for improving the quality of maternal and newborn health. Between 2008 and 2011, she worked as a freelance international consultant in maternal and newborn health and is currently a senior advisor in Sexual and Reproductive Health at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. Kathy was a member of the Board of Directors of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood between 2008-2011.
Amali Lokugamage MBChB, BSc, MSc (Epidemiology), MD, FRCOG is a Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in London, UK. She has over 24 years of experience in the speciality. Her main clinical interests lie in medical gynaecology and general obstetrics with expertise in normalising birth. She has authored an acclaimed book called The Heart in the Womb: An Exploration of the Roots of Human Love and Social Cohesion which Ina May Gaskin has called “the childbirth without fear of the 21st century”. Dr Lokugamage is an internationally invited speaker at many multidisciplinary Birth conferences promoting respectful care, dignity and autonomy in maternity services. Her international positions of leadership are; being on the Board of Directors of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organisation (UN recognised NGO); on the Advisory Board of Human Rights in Childbirth (NGO); and on the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Childbirth. She is an Institute of Leadership and Management NHS Champion for healthcare human rights and is involved compassion and patient experience projects at her London hospital. She has several medical educational leadership roles at University College London Medical School in undergraduate women’s health, vertical modules and student support. Her international clinical work has been in cardiothoracic anaesthesia in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1991; research into the treatment of post partum haemorrhage at the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa 1997-2001; and Asian Tsunami charitable relief work in Sri Lanka and India 2005 & 2006.
Her undergraduate medical qualifications are from St Andrews and Manchester Universities. An MSc Epidemiology was obtained at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an MD was awarded from University College London. Clinical training was undertaken at London teaching hospitals. She was awarded a Fellow of the Royal College and Obstetricians (FRCOG) in 2008.
Her research & publications cover critical evaluation of evidence based medicine, human rights in childbirth, normalising birth, life course epidemiology, recurrent miscarriage, the use of Misoprostol for labour and delivery, and international women's health. She has a keen interest in Integrated Medicine and the psychobiological dimensions of diagnosis and treatment.
In London she leads an NHS maternity acupuncture service. She is a Trustee of the Birthlight Trust where she instigated a pregnancy yoga dance project. Dr Lokugamage also has expertise in the treatment of chronic illness integrating both standard and complementary medicine modalities in a patient centred approach.
Daphne Rattner, MD, MPH, PhD is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Collective Health, School of Health Sciences of the University of Brasilia. Besides her PhD in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Daphne studied Public Health and Tropical Diseases at the University of Sao Paulo; Hospital and Health Services Administration at the Fundacao Getulio Vargas; Community-oriented Primary Health Care at Hebrew University, Israel; and Primary Health Care: Policy, Planning and Politics of Health in Development at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. She served as national coordinator of the Rede Nacional pela Humanizacao do Parto e Nascimento (Brazilian Network for the Humanization of Childbirth) (ReHuNa) from 2000 to 2004. Daphne organized the book Humanizando Nascimentos e Partos (2005), and in 2009 A medicina tradicional e os sistemas municipais de saúde: Humanização do parto sob o enfoque do Patrimônio Cultural / La medicina tradicional y los sistemas municipales de Salud: Humanización del parto sobre el enfoque del Patrimonio Cultural (Traditional medicine and local healthcare systems: Humanization of Childbirth under the perspective of Cultural Heritage). Before taking on the position at the University, Daphne worked for five years in Women’s Health Program for the Brazilian Ministry of Health.
Mayri Sagady Leslie, EdD, MSN, CNM, FACNM Dr. Leslie is the Director of the Masters of Science in Nursing, Concentration in Nurse-Midwifery at George Washington University in Washington DC. A previous faculty member at Georgetown University and Yale, Dr. Leslie has 30 years of clinical maternity care as a Nurse-Midwife. She is the former practice director of the University of California, San Diego nurse-midwifery service and birth center. On both the national and international level, Dr. Leslie has a long history of birth activism with multiple publications on midwifery and women’s health. She served as the Chair of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services and was a founding author of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative. Dr. Leslie has a doctoral degree in Human and Organizational Learning. Her research includes studies on the relationship between preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease, placental transfusion at birth, and provider implementation of evidence-based practices in maternity care. She contributed to the current version of Varney’s Midwifery and is the author on the VBAC chapter in Best Practices in Midwifery . In 2017, she was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Nurse-Midwifery.
Hélène Vadeboncoeur, Ph.D, has dedicated her professional life to improving the conditions in which women give birth, with an emphasis on women and family-centered care, informed choice, evidence-based practices and women’s reproductive rights, in direct link with the optimal maternity care principles and steps of IMBCI. In the 80s, Hélène wrote in L’Une à l’autre, published by ‘the’ Quebec organization born in the wake of the humanization of birth movement, Naissance-Renaissance. She then wrote a book on VBAC, so that women could learn about the possibility of giving birth themselves after a cesarean. In the 90’s Hélène was hired by several public organizations within the Quebec health care system, to conceive birth center projects with the help of multidisciplinary teams. Subsequently, she was employed by the Quebec government to support the implementation of midwifery birth centers. During this time she obtained a master’s degree in public health, doing an exploratory comparative study on the legalization of midwifery in Canada. Hélène now has a PhD in Applied Social Sciences (Université de Montréal), and wrote a thesis on humanization of childbirth in hospitals. Since 2000, she has been part of several actions and scientific committees centered on improving childbirth, and has been working as an independent researcher, a writer and teacher. In addition, Hélène speaks at conferences on various aspects of childbirth and midwifery both in North America and abroad. She is a member of the Association pour la santé publique du Québec (ASPQ), the Quebec public health organization that has been lobbying against medicalized childbirth since the 70’s. She is presently co-researcher in 2 Canadian studies: a multi-centered randomized controlled study on lowering caesarean rates, and a study on how women perceive the way they are treated while giving birth. Hélène also is coordinating an innovative study on the experience of being a pregnant and vulnerable immigrant, a study that is centered on the co-creation of a theatre play based on the women's experiences.
Administrative Director, Rae Davies, BSH, CD(DONA), LCCE, IBCLC
Rae’s professional career began when the birth of her first baby was featured in the film Childbirth for the Joy of It in 1968. Guest appearances on talk shows with Maria Cole (wife of the late Nat King Cole), and Regis Philbin inspired her to continue to educate women and men about natural childbirth and husbands in the delivery room. Rae became the first certified Bradley Method childbirth educator, which led her to following her students through labor, birth and breastfeeding as a doula and lactation consultant. With solid roots in the grassroots childbirth movement, Rae became the first Executive Director for the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) where she represented CIMS nationally, internationally, and on the US Breastfeeding Committee. She continues to dedicate her time to providing training programs globally for doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. Rae is also the World Alliance of Breastfeeding Action (WABA) Health Care Practices Task Force co-coordinator.
Adminstrative Director, Rae Davies. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone (USA EST): 904-285-0028