We bring birth back into the community safely by bringing community members back into the world of birth.
We believe that reasonably-priced education that is based in trauma-informed and evidence-based maternal health data allows more members of the community to join the ranks of community birth professionals now. When we surveyed and assessed our participating students and communities, it became obvious that community birth work in the United States faces the challenge of getting providers paid well across each state, both in training and as licensed caregivers. Burn out is the number one killer of the midwife career, and we are here to support midwives so that they continue to serve clients and teach students in their community. Home and birth center birth choice is continuing to increase as more people walk away from the obstetric birth experiment of the 20th century. We believe that by educating more entry level birth assistants, we will cast a larger net, catching more future midwives and thus increasing our birth assistant support numbers and our midwife population simultaneously. This increase in student birth professionals motivates a “power-with” model of entry-level community birth professional and student experience infrastructure, where both the student and the midwife can meet and feel rewarded and supported. We aim to mend the economic disparities presented with the increased costs of becoming a community midwife in the US by offering student birth professionals a way to increase their market value and profitability in an affordable, accessible, scalable way that also increases the sustainability of midwifery care now by offering our Professional Birth Assistant Program.
We live for a world that honors the human right of innate capacity and authority, expressed as the protection and projection of the right to safe birth attendance in our homes and birth centers by people of our own communities, supported by culture, community-relevant data, and desired action; where democratic justice appears as equitable provider payment, student support, and education and career opportunities that invest in ensuring that students stay home and learn to serve their communities while learning. We see that the safe return of community birth starts with the commitment to training providers who honor the innate capacity of birth and know how to help in the event of an emergency, followed closely by creating and motivating the innovation in infrastructure needed to support the economics of provider growth and retention.
We live for the world where the midwife has a beautiful life of balance and is well compensated for her services as well as for her diligent efforts in training and passing on the lineage of community birth to their village members in a way that honors, reveres, and uplifts the power of the people through their ownership of their birth education, innovation, infrastructure, and entrepreneurship. We see a world of lower maternal mortality and higher maternal care satisfaction that has returned the balance of low-risk community appropriate birth attendance back into the hands of the midwives and traditional birth attendants, where our surgeons are supported by the community midwives so that they can focus their talents on the high risk people in need. We see a world full of communities that manage their birthing outcomes with pride and dynamic attention to how their efforts are affecting the whole, that never again stand without the knowledge and skills to attend birth in their communities. We work for the vision of a world where the power-with, relationship-based care model of midwifery is easily accessible for clients and providers alike, and we work to nurture this world into realization now with our commitment to education, paying the midwives, incentivizing economic growth with affiliate economics, and providing scholarships in our Professional Birth Assistant Program.
We know that the more support that midwives have now from competent birth assistants, the more clients they can serve. The more birth assistants we help to generate will naturally increase the amount of student midwives that matriculate for higher level study and practice, proverbially “catching more fish” to help increase the midwifery workforce now. Nurses, CNAs, and doctors work together to provide care, just as midwives, students, and birth assistants have shined in the community setting together forever. We are committed to supporting community birth stewardship and provider base growth in communities worldwide and we guide our Institute development with this vision and commitment.
Meet the Founders
Jessica Johnston CPM, CDM
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, FOUNDER
How do we, on a large scale, restore low-risk birth back into the community to answer and acknowledge the public health data that strongly supports it?
How do we get students and new community midwives paid while they’re in training and immediately after licensing; as our nation neither stabilizes midwifery as a trade nor legally accepts it nationwide as a profession?
How do we increase midwifery career retention beyond seven years on average?
And how do we do all of this, for the good of maternal and neonatal healthcare nationwide, in the most culturally matched way possible, that exemplifies the power-with integrity of the midwifery model of care, knowing that we are facing a national crisis but cannot cut this very important corner?
The direction of program development and Institute strategy – that’s what I do at the Pacific Birth Institute and I LOVE it. Strategy and large-scale organization for efficiency in training models are one of my greatest strengths – in my past life, I helped organize, open, train, and restructure four restaurants in my first 14-year career as a server and front of house manager (hint: industry folk make great community birth assistants, they can anticipate anything!). But with now being a midwife and a steward of the legacy and longevity of midwifery, I get to take that same passion and apply it to the infrastructure of regenerative community-based maternity care access for clients and providers alike.
As for my background, my path to midwifery began as a result of my myriad path of life experience, adventures in holistic health, and an unshakable sense that our bodies are governed by an innate intelligence that deserves reverence and attention. I earned my undergraduate degree as a pre-medical/biological and natural sciences student at the University of Alaska, Anchorage while working full-time waiting tables. After graduation, I came to a crossroads – I adored science, but Western medicine was not the healing path I was called toward. So, I took some blessed time, I followed my heart and worked and saved and traveled, spending months in India learning Reiki and energy healing modalities, and completing a teacher training in Kundalini yoga under Gurumukh Kaur Khalsa. I came back stateside and knew that following a career path into western medical healing was not my next best step.
I began to teach yoga in Anchorage and fell deeply in love with prenatal yoga. As I began to contemplate starting my own family, I found the practice of midwifery and I felt an absolute sacred YES ping for me. This was the quality of care that I saw in my mind’s eye when I daydreamed about what healthcare should look like. This was the power-with paradigm of guidance and support that my heart knew was the nectar of real healthcare. I began my clinical and didactic training in professional midwifery in 2015, gained my state and national certifications in 2018, and I haven’t stopped learning since! Advanced Midwifery & Wellness is my homebirth practice and home postpartum care practice in Anchorage, Alaska, where I work with sustainability in mind and action, balancing fantastic clients and time with my family.
My love of midwifery extends beyond just the practice of direct care, client to provider, as you have seen so far. Strategy, research, and data are my other loves, and I seriously geek out. Luckily, I get to work with Jennifer Hoadley, CNM, as we are together the founders of Pacific Birth Institute. Truthfully, the formation of both Advanced Midwifery and the Pacific Birth Institute are deep, global consciousness values and visions of mine come to life. I want to bring more people back in touch with birth work. In every community, I want every birthing person to find their perfect provider, who is well-trained in supporting their needs. I want anyone who is called to the craft to actively pursue becoming a birth professional and I want them to have the best opportunity to make it work in their lives. Studies will always show that access to care is proportional to good outcomes. I believe deeply in the dynamics of living systems and their innate capacity to seek harmony when supported. I love how valuable long-term strategy is when the strategy supports both the populace’s needs and the future of care providers. Simply put? I founded the Pacific Birth Institute as my place to go to weave the future of my dreams.
Jennifer Hoadley CNM, ANP
DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM, FOUNDER
Jennifer Hoadley is a graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing and received her Master’s Degree from Frontier Nursing University. She has worked in and out of the hospital with women and children for the past 15 years.
Her work at the Pacific Birth Institute is focused on training assistants to work alongside midwives to make midwifery a sustainable vocation for herself and other midwives. She also is very excited to create a space for employment for people who want to work in birth but cannot commit to the financial or time requirements to become a midwife.
Jennifer has a vast knowledge of birth, maternal, and child health that she is passionate about sharing. She has a strong belief that the role of a birth assistant is vital and lacking in midwifery care. Jennifer will be creating the majority of the online content for the Birth Assistant Training and guiding the competencies of the education to keep our assistants up to date on the most evidence-based information to date.