Circle of Advisors



Suzanne Arms is a birth activist, author of 7 books, filmmaker, multimedia event producer and presenter. Suzanne has co-produced a made-for-tv documentary called BIRTH, to air on PBS, the largest public television network in the USA. This film discusses the natural ecology of childbirth and contrasts that with routine artificial interventions and drugs and shows why it is important to follow sound biological processes.

Myrto Ashe, MD is a board-certified family physician. She has attended the Institute of Functional Medicine and now practices science-based, individualized, wellness-oriented medicine. She incorporates an understanding of conventional medicine with the experience and research base of basic physiology, biochemistry, naturopathy and mind-body medicine.


Stacy Malkan is the Media Director for the California Right to Know ballot initiative to label genetically engineered foods. A longtime media strategist for environmental health campaigns, most recently as the co-founder and Communications Director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, she is the author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.


Dr. L. Samsarah Morgan, DD  is an Interfaith minister and Counselor, Doula, Apprentice Midwife, Childbirth Educator and Family Life Coach. She is the director the Nia Healing Center, a training center for Birth Doulas, Childbirth Educators, Post Partum Care Providers, and Birth Activists. She is the Director of Birth Professionals of the San Francisco Bay Area and Founding Member of the Occupy/ Decolonize Pregnancy Birth and Parenting Caucus of Occupy Oakland.

Mary Oscategui, The Baby Planner, is an international maternity business consultant and holistic educator who specializes in maternal sleep, health, fitness, nutrition and green living. She is the Founder, CEO, and President of the International Maternity Institute (IMI), International Academy of Baby Planner Professionals (IABPP), and Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants (APSC). Mary is a leader in educational development and has been consulting and guiding hundreds of clients for the last 17 years.


Diana Paul, produces films on homebirth through her non-profit, Love Delivers.  Her first film, Birth Day, has been seen by tens of thousands of viewers. She has produced Motherbaby Film Festivals in Portland, Oregon; Hamilton, Bermuda; Traverse City, Michigan and San Jose, Costa Rica.  Between 2005 and 2012, the videos “Birth Day - International Edition,” “Home Birth:  The Spirit, The Science and The Mother,” “Miss Margaret,” “Evidence Based Childbirth,” “Luna,” “Bathing in Liquid Mind,” “A Cow Trough??” and “5 Countries 6 Births 7 Babies”, were all completed.

Anne Ryan is a Project Assistant at CompassPoint where she supports a variety of CompassPoint Initiatives as well as the organization’s communications and social media activities. She also is an experienced trainer and researcher for CompassPoint’s Nonprofit Talking Taxes initiative, which educates nonprofit staff on the California Budget Crisis and its effect on nonprofit work and fundraising. 


Kimberly Streeter is pursuing her PhD in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies; her area of inquiry is defining Cultural Midwifery for a Post-Industrial World. Kimberly is a therapeutic massage therapist, somatic psychology instructor, DONA-trained labor and postpartum doula, and Farm Midwifery Center-trained midwife assistant. She has worked as the executive director of an integrative functional medicine and midwifery clinic and currently provides transition consulting for small businesses and nonprofits. 


Leny Mendoza Strobel is the Director of the Center of Babaylan Studies and Associate Professor of American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University. She is the author of Coming Full Circle: The Process of Decolonization Among Post-1965 Filipino Americans (Giraffe Books, 2001) and A Book of Her Own: Words and Images to Honor the Babaylan (Tiboli Press, 2005). She is the editor of Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous, published by Ateneo de Davao University Research and Publications Office, 2010. This book is a collection of scholarly essays on primary/land-based babaylans in the Philippines; Kapwa psychology and babaylan practice; babaylan-inspired practices by Filipinos in the diaspora; as well as personal narratives on decolonization as a spiritual path.



More in depth Biographies of EcoBirth’s caring Circle of Advisors


Suzanne Arms

 


 



Suzanne Arms's name is readily recognized by many in the field of perinatal education. For 30 years she has been a tireless advocate for childbearing women, a fighter for change in the traditional maternity care system, and a feminist with strong beliefs about the physical, emotional, and spiritual impact of birth. Arms's well-known books and frequent speaking engagements have allowed her to spread her message and her plea to humanize the childbirth experience. Talking with Arms is an energizing encounter. Her life path is a powerful and compelling story that is an inspiration to all who continue to work to make birth a positive event in the lives of women and their families.
Suzanne Arms is a familiar name to many from her seven groundbreaking books (on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and adoption), films, photographs, and the hundreds of talks she has given at conferences worldwide since 1975.  She has been an inspiration behind the Birth Movement.  Her second book, Immaculate Deception, was named a New York Times Best Book of the Year and inspired thousands of midwives, nurses and physicians, as well as parents-to-be.  Arms is an advocate for holistic, sustainable health policies and practices and conscious parenting.  Her focus – and the focus of Birthing The Future, the U.S. non-profit she founded and directs – is birth and the mother-baby connection, which lays the foundation for love and trust, health and resiliency, cooperation and community. 
Arms’ presentations range from large multi-media events, using films and her photographs, at conferences and colleges to workshops for professionals and students, and intimate sacred circles for healing and deepening community.  She weaves a tapestry of knowledge from ancient and cross-cultural wisdom to modern science (cellular biology, neurobiology, psycho-immunology and attachment theory), with ecology, feminism and spirituality.
“My purpose is to help shift the paradigm that drives the loneliness, anxiety, addiction, greed and aggression so prominent in post-modern societies to one that promotes joy, wellbeing and peace.  I work at the beginning of life, where the patterns are set.  We must transform how we bring human beings into the world and care for each childbearing woman and mother-baby pair from conception to the first birthday, when they are one biological system and the baby’s developing brain and nervous system are laying down patterns for a lifetime.”
In 1977 Suzanne made her debut as a video filmmaker with a half hour black and white documentary called “Five Women, Five Births,” a film about choices.  Many childbirth educators continue to use this film in their classes, as it takes the uninitiated gently into the feelings and reality of labor and deliver.
“For too long our approach to childbearing and caring for mothers and babies has been fear-based, its hallmarks isolation, intervention in natural processes, hyper-stimulation and maternal deprivation.  Women’s experiences and their feelings about themselves, their babies and motherhood, translate directly into thoughts and biochemistry that lay down patterns in their baby’s developing nervous system and brain.  These patterns shape, not only how we see ourselves as children, but the relationships we form as adults and how we care for others and our world.  The mother-baby relationship is crucial.  Thus, how we treat the women who bring children into this world – with honor and tenderness or neglect and abuse – profoundly influences the direction of our society.
Love and fear, and peace and violence, begin in the womb.  And that is where the roots of faith or alienation lie.  The new paradigm, which is really based in ancient wisdom and supported by modern science, is available to us today, as is healing the birth-related trauma so prevalent in modern society.”
Arms, a mother and grandmother, former pre-school and Head Start teacher, is a founding and active member of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children.  At the pioneering Holistic Childbirth Institute in San Francisco, in 1977, Suzanne created and taught the first course on the evolution of childbirth practices and how we got the practices we have today.  A year later she co-founded The Birth Place, the country’s first resource center for pregnancy, birth and new parenting and one of the first independent birthing centers in the U.S.  Located just minutes from Stanford University Medical Center, The Birth Place also began the first training of doulas.  Suzanne was a founding and active board member of Planetree, the international organization working to transform hospitals and clinics into true healing centers.
Her film “Giving Birth”, which contrasts the medical model for birth with the biological or midwifery model, is used extensively by birth educators, doulas, progressive hospitals and university women’s studies programs.  It has inspired thousands of women and men to make different choices about how to bring their baby into the world.  In 2003 Suzanne Arms founded Birthing The Future, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  Suzanne and co-producer/director Christopher Carson of Reverie Films in Los Angeles, have completed a made-for-tv documentary called BIRTH, to air on PBS, the largest public television network in the USA. This film discusses the natural ecology of childbirth and contrasts that with routine artificial interventions and drugs and shows why it is important to follow sound biological processes.
Suzanne lives near Durango in SW Colorado and works with the help of volunteer assistants, interns, and advisors from across the world.

Myrto Ashe, M.D. 

Unconventional Medicine

 











I am a board-certified family physician. I grew up in Canada, attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, then completed family practice residency at Brown University. I also obtained a master’s in public health from the University of California at Berkeley, and completed a preventive medicine residency there.
For 20 years, I worked within the conventional medicine paradigm. I am completely familiar with the sense of frustration shared by patients and physicians when the conditions they are dealing with cannot be cured, just managed.
But it turns out there is now enough knowledge to change the way medicine is practiced. I discovered this when I started looking into the field of "functional medicine" and the work of family physician Mark Hyman, M.D. I found that the Institute for Functional Medicine is fully accredited by the same organization that accredits cardiologists, and neurologists and immunologists. I saw that their recommendations are based on vast quantities of recent scientific research. I came to understand that this research has uncovered links that were not previously known, and that if one is serious about practicing evidence-based medicine, one must now reorganize the entire framework of how disease arises.
So I attended the Institute for Functional Medicine's core course, "Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice", as well as four advanced practice modules - cardiometabolic (vascular disease and diabetes), gastrointestinal, hormones and immune system. I now practice science-based, individualized, wellness-oriented medicine. I incorporate an understanding of conventional medicine with the experience and research base of basic physiology, biochemistry, naturopathy and mind-body medicine.

Stacy Malkan

 






Stacy Malkan is the Media Director for the California Right to Know ballot initiative to label genetically engineered foods. A longtime media strategist for environmental health campaigns, most recently as the co-founder and Communications Director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, she is the author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.
Stacy Malkan is a co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of the award-winning book, “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.” The book tells the inside story of the unprecedented research and advocacy efforts of the group of women who created the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and built a national movement to shift the $50 billion beauty industry away from harmful chemicals and toward safer products.
As the lead media strategist for the cosmetics campaign, Stacy has helped generate worldwide media coverage about toxic chemicals in personal care products and the availability of safer alternatives. She has been interviewed by New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Globe & Mail, Martha Stewart Radio, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Daily News, Minneapolis Star Tribune and many other radio and print outlets. Television appearances include Good Morning America, Democracy Now, Fran Drescher Tawk Show, ABC 7 Chicago and ABC’s View from the Bay.
From 2001 to 2008, Stacy was the Communications Director of Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition of health care groups, nursing organizations, environmental and labor groups working to reduce pollution in the health care industry. Prior to her work as an environmental health advocate, Stacy was a reporter and newspaper publisher for eight years in the Colorado Rockies. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Awards and Recommendations for “Not Just a Pretty Face”
TodayShow.com: The Gift of Knowledge: Six Green Reads
Wall Street Journal recommendation by Kathy Gerwig, Kaiser Permanente

Dr. L. Samsarah Morgan

 










Dr. L. Samsarah Morgan - is an Interfaith minister and Counselor, Doula, Apprentice Midwife, Childbirth Educator, Hypnotherapist and Family Life Coach. She has served individuals, couples and families for over 25 years. Dr. Morgan is the director the Nia Healing Center as well as the director of Birth Professionals of the Bay Area , a training center for Birth Doulas, Childbirth Educators, Post Partum Care Providers, and Birth Activists. She is the mother of 5 sons and a grandmother of an 8 year old granddaughter, and a two year old grandson!
http://theprofessionaldoula.com/

Mary Oscategui

 











Mary Oscategui, The Baby Planner, is an international maternity business consultant and holistic educator who specializes in maternal sleep, health, fitness, nutrition and green living. She is the  Founder, CEO, and President of the International Maternity Institute (IMI),  International Academy of Baby Planner Professionals (IABPP), and Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants (APSC). Additionally Mary also offers health and fitness services through Physical Awakening.com, a holistic integrative approach offering the services of yoga, meditation, pilates, fitness, and nutrition. Mary is a leader in educational development and has been consulting and guiding hundreds of clients for the last 17 years.
She is the author of  “The Baby Planner Profession: What You Need To Know! The Ultimate Guide and Resource for Baby Planner Professionals,” and her latest book, “Green Body Green Birth”, is due to release soon.
Mary enjoys empowering, educating, and supporting expectant and new parents to know all their options so that they may confidently make informed decisions for themselves and their family in the healthiest and safest way. Mary also advises and coaches maternity professionals  offering a wealth of knowledge and support. Her enthusiasm, inspiration, creativity, and knowledge has helped launch many maternity start-up businesses in 22 countries around the world. She enjoys helping business owners meet their challenges with clear and direct solutions.
Mary’s work in the health, fitness, and maternity industry is backed up by a multitude of prestigious certifications. She is a writer, speaker, educator, coach, baby planner, stress management coach, wellness coach, sleep consultant, certified yoga and pilates instructor, certified personal trainer, holistic nutrition consultant, going green consultant, greenproofer, and birthing options advocate.
Mary introduced a new approach to the baby planning industry by focusing on the needs of her clients through parental education and emotional support and established the first and only certification program in the baby planning industry.
Most recently Mary has been working to raise the bar for the sleep consulting industry by expanding the sleep consultant’s role to include working with expecting families, setting forth a formal definition, standards of practice and boundaries to practice for the sleep consulting profession via the IMI Sleep Consultant Certification.
Mary’s greatest joy is to see moms nourish their bodies, bellies, and babies. Mary’s daughter, “Bella Luna” is a continuing inspiration for her career and personal development.  Currently Mary is enjoying her second child, Taj Orion Sky, who arrived at home in Marin County with the assistance of a midwife and a doula.

Diana Paul

 


 

 





Diana Paul started Sage Femme, now Love Delivers, in 1998 in Massachusetts, where her deep desire to help mothers and babies as a lay midwife was legally allowed. She attended only home births. When some women wanted the birth videotaped, Diana took her small Sony 900 camera. It was unobtrusive and she was able to capture rare and beautiful images. She also worked with a professional videographer interviewing midwives at conferences. In Austin, Texas, Diana met a very pregnant Naoli Vinaver Lopez, offered her a camera to tape Tamaya's birth and that was the beginning of Birth Day. Today Birth Day has been seen by tens of thousands of viewers. It was in 6 major film festivals in the US as well as Havana, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Birth Day was added to Boston's Museum of Science reproduction exhibit. In 2004 Sage Femme moved its headquarters to California and changed from the business world to the nonprofit. In September 2007, the first Motherbaby Film Festival debuted in Portland, Oregon.  It was part of the Gentle Birth World Congress.   Motherbaby International Film Festival became a traveling festival in 2008 and was produced in Hamilton, Bermuda; Traverse City, Michigan  and San Jose, Costa Rica. 
Between 2005 and 2012, the videos “Birth Day - International Edition,” “Home Birth:  The Spirit, The Science and The Mother,” “Miss Margaret,” “Evidence Based Childbirth,” “Luna,” “Bathing in Liquid Mind,” “A Cow Trough??” and “5 Countries 6 Births 7 Babies”, were all completed.

Videos produced for and screened at the festivals are sold by Love Delivers on the websites:  www.HomeBirthVideos.org and www.lovedelivers.org and through twelve wholesale distributors.

Anne Ryan

 










Anne Ryan is a Project Assistant at CompassPoint where she supports a variety of CompassPoint Initiatives as well as the organization’s communications and social media activities. She also is an experienced trainer and researcher for CompassPoint’s Nonprofit Talking Taxes initiative, which educates nonprofit staff on the California Budget Crisis and its effect on nonprofit work and fundraising. Anne is passionate about social justice and interfaith issues. In her spare time, she enjoys windy beaches, respectful political discussions, and trying strange ice cream flavors.

Kimberly Streeter

 

 

 






Kimberly Streeter is pursuing her PhD in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies; her area of inquiry is defining Cultural Midwifery for a Post-Industrial World. Kimberly has worked as a therapeutic massage therapist, the director of a massage school, a somatic psychology instructor, the executive director of an integrative functional medicine and midwifery clinic, a DONA-trained labor and postpartum doula, a Farm Midwifery Center-trained midwife assistant, and as a transition consultant for small businesses and nonprofits -- mostly in the areas of maternal and children's health.  Kimberly seeks to recalibrate our collective conversations around birth and transition so that they are more heart-centered and less fear-based.   

*Kimberly has a BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Wright State University, a MLA degree from the University of North Carolina – Asheville, and a Nonprofit Management Certification from Duke University.

Leny Mendoza Strobel

 










 Leny Mendoza Strobel is the Director of the Center of Babaylan Studies and Associate Professor of American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University. She is the author of Coming Full Circle: The Process of Decolonization Among Post-1965 Filipino Americans (Giraffe Books, 2001) and A Book of Her Own: Words and Images to Honor the Babaylan (Tiboli Press, 2005). She is the editor of Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous, published by Ateneo de Davao University Research and Publications Office, 2010. This book is a collection of scholarly essays on primary/land-based babaylans in the Philippines; Kapwa psychology and babaylan practice; babaylan-inspired practices by Filipinos in the diaspora; as well as personal narratives on decolonization as a spiritual path.

Personal statement: "If decolonization has taught us anything, it's this: part of our own healing is to no longer be the willing receptacle of these projections from the colonizer. What then becomes of us when we are emptied of colonial projections? I was reminded by a very wise woman mentor from India that my colonized self is only a sliver in the totality of my Filipino self. Yet, temporarily, it was necessary for the process of decolonization to take up time and space in the psyche in order to purge these projections so that I can come home full circle to the largeness of my own indigenous self.

"I use the term indigenous to refer to the self that has found its place, its home in the world. Emptied of projections of "inferiority,' "third world," "undeveloped," "uncivilized," "exotic and primitive," and "modernizing," it is the self capable of conjuring one's place and growing roots through the work of imagination, re-framing history, and re-telling the Filipino story that centers our history of resistance, survival, and re-generation." (A Book of Her Own, 182).

"Our primary babaylans and babaylan-inspired kapwa are still with us. In land-based tribal communities in the Philippines, they perform their roles as they have done for thousands of years. Karl Gaspar calls them "organic mystics." In the diaspora, he calls them "mystics in exile." Among Filipinos in the homeland and in the diaspora, decolonizing Filipinos claim the babaylan spirit as an inheritance that is available to all who wish to follow an indigenous Filipino spiritual path." (excerpt from Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous).

Declaration of Interdependence for EcoBirth

30 minute full presentation of My Personal Environmental Story

Interview about Women's Congress for Future Generations