Steering Committee

Katherine Prown, Campaign Manager

CAMPAIGN MANAGER

Expertise in community organizing, marketing and networking, advocacy and understanding the political landscape

Katherine Prown, PhD, has 15 years of experience in community organizing, activism and teaching. A consultant, press liaison and advocate for organizations developing legislation to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), Katherine is the Campaign Manager of the Big Push for Midwives Campaign. As Legislative Chair for the Wisconsin Guild of Midwives, Katherine drafted legislation to license Certified Professional Midwives in Wisconsin and co-led a statewide, bi-partisan grassroots advocacy campaign to successfully pass the bill into law in 2006. In support of that effort, she founded Wisconsin Birth Options, a statewide grassroots network devoted to maternity care reform in Wisconsin. In 2006 she received the Citizens for Midwifery Susan F. Hodges Award for Outstanding Leadership in Midwifery Advocacy.

Katherine also founded and continues to moderate a number of national e-lists focused on maternity care reform in other states, which have a combined membership of more than 1,000 individuals. In addition, she serves as a consultant to national and state midwifery and consumer organizations working on a range of maternity care issues, from increasing access to midwives to decreasing the rate of cesarean sections. In support of these efforts, Katherine has successfully organized and launched public relations campaigns and large-scale rallies in Richmond, VA, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Pittsburgh, which have drawn local and national media attention to the issues surrounding the legal status of midwives in the United States.

In her capacity as the Advocacy Director of the International Cesarean Awareness Network, Katherine researched and developed a white paper on the legal status of the rights of women seeking vaginal births after cesarean (VBAC) called “Protecting and Enforcing the Rights of Women Seeking Vaginal Birth after Cesarean: A Primer.” She was also a contributing author to From Calling to Courtroom: A Survival Guide for Midwives, and she works with Conscious Woman, Inc. to provide continuing education workshops for midwives, attorneys and other professionals on the legal issues surrounding VBAC bans and on midwifery law.

A former professor of English and Women’s Studies at the College of William and Mary, Katherine developed and taught courses on women and reproductive technologies, women and medicine, women’s fiction and women writers of the South. She is the author of the book Revising Flannery O’Connor: Southern Literary Culture and the Problem of Female Authorship, a project that was one of the first recipients of the National Endowment for the Humanities Dissertation grants. Katherine’s articles and book reviews have appeared in academic journals, in online magazines and on Web sites devoted to birth activism. She earned a B.A. from Grinnell College (1985) and an M.A. (1988) and Ph.D. (1993) from The College of William and Mary.

 

Susan JenkinsLEGAL COUNSEL

Expertise in health care law with emphasis on legal issues affecting professional midwives and birth centers.

Susan M. Jenkins, is a partner in The Sanchez Law Firm, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. She has practiced in the areas of health care law and administrative law for more than 25 years, and serves as Legal Counsel for the Big Push for Midwives Campaign.

She worked for several years as a staff attorney with the Federal Trade Commission, a national antitrust enforcement agency. She has also served as General Counsel of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), the national professional association of certified nurse-midwives. Susan returned to private law practice in 1995, with a particular emphasis on legal issues affecting certified nurse-midwives, licensed midwives, and birth centers, including such issues as insurance law, professional regulation, licensure, certification and accreditation, clinical privileges, practice-related contract and business issues, and birth center operation. She also serves as a consultant to other attorneys and law firms on health law, and legislative and regulatory issues throughout the United States.

Susan has published several articles, including “The Myth of Vicarious Liability: Impact on Barriers to CNM Practice,” Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, Vol. 39, No. 2 (March–April 1994). She was the primary author of Nurse-Midwifery Today: A Handbook of State Legislation (1995 edition, published by ACNM).

Susan is a member of the advisory board of the District of Columbia Developing Families Center, a large freestanding birth center in the D.C. inner-city, and a former member of the Council on Standards of the National Association of Childbearing Centers. She has lectured extensively on legal issues that affect midwives, birth centers, and other health professionals and providers. She has served as a guest lecturer at Georgetown University School of Nursing (Nurse-Midwifery Graduate program), Catholic University of America (Nurse Practitioner Graduate program), the University of New Mexico (Nurse-Midwifery Graduate program), and the International School of Midwifery.

Susan was graduated summa cum laude from Hunter College of the City University of New York, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and received her J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1977. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

 

Jane PetersonADVOCACY TRAINER

Expertise in advocacy, facilitation, and state-level practice guidelines.

Jane Crawford Peterson, CPM, LM, has more than 26 years experience as a leader in midwifery education and advocacy. During the course of her career as a midwife, she has delivered more than 1330 babies. Her clinical experience as a midwife became the basis for her advocacy on behalf of the creation of a statewide set of practice guidelines in Wisconsin, which were later incorporated into the national midwifery credentialing and practice standards that form the basis of the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential and the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) Standards of Practice.

Jane is the Advocacy Trainer and Professional Facilitator for the Big Push for Midwives Campaign. A founding member of the Wisconsin Center for Midwifery Studies, Jane was instrumental in coordinating and implementing programs among public health departments, midwives, the Bureau of Vital Statistics, and the State Laboratory for Hygiene to facilitate the implementation of newborn screening programs targeting underserved populations throughout the state. Together, these programs have resulted in a 70 percent increase in newborn screening compliance among at-risk populations for the early detection of metabolic diseases that, if left untreated, can cause severe illness, brain damage or death.

In her capacity as President of the Wisconsin Guild of Midwives, the professional organization for midwives providing out-of-hospital maternity care in the state since 1975, Jane co-led the statewide, bipartisan grassroots organizing effort to successfully pass Act 292, which authorizes Certified Professional Midwives in Wisconsin to become licensed and regulated healthcare providers. In recognition of her longstanding outreach among Wisconsin’s plainclothes (Amish and Mennonite) communities, Jane was awarded grants by the March of Dimes and the Waisman Center. These grants are in support of her work to establish library and printed resources for plainclothes families about prenatal care and childbirth and to co-author Plain Talk about Babies, an educational pamphlet designed to raise awareness among both providers and the families they care for about the genetic conditions specific to plainclothes populations, as well as the prenatal and pregnancy-related maternity care protocols appropriate to those populations.

Jane has a BS in General Science and Education from the University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point and is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credentialed by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), as well as a Licensed Midwife in the State of Wisconsin. She has also completed midwifery course requirements from the American Childbirth Institute and the American Academy of Midwifery and Family Centered Maternity Care.

 

Steff HedenkampCOMMUNICATIONS

Expertise in Editing, Writing, PR, Materials, Communications, Advocacy, and Operations

An editor, writer, and strategic partner, Steff Hedenkamp provides valuable creativity and critical insight to help her clients actualize their business and campaign goals and manifest their success.

Steff serves individuals, companies, nonprofits, and government—translating her more than 15 years of experience in public relations, messaging, communications, stakeholder engagement efforts, and advocacy and issue campaigns—into actionable approaches to help clients most effectively reach their target audiences. She helps to:

  • Increase awareness
  • Promote understanding
  • Extend and enhance internal and external dialogue
  • Foster consensus and forward motion

From international and domestic nonprofit organizations, to government entities and for-profit partners including architectural & design and construction & engineering firms, national security strategists and corporations, community development organizations, as well as market research and management consulting companies, Steff brings great value to bear.

As an extension of her love of words and language, Steff helps to clearly communicate complex ideas and programs using written and visual strategies. From compelling blog, book, and website content, to articles, presentations, and handouts, to proposals, reports, plans, training materials, as well as other internal and external work product, she has the uncommon ability to swiftly and precisely craft the “words and design” of today’s most creative and effective communication and connection tools.

Her extensive verbal skills, combined with her ability to see relationships between ideas that are not readily apparent, enable her to think analytically and creatively, making strategic inferences from logical and creative sources.

Steff extends to clients the benefits of having their messages spoken with a clear, authentic, and imaginative voice. She has helped clients not only advance their messaging and communications efforts, but also strengthen their business endeavors as a whole. All of her clients are repeat customers or word-of-mouth referrals.

Today, she is working as a strategic partner with Parson & Associates providing project / construction administration coordination, facilitation and reporting services, and project communications services for major capital projects and other high-profile community campaigns in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. She also provides strategic marketing communications services to pioneer Ann Geisler, CPCU, AU, AAI, president of Southern Crossings Insurance Solutions and developer of The Midwife Plan, an Allied Healthcare Professional and General Liability policy designed specifically for Out-Of-Hospital Midwives and Birth Center Practices.

Previously, Steff worked with Kansas City advertising and PR firm, Barkley, one of the top 10 independent agencies in the United States, where she managed national retail corporate accounts involving public relations, crisis communications, cause marketing, community relations, strategic planning, and business development. (Interesting update: in 2012, her PR chums at Barkley created the new communications company Crossroads to help all kinds of amazing brands align all of their communications efforts around common and authentic brand values.)

In 2008, Steff helped to conceive and launch The Big Push for Midwives Campaign, which provides strategic planning and message development for state consumer and midwife groups that are actively working on legislation to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in all  50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. She also has served as an editor for The Way Women Work initiative led by Rania Habiby Anderson. From 2008-2012, Steff served in a development and communications role on behalf of Water.org, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White that is providing access to safe water and the dignity of a toilet to people in developing nations.

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