Executive Leadership

Helena A. Grant MS, CNM, LM, CICP, FACNM (she/her/ella)
President | Term 2023-2025

“Life is about continuously giving birth to your wholistic self…unapologetically.”

Helena A. Grant is a Certified Nurse Midwife that has  cared for and empowered the lives of women, birthing  people, and families for over 25 years and has had  thousands of new souls birthed and born – never delivered – into her hands, in hospital and birth center settings in NYC. Helena is President of New York  Midwives, a Fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives, Co-Chair of the Brooklyn Borough President’s Maternal Health Taskforce, and the inaugural Senior Advisor of Midwifery Initiatives at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the first midwifery position of its kind in the United States of America. 

As the immediate past Director of Midwifery at NYC Health and Hospitals Woodhull Medical Center’s  Obstetric and Gynecological service, Helena successfully integrated an ingrained and respected midwifery model, caring for birthing people independent  of most clinical risk statuses with physician and nursing collaboration, resulting in one of the  lowest cesarean birth and highest vaginal birth after cesarean rates in NYS, along with many  other indicators of low morbidity and high patient satisfaction, defying the low expectations too  often put on Black and Brown bodies and the purposely under-resourced public hospital system  that she loves and herself was born in. 

As a firm believer in holistic wellness, Helena finds herself charged and inspired to teach the next  generation of healers in professional, virtual, and nonvirtual community-based spheres, hoping  to help bridge the gap to a true understanding of the education needed to return birth and life  to a space that ensures women, people, and families are cared for in ways that provide them  with empowerment and generational healing. As a sought-after presenter and panelist for her  ability to apply a historical, ethnographic, and epigenetic lens to synergize current clinical  realities, Helena has participated in many community, local, city, state, and national  committees, councils, task forces, panels, podcasts, films, news articles, and books to uplift the  desperate need to decrease maternal mortality and morbidity and return childbirth to a rite of  passage that is safe, satisfying and sacred, for all humans, especially for Black women. Helena is  the Midwifery herstorian in the nationwide documentary film, Aftershock. 

Helena has received many awards for her work and dedication, most recently in 2023, receiving  a Citation from the Brooklyn Borough President for having demonstrated an outstanding  commitment to promoting excellence and health in our communities, being named in Crain’s New York Business as a Notable Leader in Healthcare, and being presented with the Koko  Roy award for contributing to Midwifery and Women’s Health, being a visionary, maintaining a  down-to-earth approach, creating innovation, promoting cultural humility, advocating for  midwifery, valuing community relationships, and doing all with humor and joy- well  sometimes- by NYU Rory Meyers midwifery program. In 2022, the American College of Nurse Midwives awarded Helena the Distinguished Service Award for her unusual and exemplary effort  in community service, innovation in midwifery practice, education, and research. 

Helena believes every person capable of pregnancy deserves a midwife because a pregnancy with  risk factors usually does not equate to a risky birth requiring manipulation. As such, Helena’s  passions are to increase philosophically equitable integration of the midwifery workforce in all care  settings as a means to decrease maternal mortality and morbidity and increase abortion access  performed by midwives – the original providers of abortion in the world and ensure the families of  NYS with low-risk pregnancies have access to midwifery-led Birthing Centers and home birth. 

Helena received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a minor in Theology from Georgetown  University, where she became a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She received  her Master’s degree in Midwifery Education from the State University of New York at Downstate  and an Integrative Professional Coaching Certification from the Ford Institute. The most  significant way Helena continues giving birth to herself is by committing to days of conscious  stillness as self-care and mothering her children. Helena lives in Mount Vernon, NY.

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Sherrie Hunter-Kelly MSN, CNM, LM (she/her)
Vice President | Term: 2021-2023
Legislative Committee Chair

Sherrie Hunter Kelly is a licensed midwife practicing in the beautiful Mohawk Valley of New York, after spending many years working as a nurse and midwife in the Capital Region. She is drawn to midwifery care, and specifically advocacy work with New York Midwives, because every person deserves conscious and specific care as they move through the stages of life. Our current medical system is designed around fixing problems after they have gone wrong, rather than promoting health and well-being, as midwifery care has done for millennia.

Sherrie was educated in Fine Art at the University of New Mexico, and she enjoyed a career in theater and opera. While living in the Southwest, she met her future husband, and they started a small business making cabinets, furniture, and architectural steel sculpture. A move to the beautiful Schoharie Valley in upstate New York brought them closer to family. Sherrie then completed nursing school at SUNY Delhi followed by midwifery school at Stony Brook University, all while working full time. Together, Paul and Sherrie have four children, a dog, and a cat, and spend their days reading, hiking, canoeing, and cooking. Sherrie continues welding and metal sculpture design and fabrication. Midwifery fills Sherrie’s heart and mind in much the same way art does- there is no end to what can be learned, and solutions to conundrums require creativity. Sherrie credits her foremothers for giving her insatiable curiosity and connection to nature, as well as creative problem solving skills.

Sherrie is the current Vice President of New York Midwives, and she is the chair of the NYM’s legislative committee. She enjoys Advocacy Day, NYM’s yearly day to visit with state legislators to discuss midwifery concerns, as an opportunity to make change at the state level, as well as meet and support student midwives.

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Whitney S. Hall MA, MS, MBA, LM, CM, FACNM (she/her)
Secretary | Term: 2023-2025

Governance and Bylaws Committee Chair

Whitney is a CM who lives in Hurley, NY. She completed her Masters of Midwifery in 2003 from SUNY Downstate. She has nearly 20 years experience in birth in all settings; home, birth centers, and hospitals. She is currently a midwife at Nuvance Health in the Hudson Valley.  She is an Associate Midwifery faculty at Frontier University and student midwife preceptor for many programs, and a core faculty of OB/GYN for the Family Medicine residency program.  She sits on several committees at the NYS Department of Health striving to uphold the midwifery model of care and protect autonomous midwifery practice. 

She was appointed to the Governor’s Maternity Covid-19 Task Force in 2020  in which she advocated for midwifery birth center access. Whitney is the elected secretary of NYM and the current president of the New York State Chapter of the AABC. She is dedicated to political activism and engages with the NYM Legislative committee as well as a member of the NYM Governance and Bylaws Committee.  Her strong efforts in New York in the past 10 years helped shape and drive the NY Midwifery Birth Center legislation and regulations allowing midwives as clinical directors for the first time in NYS. She has 3 children, 2 dogs, 1 cat and 28 chickens.  Oh yeah, and a husband as well!

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Danielle Assibu-Gilmore MSN, MBA, CNM, LM (she/her)
Treasurer | Term: 2021-2023

Danielle Assibu-Gilmore was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY to Ghanaian immigrant parents. Danielle went to SUNY Brockport, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2008. While at SUNY Brockport, Danielle served as treasurer and then vice-president of the Organization for Students of African Descent (OSAD), where she administered several activities for students and residents. After graduating, she began working as a med-surg nurse at Rochester General Hospital, then transitioned to Critical-care nursing. In order to greater understand the financial organization of healthcare systems, Danielle attended the William E Simon Business School at the University of Rochester, first in 2011 for an MS in Business Administration (Master’s in Medical Management), then in 2014 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA).  During this time, Danielle also worked at her alma mater, SUNY Brockport, teaching Nursing Leadership and Management to RN-BS students. 

After a few experiences in her personal health, as well as in caring for a variety of patients as a nurse, Danielle reignited a passion for birthwork. In a desire to continue to work more closely with birthing people and their families, Danielle returned to schooling once more, through Frontier Nursing University, to begin her education as a midwife. While at Frontier, Danielle served as the class 135 Class Representative and the ACNM Government Affairs Committee (GAC) student representative from 2015-2017. 

Danielle has been practicing full-scope midwifery since 2018, in Rochester, New York, where she lives with her husband and their three daughters. In her free time, Danielle enjoys cooking, crocheting, reading historical fiction, half-completing crossword puzzles, and camping with her family. Danielle currently serves as the Treasurer of New York Midwives. 

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Ellie Miller LM, CNM, MSN, RNC-EFM (she/her)
New Midwife Representative | Term: 2022-2024
Student & New Midwife Committee Co-Chair

Ellie Miller is a Certified Nurse Midwife, practicing full scope midwifery care in Brooklyn, NY. With over 10 years of experience in birth work as a childbirth educator, postpartum doula and Labor & Birth Registered Nurse, Ellie completed her midwifery education at SUNY Downstate in 2022. 

Ellie is a board member of New York Midwives (NYM), the state affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM). As the co-chair of the Student and New Midwives Committee, she strives to create the midwifery landscape she dreams will become a reality.

Equity, education, and shared decision making are the touchstones to Ellie’s approach to care. Recognizing and working to dismantle the racism inherent in gynecologic and obstetric care has been the central theme to Ellie’s work, both professionally and as a NYM board member.

Ellie lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with her family. When she’s not doing midwife things, you’ll find her surfing in the Rockaways or curled up on the couch watching Bravo.

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Tre Kwon MSN, SNM (she/they)
Student Midwife Representative | Term: 2023-2025
Student Midwife Committee Chair

Tre (she/they) is a student midwife at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn. Her path to midwifery has been a meandering one. She grew up second-generation Korean-American in Maryland before galbi, BTS, and Korean dramas put her people in shiny packaging. The nagging, every day “othering” she experienced in her early years nudged her toward an inchoate yet deeply-felt feminist and anti-racist instinct that later formed the ground she stood on. In college, she organized with Korean anti-imperialist activists and spent time in Pyongyang. She wrote her senior thesis on war trauma and collective memory in North Korea and graduated with a B.A. in History from Swarthmore College. She then spent a year in Seoul, South Korea, supporting migrant workers from Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, fighting for their labor and human rights.

Back in the U.S., Tre organized with tenants and immigrant workers in Koreatown, LA, East Harlem, and Chinatown, NYC. After working with nail salon workers who faced occupational health hazards, Tre experienced her own personal health crisis and the gaps in the medical system; she decided to move closer to the beast and trace some of her umma’s footsteps by becoming a nurse. She received her B.S.N. from Johns Hopkins University and spent several years working in med-surg, oncology, and the ICU in NYC. 

In 2016, Tre co-founded the independent publication Left Voice, which receives hundreds of thousands of visits per month. She served as a rank-and-file shop steward in the nurses’ union and fought hard for safe staffing.

Tre was awarded the Taslima Nasreen Community Building Award from Swarthmore College in 2006, the Fulbright Research Award South Korea in 2007, and the Nurse Corps Scholarship in 2014. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Swarthmore College in  2007 and the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University in 2015. 

In 2020, Tre birthed her child in the steady embrace of midwives at Woodhull; a portal opened to an unrelenting, dizzying, yet grounding relationship with her child and herself. Since then, Tre has directed her energies to discovering and immersing herself in midwifery and reproductive health care – including abortion care. 

She is a writer, an organizer, and a mother. that dreams and conspires to build alternative spaces, education, and possibilities for people who can get pregnant – not only to save lives but so we may live our lives to our fullest potential. Tre joins the NYM Board as Student Representative, hoping to encounter mentors, comrades, and community to transform the system together.

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Patricia O. Loftman, CNM, LM, MS, FACNM (she/her)
Black, Indigenous, Latino/x, People of Color (BILPOC) Midwife-at-Large | Term: 2021-2025

Patricia O. Loftman, CNM, LM, MS, FACNM, received a BSN from Skidmore College and a CNM, MS in midwifery from Columbia University. She is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and past Midwifery Service Director at Harlem Hospital Center who provided primary and reproductive health care to women developing an expertise in providing care to women whose pregnancies were complicated by chemical dependency and/or HIV infection.  Ms. Loftman testified around Unblinding The Results of HIV Testing of Newborns in New York City in 1995, participated as a member of the United States Public Health Service Task Force on the Use of Zidovudine to Reduce Perinatal Transmission, was a member of the ACTG 076 US Public Health Service Taskforce on The US Public Health Service Recommendation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Counseling & Voluntary Testing for Pregnant Women in 1994-1995 and participated in discussions relating to mandatory testing of pregnant women and partner notification with the Center for Women’s Policy Studies as a member of the Planning Workshop of The Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health. Ms. Loftman was Chair of the Women’s Health/Clinical Care Group that led to Harlem Hospital Center becoming the first World Health Organization Baby Friendly Hospital in New York City. She has precepted midwifery students clinically, been an advocate for quality health care for women of color nationally and continues to promote the midwifery profession. She is the past Chair of the American College of Nurse Midwives, Midwives of Color Committee, past member of The American College of Nurse Midwives Board of Directors and a member of New York Midwives (NYM) Executive Board,  the New York Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives. Ms. Loftman is a member of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee Mental Health and Injury Subcommittee and the Health and Human Services, Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality, Health Equity Subcommittee. Ms. Loftman retired in 2010 from Harlem Hospital Center after a midwifery career that spanned 30 wonderful years in the community she loved.

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Debbie Mercer-Miller MBA (she/her)
Public Member-at-Large | Term: 2021- 2023

Debbie is the U.S. Securities Country Manager and Head of U.S. Custody Product Management where she manages over $6 trillion in stocks and bonds for clients domiciled in over 30 markets. She has been in the industry since 1993 and her experience spans across multiple disciplines in the capital market.

Her current responsibilities include setting the strategy and managing the U.S. Custody business as well as effectively positioning Citi and our client’s interest in the U.S. capital market. Debbie works closely with our clients to ensure alignment with their strategy and provide solutions for complex matters. Debbie is the Vice Chair of the Association for Global Custodian (AGC) and Citi’s voting member, She is also a member of The Federal Reserve Securities Wholesale Committee, Depository Trust Clearing Corporation Americas Committee and Citi’s Steering Committee Representative at ISITC. She has a stellar track record to proactively initiate and lead market initiatives that fundamentally changes the market infrastructure and mitigate market risk. She is a frequent speaker in industry conferences and her views are often solicited by market peers. Debbie is equally very passionate about volunteering and mentoring.

Debbie joined Citi in 1997 as Citi Transaction Services Global Risk Manager in New York and was subsequently promoted to Operations Project Manager in Dublin to oversee Euro Implementation for Cash Management, Client Executive in American Depository Receipts servicing clients in the Middle East, Global Custody Marketing Manager and U.S. Custody Product Development Manager. Prior to joining Citi, she was the Assistant Treasurer at IBM. She pursued a dual major in finance and accounting at the City University of New York where she graduated with honors and an M.B.A. in executive management from St. John’s University.

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State Regional Representatives

Odessa Fynn LM, CM ,MS, CLC (she/her)
New York City Representative & Co-chair of New York City Midwives | Term: 2022-2024

Odessa is a Licensed Midwife who has been practicing full scope Midwifery in the state of New York since 2011. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hunter College and Master’s of Science in Midwifery from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Odessa brings both hospital and home birth experience to her clinical Midwifery practice.

Odessa recognizes the importance of being immersed in reproductive health on a legislative and policy level so is also the Co-Chair of NYC Midwives and NYC Representative to New York Midwives – the city and state affiliates to the national midwifery professional organization – American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM).

Odessa was drawn to Midwifery by a fierce commitment to serve adolescents, young adults, survivors of intimate partner violence, and their families. During the course of her career, Odessa directed the adolescent practice at North Central Bronx Hospital and authored a resource manual for women and persons in need of services living with domestic abuse in Brooklyn. She has performed outreach by teaching reproductive health to middle school students in the South Bronx public school system and partnered annually with the Brooklyn-Queens-Long Island Area Health Education Center (BQLI) to educate high school students on Midwifery as a career path.

In addition to her clinical and political responsibilities, Odessa enjoys empowering women, persons and families through her work as a Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC), eChildbirth Educator, and Reiki Practitioner. Her firm Midwife Life Consulting, PLLC, is a Certified Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) where she offers evidence-based trainings and workshops to medical professionals through a justice and equity lens. Midwife Life Consulting serves families and schools in a similar capacity with evidenced-based workshops on reproductive health, sex and sexuality.

Odessa is the proud mother of two brilliant sons both born by means of two deeply gratifying and memorable home birth experiences.

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Jennifer Seymour MSN, CNM, LM (she/her)
Mideast Region Representative | Term: 2023-2025

Jennifer Seymour is the Founder and Director of Cocoon Wellness & Birth, LLC and a rural health midwife. For the greater part of her career, she has worked with rural birthing communities, primarily in Southern Tier of New York and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of experience, she has attended more than 1,500 births within hospitals, community birth centers, and homes.

Her private practice and “birth and breakfast,” Cocoon Wellness & Birth Center is a safe, nurturing, light-hearted place to give and receive care. As an emerging midwifery birth center, Cocoon is working to obtain its CABC accreditation and New York State licensure. Jennifer practices integrative, holistic, functional, individualized care where she marries her intellect, intuition, and evidence-based midwifery care.  At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer traveled to and worked in New York City at the Jazz Birth Center of Manhattan where she worked with midwives who validated and healed one another through adversity, but also found joy within such a diverse group of kindred spirits.

Jennifer has been a member of New York Midwives (NYM), formally known as NYSALM, since 2005 where she is currently a member of the Insurance Committee since 2021. She has served as the Member-At-Large and Regional Representative and Recording Secretary of NYSALM between 2010 and 2014. She is also an active member of the New York State Birth Center Association (NYSBCA) where she is serving as the At-Large member on the NYSBCA executive committee since 2022. 

Since receiving her Certificate in Midwifery from Frontier Nursing University in 1997, Jennifer has lived in Tioga County, about 20 minutes outside of Ithaca in her cozy homestead. Jennifer later received her Master of Science in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University.

Throughout her career, Jennifer has come to realize and accept that she a “big picture,” collaborative and team-oriented person who has the deepest sense of meaning from her work and service and can get along with anyone so long as they have a sense of humor. In having been called to serve as the Mid-Regional Representative for New York Midwives she is ready and willing to strengthen her awareness and capacity around bias and anti-racist work.

Jennifer is committed to serving the Mid-State members of NYM to the best of her ability, and looks forward to working, serving, and learning with the current NYM Board and the greater New York midwifery membership at large. 

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Rose Mitchell, CM, LM, MS, CD(DTI) (she/they)
Northeast Representative | Term 2023-2025

Co-Chair of the Birth Center Committee

Rose Mitchel is proud to be a Licensed Midwife, having earned her Master’s in Midwifery from SUNY Downstate in 2022. She spent her first year out of school working in a busy L&D unit in Albany, NY, and is now launching her own full-scope GYN and homebirth practice. Prior to pursuing formal midwifery training, they worked as a birth and postpartum doula, birth photographer, and administrative assistant for a homebirth midwife, with whom they also apprenticed. She has developed and taught newborn care classes for expectant parents and led support groups for postpartum mothers and caregivers.
Rose began their journey as an activist at the age of 7, when they hung an illegible banner from their family’s mailbox, urging passersby to Protect the Earth. She had her feminist awakening at age 13 when she attended her first Take Back the Night rally and learned about intersectionality and gender-based violence. They entered the world of reproductive justice activism as a teenage volunteer for Planned Parenthood and the Albany Social Justice Center. As an undergrad, she studied anthropology and critical social theory, always seeking a deeper understanding of her own place in the world as an able-bodied, middle-class, queer and nonbinary white woman. Doula work was very much a form of activism for them, as becoming a mother had shown them firsthand the profound importance of supporting those individuals who hold up the world and shape the future. In addition to serving women and birthing people as they built their families, she was an active board member of BirthNet, a Capital Region based nonprofit dedicated to improving birth. During her time with BirthNet, Rose was instrumental in refocusing the mission of the organization to combat racial disparities in birth outcomes by centering the voices of the Black community and nurturing a multi-ethnic birth justice coalition. BirthNet is now headed by a board that is majority Black and has since trained dozens of doulas of color. More recently, she has been an active member of the Save Burdett Birth Center Coalition, fighting alongside friends, colleagues and community members to halt the proposed closure of Rensselaer county’s only labor and delivery unit and the Capital Region’s only midwife-led obstetric care center.
While in midwifery school, Rose served as the treasurer of the Midwifery Student Association and was the recipient of the Marylin Cottrell Award for Family Planning. As a member of New York Midwives, they assisted with the organizing of 2023’s Abortion Conference and Training and was an enthusiastic attendee of Advocacy Day. They now serve on the Legislative Committee, helping to plan Advocacy Day, and are co-chair of the newly-launched Birth Center Committee. Rose leaps at every opportunity to advocate for midwives, birthing people, and the queer community, and she is thrilled to be able to represent her hometown of Albany, along with the entire Northeast Region, on the NYM board.
Rose is wildly in love with her wife, Grace, and her two awesome kids. She is the devoted servant of her beloved husky mutt, Foxy, and many, many houseplants. They are also a proud member of Albany Voices of Pride, a 25+ year old all-voices LGBTQIA+ chorus, and they spend whatever shreds of free time they have cooking for fun, being outside, laughing with friends and family, badgering elected officials and napping.

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Grace Rice, DNP, MPH, RN, CNM, LM, WHNP-BC (she/her/ella)

Hudson Valley Representative | Term 2024-2026

Grace is a Licensed Midwife who has been practicing full-scope midwifery since 2017. During her midwifery training at Yale’s School of Nursing, she worked as an abortion nurse with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Prior to pursuing a clinical career, Grace worked in domestic and international maternal and child health in NYC. She obtained her Master of Public Health at the University of AZ after serving with the Peace Corps in Bulgaria. Prior to that, she worked in non-profit program management in Minneapolis after earning a Bachelor of Science in Business at the University of MN.

In addition to practicing privately as an in-home intrauterine insemination and abortion provider, Grace practices clinically at a local FQHC and catches babies at the associated community hospital. She also works remotely as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Practice at The Ohio State University College of Nursing, teaching Policy and Advocacy for Nursing Practice and Advanced Reproductive Dynamics.

As a New York Midwives (NYM) board member representing the Hudson Valley, Grace hopes to advocate for inclusivity and access to the full scope of services that midwives are able to provide. She is passionate about reproductive justice and bodily autonomy, and she takes pride in being able to help folx achieve pregnancies that they want, and end pregnancies that they don’t.

Grace lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley with her partner, their daughter, two incredibly hairy dogs, and four chickens.

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Rachel Cooper (she/her/ella)
Western Representative | Term 2023-2025

Rachel completed her Bachelor of Science at Emory University in 2009, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Columbia University in 2012, and her Master of Science in Nursing and Midwifery at Columbia University in 2013. She began her career in Elmira, NY with Arnot Ogden Medical Center, where she practiced for 7 years before relocating to Rochester, NY to join University of Rochester Midwifery Group as assistant faculty in January of 2021. 

Rachel practices full-scope midwifery, including complete pregnancy/postnatal care and well-woman care. Her areas of special interest include adolescent sexual health, sexual assault and survivor recovery care, infertility and cycle tracking for natural family planning, and sexual dysfunction (including desire, arousal, orgasmic, and pain disorders). She is also trained in colposcopy and SANE for adult and pediatric populations. 

Rachel is a Finger Lakes native, originally from Ithaca, and lives in the Rochester area with her family. Beyond midwifery, she loves to cook elaborate meals, hike through forests, dance to music outdoors, and swim in fresh water.

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Vacant Positions

Interested in being involved with New York Midwives? Contact us at [email protected]

Long Island Representative
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