Sarah Ackerly, ND, CPM
Sarah Ackerly is a Naturopathic Doctor and Certified Professional Midwife with a naturopathic family practice. Sarah attends births at home and at The Birth Center at Northern Sun in Topsham, Maine.
Sarah graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado and received her doctorate from National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon in 1993. She has been on the faculty at Birthwise since 1996.
Chelsea Barringer, MS, CHHP
Courses:Therapeutic Nutrition & Supplementation
Chelsea has been facilitating the awareness of natural nutrition and influencing her community to regain control of their health since 2010. Before joining the Birthwise team, she consulted for an OB/GYN practice, where she helped women take alternative and individualized approaches to infertility, maternal health, and achieving optimal hormonal wellness.
Chelsea holds a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition and is a Board-Certified Holistic Health Practitioner. She is the founder of Nutrition Simplified, a private nutrition counseling practice in Portland, Maine, where she serves as the program director and lead nutritionist. As a professional member of the American Dietetic Association, Registered Dietetic Technician, and a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, Chelsea’s unique combination of holistic and clinical nutrition experience ties a integrative approach to whole-body wellness.
Beth Bongiolatti CPM, NHCM
Academic Dean of Students
Courses:Newborn Complications, Normal Prenatal, Postpartum
Beth Bongiolatti is a Birthwise graduate who began practicing as a midwife in New Hampshire & Maine in early 2013. She is a core faculty member, and supports students through their academic path at Birthwise as the Academic Dean of Students. Beth holds a B.A. in English & Political Science from the University of New England (’05), and a M.A. in Sustainable Development (’10) (with an emphasis on international perinatal health) from the SIT Graduate Institute.
Beth loves to travel, to camp in the mountains, and to learn new skills. She lives in Waterford, Maine with her partner, their rambunctious dog, & ever-plotting cat.
Tara Campbell, CD (DONA), BDT, LCCE
Tara is a DONA certified Birth Doula and Birth Doula Trainer who teaches doula training workshops at Birthwise. She trained with Doulas of North America (DONA) co-founder Penny Simkin before founding the Birthing Gently practice in 2001.
Tara believes that each birth is as individual, unpredictable and meaningful as each one of us and, therefore, supports a mother’s choice to birth her child in whatever way is most comfortable to her. Tara teaches that doulas must provide women with the unbiased tools needed to make informed and evidence based decisions regarding the care they are receiving.
Tiffany Carter Skillings, CPM, CLC
Courses:BLS for Health Care Providers, Homeopathy, Skills Practice 1, Skills Practice 3
Tiffany (’13) is a CPM with a home birth practice in Yarmouth Maine and provides prenatal care, lactation counseling, Well Woman care, routine GYN services, pre-conception counseling, and nutrition.
She received a B.A. in Sociology from Bates College in 2004 and graduated from Birthwise in 2013.
Gretchen Davidson, MSW
Courses:Counseling Skills & Group Process, Mental Health
Gretchen has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Smith College. Gretchen wrote her master’s thesis on survivors of sexual trauma and their experiences in the childbearing year.
When she is not teaching here at Birthwise, she works as a school-based therapist in the Fryeburg school system. Gretchen has also had writing published in Taproot Magazine and on The Feminist Wire.
She lives on a farm with her large, extended family in the Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire.
Susi Delaney, MA, CPM
Courses:Pharmacology, Research Methods, Suturing Workshop
Susi (’07) runs Red Tent Midwifery, a private home birth practice based in New Gloucester, ME. She founded the practice in 2007, after she graduated from Birthwise.
Active in the professional midwifery community, Susi is a member of the Maine Association of Certified Professional Midwives, Midwives of Maine, and the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives.
Jacqueline Dubord, MPH, CPM, NHCM
Courses:Normal Prenatal, Public Health Issues for Midwives, Skills Practice 2, Skills Practice 3, Skills Practice 4
Jacqueline (’11) is a practicing homebirth midwife and practitioner of the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy based in Vienna, ME.
Jacqueline graduated from the University of California at Davis in 2005 and went on to receive a Master’s in Public Health with a specialty in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health.
Jacqueline followed her calling to become a midwife (and teacher) at Birthwise. While a student, she worked with CPMs in Maine and Washington, attending both home and birth center births.
Jacqueline served as the Clinical Director at Birthwise from 2012-2015, and enjoys maintaining her connection with the school and its students as a faculty member and student advisor.
Heidi Fillmore, CPM, NHCM
Editor of Midwifery Matters, Staff Midwife
Courses:Overview of the Human Body, Prenatal Complications, Professional Midwifery 3, Whole Foods Nutrition
Heidi Fillmore founded Birthwise Midwifery School in 1994 and worked as Executive Director and faculty for 25 years. She has been attending home and birth center births in Maine and New Hampshire since 1987. In that time, she has safely delivered over 1,000 babies.
Heidi studied midwifery at the Midwifery Training Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a certified professional midwife (CPM) with a license to practice in New Hampshire and soon in Maine. Heidi has held leadership positions in the state midwifery associations and the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council and helped craft legislation, which passed in 2017, to license midwives in Maine.
Heidi is a member of the National Association for CPMs (NACPM) and of the Maine Association of CPMs (NACPM).
Robin Illian, CPM
Courses:Complications of Labor and Birth, Normal Labor and Birth, Prenatal Complications
Robin Illian, a Birthwise graduate, has been a certified professional midwife practicing in Maine since 2005. She has a BS in anthropology and biology from James Madison University, where she also completed a pre-med concentration with the original intention of going to naturopathic medical school.
Her interest in holistic women’s health, as well as working as a hospital-based doula in Berkeley, California led Robin to midwifery. She worked in homebirth practices in California and Colorado before returning to Maine (and Birthwise faculty) in 2005. She became clinical director in 2018.
Sarafina Kennedy, CPM
Courses:Skills Practice 1
Abby Luca, CPM
Academic Dean of Faculty
Courses:Childbirth Preparation Methods, Labwork for Midwives, Overview of the Human Body, Writing Workshops
Abby Luca has been practicing midwifery in Maine and New Hampshire since 2016. She is a core faculty member and Director of the Midwifery Assistant Program at Birthwise Midwifery School.
Before her training as a midwife, Abby was a college English instructor at the University of Alabama. She received a B.A. in English and Religious Studies from the University of Alabama in 2006 and went on a received her M.A. in English and Women’s Studies from the University of Alabama in 2010. Abby also has a background in herbal medicine, training with Phyllis Light at the Appalachian Center for Natural Health.
Abby is an avid hiker and herbal medicine-maker, and she lives in a rambling old farmhouse with her husband Stephen in Fryeburg, Maine.
Judith Josiah Martin, MSW, LMSW-CC, ACSW
Judith is a Faculty and Field Placement Supervisor at the University of Maine and Research Advisor at Smith College. An experienced clinician, educator, and administrator, Judith brings an extensive knowledge of programs and interventions that have been effective in assisting health care, mental health and hospitality workers in enhancing diversity in the workplace.
Holly Arends Murphy, CPM
Courses:History of Midwifery, Normal Newborn, Professional Midwifery 1, Professional Midwifery 2, VBAC/Cesarean Seminar, Waterbirth
Holly (’05) earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Mary’s College and, the year she graduated Birthwise, opened Birch Moon Midwifery and began educating a new generation of midwives at her alma mater.
She is an active member of several professional organizations and has served on the boards of the Maine Association of Certified Professional Midwives (MACPM) and the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM). She is pleased to be an advocate for women, babies, and reformation of the maternity care system by supporting local and national efforts.
Since attending her first birth in 2002, Holly has been witness to over 250 births. She has gained a broad range of experience working with dozens of midwives and welcoming babies in homes and birth centers in the US, Canada, and the Philippines.
Mischa Schuler is an herbal practitioner and medicine maker offering herbal consultations in Portland, Maine in her private practice Wild Carrot Herbs. She has a zest for Life and a playful, caring attitude, which she brings to her practice. She specializes in anxiety support, as well as women’s reproductive health and children’s digestive, respiratory and skin health. Her herbal studies have been through apprenticeship with Deb Soule of Avena Botanicals, in Rockport, Maine; preceptorship with herbalist, midwife and naturopath Dr. Mary Bove in Brattleboro, Vermont; and clinically at the Tai Sophia Institute in Laurel, Maryland where she earned a Master of Science degree in Herbal Medicine during a three year course of clinical study.
Nell Tharpe, MS, CNM, CRNFA
Nell graduated from the SUNY Downstate certificate program in Nurse-Midwifery in1986. She has over 17 years’ experience in full-scope independent clinical practice caring for women from 12-87 in her community in coastal Maine. In addition to basic midwifery and women’s health care, Nell’s diverse practice included colposcopy, well child clinics, the development of the local school health center, adolescent outreach education, provision of hospital employee health, and surgical first assistant services.
Autumn Vergo, CNM, CPM, NHCM
Autumn worked at The Birth Cottage, a freestanding birth center as midwife. Her scope of practice included prenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care, as well as nutritional and preconception counseling, and limited well-woman services. She also did political and administrative work related to the running of the outpatient facility.