Casey Selzer, CNM, LCCE, Co-Chair of NYCM is a 2007 graduate of Columbia’s Nurse-Midwifery Program and previously received her BA in Studio Art from the University of Vermont. Casey found her way from work in art and agriculture to a life of caring for women and families with a Community Health Initiative in Massachusetts where she was trained to provide Birth and Postpartum Doula care for low income families in 2002. Since graduation from Midwifery school, Casey has worked in full scope midwifery care at Bellevue Hospital and most recently seven years with Midwifery of Manhattan at MSW. She has been a committed preceptor throughout her career and loves teaching. Casey is the founder of Parent Craft, a Pregnancy and Birth Education service based in Brooklyn. She is published in the JMWH and quoted in Good Housekeeping. An active member of NYCM, NYSALM, ACNM, Lamaze International and MoveOn.org. She is the proud mother of 3 young daughters, a big sister and identical twins. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Justin, a political organizer, and their girls.
Laura Zeidenstein, CNM, DNP, FACNM, Co-Chair of NYCM is a seasoned midwifery educator and clinical midwife. Her entry into midwifery was born out of the civil rights movement, lesbian feminist activism, the women’s health movement, and abortion rights of the 1970s. She lived much of her childhood in South Asia, which had a formative influence on her global perspective. Laura earned her MSN from Yale in 1988 and DNP from Columbia in 2005. She was awarded Fellowship in ACNM (FACNM) in 2015. Laura is currently an Associate Professor at Columbia University School of Nursing, Graduate Midwifery and has been the Program Director since 2002. She has practiced with Midwifery of Manhattan since it opened in 2003 and has worked in full scope midwifery service in New York City throughout her midwifery career. She has worked in out of hospital birth centers, public health service and private practice including at Woodhull, Downstate, Nurse-Midwifery Associates, MCA Childbearing Center, and Elizabeth Seton Childbirth Center. She was one of the founders of the Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center. She has precepted students at the Allen Pavilion, Harlem Hospital and Morris Heights Childbearing Center. She is a former editor of the Journal of Nurse-Midwifery (currently the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health) and has published extensively. Laura’s global health work includes Project Director of a collaborative MCH project between Columbia University School of Nursing and a NGO public health system in Bangladesh. In 2015 she produced an educational video: “Filling the Gap: Safe and Effective Training for Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in Low Resource Countries”. She is an active member of NYCM, ACNM, and NYSALM and has her finger on the pulse of the strengths and challenges of midwifery in our city. Laura has had the privilege to be an active mentor to midwifery students and new graduates. In addition, she is an accomplished watercolor painter. Laura has a grown son who was born at home in Brooklyn attended by her late wife, Susan, and a cadre of midwives.
Elizabeth Gary CNM, Vice-Chair of NYCM is a 2015 graduate of the Columbia University School of Nursing Midwifery program. She is currently practicing at Mount Sinai Hospital. After receiving her Bachelors of Arts in English/Theater and Biology from Bowdoin College, Elizabeth began her path towards midwifery. Her passion for women’s health and particularly reproductive care originated from her time volunteering at local hospitals in High School. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Elizabeth was always struck by the disparities she witnessed within the healthcare system with regards to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. She continues to dedicate her service to combat these injustices through patient education and community advocacy. Her volunteer work in high schools throughout the city has helped to raise health awareness among the youth and encourage them to investigate and pursue the many different pathways for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Elizabeth is currently living in the Bronx with her husband Manuel and their two cats. In her free time, she loves exploring new areas for hiking and camping in upstate NY or relaxing at home with a new book.
Shar La Porte, LM, CNM, Secretary of NYCM is a graduate of the Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University. She currently is co-owner of a busy homebirth midwifery; Midwifery Care NYC.
Shar’s journey toward home birth midwifery started almost two decades ago when her son was born at Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center. That profound experience led her to become a childbirth educator and doula, and later a labor & delivery nurse. After becoming a midwife Shar worked as a hospital staff midwife before branching out into homebirth. In addition to her professional experience, two of her own children were blissfully born at home. Shar’s passion for birth, knowledge of human physiology, compassion towards women and their families, and dedication to the autonomy of home birth make her a uniquely qualified and accomplished midwife.
Shar recently moved to Long Island City, Queens where she happily resides with the love of her life, her children, and two cats. She is gently encouraging and guiding her eldest son out of the nest while supporting her other two children’s stent in the NYC public-school system and encouraging their love of dance and fashion. When not catching babies, you can find her in the gym, or at the beach. Shar proudly holds the seat of secretary with NYC Midwives and annually runs in Miles for Midwives.
Iman Judith Jones, CNM, Treasurer of NYCM has been a member of NYC Midwives since joining as a student in 2008, Iman previously served on the nominating committee. A chocoholic feminist, she loves sports, gardening, music and the arts and lives in Brooklyn.
NYC Midwives is a chapter of the New York State Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM), the state affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM).
New York State Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM) ~ State Affiliate
NYC Midwives ~ Local Chapter
Vision: Our Vision is universal access to midwifery care in New York City.
President, New York State Association of Licensed Midwives
By Dorothea Lang, CNM, LM and Aleida Oberstein, CNM, LM, MS, FACNM
During the early immigration years, midwives, preachers and surgeons were offered priority passage on most ships. Each international immigrant group recruited their own culturally essential midwife to provide life-sustaining services in the New World.
As New York City became overcrowded with immigrants, the local city health leaders formed rules for sanitation, hygiene, food and water supplies, etc. and started various registration requirements for health care providers. The city Sanitary Code, a powerful city tool, offered registration possibilities for midwives. In 1911 a school of Midwifery was established at Bellevue Hospital in NY City where hospital-based physicians and community midwives often worked together.
In 1932 the Maternity Center Association (MCA) introduced the concept of also offering midwifery education to nurses in NY City. This school supplied providers for the Lobenstine Clinic in Manhattan. Graduates of MCA participated in homebirths until 1958, when this school was welcomed into Kings County Hospital by Dr. Louis Hellman, a leader in Obstetrics and Gynecology. This opened the door for midwifery practice in hospitals. In 1963 two midwives were offered salaried positions at Cumberland and Harlem Hospitals. Adaptations of the NYC Sanitary Code were made to also allow the Sanitary Code registration of MCA graduates and to enable their midwifery practice in New York City.
By the end of 1980 the NY State Education Department had evolved to offer licensure mechanisms for most health professionals. To assure safety for the public, the NY State Office of Comparative Education had ample data on national and international educational requirements for nearly all professions. All this could be helpful for establishing New York State midwife licensure…
As more consumers and hospitals started to appreciate the uniqueness and scope of modern midwifery practice, more hospitals started to ask for proof of NY State licensure. To gain NYS licensure for midwives, the city and upstate midwives were joined by birthing mothers, other women consumers, numerous women’s organizations, public health leaders and some physicians in a united effort to actively introduce midwifery legislation. In 1992 the NYS Midwifery Practice Act was passed by both houses in the state legislature (only one negative vote) and signed by the governor. A Board of Midwifery was formed for the purpose of assisting the Board of Regents on matters of professional licensing, professional conduct, and to assure the safety of the public.
The Board recommended regulatory language to the Office of Administrative Rules. The language provided detail to the Midwifery Practice Act. If a candidate meets all NYS licensing requirements, the NYS Education Department will issue a license to practice as a Licensed Midwife (LM). Since 1992 over 1500 midwife licenses have been issued. The NYS Education Department States:
A New York State licensed midwife is a health care provider who may care for the health needs of pre-adolescent, adolescent, and adult women throughout their life span. Licensed midwives provide primary well woman health care including: gynecologic care, and care during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as care of the newborn following birth. In New York State, the Board of Regents and the State Education Department (SED) oversee the licensure and practice of midwifery and 49 other licensed health, business and design professions.”
Licensed midwives have the authority by law to prescribe and administer drugs, immunizing agents, diagnostic tests and devices, and to order laboratory tests, as established by the board in accordance with the commissioner’s regulations. Licensed midwives can practice at home, in birth centers and in hospitals. More information on NYS midwifery can be accessed at http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/midwife/.