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The 24th Annual Martha Browning Bryant Memorial Lecture

October 8, 2016 • Eliot Center • 1011 SW 12th Ave • Downtown Portland, Oregon 97205

Online registration open now!

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Sponsored by The Oregon American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Foundation. This program is supported by an educational grant from Providence Regional Women and Children's Program.

Opening the doors to access: Better understanding the complexities of addiction, human trafficking, and options for VBAC.

This year's Martha Browning Bryant Memorial Lecture brings together a variety of speakers; topics will include human trafficking, addiction and considerations for laboring after a cesarean section. Both didactic presentations and panel discussions will address how providers can integrate shared decision-making and principles of social justice into clinical practice.


Regular Registration: $135
Students: $50

Please also consider making a donation of at least $25 to our Carol Howe Scholarship Fund, or the Marc Huggins Compassionate Support Fund.

Tuition includes: Continuing education certification, program syllabus, continental breakfast and lunch. Vegetarian meal option available.
Register online here.


Certified Nurse-Midwives: 6.25 contact hours approved by ACNM
Nurses: Hours applied for through OHSU; to be announced.
Physicians: 6.5 CME hours approved by American Academy of Family Physicians.


7:30 - Registration, Continental Breakfast, and Introductions
8:00 - Opening Remarks and Session I: Project Nurture and Addiction in Pregnancy and Beyond: Diana Louise Smith, CNM, MS; Helen Bellanca, MD, MPH; Alison Noice, MA CADC-III, Deputy Director, CODA, Inc.
10:00 - Break
10:15 - Session II: Human Trafficking and New Options for Women (NOW): Kristin Williams, MS, WMHP, CADC II
11:45 - Lunch
12:45 - Session III: Safe Reduction of Cesarean Births by Increasing the Experience of Vaginal Births Following a Cesarean: A National Perspective: Lisa Kane Low, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives
2:00 - Break
2:15 - Session IV: Panel Discussion - Opportunities for Collaboration to Promote Access Care for Families who Desire a Vaginal Birth after a Prior Cesarean Birth: Lisa Kane Low, moderator; Silke Akerson, CPM, LDM; Melissa Cheyney, PhD, CPM, LDM; Cathy Emeis, PhD, CNM; Duncan Neilson, MD; Pam Vireday, BA, CCE
3:45 - Closing Remarks and Questions
4:15 - Adjourn


Click here to enter password for presentation slides
Password is sent to registrants via email during the week preceding the Martha Browning Bryant Memorial Lecture.


Diana Louise Smith, CNM, MS is a certified nurse-midwife in practice at Legacy Midwifery in Portland, Oregon. She is Clinical Lead for the Project Nurture program at Legacy. Project Nurture is a pilot program that integrates maternity care and substance use treatment through a group care model, for women with substance use disorders, in an easy to access, compassionate, safe, and supportive environment. Diana graduated with a Masters in Science from the University of California, San Francisco in 2011. She previously worked with the faculty midwifery practice at the University of New Mexico and is a clinical instructor for OHSU midwifery students. She served on the board of the ACNM Oregon Affiliate from 2013-2015.

CODA's Deputy Director since 2014, Alison Noice, MA CADC-III previously directed CODA's Addiction Medicine Programs. She has worked exclusively with under-served and indigent populations since moving to Multnomah County in 1999. Prior to joining CODA in 2010, Alison managed a psychiatric urgent-care clinic, where she worked with high-risk patients and supervised a multidisciplinary team of mental health and medical professionals. She studied Clinical Psychology at University of Montana and received her Master of Counseling from Pacific University. In 2016, Alison received her Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management from OHSU.

Helen Bellanca, MD, MPH is a family physician who currently works as the Associate Medical Director at Health Share of Oregon, the state's largest Coordinated Care Organization. She has expertise is working with Medicaid populations, particularly in the areas of maternity care and reproductive health and has been leading the Project Nurture initiative across three sites since its inception.

Kristin Williams MS, QMHP, CADC II has worked with hundreds of adult survivors providing mental health and addiction treatment with the New Options for Women Program (NOW) with Lifeworks Northwest and the Sex Trafficking Unit in Portland, Oregon. The NOW Program is the only one of its kind that provides a comprehensive aftercare program for adult sex trafficked victims. While working with women coming out of the sex industry, Kristin has developed a passion for training other people within the community to be able to support this population. From the mental health and addiction treatment lens, Kristin shares her knowledge about how to improve our response and care for this population.

Lisa Kane Low, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN focuses her research on advancing evidence-based care practices during childbirth that promote optimal outcomes for the childbearing population. She is currently involved in a number of NIH-funded studies focusing on these practices. She has extensive experience working with multi-stakeholder groups to develop and implement model practice and national guidelines focused on the provision of maternity care. In addition to training future nurses and midwives at the University of Michigan, Dr. Kane Low teaches in the Women's Studies Department and works with almost 400 undergraduates every year showcasing the value of a midwifery and feminist perspective in addressing women's health issues for non-nursing students. Dr. Kane Low works as a certified nurse-midwife at the University of Michigan Health System, and she is the current President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Silke Akerson, CPM, LDM is a mother, home birth midwife and herbalist in Portland. She has been active in midwifery leadership and advocacy in Oregon and is currently the director of the Oregon Midwifery Council. Silke is passionate about continuing education for midwives as a way of ensuring quality care for all families and encouraging continued growth for ourselves as practitioners.

Cathy Emeis, PhD, CNM is the Program Director of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Nurse-Midwifery Program and Department Chair for Nurse-Midwifery at OHSU. She provides full-scope midwifery care to women in the OHSU Nurse-Midwifery Faculty Practice. Dr. Emeis is the current chair of the Quality Section of the ACNM Division of Standards and Practice. She is also a Fellow of Lamaze International and a member of research committees for the ACNM and the American Midwifery Certification Board. Her current research interests are vaginal birth after cesarean and the relationship between common maternity practices and breastfeeding outcomes.

Duncan Neilson, MD grew up in Portland, Oregon where he attended Reed College and received his undergraduate degree in Biology. He completed both his medical degree and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Neilson then returned to Portland and joined the Women's Clinic, where he was in private practice for 30 years. Since joining Legacy Health in December 2004 as Clinical Vice President of Women's Services, Dr. Neilson's role has expanded to include that of Clinical Vice President of Surgical Services, Clinical Vice President of Legacy Medical Group - Surgical Specialties Division, and for a period of time, interim Chief Medical Officer.

Melissa Cheyney PhD, CPM, LDM, is Associate Professor of Clinical Medical Anthropology at Oregon State University. She is also a practicing midwife, and the Chair of the Division of Research for the Midwives Alliance of North America where she directs the MANA Statistics Project. She is the author of an ethnography entitled Born at Home (2010, Wadsworth Press) along with several peer-reviewed articles that examine the cultural beliefs and clinical outcomes associated with midwife-led birth at home. Dr. Cheyney is an award-winning teacher and the mother of a daughter born at home on International Day of the Midwife in 2009.

Pamela Vireday, BA, CCE is a childbirth educator and the author of the Well-Rounded Mama blog and the Plus-Size Pregnancy website. She has been a contributor for Our Bodies Ourselves, Science and Sensibility and Midwifery Today, and she helped found the Portland chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network. She is particularly passionate about improving care for women of size, lowering the primary cesarean rate, improving access to VBACs (especially VBAC after multiple cesareans) and providing compassionate support for women who have experienced difficult births. She is a teacher and the mother of four children, including two VBA2Cs.


Co-Chairs: Elizabeth Kavanaugh and Laura Jenson
CEU application goddess: Alissa McMaken-Roberts
Food and Facilities: Annie Christopherson
Registrar: Lori Swain
Website: Laurel Yoder
Special Thanks: Tony Roberts, Reb Huggins, Helene Rippey, Robi Jaspin, Geri Cullers
Special Thanks for emcee-ing: Kate Pelosi


Martha was a treasured member of the Portland midwifery community who was tragically murdered on her way home from a birth in 1992. The Martha Browning Bryant Memorial Lecture has been held annually to honor her memory and remember her spirit.

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Contact Lori Swain, Registrar, for more information:

Looking for more ACNM-Oregon Affiliate events? Check out our upcoming Miles for Midwives annual 5K fun run on September 24, 2016. Registration and details available here.

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