Dr. Melissa DeFoor is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Department Chair at the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of North Alabama and an OB Educator, a Certified Labor Doula, and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator at North Alabama Medical Center. Melissa is a member and volunteer for Lamaze International and Alabama State Nurses Association. Dr. DeFoor’s research interests include vaping cessation education to promote maternal/neonatal health, simulation innovations that guide student nurses in providing trauma- and violence-informed care to perinatal women, supporting mental health in nursing students, and the impact of maternal service-based learning opportunities for nursing students.
Mallory (she/her/hers) is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and a full spectrum doula in the central NY Capital region. She is committed to engaging classes, birth equity & justice, and supporting families throughout their transitions in parenthood. Mallory currently teaches Great Starts classes with Parent Trust for Washington Children and her own series of dynamic and adaptive childbirth classes with a focus on postpartum adjustment. You can learn more about Mallory on her website, MalloryEmerson.com.
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Dr. Ann-Marie Irons is an Assistant Professor at the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of North Alabama. Dr. Irons has worked in various settings, including critical care nursing and nurse educator roles, and owns and manages an independent community pharmacy with her husband. Dr. Irons’ research focus is on improving adherence to treatment plans in a patient with neuropathic foot wounds, supporting mental health in nursing students, programs that foster new faculty role transitions, simulation innovations that guide student nurses in providing trauma- and violence-informed care to perinatal women, and the impact of maternal service-based learning opportunities for nursing students. She is president of the Upsilon Omicron Sigma chapter and serves as an Alabama State Nurses Association mentor.
Sharon Muza (she/her/hers) has been an active perinatal professional since 2004, teaching Lamaze classes to thousands of families and doula-ing in Seattle, WA. Sharon is also a trainer of new birth doulas and childbirth educators. She blogs professionally on perinatal topics. Sharon enjoys facilitating discussions around best practices, current research, and its practical application to maternal infant health and community standards. She also loves creating and delivering engaging and interactive learning sessions both in person and online. You can learn more about Sharon, on her website, SharonMuza.com.
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Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski is an RN, educator, counselor, author, and speaker of more than 900 local, national, and international workshops/trainings. She is a past Lamaze International president and has been a childbirth educator since the 1970s. She is also AASECT certified as a sexuality educator and sexuality counselor. Dr. Mary Jo is the creator of the 12 books in The Nonnie SeriesTM on the challenging topics of death, consent, disability, gender, sex, trauma, relationships, mental health, quarantine, race, pregnancy and birth, and puberty. She has authored 38 books for parents, young people and professionals. She is the author of Routledge Press’ Reclaiming the Sexuality of Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum, publication pending 2023.
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Marjaana is a childbirth educator, doula, doula trainer, and elearning specialist in healthcare. She has taught childbirth education online since 2012 and has developed interactive elearning for decade now. She has studied virtual reality and flipped learning in her PhD studies as part of an interactive online childbirth education.
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Dr. Vanderlaan is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She researches maternal health from a health systems perspective, integrating clinical outcomes, health economics, and health policy to identify ways to improve access to quality maternal care. Her recent projects explore regionalization of maternal care, effects of childbirth education, and the use of hydrotherapy for pain management during labor and delivery.
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Debbie has dedicated over 35 years to her family and other families in the “childbearing year”. While raising her 5 children with her dedicated husband she found a passion for helping pregnant, birthing and postpartum families. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion: Women’s Health and a Master’s in Leadership. Debbie has worked with over 5,000 families in hospitals and private settings as a childbirth educator, doula and lactation specialist. She is a Past President of DONA International, current President Elect for ICEA and continues her work as an educator, birth and postpartum doula and doula trainer. She is currently the Customer Relations Manager for InJoy Birth and Parenting Education where she connects with professionals to provide materials to educate their clients and patients.
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