Learn More About Me
In 2003 I packed up my high school diploma and drove up the California coastline along Highway 1 with my father from Los Angeles to Santa Cruz, CA. With tears in his eyes, he let me start my life as an adult. I studied literature and anthropology but I began working in healthcare almost immediately. I took up a post in the Student Health Outreach and Promotion office as a free and anonymous HIV Test Counselor where I learned how to be an active listener and a safe space for people to share their stories and their vision for healthy sexuality. Before long I was the clinic coordinator, and when my college graduation arrived I moved on to the big city of San Francisco where I worked as the HIV Senior Specialist of Larkin Street Youth Services.
Along the way I've also done a lot of disaster relief work internationally, across the United States, and in my own backyard with the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team. As someone who experienced two major earthquakes, a raging mountain fire, and then deadly debris flows and mudslides all before the age of 10, it's always been important to me to learn as much as I can about what to do in the event of a major emergency and be a stable source of support and assistance to those experiencing upheaval in their lives. I've spent time in Bagamoyo, Tanzania where I assisted with HIV prevention and treatment efforts, Leogane, Haiti where I got dusty and dirty cleaning up rubble and constructing shelters, and Levros, Greece where I welcomed Syrian refugeess and provided basic support and supplies. I was a team leader in Pilger, Nebraska when two tornadoes became one and did incredible amounts of damage to a small town with limited resources.
I love the outdoors and so do my two big shelter mutts who accompany me on backpacking and hiking adventures. Cement doesn't call to me the way the mountains do so when I run, it's always out on the trails. I've completed four full marathons so far, and I'm working on even greater distances. My love of getting active inspired me to obtain my personal trainer certification so that I can help teach others how to move and experience their bodies. I'm vegan, but you don't have to be to learn more about nutrition. If you spot me at any gathering I'm probably the one hanging out with the resident non-human. I'm very lucky to be allergy-free, and I'm always excited to meet the family pet, no matter how big, small, hairy, slimy, or scaley they might be.
Harm reduction is another passion of mine. The minute I heard the phrase, “Any Positive Change,” I knew I had found a philosophy that would stick with me for life. It's not uncommon to find me at the local needle exchange talking with people and providing health and hygiene supplies. It is important for me to be kind because, as the saying goes, we are all fighting a hard battle. In addition to collaborating with local harm reduction actors I also started my own project in San Francisco to provide even more resources and support in the city.
Community is important to me as well, and I take pride in being locally affiliated with important groups such as the Bay Area Doula Project, SF General Hospital Doulas, Berkeley Birthways, and the Center For Sex and Culture. Although I have chosen not to pursue membership in national organizations such as DONA, I am accountable to local organizations that know and work with me. I keep myself up to date with knowledge by attending lots of conferences and trainings. I've enjoyed my time at the BirthKeeper, SquatFest, and Take Root conferences and I've very much enjoyed learning rebozo techniques from Gena Kirby, mindfulness and labor with Nancy Bardacke, full-spectrum doula work with Christy Hall, and abortion doula training with the Bay Area Doula Project. I've also completed the Shanti Project 25-hour peer counseling training and the San Francisco Sex Information 60-hour sexuality training (in fact, I was once a supervisor on their crisis hotline). It is my intention to stand by women and families throughout any possible outcome of a pregnancy and to continue acquiring more tools to do so.
My Philosophy About Reproductive Health
I believe that all aspects of reproductive health are inherently intimate and relational in nature. As a full-spectrum doula I also seek out training and resources to provide support for any and all outcomes of a pregnancy. Pregnancy and birth plans change; my resolve to remain a champion of my client does not. Providing compassionate and non-judgmental care is a cornerstone of my personal belief system; your gender identity, sexuality, relationship status, decision-making process, spiritual belief system (or lack thereof), history of drug and alcohol use, and desired outcome of a pregnancy are safe with me. My intention is to provide backing and encouragement as you navigate your process. Politically, I shall always be an opponent of that which we cannot opt out of and a proponent of our ability to opt into whatever we know to be best for us. You are an authority on your own life; if at any point in our time together I have spoken out of turn or made an assumption about you and your choices that you find offensive, please let me know.
Cornerstone Birth Doula Training, Nickie Tilsner, 2014
Bay Area Doula Project, Abortion Doula Training, 2016
Full Spectrum Doula Training, Christy Hall, 2016
San Francisco General Hospital, Postpartum Doula Training, 2015
Abortion: Quality Care and Public Health Implications, UCSF, 2014
Childbirth Educator, San Francisco General Hospital, 2016
Mindfulness in Labor, Nancy Bardacke, 2016
BirthKeeper Summit 2015, Berkeley City College
SquatFest 2015, New Orleans LA
BirthKeeper Summit 2016, Washington D.C. Press Club
Take Root: Red State Perspectives On Reproductive Justice 2017, University of Oklahoma
Harm Reduction Conference 2016, San Diego CA
Certified Personal Trainer, San Francisco City College, 2015
Shanti 25 Hour Peer Support Training, 2014
First Aid/CPR, current since 2005
San Francisco Sex Information 60 Hour Training, Hotline Supervisor, 2008
Psychological First Aid Certificate, Johns Hopkins University, 2014
HIV Test Counselor, 2003-2007
HIV Free and Anonymous Test Clinic Coordinator, 2007
Overdose Prevention/Hepatitis C Training, 2009
B.A. Literature UCSC 2007
Bay Area Doula Project
San Francisco General Hospital Doulas
Induction Termination Collective, San Francisco General Hospital
Obstetric Emergency Training Simulation Team, San Francisco General Hospital
Levros, Greece 2015
Pilger, NE 2014
Leogane, Haiti 2010
Bagamoyo, Tanzania 2009