We as a board are here to serve the providers and the families of San Diego. The board welcomes anyone who would like to help with planning, if you are interested please contact us.
Gerri RyanFounding Director and Board Advisor
Gerri Ryan began her process of midwifery in the late nineties. She successfully completed the Seattle Midwifery School Challenge Process and is licensed as a midwife by the Medical Board of California. She is a Certified Professional Midwife with the North American Registry of Midwives. She began practicing midwifery in 2003 independently and currently practices at San Diego County Midwives. Gerri started attending births with family and friends in 1976 and in 1995 took on the role of professional doula. She is a lactation educator and Lamaze certified childbirth educator. She is the founder of San Diego Birth Network as well as a nationally recognized DONA approved doula trainer. She is presently the Chief Operating Officer and a lead instructor for the Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery. Gerri believes that the ability to birth is deep in every woman. When women have confidence in their own abilities, the encouragement and freedom to tap into their innate wisdom, and have the loving support of family, friends and professionals who believe this too, they will truly have a satisfying birth.
After I moved to San Diego, I ended up in the delivery room with a homeless 19 year supporting her through her birth. Numerous times the nurse came in and pushed procedures that the mother had said she did not want. After hours in labor, she had a natural vaginal birth with no intervention but during the 3rd contraction while the baby’s head was crowning the doctor pulled on it. The baby’s head had a tilt due to the pulling on the head and stretching the neck. It took 3 weeks of Chiropractic adjusting to get the head up straight. The experience made me realize I needed to get the birth community and the Chiropractic community together. I googled and found SDBN and I knew needed to part of it. I am really grateful to be working with other passionate professionals that help women and families create the birth experience they want.
I have also been involved with numerous non profit organizations and love to help create a better world for all of us. I am one of the founders and past board members of League of Chiropractic Women. It is an International non-profit organization for women in Chiropractic that was started because women had very little voice in the profession.
On a professional level, I am the owner along with my husband Dr. Danny Gambino of Full Of Life Chiropractic and Gambino Family Chiropractic (www.drgambino.com). In the past 25 years, we have practiced Chiropractic and raised a chiropractic family and built successful chiropractic practices in East Hampton, NY, Woodstock, GA, Napa Valley, CA, West Virginia and San Diego. we continue to run the West Virginia practice while planting ourselves and making San Diego our home.
My passion has always been centered on my desire to help pregnant women, children and families. I believe in the natural healing potential in the human body and so firmly in the power of the adjustment, I have been know to go to the hospital and take care of patients and even babies minutes after they are born. Because of my faith in the innate principles of living a natural life (Chiropractic life), my husband and I had three unassisted home births and have raised 3 boys with attachment style parenting, family bed, child-led weaning and numerous different schooling experiences such as homeschooling, unschooling, public school, alternative private school, Waldorf, Catholic and boarding schools (whichever school is right for that child at that time.)
When I am not busy being a mom, cook, wife, Chiropractor or contributor to society, you can find me at a women’s group, studying about the latest natural health and wellness discoveries for the body, mind and soul, doing yoga, alternative health group meetings, running along the beach/cliffs or a farmers market enjoying life and the city San Diego to its fullest.
Anna ForsbergVice President
After experiencing the birth of my first son and struggling through the postpartum period, I became very passionate about postpartum care. When I started my journey towards towards becoming a postpartum doula, I found SDBN and felt it drawn to it's history and community of wise providers who trust in the normalcy of birth. I began volunteering with SDBN in the summer of 2015 as the board Historian and in April 2016, I began serving as the Vice President. I am dedicated to bring all my talents and experience to the board, network and community as a whole. I know there is so much more we can do as a society to care for new parents, baby and families. I am excited to be a part of an organization which focuses on supporting families in a respectful and evidence-based way. I am a native San Diegian, a happy wife and mother of three boys, and the owner of Whole Heart Postpartum providing postpartum doula services and education.
Owner of Aloha Spirits - www.alohaspirits.com
I have been a member of SDBN since 2006. I am a labor and birth doula, and have been providing this service for local families since 1999. My other love is the healing art of massage. I have two offices that I work from, one is in Solana Beach and the other one is in Pacific Beach. I especially like teaching parents how to massage their infants. I am a San Diego native, I have four adult children and two grandchildren. I reside in Oceanside with my husband and our dog Berkley.
Brooke StenzlerCommunity Outreach Director
I am thrilled to be a part of the SDBN Board in the position of Community Outreach Director! Having been born at home, I grew up thinking birth was a natural experience for everyone. It wasn’t until much later that I realized many people in our country have been educated to have an opposite view of the birthing process. After delivering my son at home, my passion for bringing awareness to the public about the amazing birth resources that we have in San Diego began to grow. My husband is a pediatric and wellness chiropractor and I am a relationship coach, and we serve the community through our wellness center D.R.E.A.M. Wellness. We support families by helping them find physical and mental/emotional freedom as they navigate through the many stages of conception, pregnancy, birth, and beyond. My desire for working with the SDBN is to provide even more families with the educational information they need to feel confident about the decisions they make when building their families.
Martha MekonenMembership Director
As a Perinatal and Family Chiropractor, my passion is to empower women and support families
during pregnancy and postpartum.
Being a woman of color, the racial disparities in pregnancy I have witnessed on a personal and
professional level hit so close to home. Many pregnant women of color have had and are
having a lack of fair treatment, their pain underestimated, and their concerns and complaints
My mission is to close the gap and address racial discrepancies pregnant women of color face
by providing quality care, supporting their needs, and empowering them throughout their
pregnancy journey. Just like an athlete preparing for a marathon, a soon-to-be mother needs to
be equipped with knowledge while receiving emotional and physical support. A
disproportionate number of women today are unaware of the natural and holistic resources
that they can partake in during pregnancy and postpartum, such as having a homebirth,
implementing chiropractic and acupuncture, and, most importantly, mental pelvic floor therapy
support during the 4th trimester, postpartum. The role of bringing forth life is such a sacred,
personal, and empowering experience. Every woman deserves to get the support that is
needed and necessary during their journey through childbirth.
As Membership Chair, I plan to connect practitioners, birth workers, and advocates of color to
San Diego Birth Network by building a stronger birth community that support everyone.
Elyde ArroyroMembership Retention Director
Angela Diaz de LeonEvent Co-Director
Hello! I am Angela Diaz de Leon. I am your Birth Doula, Placenta Specialist, and Babywearing Educator. I am mama to Maya and Remy and married to Israel. I am a DONA trained Birth Doula and CBWS trained Babywearing Educator. After giving birth to my daughter Maya, I felt so empowered as a woman and new mom, but overwhelmed at the same time. I had lost two pregnancies before she was born, and one after her birth also, which came with it's own set of emotions as a new mama. Holding this new amazing life in my arms, made me realize the important role in guiding this little one to adulthood. There were so many books, websites, apps, and people giving advice that I felt I had to read everything to then decide what route to take as a parent. As much as I love to research and read about every topic, I found that the loudest voice was my own. It was my instinct as a parent. Even as a new mama, I felt that the relationship between my daughter and I, and eventually my son and I, always felt the most connected, warm, and sincere when I trusted my instincts. My hope is to help families trust their instincts, and feel empowered to bond with their child before, during and after birth.
Angelica OrtizEvents Co-Director
After witnessing the birth of my little brother at twelve years old I became fascinated with the amazing abilities of the female body. Growing up my mom always talked about birth and how it was a pleasurable and empowering experience. As I grew older I realized that this mindset was rare, as many of my colleagues were terrified of birth and all the associated possibilities. In my graduate school studies to become a Doctor of Chiropractic I took several courses on pregnancy, birth and its effect on the nervous system. One seminar that really sparked my passion for facilitating functional birth was the Webster Technique, a specialized chiropractic technique for adjusting women in the perinatal stages of life. After realizing the astounding effect that I could have on my pregnant and postpartum patients I decided to specialize in perinatal care and build a practice dedicated to just that. As the co-owner and founder of Life Adjusted Wellness I get to live my passion daily through educating and empowering women of the incredible ability they have to create life and enjoy a memorable pregnancy and birth experience.
Johanna SchnellMedia Director
Carlee Rivera-SimsSocial Networking Director
I have served on the San Diego Birth Network board since 2014 and have loved every minute of it! I have my degree in Women's Studies from San Diego State University. I recently made the transition to working professionally in the birth/postpartum field in the hospital setting. Additionally, I just completed my Lactation Educator Counselor program and I am on my way to become an IBCLC! I have always considered myself an advocate for women's rights especially concerning reproductive health and well-being. My role with San Diego Birth Network has provided me with that and so much more! My goal as Social Networking Director is to help provide information and educate women surrounding conception, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and motherhood. I strongly believe that if we change birth, we will change the world.
Jo KilburnSDBN Board Adviser
Owner of Precious Birth - www.preciousbirth.com
Labor Doula and Childbirth Educator
I have had the honor of being involved with SDBN since 2005. I have been active on the board as the Recording Secretary from 2008 to 2010 and was elected President in 2012. In April of 2015 I moved to southern Maine to be close to my growing grandchildren. I am happy to remain as an adviser to SDBN Board through their transitions and support our Annual Red Tent event. I believe in women choosing the birth that's right for them from an empowered, educated, and centered place. Experiencing my own births at home has changed my life and perspective. I am pretty sure that if I had to name my passion, it would be women centered birth and the attendants that serve them. Peace on earth begins with birth.