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 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 joined the Board in 2015, first as the Historian and in 2016 became the Vice President. I humbly accepted the President role for the 2020-2023 term, and am honored to work beside my fellow directors whom I admire and deeply respect. I thank all the individuals who have served on this board in the past and to all our providers who continue to support our efforts in the pursuit of equitable care for all.
I am dedicated to bring more awareness to the impact of PMADs (Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders) on families, disparties in care and outcomes for BIPOC and other marginalized groups, and find more ways for our providers to come together to connect, nourish one another so that we can continue to do the work we are called to.
I am a native San Diegian, a happy wife and mother of three children, a postpartum doula, the owner of Whole Heart Postpartum and Co-Founder of Kindred Rite.
Email Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brooke StenzlerVice President
I am thrilled to be a part of the SDBN Board in the position of Vice President! 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.
Email Brooke at email@example.com
Dr. Jumana (JJ) JarahTreasurer
Bio Coming Soon
Itzel BallewMembership Director
As the Membership Director my goal to help build relationships among our educated providers and our San Diego community. I am passionate about connecting families to diverse resources because I believe that this opens the door to better care. When we feel connected to our providers we are more likely to ask questions and partake in our care something every person deserves to experience. Joining SDBN is an opportunity for me to help others transition into this season of life with ease.
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and co-founder of Well-Mamas Counseling, a group practice that specializes in serving individuals from preconception, pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. We are a dedicated group of professionals that strive to reduce the stigma of mental health and the impact of PMADs (Perinatal Mood and
I am a native San Diegan, toddler mama, and honored to able to serve
this amazing birth community.
Email Itzel at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Ashley MaddenEvents Director
I am so excited to be a part of the SD Birth Network as the Social Events Director (never sure what my real title is so feel free to add!). I grew up in a very holistic and alternative household with my father being a Chiropractor and my mother having had two natural births (that followed HER strict birth plan!). I'd always assumed that people were aware of the wide variety of options when it came to their prenatal and postpartum care. Once I became a Chiropractor in 2011, I quickly learned how little people knew!
Specializing in prenatal and pediatric care I do my best to educate my patients but I am so thankful for organizations like the SD Birth Network, who are constantly working to educate the public. Through my role as Events Director I have been able to connect with so many incredible and knowledgeable providers in our birth community. My hope is that the more our birth providers can share with others about how they can help, the more that we can empower individuals and families to have the birth or raise the family that they desire!
Email Ashley at email@example.com
Michelle ShummardSocial Networking Director
I am excited to be the new social networking director of the San Diego Birth
Network. I am a mother of amazing twins, Breck and Paige and my husband Jason is
a chiropractor & functional medicine practitioner. Before the twins were born I
owned and operated a successful wedding floral business. Once I became a mother I
made a decision to stay home and raise our children so my husband could continue to
run our Wellness Center, Integrative Wellness Center of San Diego.
I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the San Diego Birth Network. As mothers we all
have our own unique birth story. I hope that being a part of this network will allow
for more mothers to embrace their story as I have mine.
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.
Angela Diaz de LeonBoard Member In Memoriam
On April 5th. 2020 Angela Diaz de Leon passed away due to complications from the novel COVID-19 virus. She was a board member who served this community with fierceness, creative problem solving and a passion for advocacy that was undeniable. Her legacy as a mother, doula, baby wearing educator, placenta encapsulator, co-Founder of Sacred Healing Collective and The Source,, is far reaching into our community and beyond. Angela served on the board of Nurtuerly and the local chapter of Baby Wearing International as well.
Angela's father, Jose Hernandez also left this world too early because of the virus. Her husband, Israel, was also infected and is recovering. If you are called to support the family, please donate here: https://ie.gofundme.com/f/8z8nn-sylvia-hernandez
In Fall 2020, SDBN will open a scholarship in Angela's honor. More details to come.