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I’m originally from the Pacific Northwest. After majoring in anthropology at Mills College in Oakland, California, I served in the Peace Corps in the Central African Republic as a community health extension agent. While there, I learned Sangho, the native language, and met my Swiss husband. I then went to Yale University for my master’s degree in nursing. My work has taken me to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota; Kalihi-Palama Health Center in Honolulu; Bend, Oregon; Oamaru, New Zealand; and back to Hawaii. My husband has been very supportive and stayed home to help raise our twin boys while I was developing my career. When we left Hawaii after living here years ago, he said, "I’m not done with Hawaii," and we knew we would be back.
I‘ve always been drawn to issues of women's health, and in the Peace Corps I attended births and cared for babies with the local midwives. I considered going to medical school to study obstetrics and gynecology, but then I received an article from my aunt, a nurse for 30 years, on nurse-midwifery, which led me to pursue this as my professon. I still cherish that article. It gives me much joy to care for a woman when she hears her baby's heartbeat or sees her baby for the first time. While living in New Zealand, I presented "Lessons From a Rural Practice" at a conference titled "Lowering the Cesearean Rate" and again at a rural hospital conference. In the presentation, I talked about practices at a small primary care unit located two hours from the nearest hospital. This unit offered support for births at the center, as well as water births and homebirths, and we were able to partner with women to help them choose the birth method that best suited them. I’m a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the New Zealand College of Midwives. I stay current in my field by reading updates from the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the New Zealand College of Midwives newsletter and research magazine. Working closely with physicians also results in a valuable exchange of information. Midwifery friends in Hawaii encouraged me to return to the Islands and join Kaiser Permanente, and I’m so glad I did. Hawaii Permanente Medical Group’s team approach, promotion of wellness, and emphasis on medical research are just some of the amazing reasons I enjoy working here. My anthropology background and my experience in working with different cultures have made me sensitive to the variety of beliefs and practices among the many cultures in Hawaii. I believe that my role as a certified nurse-midwife is to offer choices and make recommendations, but that the decisions are ultimately the patient’s choice.
I love new experiences, travel, sunsets, being with family, hiking, snorkeling, biking, running, and yoga. Meditation and spending time alone help me clear my mind. I keep a journal and enjoy taking long walks on the beach, collecting shells, beach glass, and driftwood.