Birth Assistants

Birth Assistants - Midwifery Model of Care

Anna Hepsø, RN, Birth AssistantAnna Hepsø, RN, IBCLC
director of nursing

Anna has been passionate about childbirth since middle school, when her aunt would tell her stories about her experiences as a doula and L&D nurse. She became fascinated by the woman’s empowerment, transformation, and innate strength during labor and birth and felt called to support mothers and families during this life-changing and vulnerable time. She left her hometown of Waverly, Iowa, to pursue her passion for language and travel, moving to Norway where she met her future husband. She has since earned a B.A. in linguistics from Williams College in Massachusetts, teacher licensure from the University in Trondheim, and a Master of Nursing from the U of M.

Anna enjoys teaching and working with children and has held jobs as a BWCA canoe guide for youth, an academic/writing tutor for children and peers, a piano teacher, and a childbirth educator. As a nurse, her passion remains helping childbearing families through pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding. While in nursing school, Anna founded the Twin Cities Doula Project, a local nonprofit organization that provides free doula services to families in need. As both a nurse and a doula, Anna has had the opportunity to attend births in the home, birth center, and hospital setting. She continues to work casually on the hospital labor & delivery unit where she started her nursing career. At home, she and her husband Audun are working hard to be better parents to their two young boys Henrik and Nils.

ABBIE hull, RN
Clinic Nurse

Abbie began her journey in labor and delivery on a hobby farm in Watertown, MN where she was a part of the delivery process for her family’s goats. She also attended the births of two of her younger siblings and began to be fascinated with the natural process of the woman’s body and childbirth. She began working at the Minnesota Birth Center in 2012 as a housekeeper and worked toward her certification as a doula at the same time. She decided to pursue nursing school and came back to the MBC in 2017 as a birth assistant and clinic nurse. Abbie also has experience working with special needs adults and children in home and community settings. Outside of the MBC, her time is spent with her husband and friends at favorite coffee shops, running, gardening, and doing anything outdoors.

Mandy hoffmanN, RN
Clinic Nurse

Born and raised in Michigan, Mandy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Integrative Health Studies and Psychology at Michigan State University. During that time she spent three years as a reproductive health peer educator at the campus clinic. After graduation, Mandy moved to Colorado, making it her home for the next five years. With her continued interest in health education, she took on a role through an Americorps program at a community health center. She spent her days teaching reproductive health education to middle and high school students and working at a teen clinic. Though she knew that she was destined to pursue a career that would allow her to create partnerships with women and their families providing essential reproductive health services, the path wasn’t always so clear. Through a little bit of trial and error, lots of travel, odd jobs, and soul searching, Mandy decided to go back to school to pursue nursing, which ultimately landed her in the Twin Cities. She recently graduated with her Master of Nursing degree from the University of Minnesota and will be continuing her education this fall in the their Nurse Midwifery program. She misses the mountains, but has loved being back in the midwest exploring all that Minnesota has to offer, especially the biking, cross country skiing, and vibrant birth community! Mandy is an outdoor enthusiast and seeks solace in nature. She loves to hike, camp, run, practice yoga and spend time with her adventure/life partner Ryan and their cat Leo. She also works as a Float Pool nurse at a hospital and enjoys learning from and caring for patients with a wide range of healthcare needs. Mandy is beyond honored to work with the MBC team and grateful to be an active participant and advocate in your story. She wholeheartedly believes that women are the world’s expert on their own bodies and lives and is continually motivated and inspired by their strength!

Ali Cluka, RN
Clinic Nurse &
Medical Supplies Coordinator

Ali grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She obtained a BS in Biology and Animal Science from the University of Minnesota, after which she worked in biomedical research for six years. During this time, Ali and her husband experienced the loss of their first baby, and the subsequent births of their two sons. While preparing for her births, she became passionate about birth, breastfeeding, and healthcare.  Increasingly interested in maternity care practices and women’s health, she decided to pursue a career in nursing. Ali believes that the power of a birth plan isn’t in having a plan, but in the process of making one. She sees pregnancy as a unique opportunity where women can thoughtfully question standardized medical practices, seek evidenced-based care, and make informed and enlightened decisions that are right for their family. Ali is thrilled to be a part of the MBC team, where she can help support women and families during such an empowering and special time of their lives! When not working, Ali enjoys hiking and going to the movies with her young family.

Abbie ElliotT, RN
Clinic Nurse &
Medical Supplies Coordinator

Abbie grew up in the north suburbs of the Twin Cities area. From a young age she was surrounded by medical influences and had a dream of becoming a pediatric nurse. From that dream stemmed years of filling her days with children of all ages. She had countless nanny jobs, from twins and multiple siblings to preemie infants and special needs. Through college Abbie worked full-time as a personal care attendant (PCA) for a boy with autism and realized she had a heart for long-term care relationships. While attending Bethel University for her Bachelors degree in nursing, she fell in love with her OB and public health rotations. She was sure she would have to choose between the two eventually. After graduating and a short stint in pediatric home care, she found a miraculous connection to MBC – Dr. Cindy Calvin, one of the founders, had been a professor at her high school, Minnehaha Academy! The rest was history. Abbie still can’t believe she now works her dream job, combining her love for OB as a birth assistant with her passion for public health as a clinic nurse. Abbie continually finds herself inspired by the staff and clients, who never cease to uphold the values and mission of MBC. She is incredibly honored to work at a center that so proudly claims birth as an empowering experience and deserving of an encouraging and uniquely nurturing atmosphere. In her spare time Abbie can be found fishing, cooking, volunteering with her church’s youth group, loving on her friends and family, or cuddling her shih tzu, Isabella. While she has no children of her own yet, Abbie is thrilled to continue learning and treasuring her experiences while at MBC.

savanha winkel, RN
Clinic Nurse

Savanha is beyond grateful to be working at Minnesota Birth Center and so humbled to help care for families in some of their most intimate, life changing moments. Originally from Forest Lake, Savanha has a Masters of Science in Nursing from St. Catherine University and a Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Savanha joined MBC as a student nurse intern after completing her clinical rotation at MBC in 2016. As nursing school often does, exposure to new areas of healthcare led Savanha to quickly develop a passion for maternity care in an out-of-hospital setting. While her original career goals focused on pediatric nursing, she has discovered that maternity care is truly the best of both worlds. Her scholarly work focused on helping bring awareness and education to healthcare professionals and the broader community on Paternal Postpartum Depression. She hopes to continue her passion for learning and providing family-centered care at MBC by finding new, improved ways to care for and support the partners of our moms. Savanha lives in St. Paul with her fiancé, Jordan Standish, and family of 4-legged friends; Dixie (dog), Noir (cat), Porter (cat), Simcoe (cat), and Mitch (bearded dragon). In her free time, she enjoys spending time in the outdoors, practicing yoga, traveling, and most of all, being with friends and family.

Kate melms, RN, IBCLC
Clinic Nurse

After spending a year in Kenya in 1979, Kate felt for certain she wanted to someday return. However, after serving as a labor coach for a colleague in Wisconsin she became enthralled with the world of labor, delivery, and babies – a fascination that has lasted almost 33 years. Kate began her nursing career in high risk labor and delivery but quickly moved to community hospitals where the care was more personalized. The bulk of her experience was at a community hospital in Milwaukee that eventually became the second Baby Friendly Hospital in Wisconsin in 2005. Kate began to concentrate her educational credits on lactation and skin-to-skin research. and in particular how bodywork post-birth can help an infant improve her suck and overall sense of well-being. Kate became IBCLC-certified in June 2017 and will begin craniosacral therapy work in 2018. Kate says, “In our move to Minnesota the change to working at a birth center was like putting on the ‘glass slipper’. Our family has seen two sons graduate from Macalester so we were very familiar with the Twin Cities. The  healthcare culture here is rich with midwifery care and it is a pleasure to be a part of this community. The Minnesota Birth Center feels like home.”

Rachel Lamb, RN
Clinic Nurse

Rachel grew up in Wisconsin and moved to the Twin Cities for nursing school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Bethel University over eight years ago. Since then she has gathered a wide variety of nursing experience, ranging from pediatric behavioral health to managing a primary medical clinic in Haiti. She was fortunate to manage Seton Prenatal Clinic in St Paul before its closing, which served a diverse group of pregnant women with high social needs. Through that work she fell in love with working alongside women during pregnancy and promoting healthy babies and families. She entered into the labor world recently by volunteering at an amazing maternity center in Haiti called Heartline Ministries. There she was able to assist with labor and birth as well as other tasks. Rachel is excited to serve the families who come to the MN Birth Center and for the honor of welcoming the new littles into the world.

Sarah Millam, RN

Sarah is originally from Minneapolis & after traveling the world for several years, she returned to her roots & is proud to call Minneapolis her home once again. It was through her travels, doing volunteer medical work, particularly in Haiti & India, that Sarah developed a passion for women’s health. She was struck by the contrast between the lack of skilled professionals & medical services available to pregnant women in underdeveloped countries compared to the over-abundance and medicalization of birth in the US. She ultimately felt called to serve low-risk mothers seeking undisturbed & low-intervention births. She returned to the US & earned her bachelors degree in nursing in Minneapolis while working as a phlebotomist at a local emergency room & becoming a doula through DONA International. After graduating, she moved to North Dakota where she gained experience, primarily as a postpartum & lactation nurse, with occasional shifts in the NICU, pediatrics, and gynecology. She then returned to Minneapolis in the summer of 2016 to join our team & also works at two nearby hospitals in Labor and Delivery where she gets the opportunity to serve women dealing with perinatal complications. Sarah is a self-described “research nerd” & likes to stay constantly updated with the latest evidence-based research surrounding women & newborn health. She was thrilled to become part of the MBC team, as she finds that our care model most closely aligns with her own values of using evidence-based medicine to promote physiological birth while respecting the autonomy of women and their families. In her free time she enjoys spending time outside with her pitbull-mix, playing with her nephew, listening to podcasts, exploring a plant-based diet, traveling abroad, reading medical journals & taking courses online to further her knowledge of evidence-based birth.

EliZabeth Summers, RN

Elizabeth obtained her Bachelor Science in Nursing from the University of New Mexico. She also has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Macalester College. She has worked in a variety of settings as a Registered Nurse including inpatient oncology, renal dialysis, and women’s health. She completed the Minnesota Birth Center Doula Internship program in 2016 and had the opportunity to support women birthing naturally and giving birth by C-section. She is married and has two children. Both of her babies were birthed with the support of midwives in hospital. When she is not assisting with a birth at the MBC, you can find Elizabeth at various networking events in the Twin Cities. She is a proud member of Business Network International and enjoys growing her network marketing and virtual doula business during the week. In her free time, you’ll find Elizabeth practicing yoga at home or at Blooma. She also loves to take long walks with her German Shepherd dog and her Australian Cattle Dog at the Minnehaha Dog Park.

Brittany Geisen, RN

Brittany was born and raised in the suburbs of the Twin Cities. She has traveled to many states and countries but cannot see herself living anywhere else. Brittany is now proud to call Saint Paul her home, where she lives with her husband Nicholas, son Winston, and black lab Indie.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in nursing at Winona State University. She then worked for two years in the Neonatal ICU, where she gained critical care skills and attended high-risk deliveries. While her heart will always have a soft spot for caring for tiny humans, she believes she has found her new calling here at the Minnesota Birth Center. Her own pregnancy and birth experience with her son inspired a newfound love and passion for holistic, midwifery-led care. When Brittany is not at the birth center, you can find her exploring nature, spending time with family and friends, or capturing life’s precious moments with a camera. What started as volunteer photography for the March of Dimes has now blossomed into a small business that feeds her creative side. Whether she’s working as a nurse or photographer, her goal is to make others feel empowered, valued, and loved.