Tanya is an assistant professor in the Department of Midwifery in both the Master of Science in Midwifery and the Master of Arts in Maternal-Child Health Systems programs. She also provides midwifery care on a part-time basis at CommuniCare Health Centers, a Federally Qualified Health Center with clinics in urban and rural communities around the Sacramento area. These clinics are committed to the compassionate care of low-income families in a multi-disciplinary setting.
Dr. Khemet Taiwo is an epidemiologist whose dissertation research examined the role of maternal prenatal stress on child neurodevelopment, and how these stressors interact with environmental exposures. Her concern for environmental exposures affecting pregnant women drives her as co-director of the Community Engagement Core at the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center. She is also a research fellow at The Birth Place Lab at the University of British Columbia. At the Birth Place Lab she’s collaborating on the Giving Voice to Mothers Study, a community based participatory research project that examines how race, ethnicity and birthplace affect maternity care in the United States. She also serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives, and counts herself blessed as the mother of three beautiful girls who were all born at home.
Tanya comes from a family tradition of midwives, stretching back at least three generations. Her grandmother and her maternal aunts were midwives practicing in rural Jamaica. Tanya’s mother and her sisters and brothers remember their mother and great aunts traveling along country roads on dark nights accompanied only by the all-seeing owls.
Tanya received her midwifery training at Seattle Midwifery School, and apprenticed with midwives in Seattle, Senegal and Jamaica. She is committed to the revitalization of the tradition of midwifery within the African American community, and the eradication of the ethnic disparities in perinatal health outcomes. It is her interest in preventative and complementary health, especially maternal and child health, and her desire to work with the medically underserved, that drives and inspires her.
Tanya served as the clinic administrator and staff midwife of The Birthing Project Clinic for eight years, and then became one of the founding mothers (Hermanas de la Luz) of Birth and Family Health Center of The Effort/WellSpace Health—women’s health clinics housed in community health centers located in medically underserved areas of Sacramento. Here patients receive comprehensive care that weaves midwifery care with health education and social services, and increases access to many programs that address their multi-faceted needs including substance abuse treatment and prevention, counseling and programs designed to prevent abuse and foster family cohesiveness. Tanya designed the black infant health home visitation program funded by First Five Sacramento, and co-created Sweet Success/Dulce Exito, a gestational diabetes management program that accepts referrals from obstetric practices in the community.