The most respected program of its type, Simkin Center is best known for its world-class faculty. Faculty members are the heart of Simkin's success and are the leaders of the modern doula movement.

Penny Simkin is the Center's namesake and senior faculty member. Penny revived the ancient art of providing continuous care in childbirth with her pioneering role in establishing the "birth doula." Penny is best known as an author, speaker, educator and key contributor to the understanding of the significance of childbirth in women's lives. Penny is often a guest lecturer in our program.

Simkin Center Namesake

Penny Simkin, PT, CCE, CD(DONA), is a physical therapist, certified childbirth educator, internationally certified birth doula, DONA International birth doula trainer and DONA International Founder and Mentor. She is the author of many books and lectures internationally. Penny is Senior Instructor Emeritus at the Simkin Center and is also instructor of the When Survivors Give Birth workshop. Read more about Penny.

Penny Simkin



Birth Doula Skills Workshop Faculty

Kim James, ICCE, LCCE, BDT(DONA) is a senior instructor and faculty leader. She is an internationally approved birth doula, DONA International-approved birth doula trainer and an internationally certified childbirth educator. Kim serves as the WA State DONA International representative. Kim is Lead and Auxiliary Instructor for the Simkin Center Birth Doula Skills Workshop. Read more about Kim.  
Laurie Levy, MA, LMP, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, holds a Master’s in Counseling and is a DONA International certified birth doula and approved birth doula trainer. She also teaches human anatomy and physiology at several area schools. Laurie has a private doula and massage practice in Seattle. Read more about Laurie here.  


Postpartum Doula Skills Workshop Faculty

Tracy McPhillips, LCCE, CCE(GS), PCD(DONA), PDT(DONA), is an internationally certified childbirth educator and a DONA International certified postpartum doula. Tracy is a serves on various local and international organization committees and boards.   


When Survivors Give Birth Faculty

Phyllis Klaus, LMFT, LMSW, is a licensed Marriage, Family Therapist, and social worker. Formerly on the faculty of the Department of Family Practice, Michigan State University, she currently practices in  Palo Alto, California, providing psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and counseling to individuals, couples, families and groups. She has been working with the concerns of families in the perinatal period for the past 35 years, and has been involved in research and training of perinatal care providers since 1982.  She is a founder of DONA International and PATTCh. She has extensive experience in treating trauma-related disorders, such as PTSD, dissociative disorders, and adult survivors of abuse. She is an EMDR Trainer and Approved Consultant. She also incorporates Hypnosis, EMDR, Ego-State Therapy along with other psychotherapies in the treatment of somatic and medical disorders, family of origin and attachment disorders, and complicated grief.  She consults, does research, presents workshops nationally and internationally and is co author of several articles as well as The Doula Book; Bonding; Your Amazing Newborn; a video, The Amazing Talents of the Newborn; and When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women.

 Read more about Phyllis.
Penny Simkin, PT, CCE, CD(DONA) our namesake (above) co-teaches When Survivors Give Birth workshop. Read more about Penny.    Penny Simkin


Childbirth Educator Training Faculty

Tracy McPhillips, LCCE, CDP(DONA) (see above)  
Joni Parthemer, MEd, ICCE, CGE, is an internationally certified childbirth educator. She serves as the Education Director and Master Trainer for the Bringing Baby Home Program at the Relationship Research Institute and as educational consultant to a number or organizations. Joni is a instructor for the Simkin Center Childbirth Educator Training. Read more about Joni.   Joni Parthemer
Lisa Tankersley, CCE, is an internationally certified childbirth educator and a certified Gottman Training Specialist.    


Foundations for Best Practice in Lactation Care Faculty

Molly Pessl, BSN, IBCLC, FILCA, is a registered nurse, childbirth educator and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She serves as the director of Evergreen Perinatal Education and teaches internationally. Molly is Lead Instructor for the Simkin Center Foundations for  Best Practice in Lactation Care workshop. Read more about Molly.   Molly Pessl

Christine Muenz, MA, CCE, LEC, is a certified childbirth and lactation educator.  Read more about Christine.

  Molly Pessl



Breastfeeding for Doulas Faculty

Joy MacTavish, MA, IBCLC, RLC, ICCE, CD(DONA), is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, certified childbirth educator, internationally certified birth doula, and a postpartum doula. She Instructor of the Breastfeeding for Doulas online course. Read more about Joy. 


Pre and Perinatal Massage Specialization Workshop Faculty

Molly PesslMichele Kolakowski brings more than two decades of diverse experience working with childbearing women and new families to the classroom and considers it a privilege to teach Pre-and Perinatal Massage Therapy with her mentor and professional “mom”, Carole Osborne.

Michele was program supervisor and lead BirthPlace massage therapist for Longmont United Hospital’s Health Center of Integrative Therapies. Michele is passionate and knowledgeable in maternity and infant massage. She lives in Longmont, Colorado with her family and loves high altitude gardening, hikes in the mountains, yoga, basketball (Go Tarheels!) and the joys of watching her boys become great young men.



Infant Massage Educator Training Faculty

JoAnn Lewis, LMT, CEIM is a massage therapist, Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM) and Trainer. She teaches internationally. Read more about JoAnn.


Contact Us
(425) 602-3361
Room #422
14500 Juanita Drive N.E.
Kenmore, WA 98028

M-F 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Planning to drop by? Please phone ahead.

Alex Sosa, Director
Kay Hwang, Program Coordinator
Rebeccah Landerholm, Program Assistant

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