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The Business of Being Born: Free Screening & Panel Discussion

Are you interested in Maternal Health?


Did you know the World Health Organization recommends that the c-section rate to be between 5 and 15%, but the current rate in the US is 32.8% and many hospitals in the NYC Metro area reach above this.

The US maternity care system is one of the costliest in the world, however among industrialized countries, our maternal & perinatal outcomes are consistently among the worst.

Come learn more! RSVP here.


This is a student organized event. A 30-minute classroom edition of the movie will be shown followed by a panel discussion. Dr. Aurelie Athan, of the Maternal Psychology Laboratory and SWG Project, has been invited to moderate. Light refreshments will be served.

Amy Liss, CD(DONA), LCCE, EdD Candidate, Health Education, Teachers College is a queer health educator and advocate with a passion for reproductive justice, especially among historically marginalized communities. As a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, lactation counselor, and aspiring midwife, Amy is dedicated to collaboratively creating safe, inclusive and empowering birthing spaces for new families of all backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities. Amy is particularly interested in the intersections between sexuality, gender, and birth. Her work as a doctoral student in the Health Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University is focused on birth and LGBTQ communities, especially the experiences of lesbian women accessing maternity care.

Shawnee Benton, Founder & Executive Director of The Griots' Healing Circle is a licensed practitioner with over 20 years of experience in the field of social work. Shawnee is a healer, vision coach, performance artist, psychodramatist, community activist, inspirational speaker and mother of three. Shawnee is an actor, director, writer, orator, singer, and composer who also co-founded and co-directs Spirit of A Woman Rites of Passage & Leadership Development Institute, whose mission is to educate, elevate, and effect positive and sustainable transformation in the lives of young people of color, their families and communities. 

Elsa Asher, CD(DONA) works at the intersections of narrative, health and social justice. She is a full spectrum holistic doula, midwifery apprentice, and somatic birth therapist in training. She is a published writer, artist, and graduate student at Columbia University earning her MSc degree in Narrative Medicine. 

Chantia Smith, CPM, Embodied Beginnings is a certified professional midwife, pre and perinatal birth therapist, hypnobirthing® instructor, prenatal yoga and embodied anatomy yoga teacher, massage therapist specializing in biodynamic craniosacral therapy, acupressure, somatic experiencing®, and body mind centering, infant massage instructor, lactation specialist, and western trained herbalist. Chanti has a deep passion for learning, sharing, growing, playing, dancing, and creating community. 

Melissa Madera, PhD, Empowering The Body holds a doctorate in Latin American and Caribbean History from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is a bilingual sexual and reproductive health and rights educator and advocate, and an abortion access activist. Melissa is a New York City based DONA International trained labor and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, and founder of The Abortion Diary Podcast. She also works as a Gynecological Teaching Associate with Rutgers University, and volunteers as a full spectrum doula with The Doula Project, committed to supporting people across the entire spectrum of pregnancy, including birth, abortion, and fetal loss.  For more information about Melissa visit her website,