The Rochester Area Birth Network provides information and advocates for health, safety and informed choice in childbirth. It supports the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative, a model of maternity care devised by the national Coalition for Improving Maternity Services to improve birth outcomes, reduce costs and promote practices based on scientific evidence rather than convention or consensus, helping women to make informed choices about what is best for them, their babies and their families.
Among other things, the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative emphasizes that births can occur safely in hospitals, birth centers and homes; breastfeeding provides the best nourishment for infants; and the midwifery model of care, which supports the natural birth process and seeks to minimize interventions, is most appropriate for the majority of women.
RABN's members include childbirth educators, midwives, labor assistants or doulas, physicians, nurses, breastfeeding consultants and parents who believe in the importance of informed choice among alternatives in childbearing.
The local organization has existed for 16 years but in 2008 became a chapter of BirthNetwork National, which is based in Birmingham, Mich. Chapter status has enabled RABN to focus on its primary mission while transferring most administrative tasks to the parent organization and operating with a small steering committee instead of a board of directors.
Members of RABN usually meet monthly. Besides providing information about maternity care, the organization offers networking opportunities for professionals, parents and others interested in childbirth. It also advocates on matters of public policy such as the state's Midwifery Modernization Act of 2010 and the proposed federal Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services for the 21st Century Act.
Although it is a membership organization, RABN provides information to the general public without charge. It reaches hundreds of women a year through its Facebook page and an email network, regardless of membership status.
The local network has no paid staff members. Its mailing address is 395 Canterbury Road, Rochester, N.Y. 14607, and its website is www.rabn.org.
Financial record Year ending Dec. 31, 2012
Membership dues $785 94
Donations 47 6
Total revenue $832 100
Payments to national organization $365 38
Movie showing rights 275 29
Advertising 130 14
Equipment rental 125 13
Office expenses, printing, newsletter 46 5
Other 19 2
Total expenses $960 100
Excess (deficiency) of revenue over expenses ($128)
Willa Powell, co-leader, financials; board member, Rochester City School District; national vice president and interim treasurer, Citizens for Midwifery Inc.; and retired captain, U.S. Army Reserve
Dianne Cassidy, co-leader, membership; international board-certified lactation consultant, health educator and doula
Amy Haas, co-leader, education; Bradley certified childbirth educator and sole proprietor, Healthy Birth of Rochester
Kimberly Guck, co-leader and community resource coordinator; DONA International certified doula
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