The Spirit of Care
Hope, strength, and vision -- Amidst the undeniable tragedies surrounding maternal and infant death rates in Detroit, another narrative exists. This narrative leans on hope, harnesses community strengths, and imagines a future in which Detroit is a leader in community-based maternal and infant care. Community leaders across Detroit are using this strengths-based lens to find innovative and equitable solutions to these urgent issues. One of the newest community-centered solutions is Birth Detroit. Birth Detroit embraces a community organizing approach to birth center development, rooted in deep equity and meaningful partnerships. Join us in working together to create a model birth center in Detroit, and join us in transforming the spirit of care.
Birth Detroit Newsletter
To improve wellbeing and birth outcomes by making
woman-centered, family-friendly, holistic care accessible
to all birthing people - regardless of ability to pay.
Safe, quality, loving care for every birthing person.
Entrepreneur, producer, and activist, Nia Batts is a native Detroiter, who after spending a decade at entertainment and media conglomerate, Viacom Inc. returned home to Detroit to find ways in which she could build organizations that would have a positive impact in the community. An educational quest to deepen her understanding of these cycles is what led Nia to the beginning of the story, and drove her passion to become certified as a birth doula, at Brooklyn-based Carriage House Birth. That process provided an inroad into skills-based volunteerism and advocacy for maternal and newborn care, especially at home in Detroit, and in other communities of color that are disproportionately affected by the lasting impact of inaccessible guidance, support and health care during this critical time. Nia earned a B.A. in Film Studies from Columbia University, an Executive Education Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Harvard Business School, and a professional certificate in Film Producing from New York University.
Nicole Marie White, CPM
Nicole Marie White is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and activist. Nicole believes that spreading the Midwifery Model of Care is the best way to address the high maternal and infant mortality rates locally and globally. She currently practices midwifery in Michigan and is on the Board of Licensed Midwifery for the State of Michigan. Nicole has been involved in National and State leadership around midwifery policy. Nicole received a fellowship in 2012 in Detroit to work on fighting the maternal mortality crisis in the city. Nicole is currently a BELA leader and participating in Detroit Pop-up Midwifery Clinic which is funded by Health Connect One. She is on the development team of Birth Detroit. Nicole is currently attending Wayne State for a degree in Public Health. She was in an almost all-girl band, The blue Ruby’s for 3 years. Nicole loves to dance and hunt rocks on the shores of Lake Michigan with her dog, Sappho.
Leseliey Welch, MPH, MBA
Leseliey Welch, MPH, MBA, has over a decade of leadership experience in city, state and national health organizations. She served as interim executive director of Birthing Project USA and Deputy Director of Public Health for the City of Detroit, where she started SisterFriends Detroit. She provided concept development and community engagement consulting in the start-up of Corktown Health Center, Michigan’s first comprehensive LGBT health center. Leseliey is on faculty in Public Health at Wayne State University and lectures in Women’s Studies at University of Michigan. She is passionate about health equity as a daily practice, a tool for systems transformation, and a policy imperative. She earned her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies, Masters in Public Health with a certificate in Women’s and Reproductive Health, and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
Elon Geffrard has been a birth doula since 2016, she came to doula work "accidentally" after being a home visitor for a local health department. While maintaining a private and community based doula practice, Elon has served as project coordinator, statewide speaker and consultant with a number of public health projects but finds her greatest joys in serving women as they transition into motherhood and fostering shifts in attitudes, policy, and practice around pregnancy, labor and birth- at the system’s level. She is a certified parent educator (Effective Black Parenting), certified childbirth educator (ICEA), trained in Lamaze childbirth education and is a certified lactation consultant (ALPP). She brings to the Birth Detroit team a passion for nurturing expectant families and enhancing the quality of women health services.
Char'ly Snow, CNM
Char'ly Snow, CNM, is a Detroit native and proud alumna of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. She joined the Henry Ford team in 2006 and has been spreading her wings ever since. In 2012, after having served diligently as a bedside nurse, nurse educator, and assistant nurse manager in the Cardiovascular ICU and Surgical ICU departments, she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). She has been a member of the Henry Ford Midwifery Team since 2015. She is not only a full-time CNM at Henry Ford Health System, but she is also the founder Metro Detroit Midwives of Color (MDMOC). MDMOC is a non-profit professional organization, inclusive of all minority midwives that serve women in the Metro Detroit area. Ultimately all of their efforts will serve to reduce the prevalence of health disparities among ethnic minorities.