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Our Team – Willow Birth & Wellness Center
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Our Team

Midwives,Birth Assistants
& Community Partner Physicians,

Meet Our Team

In addition to our CNM founders, Belinda Hodder and Diane Ortega, the entire team at Willow AZ Midwife Center is dedicated to delivering personalized, family-centered maternity care in our beautiful Mesa birth center. Dr. Mani Tehranchi and Dr. Blake Higley are our community partner physicians, and are available to the midwives at Willow 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our birth assistants come from varied health care backgrounds, and have all been trained in the Willow way.

Our Midwives

Meet Lisa Cohen, CNM, MSN

Lisa Cohen, CNM graduated with her MSN from the State University of New York in 2008. Prior to her work as a midwife, she was a critical care nurse for many years. She received her BSN from the University of Central Missouri in 1997. As a midwife, she has worked in a variety of settings including hospital, birth center, and home birth. Lisa’s passion as a midwife is for educating families so they feel empowered to make choices best suited for their individual circumstances. She is proud and excited to have joined the Willow team in 2019!

Lisa relocated to Phoenix from Kansas City in 2018. She and her family have enjoyed hiking in the mountains, the food trucks, and the warm sunny weather! Lisa has 5 children and welcomed her first granddaughter in 2019. In her free time she enjoys gardening, crocheting, and exploring Arizona with her family.

Meet Pam Moran

Pam MoranPam has been involved with mamas and babies her entire career. Starting out as a Bradley Childbirth educator for 4 years, working with home birth midwives for 3 ½ years as a birth assistant, and then became a registered nurse spending 20 years supporting woman birthing in the hospital.

Still feeling the call to be a Certified Nurse Midwife she received her master’s degree in nurse midwifery from Frontier Nursing University.

The majority of her midwifery training was at WillowAZ birth center. She is thrilled to be a part of the WillowAZ team of midwives. Teaches prenatal yoga at WillowAZ on Thursday evenings.

In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and spending time with her family in the white mountains of Pinetop, AZ.

Meet Ronda Slickman, DNP, FNP, CNM

Ronda SlickmanRonda Slickman is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and has completed a second certification as a Nurse Midwife. She has been working in obstetrics for over 18 years. In 2004, she graduated from Arizona State University with her BSN. After working closely with mothers and babies at a tertiary hospital, Ronda decided to further her education. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University with her Master of Science in Nursing and was part of Theta Sigma Tau Honor Society of Nursing. In 2020 she achieved her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Grand Canyon University, again graduating with high distinction.

Ronda is an Arizona Native and is married to her high school sweetheart. Together they have 4 children who are the center of their world. She loves to spend her free time volunteering for non-profits through her church. Ronda enjoys working in a team approach, with her clients, to help them achieve their optimal health. Ronda finds it an amazing honor and privilege to work with each client in achieving their optimal birth story, all while providing safe passage for baby. She is excited to join the Willow team and meet all of the amazing Willow families.

 

Meet Micaela Fernandes, CNM

While volunteering as a nurse in Arusha, Tanzania (East Africa), Micaela was introduced to midwifery by local midwives in a low resource setting with limited supplies. The beauty of this experience was overpowering and life changing. Micaela discovered that midwifery was more than just about the intimate relationship between a care practitioner and an expectant mother; midwifery is about policy, advocacy, and education, and it is a profession that needs to be mobilized in multiple socio-political contexts. 

After nine years of working in an ICU setting as a nurse predominantly in her home Philadelphia, upstate New York, and New Zealand, Micaela changed fields and started working as a labor and delivery nurse while going back to school to become a nurse midwife. After graduating she did a fellowship at Holy Family birth Center, one of the oldest birth centers in the country, located by the Mexican border in Weslaco, Texas. 

She has joined the team at Willow to be surrounded by a community that shares her same belief system and allows her to give women a transformative experience of birth that is unique to each individual.

Micaela also enjoys travelling, hiking, art, museums, live music, theater, practicing Spanish, martial arts, yoga, barre, and meditation.

Meet Ronda Slickman, DNP, FNP, CNM

Ronda SlickmanRonda Slickman is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and has completed a second certification as a Nurse Midwife. She has been working in obstetrics for over 18 years. In 2004, she graduated from Arizona State University with her BSN. After working closely with mothers and babies at a tertiary hospital, Ronda decided to further her education. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University with her Master of Science in Nursing and was part of Theta Sigma Tau Honor Society of Nursing. In 2020 she achieved her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Grand Canyon University, again graduating with high distinction.

Ronda is an Arizona Native and is married to her high school sweetheart. Together they have 4 children who are the center of their world. She loves to spend her free time volunteering for non-profits through her church. Ronda enjoys working in a team approach, with her clients, to help them achieve their optimal health. Ronda finds it an amazing honor and privilege to work with each client in achieving their optimal birth story, all while providing safe passage for baby. She is excited to join the Willow team and meet all of the amazing Willow families.

 

Meet Lisa Cohen, CNM, MSN

Lisa Cohen, CNM graduated with her MSN from the State University of New York in 2008. Prior to her work as a midwife, she was a critical care nurse for many years. She received her BSN from the University of Central Missouri in 1997. As a midwife, she has worked in a variety of settings including hospital, birth center, and home birth. Lisa’s passion as a midwife is for educating families so they feel empowered to make choices best suited for their individual circumstances. She is proud and excited to have joined the Willow team in 2019!

Lisa relocated to Phoenix from Kansas City in 2018. She and her family have enjoyed hiking in the mountains, the food trucks, and the warm sunny weather! Lisa has 5 children and welcomed her first granddaughter in 2019. In her free time she enjoys gardening, crocheting, and exploring Arizona with her family.

Meet Caitlyn Laney, CPM LM

Caitlyn LaneyCaitlyn is a native Phoenician. She attended Arizona State University on a full-ride academic scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise & Wellness with a concentration in Health Promotion in 2009.

In 2011 she trained birth as a birth doula and began assisting women and families in both the home and hospital setting. Later that same year Caitlyn welcomed her first daughter who was born at home under the watchful guidance of Certified Professional Midwives. In 2012 her second daughter was born at home again with the loving support of midwives.

With those experiences she became impassioned with the Midwifery Model of Care and felt compelled to pursue her own path to serving women.

In 2013 she became a lactation educator and in 2014 after a rigorous apprenticeship Caitlyn achieved her Certified Professional Midwife and AZ Licensed Midwife credentials.

 

 

Meet Kelli Beaty CPM, LM

 

Kelli Beaty CPM, LM, is the newest member of the Willow at Home team. Kelli has been a licensed midwife for over 28 years.

A recent transplant to Arizona, Kelli is a Certified Professional Midwife and currently holds an Arizona Midwifery license, having previously served mothers in Texas for almost three decades. Kelli is delighted to begin serving the families and fellow midwives of the Willow AZ family, and also looks forward to enjoying the great outdoors of Arizona.

After college, Kelli began working in the medical field, and quickly recognized that her heart was somewhere else. After meeting a midwife, she suddenly realized where her heart was leading her…midwifery. Kelli began training and completed the Texas program for licensed midwives in 1990; she became licensed soon after. As a licensed Texas midwife, Kelli owned a birth center/home birth practice in Texas for 28 years.

Kelli’s education has been extensive, she has helped write and build one of the most successful midwifery training programs in the US, The Association of Texas Midwives Training Program. Kelli is an avid educator, and an advocate for women’s right to access safe midwifery care. She has worked alongside other midwives to help create policies, legislation and midwifery rules that ensures that midwifery remains an option for childbearing women. She has extensive experience with breech and twin home births. Kelli has also served mommies in several different countries including Haiti, the Dominican Republic (where she owns a scuba diving shop!!!), and Belize.

Moving to Arizona was supposed to be a retirement plan…but Willow AZ had different plans for her! After a three year sabbatical, Kelli discovered that working with the Willow AZ team was where she wanted to be. Kelli knows that the team atmosphere and positive attitude about birth is what cultivates a safe birthing space for all families, whether they are with the Willow AZ Home Birth team, Birth Center or Hospital.

 

Meet Our Birth Assistants


Your Willow AZ Midwife Center birth assistant is a vital part of your birth team; a professional midwife’s assistant with labor support, birth, and postpartum care skills. A birth assistant helps to keep out-of-hospital births safe and more satisfying for the family.

Willow Trained

All our birth assistants have received special training and a detailed skills assessment to qualify them to perform in the role at Willow AZ Midwife Center. They have fulfilled all requirements, and meet our strict standards as birth assistants. Each is currently certified in CPR and neonatal resuscitation. They are competent, compassionate and have demonstrated the ability to work cohesively with our philosophy, midwives, and clients.

Our Birth Center Staff

Starla Corn
Starla Corn - Medical Assistant
Jori Brown
Jori Brown – Assistant/Client Concierge
Jessica Poppe
Jessica Poppe – Educator/Car Seat Technician
Perla Barron
Perla Barron – Office Manager/Willow Central

Community Partners

Dr. Mani TehranchiDr. Mani Tehranchi

Dr. Mani Tehranchi, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified physician specializing in obstetrics, gynecology, and the da Vinci® Surgical System at Bella Women’s Care in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dr. Tehranchi began his career after graduating with his medical degree from the University of Nevada School of Medicine in 1990 and completing his residency at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. He was also a fellow at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Tehranchi’s long-standing desire to be at the forefront of modern medicine influenced his choice to become proficient with the minimally invasive robotic surgery known as the da Vinci Surgical System. Having practiced medicine for over 25 years, Dr. Tehranchi has been fortunate to know and care for many families, often delivering multiple generations of children.

Dr. Jeffrey Blake Higley

Dr. Jeffrey Blake HigleyDr. Jeffrey Blake Higley, MD, is an OB/GYN specializing in the comprehensive practice of obstetrics and gynecology at Bella Women’s Care in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dr. Higley is a native-born Texan who graduated medical school at Texas A&M University and made his way to the the Phoenix area to complete his residency at Banner University Medical Center where he focused on minimally invasive procedures, including the da Vinci® Surgical System, and general obstetrics with a focus in preventing the first cesarean section and integrative medicine. Dr. Higley is affiliated with Banner University Medical Center (Good Samaritan) and Dignity Health (St. Joseph’s Hospital).

Dr. Higley treats patients in all areas of reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth. He speaks English and is known by his patients for his kind, gentle demeanor whether they are in for a routine exam or the miracle of childbirth. When not working with patients, Dr. Higley enjoys exploring all that Phoenix has to offer.

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Contact Willow AZ Midwife Center Today

If you would like to schedule a consultation, meet our team and tour the Willow AZ Midwife Center, use our contact form or call us at 480-565-5990 today.