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. Read more about Penny.

Penny Simkin




Birth Doula Skills Workshop Faculty

Kim James, ICCE, LCCE, CLE, BDT(DONA) is a senior instructor and faculty leader. She is a DONA International-approved birth doula trainer and an internationally certified childbirth educator through ICEA and Lamaze International. Kim is a currently practicing doula within the Swedish Doula Program at the Swedish Medical Centers and owns and operates Read more about Kim  
Laurie Levy, MA, LMP, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE,holds a Master’s in Counseling and has her birth doula certification through DONA International. She is also a licensed massage practitioner, certified childbirth educator, and instructor of human anatomy and physiology. Laurie loves helping new doulas discern how they are going to show up for their clients, themselves, and their communities. Much of her birth doulas trainings focus on understanding of self and building community, two skills that are integral to success in birthwork. More information about Laurie can be found here and on Swedish's website.   


Guest Lecturers

Denise Bolds, MSW, AdvCD(DONA), CLC, CBE, is Bold Doula; holds a MSW degree and is experienced in case managing high-risk pregnancies. She was one of the first MSW Social Workers hired in New York state for medical management in Health Management Organizations. Denise is a DONA International Advanced Certified Birth Doula with 218 births of experience since 2014. She is also certified as an Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Instructor and Certified Lactation Counselor providing breastfeeding support and breastfeeding classes. As President of DONA International; she will be the second Black president in the history of the organization. She mentors birth doulas; and is known for her advocacy and empowerment in Black birth-work. Learn more about Denise.

Triniti Gorbunova, MA, CLC is a guest lecturer for the Birth Doula Skills Workshop and Childbirth Educator Training. She holds a Master's in Maternal-Child Health Systems and is a Certified Lactation Counselor. She works at Seattle-King County Public Health W.I.C. as a Nutrition Assistant and Rainier Valley Midwives as a CLC.

India Posner, CD(DONA), is a birth and postpartum doula in the Seattle area. Her doula work began in 2018 and since that time India founded and operates Dear Cardamom. As a doula, India believes that comfort for others also starts with the comfort provided to oneself so keeping a healthy foundation is so important and the abundance mentality is very real. Being a black doula, birth work comes naturally, and community is a huge part of how she stays inspired.  Read more about India.

Postpartum Doula Skills Workshop Faculty

Tracy McPhillips, LCCE, CCE(GS), PCD(DONA), PDT(DONA), CLE, she/her, is an internationally certified childbirth educator, a DONA International certified postpartum doula, DONA International approved postpartum doula trainer, Certified Lactation Educator and business owner. Tracy is a mentor and serves on various local and international boards and committees. She is the lead instructor for Simkin Center Postpartum Doula Skills Workshop. Learn more about Tracy here.  


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, 解离性障碍, 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, CCE(GS), PCD(DONA), PDT(DONA), CLE, she/her, is an internationally certified childbirth educator, a DONA International certified postpartum doula, DONA International approved postpartum doula trainer, Certified Lactation Educator, and business owner. Tracy is a mentor and serves on various local and international boards and committees. She is the lead instructor for Simkin Center Postpartum Doula Skills Workshop. Learn more about Tracy here.  
Joni Parthemer, MEd, ICCE, IAT, CGE,  is an international certified childbirth educator and approved trainer.  Joni is lead instructor for the Simkin Center Childbirth Educator Training.  She serves as the Education Director and Master Trainer for the Bringing Baby Home Program at The Gottman Institute and is an educational consultant to a number of organizations.  She has developed, published, and implemented a variety of training materials for educators interested in providing support and growth programs for families.   Joni Parthemer
Lisa Tankersley, ICCE, CGE, TS, is a certified Childbirth Educator, and Certified Gottman Educator and Training Specialist. She has been in the childbirth and parenting profession for over 30 years. Lisa began her journey in parenting and relationship education courses through her degree in Early Childhood Education and as the Lead Educator in child development centers. She gained her certification through the Gottman Institute and has taught Bringing Baby Home workshops for Swedish Medical Center since 2006. Her work as a postpartum doula allowed Lisa to serve as a lactation specialist for countless families making the transition to parenthood.  


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.

  Christine Muenz
Ginna Wall, RN, MN, IBCLC, founded the lactation program at the University of Washington 25 years ago and has been with Evergreen Perinatal Education since its inception. Read more about Gina  



Pre and Perinatal Massage Specialization Workshop Faculty

Michele Kolakowski, LMT CD & CPD(DONA), CLC, has been caring for families since 1992. She’s a Certified Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapist and the co-author of Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy - A comprehensive guide to prenatal, labor and postpartum practice 3rd edition (2021) with Carole Osborne and David M. Lobenstine. She teaches online and in-person courses to families and professionals and learn more at Sanctuary Healing Arts LLC.   Molly Pessl

Margi Hadorn has been a massage therapist for more than 30 years and has worked as a prenatal massage therapist for 21 years. Since becoming certified in Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy, Margi has nurtured pregnant clients, moms and babies with massage and infant massage instruction. In addition to being a certified educator of infant massage she also has extensive oncology and hospice massage training. Read more about Margi.



Infant Massage Educator Training Faculty

乔安刘易斯,航空航天,CEIM is the Director and main Educator at the Family Massage Education Center in Ashland, OR. As a Certified Educator of Infant Massage, she has trained thousands of professionals and families how to massage their babies. With deep commitment to society, JoAnn follows the mission of the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) to promote nurturing touch through training, education, and research so that babies, parents, and caregivers are loved, valued, and respected throughout the world community. 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

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