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ICEA and the global perspective of birth.

The global perspective of birth is deeply ingrained in ICEA--even in our name: International Childbirth Education Association. For over 30 years, ICEA has had on the Board of Directors a Director of International Relations to identify our place in the global birthing community. Having just returned from the 2016 ICEA Strategic Planning Meeting, I can share with you the facts of our unique Global Initiative.

The ICEA Global Initiative is a combined effort of several on our Board of Directors. Leading this initiative is the Director of International Relations, Bonita Broughton. New to the Board, Bonita brings to this position a rich history of working with other 50i(c)3 nonprofit organizations and developing outreach programs, relationships and partnerships. Under the leadership of our past Director of International Relations, Vonda Gates, we have developed the International Teaching Partner (ITP) Program. Currently, we have five ITPs: one in Costa Rica, two in Taipei, one in South Africa and one in Qatar. Working closely with a growing number of international members, Bonita together with Director of Education, Tamela Hatcher and President-Elect Debra Tolson are working on translations of our programs and exams. ICEA translations will first be in Chinese and Spanish, then progress to the other major international languages.

Taking these major steps to help Program candidates and ultimately expectant women themselves, ICEA will address the challenges for maternal and newborn health in developing nations where many of those women and babies are suffering. Several of our IATs have visited countries such as Guatemala and China, conducting ICEA workshops. They have served as ICEA ambassadors and developed new workarounds and policies to forge new relationships. Working together, we can create an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding, while assisting our international contacts with choosing how ICEA can help.

The International Relations Committee will be developing an ongoing communications plan, as well as a plan to increase the number of international members and IATs (ICEA Approved Trainers). The International Relations Committee welcomes new members. If you would like to volunteer a few hours each month as a member of the Committee, please contact Bonita Broughton at

Serving the international community takes creativity and dedication as the situation is so different from the typical American situation to which many of us are accustomed. We can apply this same creativity and dedication to our work on reducing racial disparities here in the United States. In 2016, ICEA will continue to significantly strengthen our collaboration with the National Perinatal Task Force (https:// The National Perinatal Task Force is made up of motivated lay persons and professionals who are aware of the racial disparities in maternity care and want to make a change--now! As members of this Task Force, ICEA joins with others to make a genuine difference in pregnancy outcomes for our most at risks mother and babies. I urge to read about the National Perinatal Task Force and learn how you might become an Ambassador for a Perinatal Safe Spot.

In your service,

Connie Livingston RN, BS, FACCE, LCCE, ICCE

ICEA President

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Title Annotation:Across the President's Desk; International Childbirth Education Association
Author:Livingston, Connie
Publication:International Journal of Childbirth Education
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Apr 1, 2016
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