About the African Birth Collective

Senegal 05 Staff 1

Executive Director
Kaya Skye
Kaya first came to Sénégal in 1996 working on her bachelor’s degree for the University of California Santa Cruz.  She produced a documentary video and thesis entitled: “Sénégal at the Crossroads: Emerging Dialogue Between Traditional and Modern Medicine”.  This award winning work looks at the changing relationship between traditional and modern medicinal systems and the potential for referral systems and integration in public health models.  The video includes rare interviews with traditional healers, World Health Organization officials, public health workers and modern doctors and psychologists.  Kaya lived in Senegal for five years and is the mother of three children.  She currently resides in Eugene, Oregon.

Dana Combest
Dana has practiced as a midwife since 1978, obtaining her CPM in 1999 and her WA state license in 2002. She is dedicated to preserving and expanding traditional midwifery education as it has been taught worldwide through the ages.  Dana is a Certified Labor Assistant, Childbirth Educator, and Lactation Counselor; she has been the Academic Director for Ancient Art Midwifery Institute since 1995, and is their Clinical Sites Director. Additionally, she is a preceptor for the National College of Midwifery.  She has worked for short periods of time as a midwife in Jamaica, Honduras and Senegal.  In 2004, Dana founded With Woman, an organization dedicated to working with and learning from midwives around the globe and reestablishing woman-centered birth practices where they have given way to modern medicine.


Wendy Ashley
Wendy graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1995 with a BA in Geography and Environmental Conservation and a minor in Environmental, Populatory and Organismic Biology, with a focus on the edible and medicinal qualities of plants. In 1996, she began studying yoga with one of the foremost authorities in the Ashtanga tradition and began teaching yoga in her local community when she moved to Oregon in 1998. After the birth of her son in 2000, she started Inesscents, a natural and organic body care company, with a focus on fairly traded Shea butter and traditional African soaps which support local women-run co-ops in Togo and Ghana.


Board Member
Carrie Parrish
Carrie McCormick is a homebirth midwife based in Portland, Oregon and has been involved in the Northwest birth community for the past ten years.   She serves on the Board of Directors of Birthingway College of Midwifery and teaches occasional classes (Statistics and Epidemiology for Midwives, Midwifery Culture) there.  From 1990 to 1992 Carrie was Project Director for Llamba Association’s Matoso Clinic, a primary health care facility serving villagers in southwestern Kenya; she has returned frequently in subsequent years to work with traditional birth attendants (TBAs).  Carrie has an MPH from Oregon State University, focusing on international health policy and maternal child health issues.   She is married and has a seven-year-old daughter, Clio. 


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