Alma Midwives & Staff
Meet the Alma staff
We offer ourselves to you to provide relationship based care and service during your pregnancy, birth and well woman/gynecology care - this includes all the details from helping you catch your baby to scheduling and insurance/billing. We got you! Meet team Alma, we are all in for you!
Linda Anzalone, MSN, WHNP-BC
Linda Anzalone, MSN, WHNP-BC, began her career in healthcare working with midwives in the mountains around Boulder, Colorado. She studied midwifery in El Paso, Texas and Chiapas, Mexico before arriving in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and earning her Certified Professional Midwife certification. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she has called many places home, including Columbus, Ohio, Boulder and Glenwood Springs, Colorado, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and Bremen, (what was then) West Germany.
Prior to Midwifery, she earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University in Women’s Studies and Psychology. She earned her second Bachelor’s from Linfield College School of Nursing, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She became a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner after earning her Masters of Science in Nursing from Frontier Nursing University. Linda deepened her knowledge of women's health issues studying Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy through Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehab Institute and local expert, Nari Clemons, PT.
Along with Nursing and Midwifery, a variety of volunteer and employment opportunities inform Linda’s practice, including Nursing program instructor, medical oversight for an eating disorder program, Naturopathic Medicinary representative, Supplement buyer for a large natural food chain, bulk buyer for a local food coop, domestic violence counselor, food server, adolescent shelter staff, volunteer RN in a Honduran public health clinic, volunteer in a reproductive health clinic in Chiapas and volunteer in the labor and delivery unit of a large public hospital in Chiapas.
Linda offers her patients the best of natural and allopathic medicine, combining the wisdom of nature with evidence-based practice to empower her patients to make informed choices about their health. She views each patient in the context of their individual lives as partners, parents, workers, children, friends… taking into account all the complexities which influence their health and well-being. She takes the time to get to know her patients and relishes the relationships she builds during office visits. For Linda, these are the true components of practicing medicine.
In her free time, Linda enjoys sharing quality time with her friends and family, making yummy food, seeing live music and being outside in the beautiful Pacific Northwest as much as possible.
Julie Shiprack, CNM
Julie grew up in Beavercreek, a small town south east of Portland. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Linfield College and completed her nurse-midwifery master’s program through Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky. Her diverse experience includes international volunteer positions in Guatemala, Sierra Leone and Ecuador, as well as working with the immigrant and refugee communities in Portland and Texas. She also worked as a Burn Nurse at the Oregon Burn Center, where she was part of the Wound Care team that provided care to patients with complex burns and wounds. Julie attended her first birth while living in a remote village in the eastern rainforest of Guatemala, and she had no doubt that she had found her calling to be a midwife. Upon returning home to Portland she worked at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), where she helped recently arrived refugees and immigrants to resettle. This work was very fulfilling, but her calling to become a midwife remained strong.
She moved to El Paso, TX to attend Maternidad La Luz, a midwifery school and birth center on the US/Mexico border. While at Maternidad La Luz she received didactic midwifery education while also working rigorous hours in the clinic and birth center. During her three years at Maternidad La Luz she attended over 300 births and she became certified as a Certified Professional Midwife. Years later she decided to return to school to become an RN with the intention of becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). She attended home births as an RN Birth Assistant with A Gentle Beginning for five years before becoming a Nurse-Midwife. During that time she also gave birth to two children at home, supported by the skilled and gentle hands of midwives.
Julie is honored to bear witness to the strength and resiliency of the human body and spirit and to be there for families during some of their most vulnerable and ecstatic times. She enjoys supporting women in following their instincts during physiologic birth, as well as promoting postpartum care and wellness—particularly pelvic floor health and the transition to motherhood. Julie also enjoys focusing on preventative medicine, including nutrition and embodied movement. She is a certified Dancing for Birth instructor and she loves to encourage instinctive movement in pregnancy, labor, and birth.
As a midwife, Julie believes her role is to support families in following the wisdom of their inner guidance while providing them with evidence-based information to help inform their decisions. Julie believes that birth matters and she is passionate about out-of-hospital birth because she felt so empowered by her own home birth experiences.
Julie and her partner, Okaidja, have two small children and enjoy spending as much time outdoors together as possible. Growing up in a rural area surrounded by forest instilled in her a deep appreciation of the natural world. From a young age she was drawn to working with medicinal plants and herbs. She grows a wide variety of medicinal plants in her garden and she loves teaching her children about the healing properties of plants. Okaidja is a dancer and musician from Ghana, and their home is full of music and dance. Julie was a member of the dance company Axe Dide for over 15 years and her background as a dancer deeply informs her midwifery practice.
Brooke Bina, CNM
Having grown up on a multi-generation farm in North Dakota and imbued with a pioneer sensibility and a respect for complexity, I see a pregnant person's unique reproductive processes as a strengthening of their life’s ecosystem: diversity fortifies life. Every pregnancy and birth is a journey never before taken. My role as a midwife is to be a partner in a journey which is full of possibilities for empowerment and to help ensure smooth transitions in a process which is defined by many profound changes.
I became a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) after doing fieldwork as a medical anthropologist with home birth midwives in Portland, examining the local interface between midwifery and biomedicine while writing “Professionalization, Authoritative Knowledge, and Conceptions of Midwifery and Medicine in the Contemporary United States” (Reed College, 2005). I hold a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and have attended births in various settings, including home, hospital, and out-of-hospital birth center.
I am comfortable in diverse birth environments, working in out-of-hospital as well as in-hospital low-risk midwifery and high-risk obstetric environments. I celebrate both midwifery and biomedicine and the ways in which both modalities can offer empowering experiences for birthing people and their families while working to change the ways in which they may not. Having grounding in all types of healthcare allows me to offer a balanced and empowering journey through the reproductive life-span; a vigilant-yet-laidback partner with the honed skills necessary for well-reasoned intervention should pathology arise, ensuring smooth transitions along the continuum of balanced care.
Janelle Rice, CPM, LDEM
I have clear memories as a child, at age seven, trying to read my Mom's pregnancy and birth books. I was completely fascinated, but did not realize my calling was to serve birthing families until I was seventeen and heard the word "midwife" for the first time.
In 2001 I completed the labor support course for birth doulas with DONA International and began attending births as a doula in 2004. I was anxious to attend midwifery school, but determined to finish having my own babies first, so satiated my thirst by going to conferences, educational seminars and attending births in various settings in order to gain knowledge and experience.
I moved to Portland, OR in 2012 and attended Birthingway College of Midwifery from 2012-2016. In 2014 I began my clinical training at Alma midwifery, attending both birth center and home births under the knowledge and guidance of many experienced midwives. In 2016 I was honored to continue my path with Alma, staying on as an assistant midwife and I continue to enjoy serving families here. I am also honored to support families as they pursue paths into parenthood, providing insemination services with our Conceptions program. I am a certified professional midwife (CPM) through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and a licensed midwife (LDM) through the state of Oregon. I maintain certifications in adult and infant CPR and neonatal resuscitation.
I have given birth to four amazing children, ages 10-20. I personally have experienced a hospital birth, two birth center births and a home birth. I view pregnancy, birth and the childbearing year as normal life events that merit respect and love. In my free time I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family swimming and hiking, as well as being a homebody reading, cooking and crocheting.
Laura Erickson, LDEM, CPM,
Director, and Owner of Alma Midwifery
Bio and the bio of Alma Midwifery’s roots~
Follow your passion: Have you ever been given that advice? It is an honor to be witness again and again to the transformative power of birth. When deeply immersed in midwifery, I become every midwife that ever lived. A happy, peaceful place, that others who have also found their passion, call the "zone" or "flow". Luckily, the call to be a midwife showed up early and has stayed steadfast and strong.
Midwifery takes courage, stamina, patience and boat loads of trust. Three and a half decades of this service is only possible because the calling was fierce.
It began with curiosity. Birth---what is this magic trick? Born and raised in rural Minnesota, at a time when spaying was not the norm, meant: bring on the kitten births!
While taking nursing prerequisites at Mankato state in Minnesota, a happy discovery was made: Newlife Birth Center was offering a midwifery program and apprentice opportunity in Austin, Texas. I lept!
1984 was a charmed year: Besides birthing my own 1st born at home I met and began to train with a group of midwives. I am eternal thankful for these midwives who trusted me enough to pass along the flame. It can be vulnerable to step aside and let the next generation learn the craft. I honor my teachers! Mari Mikel Penn still receives calls from me...35 years later. I remain grateful.
The next four years were a deep dive into the study of marriage, mothering, herbal medicine, natural living, healthy cooking, nutrition and midwifery. My teacher/midwives were compassionate and skilled. Their birth kits bulged with the usual supplies, but they used story telling, conversation, touch, human connection and respect as their best tools. The early 1980's in Austin Texas were lively: bus births (Jerry Garcia was still alive), tepee births, apartment births, outdoor births, alternative community births and one woman even had the crazy idea of a water birth...that was in 1987. As I drove away from my first water birth the radio played, "It's all too beautiful". I was hooked.
In the late 1980's Women from Mexico were traveling to El Paso, Texas to give birth. In 1986 I joined Casa de Nacimiento, a busy border birth center. Some days as many as six new souls would be born. Serving 106 women in three months taught a lot about the art of midwifery and about the tenacity, grace and the strength of women. Thank you Linda Arnold for your vision and guidance. Your respect for the culture of the women we served and also for them as individuals stuck with me. You also taught me how to prevent tears and how to suture well when there is one. I remain grateful.
Baby two joined our family in 1988 and three weeks later a move was made from Texas to Minnesota. Our new home was a family farm in Minnesota.
Equipped with the experience of around 250 homebirths, a practice called Lakes Area Midwifery was formed. For fourteen years the wide prairie (an 80 mile swath) was my range for home births: farm births, town births, city births, trailer court births, hut births, earthship births, many thunderstorm births, a dock birth, car births, blizzard births, tornado births, barn-on-fire birth (yes, really), many beautiful Mennonite births, "back to the land" births, I attended as many as 6 births for some big families. I was honored to attend these families in my time as a prairie midwife---Minnesota the Land of Sky Blue Waters.
Our family grew by two more by 1997: all our babies were born at home into the gentle hands of midwives. Dylan, Noah, Chloe and Liam, my sweet children put up with midwifery pulling Mama away. The clinic was in our home and the client’s kids were playmates. They took many trips to the state capital and saw that kitchen table politics & a lot of hard work can pass midwifery bills. Family life on the farm was sweet.
Although many dear Minnesota friendships were formed, 2002 became "Go West" year. The family craved adventure and variety from the flat, cold Minnesota prairie. Portland, Oregon became home and still is. We love this city! After a short stint as teacher at Birthingway College of Midwifery. An idea began as a whisper...a birth center?
The city grew, the children grew, and the birth center...first, just an idea sketched on paper also grew to be a sacred Portland birth place. A huge thank you is due to my (former farmer) carpenter husband, Todd Erickson who took my vision of a gorgeous, yet utilitarian birth center and made it happen. Rich Harrison, our tolerant landlord and his wife Amelia supported the wacky idea of a house with four large birth tubs. Now over a thousand babies have blessed their old Victorian home on Ankeny street. The success of Alma is due to the women who trusted the birth process and the midwives who served them. Thank you to my sister midwives.
Along the way I have taught a lot of apprentices and fellows. They come in wide eyed and leave equipped with the new wings of midwifery. Many are grateful and stay in touch. All are good midwives, because they learned the Alma way of Midwifery.
Pregnancy, birth and parenting teach us about life...nature is change...humility is learned and relearned...and profound joy is to be found in each new life. I am honored to have served in the bringing in of so many new people. I hope to also serve as part of your midwifery team. I bring love, respect, experience, perspective, intuition,Touch- Mayan Abdominal Therapy (Arvigo trained), honed skills, a sense of awe (and humor) and a lot of tricks of the trade. I look forward to starting your care.
Laura lives with her husband, Todd and too many animals to name. The adult "kids" have scattered around the country, but stay in touch. When not directing Alma or catching babies, Laura is found walking along the rivers and from May-Oct swimming in them. Connection is her thing---to family, to nature, to self, to friends, to health, to water. to plants, to animals and to this precious blue orb we all get to occupy for a minute. "It's all too beautiful!"
Caylee began her time with Alma as part of our administrative staff in February of 2014, while working to complete her MFA. When, during her interview, she was asked why she would seek employment in a field that was seemingly so far from her own, she answered that her field, ultimately, is about creativity and transformation, and that there is no process on earth more full of that beautiful energy than pregnancy and birth. Her time here has further blossomed her amazement and joy at the space midwifery gives for every family to find their own path to growth and deepened her commitment to making the midwifery experience within the reach of all families. A consummate Auntie, Caylee delights in the job privilege of getting to greet so many precious tiny humans in their first weeks of life on this planet.
In addition to nearly fifteen years experience in medical office administration, Caylee has a BFA in Photography from Arizona State University, and an MFA in Craft from Oregon College of Art and Craft.
As our main receptionist, Rainn’s smiling face has been the first to greet our clients for almost a year now! Always ready with a kind word, perfectly timed moment of compassion, or silly game for a restless kiddo, Rainn’s bubbly personality has made for a perfect fit at our Front Desk. Rainn was first introduced to midwifery by her step-mother's experience with her own Alma home birth. This was the beginning of her love story with midwifery and all it stands for. Rainn is currently in school to become a midwife herself, and she delights in watching the thing she loves happen all around her, leaving her endlessly curious and filled with joy! Outside of school and Alma, Rainn loves to spend her free time with her (huge!) family, reads as much for pleasure as she can (Atwood, Vonnegut, and Morrison are her favorites!), and enjoys going on thrifting expeditions for clothing to alter!
Chloe Erickson, Social Media Director
Chloe “Clover” Erickson, daughter of Laura Erickson, is our social media director and can be reached at here . Chloe is an avid hiker and climber living in Colorado. She is a dog Mom to Moose and is currently a nursing student.