Preparing you for a career in birth

•Birth Assistant

•Labor Support/Postpartum Doula

•Maternal Child Case Manager


Enhancing your career in:

•Public Health

•Social Work

•Women’s/Gender Studies

Serving the well-being of our people and the communities to which we belong.

Maternal Child Health Specialist Diploma Program

This program prepares students to become Maternal Child Health Specialists. Graduates of the program are qualified to work as: Birth Assistants, Professional Doulas with high level skills, Childbirth Educators, Peer Breastfeeding Educators and Maternal Child Case Managers. And, those working in the fields of Public Health, Social Work, Birth Justice, Women/Gender Studies and similar professions will gain a greater understanding of maternal child health that will enhance their careers.

The MMCI learning experience combines:

• Live-streaming classroom experience: Monthly, faculty facilitate a peer-supported learning environment that emphasizes integrity and compassion where students can develop the leadership, communication, and research skills required to be an effective birth worker.

• Self-paced study of distance education: Students complete readings, homework and clinicals between monthly classes.


Curriculum: 31 credits, 250 clinical hours

  • Advanced Labor Support Skills

  • Antepartum Care, Risk Screening, Discomforts and Remedies

  • Case Studies in Maternal Child Health

  • Counseling Issues in the Childbearing Year: Trauma, Informed Care & Identifying Health Needs

  • Cultural Competency for Birth Workers

  • Genetics and Fetal Development

  • Health Disparities and Community, Public and Global Health

  • History and Ethics of Childbirth, Midwifery and Healers

  • Intrapartum Basics

  • Lactation Education, Risk Assessment & Counseling

  • Maternal Diseases in Pregnancy

  • Medical Terminology

  • Newborn Basic Skills and Risk Screening

  • Perinatal Education

  • Perinatal Nutrition

  • Postpartum Physical Assessment, Support and Risk Screening

  • Reproductive Anatomy & Physiology

  • Understanding Maternal Child Health Research

  • Topics in Infant Development

  • Topics in Mothering, Family and Intergenerational Relationships

  • Wellness Care and Human Sexuality

Program fees
Tuition is $2,700* plus the cost of required reading material and, if applicable, doula malpractice insurance ($100 annually).

*Scholarships are offered as funding allows and payment plans will be considered. 

Contact us for an application

Perinatal Educator Certificate Program

This program, held over the course of two weekends, is comprised of three modules: Childbirth Educator, Advanced Labor Support/Postpartum Doula, and Peer Lactation Educator—each with a clinical component. Students must complete all three modules and associated clinicals, including Chicago Volunteer Doulas orientation, to receive the Perinatal Educator Certificate.

After receiving your Perinatal Educator Certificate, you will be qualified to:

  • Educate your clients about childbirth during pregnancy

  • Provide labor support at the time of birth and postpartum

  • Offer breastfeeding support postpartum

Program fees
Tuition is $450 plus the cost of required reading material.

Contact us for a registration form

About MMCI

The Midwest Maternal Child Institute was founded in 2007 by Mary Sommers, CPM, MPS. Initially, MMCI was affiliated with the National College of Midwifery, and In 2010 MMCI became an independent higher educational institution approved by the Educational Approval Program, under Wisconsin Stats. 38.50(10).

Our Mission
Our mission is to train Maternal Child Health Specialists and Perinatal Educators and who will act with integrity when providing quality care to women and their families.

Maternal Child Health Specialists and Perinatal Educators must:

  • Be prepared to provide informed guidance to individuals during the childbearing year

  • Be proficient in birth assistance techniques, labor support and postpartum doula support, childbirth education, breastfeeding education and early infant development

  • Act with integrity and purpose

  • Understand that it is a great honor and responsibility to serve women and individuals, their families and their communities



Lead Instructor
Mary Sommers, CPM, MPS. Mary is the Academic Affairs Director and lead instructor at the Midwest Maternal Child Institute. She is a Certified Professional Midwife and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Service from DePaul University. She is currently Director of Birth Center Operations and Maternal Child Health Programs at PCC Community Wellness Center in Berwyn, Illinois.

Mary has many years of experience and the wisdom that comes from participating in more than 1,800 deliveries over the past three decades. She has worked as a midwife, doula and lactation consultant for various private practices in the Chicago area, and has been a director of several nurse-midwifery practices and birth centers. Mary’s international experience includes a term as a World Health Organization Fellow studying maternal health and breastfeeding programs in the Netherlands and Great Britain and working with midwives in Mexico and Malawi.

The author of two books, More Than a Midwife: Stories of Grace, Glory, and Motherhood and The Doula Handbook, Mary is also featured in the book, Bright Lights of the Second City: 50 Prominent Chicagoans on Living with Passion and Purpose by Betsy Storm.

Adjunct faculty

Susan Greene, RN, MSN. Experienced labor and delivery nurse, IV infusion nurse, and NRP instructor.

Andrea Lee, MD. Practice in Obstetrics & Gynecology in the Chicago area.

Gertrude Lyons, MA, EdD. Wright Graduate Institute for Realization of Human Potential

Bonnie Sommers-Olsen, FNP.  Nurse Practitioner: neonatal intensive care and pediatrics, high risk antepartum care, labor and delivery, post-partum care, breastfeeding, women’s health; Hospitalist with the Veteran’s Administration, and an Associate Professor and Preceptor of Graduate Students. 

Audrey Stillerman, MD, ABFM, ABIHM. Board-certified in both Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine, Associate Director of Medical Affairs for the University of Illinois Office of Community Engagement and the Medical Director for the School Health Center Program at UI Health, trained in Mind/Body Medicine, Mindfulness and Transcendental Meditation and Trauma-Informed Care.


MMCI email (Laura Ehmann)


MMCI telephone
920.350.5856  (Laura Ehmann)


MMCI website


MMCI mailing address
Midwest Maternal Child Institute
c/o Laura Ehmann
422 W. Madison St
Waterloo WI 53594


MMCI classroom location
Birthways, Chicago, IL
Additional Chicago area locations

Currently, classes are being held on Zoom.