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





Mary Sommers, CPM, MPS: MMCI Founder and Director of Academic Affairs
Mary is a Certified Professional Midwife licensed in Wisconsin, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Service from DePaul University. She has participated in more than 1,000 deliveries over the past three decades. Mary is currently Birth Center Director of Clinical Operations at PCC Wellness Community Health Center, the first community health free-standing birth center in Illinois.  

Mary has worked with midwives in Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, and internationally in Mexico and Malawi.  Her work as a World Health Organization fellow included studying maternal health and breastfeeding programs in the Netherlands and Great Britain. 

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


Laura Ehmann, MA: MMCI Chief Executive Officer and Student Affairs Director
Laura holds a Master’s Degree in Business Communication and has completed all the coursework in the Transformative Studies doctoral program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She has vast experience in both the public and private sectors, including positions as Development Director of a public radio station, Research Specialist and Proposal Writer for a market research firm, and a Speech Instructor at a community college. Her experience in the health care field includes working as a Clinic Liaison with a mobile medical team serving homeless persons on the streets of Chicago, Mental Health Worker at a large urban psychiatric hospital, and Community Liaison with the Barbados Cancer Society as a Peace Corps


Lead Instructor
Mary Sommers, CPM, MPS. Mary is the Academic Affairs Director and lead instructor at the Midwest Maternal Child Institute.

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.