MCHC Health Centers Welcomes New Midwives at Care for Her


December 2016

MCHC Health Centers (MCHC) is proud to welcome three new certified nurse midwives (CNMs) to its Care for Her team: Susan Way, Devery Montano, and Rebecca Johnson.

Of the three, Way took the least traditional route to become a midwife. Always interested in birth, she first studied anthropology and the evolution of the human pelvis. She had thought about midwifery as a career, but the only American midwives she knew about either worked in high-risk urban medical centers or as unlicensed birth attendants completely outside the medical system, neither of which felt like a good fit for her.

When she moved from Ohio to San Francisco in 2001 to take a job teaching science in a children's museum, Way stumbled upon nurse-midwifery practices that matched her ideals: ones with a holistic, collaborative approach. She still thinks of herself as scientist at heart; in fact, she presented original research at a major professional conference earlier this year. She loves Care for Her for its commitment to evidence-based care and the connections she can foster with her patients.

Montano took the most traditional route to become a nurse midwife. As the daughter of a post-partum nurse, she knew she wanted to pursue nursing. Montano began as a labor and delivery nurse who worked with midwives. She said working with the CNMs taught her to be a better nurse, and after giving birth to two daughters with the help of midwives, she knew she wanted to become a midwife herself.

Although CNMs are in demand and can work almost anywhere, Montano chose Mendocino County because of its rural nature. As the mother of two daughters, ages 3 and 5, she sought a great place to raise kids. She chose Care for Her because of the warm welcome and supportive nature of the department. She loves and appreciates the teamwork among doctors and midwives and everyone on the Care for Her staff.

Johnson is the newest member of the team. She was drawn to nurse midwifery in part to help improve the health disparities she sees for women around the world. She also loves being part of the “miraculous” event that every birth is. After four years working in front of a computer screen doing landscape architecture, she knew she needed to make a change, so she went back to school to become a nurse midwife. After working as a labor and delivery nurse at UCLA for five years while she went to midwifery school, she wanted to return to Northern California, so Mendocino County was a good fit. When she interviewed at Care for Her, she said it felt like home immediately. Although she’s only been at Care for Her a short time, she’s as comfortable as though she’s been there forever.

Both Way and Johnson speak Spanish (and Way speaks German, too). All three are thrilled to have joined the Care for Her team and look forward to serving the community. Care for Her Clinical Director Dr. Karen Crabtree said she was very pleased to have found such excellent providers. Way, Montano and Johnson are well trained and well suited to Care for Her and the patients they serve. “If you spend five minutes in the department, it is perfectly clear they fit in beautifully,” Dr. Crabtree said.

Next: Bianca Diaz Brings Enthusiasm and Experience to MCHC Outreach →