Brianna is a mother, wife, and volunteer at home Mom. She is the leader and founder of the Huntsville chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network commonly known as ICAN whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by reducing preventable cesareans through education, support cesarean recovery, and advocate for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). An important message Brianna shares is reminding cesarean mothers that they are scarred not broken and facilitating a safe place/ support group for mothers to share their personal experiences. Brianna has contributed to the North Alabama birth community by being the forerunner and developer with her ICAN leadership team, of a pilot program, the “Doula Grant for Expectant Mothers”, this grant , awarded once a quarter, helps assist with a portion of the cost of a doula for mothers in need. She is passionate about supporting mothers and advocating for a system that provides integrated, evidence-based, respectful care options in all settings with particular concern for fully informed consent, and respect for patient’s rights surrounding both cesarean sections and Trial of Labor After Cesarean.
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ICAN Vice President
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Janelle is a wife, mother of two, and stay at home mom from Owasso, Oklahoma. She found ICAN during the summer of 2016 while searching for a doctor after becoming pregnant with her second child. After a traumatic first birth with her first that resulted in an emergency cesarean she knew from the beginning she wanted the opportunity to try and have a vbac. The support she received from ICAN during pregnancy and recovery was profound and essential to her healing process. She is passionate about advocating for moms who want to have a choice about their birthing experience. She recently graduated during the summer with a masters of science in accounting from Texas a&m university—commerce. Outside of family and ICAN she enjoys gardening and traveling.
Tatiana found ICAN in 2018 after her first birth, a homebirth cesarean. She was traumatized and detached as a result of her birth, and was able to find space and healing through her local ICAN chapter meetings. After her TOLAC and birth of her second son via CBAC, Tatiana was inspired to get more involved with ICAN’s mission of education, advocacy, and support. She has served on the ICAN Board of Directors since 2020. She holds a special place in her heart for other CBAC moms and is passionate about supporting families through cesarean recovery. She believes all families should feel safe, empowered and informed surrounding their birth choices. Outside of ICAN, Tatiana serves her community as a lactation professional. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time outdoors.
ICAN Board Member at Large/Chapter Director
Brittany became involved in cesarean support and recovery in 2016 shortly after the birth of her first son. ICAN’s mission of education, advocacy, and support drove her to become a leader of the Triad chapter of ICAN. As a maternal near miss survivor she is passionate about improving birth outcomes, maternal mental health, and traumatic birth support and healing. Brittany loves helping families navigate their options surrounding VBAC but also holds a special place in her heart for families planning cesareans and exploring gentle and family centered cesarean choices. She believes in the power of education and information and hopes that every family has the opportunity to experience a safe, fulfilling, empowering birth – no matter the mode of delivery. Outside of ICAN Brittany serves her community as a birth and bereavement doula. She welcomed her second son in 2018 via CBAC. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, enjoying food, music, and reading.
ICAN Board Member at Large/Assistant Chapter Director
Jeri Jones was born and raised near Tulsa, Oklahoma. She will soon celebrate 10 years of marriage to her husband, Chris, and together they have 2 boys, ages 8 and 4.
Jeri joined ICAN’s Board of Directors because she believes in ICAN’s mission and has experienced first-hand the positive impact of the organization in her own life. After the traumatic birth of her firstborn in 2013, she was introduced to ICAN of Tulsa, and she was forever changed by the shared experiences and supportive community she found there. It was the spark that set her heart ablaze for what later became her life’s calling.
Jeri holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and recently walked away from her 12-year corporate accounting career when she was accepted into grad school. This August, she will begin a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program where she will focus on maternal mental health, with a particular interest in birth trauma and grief. She also continues her work as a Perinatal Transitions Specialist, weaving together several years of education and experience as a life coach, birth and postpartum doula, educator, and maternal health and mental health advocate.
Jeri is so excited to contribute a mental health lens to the Board in furthering ICAN’s mission of improving maternal-child health – which encompasses so much more than physical wellbeing – through education, support, and advocacy.
ICAN Board Member at Large/Advocacy Director
Briana Smith came to ICAN through birth work. She has advanced trainings in Systemic Racism & Implicit Bias in Perinatal Health, and Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Advocacy. She is also a Postpartum Support International HelpLine volunteer.
Briana received her BS in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where her passion for maternal and reproductive health sparked. Briana chose to volunteer for ICAN because she wholeheartedly believes in ICAN’s mission. Through her own birth practice, she works diligently to reduce preventable cesarean sections and traumatic births, while encouraging informed decision-making and evidence-based care.
Briana currently lives in Eastern Wake County (though she’ll always be a northerner at heart!) She absolutely loves the beach (her dream is to own a boat one day), but also loves snuggling up in a blanket with hot chocolate in a log cabin in the winter time (ah, there’s her New Englander side!)
ICAN Board Member at Large/Fundraising Director
Emily Likins-Ehlers (They/Them) has had two empowered Cesareans. Emily works as a full-spectrum doula & writes a column for ReproJobs. Emily parents two children, Leo and Valorie, with their partner, Adam. They live in the Chicago Suburbs. Emily also serves as the ICAN of Chicago Chapter Leader.
Emily is a trauma-informed reproductive justice advocate; an abolitionist who believes in the power of harm reduction as a modality for collective liberation, and a genderqueer anarcha-feminist. As Fundraising Director, Emily hopes to help ICAN’s grassroots network incorporate a broader reproductive-justice framework and to provide local chapters with more resources.
ICAN Board Member at Large/Director of Community Engagement
Kate is a fierce birth justice advocate and mom of three. After a traumatic unneccessarean with her first, Kate credits ICAN of Manhattan for helping to heal her emotional scars and VBAC with her second. ICAN of Huntsville led her to home birth midwives and every possible resource to flip a stubbornly breech third baby’s home birth turned pandemic cesarean.
Kate’s birth experiences inspired her to earn a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Reproductive Justice, work for the NYC Mayor’s Office at the Commission on Gender Equity, and complete a prestigious fellowship writing and designing a digital handbook for NYC’s pregnant people. Kate and her family are from Brooklyn, and have been full-time traveling since the pandemic began — follow their adventures on Instagram at @kateophalen! Kate is extremely excited to use her skills and hard-earned wisdom to give back to ICAN and help other birthing families have an empowered birth.