Board of Trustees

Members of the Board of Trustees of Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery

Tracey Abston – Chair Quality Assurance

Nizhoni-Institute-of-Midwifery---Board-Member-Tracy-AbstonTracey Abston has been an Early Childhood Educator for more than 20 years. Six years into the field she formed the first nationally accredited family child care home in San Diego, with the mission to provide high quality early care and education (ECE) to children with special needs, typical children, and support to their families.

Today Tracey continues to advocate for children, families, and early childhood professionals throughout California. In her work with The San Diego County Office of Education, Grossmount and Southwestern Community Colleges, and National University, she has remained steadfast in her quest for continued delivery of high quality ECE for all children. Tracey formed a solid coaching reputation as a result of her work with First 5 San Diego, delivering trainings and technical support to ECE professionals. She has a special interest in infant/toddler development, children with special needs, diversity in ECE, human resource administration, and any organizations offering superb family support. She continues to present local, statewide and national workshops and conferences; she is a California Early Childhood Mentor, and holds a Child Development Program Director Permit, from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Her current community activities include: The City of Chula Vista School Readiness Task Force, and Southwestern College Advisory board. She also serves as a Professional Growth Advisor, and is a Program for Infant/Toddler Caregiver (PITC) trainer. Tracey holds a BA in Business and a MA in Human Behavior.

Johnny Tran – Chair Business Development

Nizhoni-Institute-of-Midwifery---Board-Member-Johnny-TranJohnny is a practicing attorney who has also managed a non-profit legal organization. As a consumer who is not a medical professional, he brings an outside perspective, provides assistance with business decisions, fundraising, and legal concerns. Midwives assisted in the home births of his children and opened up an unknown world to him concerning the quality of care and choices for birthing mothers. As a result, Johnny has become an advocate of the practice of midwifery and the options and care the practice provides to consumers.

Each of Johnny’s children were born at home, with the professional help of midwives. He volunteers with Nizhoni to help ensure that other families have the same opportunity he did.

Debra Bochinski – Chair Faculty and Student Services

Nizhoni-Institute-of-Midwifery---Board-Member-Debra-BochinskiDebra is a registered craniosacral therapist and teacher with the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America.She is also a midwife who has been involved with the homebirth community for decades. She is licensed through the state of California and nationally certified through NARM as a certified professional midwife (CPM). Debra graduated from Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery.

Debra Bochinski gave birth to her first child at home and her second in a hospital. These events began her work in the birth world over 30 years ago. All 4 of her grandchildren were able to be birthed at home with an LM, CPM. Debra graduated from Nizhoni Midwifery Institute which included a 4 year home birth apprenticeship. Today Debra is a Licensed Midwife and a Certified Professional Midwife who loves being with women and their families during their birthing time.

Care Messer – Secretary and Chair of Conference Planning and Coordination

Nizhoni-Institute-of-Midwifery---Board-Member-Care-MesserCare is a certified doula with Doulas of North America and teaches HypnoBirthing childbirth preparation classes. She also teaches HypnoBirthing to doulas and instructs nursing students from San Diego State University who are interested in learning about physiologic childbirth. She has experience in planning and organizing childbirth-related conferences.

Regina Wood – Treasurer

Nizhoni-Institute-of-Midwifery---Board-Member-Regina-WoodFor 25 years, Regina has worked with C-levels of top K-12 school districts, institutes of higher education, and international Fortune 100 organizations to promote and provide solutions for best business practices and continuing education/knowledge transfer. As a mother of two children, Regina’s goals are to provide awareness and knowledge in the community to ensure that women, including career professionals, clearly understand what their birthing choices are. She also has the passion to promote and expand the education opportunities for more Certified Professional Midwives, so that every woman has the opportunity to have the CPM “gold standard” for their homebirths and birth center births, regardless of the setting.

Cindy S. Manning – Chair of Marketing and Development

Nizhoni-Institute-of-Midwifery---Board-Member-Cindy-ManningCindy has a IT background in business, project management, and information technology within the health care field. She has a special interest in working with midwifery-related organizations. Cindy is a mother of one daughter.

Rebekah Lavery – President and Chief Executive Officer

Rebekah has attended over a thousand births as a primary midwife. She has a great love for teaching and has served as a faculty member for a community midwifery program. Currently she uses her expertise in complementary medicine and women’s health care to manage and consult for a natural foods store corporation.

Jo Ricker – Chair Gifts and Donations

Nizhoni-Institute-of-Midwifery---Board-Member-Jo-RickerJo Ricker has a successful history of hands-on work in the fund raising, marketing, administration and management. Jo has been recruited to sit on Boards of Directors for non-profit as well as for-profit organizations to raise awareness and funding for organizations that include Make-A-Wish San Diego County, HomeBase Youth Services AZ, Ojai Chamber of Commerce, Ojai Rotary and various organizations in Arizona and Southern California.