Founding Members and Board of Directors

Penny SimkinPenny Simkin, PT, is a physical therapist who has specialized in childbirth education and labor support since 1968. She estimates she has prepared over 14,000 women, couples, and siblings for childbirth. She has assisted hundreds of women or couples through childbirth as a doula. She producer of several birth related films and is the author of many books and articles on birth for both parents and professionals. Books include The Labor Progress Handbook (2011), with Ruth Ancheta, The Birth Partner (2008), and When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse of Childbearing Women (2004), with Phyllis Klaus. Drawing on her understanding of the emotional and physical rewards and demands of the childbearing year, Penny also offers support and advice to women who have anxiety about their upcoming birth or who have had a difficult or traumatic birth. Currently, she serves on several boards of consultants, the Editorial Board of the journal, Birth, and serves on the senior faculty at the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations at Bastyr University, which was named in her honor. Today her practice consists of childbirth education, birth counseling, and labor support, combined with a busy schedule of courses, conferences and workshops. Penny and her husband, Peter, have four grown children and eight grandchildren, and a pug, Lola.


PhyllisPhyllis Klaus, MFT, LMSW, is a licensed marriage, family, therapist, and clinical social worker.  Formerly at the Milton H. Erickson Institute in Santa Rosa, California, she currently practices in Albany/Berkeley and Palo Alto, California, providing psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and counseling to individuals, couples, families, children, and groups.  She has worked with the concerns, both medical and psychosocial of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period for the past 35 years, and has been involved in research and training of maternity caregivers. She is a co-founder of DONA International and PATTCh.

Much of her clinical management in the perinatal period has focused on the following: 1) women with a history of childhood sexual abuse and its effects on childbearing; 2)  methods to alleviate clinical symptoms of pregnancy such as premature labor, hyperemesis gravidarum, bleeding; and the psychological issues of anxiety and depression; 3) attachment disorders; 4) helping women through events of traumatic birth  and loss; 5) postpartum mood disorders; and 6) methods of pain relief in labor with self-hypnosis. In addition, she has a general practice with extensive experience working with grief and loss; trauma; abuse; dissociative disorders; anxiety, depression; somatic and medical disorders and conditions; family of origin; attachment, and parent-child issues.

She is a National Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Hypnotherapy and in the American Psychotherapy Association, as well as the American Academy of Experts of Traumatic Stress. She is an EMDR Institute Facilitator, Approved Consultant, and Trainer, and has incorporated EMDR into her work for the past 21 years. She gives workshops nationally and internationally.  In 2005 she received the Gesell Award in Child Development from the University of Munich. She is co-author of several articles as well as Mothering the Mother, Your Amazing Newborn, Bonding, a video, The Amazing Talents of the Newborn, The Doula Book; and When Survivors Give Birth.  Read more about Phyllis’ work at her website: Bonding and Birth


Annie Kennedy, is a mother, a former birth doula trained by Penny Simkin at Seattle Midwifery School.  Annie has worked in education and the birth professions since 1989.  She is founding President of PALS Doulas, a Founder of DONA International and Director of the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations at Bastyr University.  She holds a BA from the University of Minnesota. She identifies as white European American and grew up in a middle class family in the hills of southern Michigan.  Annie is passionate about humane childbirth, and health and race equity.





Leslie Butterfield
Leslie Butterfield, Ph. D., 
is a clinical psychologist specializing in perinatal and reproductive health concerns. For twenty five years she has maintained a clinical and consulting practice (Transition to Parenthood) providing psychotherapy and designing workshops and trainings for organizations that provide perinatal services. She has worked with organizations such as University of Washington Maternal and Infant Care Unit, La Leche League, Catholic Family Services, Attachment Parenting International, and Pacific Association for Labor Support. Since 2010 she has been the Chairwoman of Postpartum Support International for Washington State and has recently assumed the Vice President position for PATTCh (an organization devoted to the Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth). She has additionally been an instructor for the Seattle Midwifery School and the Department of Midwifery at Bastyr Naturopathic University for over a decade, developing and teaching a yearlong class in counseling skills for midwives.


Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D., IBCLC, FAPA is a Board Member of PATTCh, a health psychologist and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She is the Owner and Editor-in-Chief of Praeclarus Press, a new small press specializing in women’s health. Dr. Kendall-Tackett is a Research Associate at the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Texas Tech University School of Medicine in Amarillo, Texas, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in both the Divisions of Health and Trauma Psychology, Associate Editor of the journal Psychological Trauma, and Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Lactation. Dr. Kendall-Tackett is author of more than 310 journal articles, book chapters and other publications, and author or editor of 22 books in the fields of trauma, women’s health, depression, and breastfeeding, including Treating the Lifetime Health Effects of Childhood Victimization, 2nd Edition (in press, Civic Research Institute), Depression in New Mothers, 2nd Edition (2010, Routledge), The Psychoneuroimmunology of Chronic Disease (2010, American Psychological Association), and Breastfeeding Made Simple, 2nd Edition (co-authored with Nancy Mohrbacher, 2010). She is a founding officer of the American Psychological Association’s Division of Trauma Psychology, and is currently serving her second term as Division Secretary.

Dr. Kendall-Tackett received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in psychology from California State University, Chico, and a Ph.D. from Brandei sUniversity in social and developmental psychology. She has won several awards including the Outstanding Research Study Award from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. She was named Distinguished Alumna, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, California State University, Chico. In 2011, she received the John Kennell & Marshall Klaus Award for Excellence in Research from DONA International (with co-recipient Thomas Hale), and the Community Faculty Award from the Department of Pediatrics, Texas Tech University School of Medicine. Her websites are,,, and


Katie Rohs, BirthtasticKatie Rohs, CD(DONA), LCCE is a Birth Doula and childbirth educator from Seattle, WA specializing in birth after a loss, multiples and children with disabilities. Katie has been trained in disability advocacy by the ARC of King County, is a Parent Trainer through the Finding Your Voice program of the Washington State Education Ombudsman, and has founded several parent support groups for parents of children with disabilities. Having suffered a late-pregnancy loss of twins and being the mother of a child with multiple disabilities, Katie uses these experiences to help empower others to advocate for themselves and their children during their birth and in years beyond. Katie also works as Penny Simkin’s administrative assistant, and is Treasurer of the Board of the PATTCh organization, bringing awareness to traumatic childbirth. Katie is the proud mother of her teenager twins Hank & Lily, and wife of forty-something singleton Todd. Katie studied Sociology at the University of Washington, bleeds purple and gold and despite being a rabid UW Husky fan, she does not discriminate against Cougars.