by Connie Livingston, RN, BS, FACCE, LCCE, ICCE ICEA President
The 2016 ICEA Conference “Reaching the Highest Peaks in Evidence-based Practice” exploded in Denver October 13-15! Our conference app, Guidebook, made its debut and enabled conference attendees to have immediate access to speakers, sessions, exhibitors, advertisers and notifications of any changes right on their smart phone or device! Located at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel, the conference opened with Jennie Joseph LM setting the stage for change in maternity care – helping us in identifying and plotting a course to incrementally eliminate inequities in care. Thursday was packed with concurrent session speakers, the annual awards presentation at the ICEA Membership Meeting plus the ICEA Members Reception hosted by the President. At the Annual Membership Meeting, participants were introduced to several special attendees including Past ICEA President Nancy Lantz, the members of the Front Range Council of Childbirth Educators of Denver, and all international registrants. The Board of Directors presented attendees with a synopsis of all of the accomplishments of ICEA this year as well as the winners of the 2016 ICEA Awards! This year’s award winners were: Connie Bach (2016 Doris Haire Lifetime Achievement Award), Kelli Barr-Lyles (Outstanding IAT), Deb Codde (President’s Award), and Dolly Wagner, Bonita Katz and Candy Mueller (2016 Meritorious Service Awards). World-renown expert Barbara Harper ended Thursday with a research-based session, “Entering the Sanctuary: The Long Term Effects of Skin to Skin”. Providing additional education were the many exhibitors in attendance. From the innovative and new SleepBelt (www.sleepbelt.net) to CryoCell (www.cryo-cell.com), APPPAH (www.birthpsychology.com), Postpartum Support International (www.postpartum.net) to Injoy Videos (www.injoyvideos.com), the exhibitors added much to the educational environment. Other exhibitors included Dunamas Center, Family Paws Parent Education, Family Way Publications, Health Children Project Inc., IBCLE, LactaMed, Mandala Journey Birth Art, Mothers Milk Bank, Perinatal Education Associates, Plumtree Baby and ThermoFisher Scientific. Friday continued with an amazing general session by Rep. Kelly Townsend, “Maternal Health and the Transmission of Trauma” that took a look at transgenerational genome imprinting. It has opened the doorway for understanding and research! Just before the lunch hour, ICEA had a Committee Call-Out, where Directors/Committee Chairs answered questions of attendees and were able to get many ICEA members to join the growing Committee community within ICEA! Later in the day, ICEA debuted the Learning Lab for Skills sessions – two, one hour sessions where attendees learned four hands-on skills each hour! The day ended with Barbara Harper sharing “The Science and Safety of Waterbirth Around The World”. Later that evening, many attendees were invited to share their thoughts and ideas in an Injoy Productions think tank setting. The final day of the 2016 Conference included such ground breaking sessions as “Growing Green Families,” “What is Mindfulness? How Can it Enhance Childbirth Education,” and an “Update on Cannabis in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding.” Then, all attendees were invited to attend a free certification program: the Maternal Child Health Specialist Certification offered by Jennie Joseph, LM. This program demonstrated the very core of Jennie’s efforts in reducing racial disparities in her own community of Orlando Florida, as well as the steps that anyone can take to make this work in their own community. Identification of Materno-Toxic Area, how to become a Perinatal Safe Spot, and information about the National Perinatal Task Force was shared. What a fantastic ending to an amazing conference! I must admit, although I am biased as President and member of the conference committee, that this was perhaps the best conference I’ve ever attended. From the customer-service oriented staff of the hotel, to the amazing food (and we all know that a great conference has great food!), to the quality and quantity of the sessions speakers, this conference had it all. I would like to thank all of the members of the 2016 Conference Committee: Director of Conferences Kathy Bradley, Colleen Weeks, Jana McCarthy, Lisa Wilson, Jackie Thingvold, Director of Membership/Marketing Jennifer Shryock, and President-Elect Debra Tolson plus ICEA staffers Sarah Carlton, Jessica Lytle, and marketing consultant Heather Livingston for their countless hours of work this past year. This was a mighty team that produced great results! Would you like to be involved with ICEA for any of our standing committees? Please contact our main office at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how you can make a difference!