Jennie Joseph is a well respected health advocate for women and newborn babies. A British-trained midwife, Jennie has become one of the world’s most respected midwives and authorities on maternal health: healthy pregnancies, healthy deliveries, healthy postpartum and healthy babies. She’s become a true advocate for systematic reform that puts women, babies and families first in healthcare; before profit, convenience and the numerous societal reasons America trails other developed nations in safe maternity care.
Jennie’s common sense approach and consistently better outcomes have won her the attention of global news media and brought her invitations to speak all over the world.
Jennie is the founder and president of Commonsense Childbirth Inc. and the creator of The JJ Way®, a common sense methodology designed to support the childbearing population and the people who care for them. She moved to the United States in 1989 and began a journey that has culminated in the formation of this innovative maternal child healthcare system, markedly improving birth outcomes for thousands of women and babies, especially those in what she calls ‘materno-toxic zones’ in the USA.
She has worked extensively in European hospitals, American birth centers, clinics, and homebirth environments. She has been instrumental in the regulation of Florida midwives since the 1990s and has been involved in midwifery education in the US since 1995. She is the former chair of Florida’s State Council of Licensed Midwives. Currently, she is the founder of the United State’s first nationally-accredited, private midwifery school owned by a Black woman – Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery. Alongside The Birth Place, her world renowned birth center, maternity care center and Easy Access Clinic™ in Central Florida, she also heads up the National Perinatal Task Force which is a national branch of Commonsense Childbirth designed to support and develop the perinatal workforce through collective care and collective leadership.
Jennie never set out for accolades or influence. In fact, she remains driven today by the one thing that brought her to maternal health care: she loves helping families and growing the maternity care workforce. This care for others amid mounting frustrations from witnessing unnecessary traumas and unethical care resulting in harm and death caused her to speak out and advocate for a better way. Calling out the historical and systemic racism, classism and gender discrimination that permeates the field, Jennie has provided immediate, practical and evidence-based solutions that have contributed to her continued success in serving women safely and helping others across the globe do the same.
Jennie has pressed for linkages and collaboration with other public and private agencies in an effort to maintain continuity of care for the safety of her clients but also in order to bridge the gap between America’s maternity care practitioners. She has developed and administers perinatal professional training and certification programs to address the health care provider shortage, diversify the maternal child health (MCH) workforce and address persistent racial and class disparities in birth outcomes. There are both quantitative and qualitative studies underway regarding Jennie’s work as well as continuous reviews of the impact of her clinical and educational programs. Jennie’s model of health care, The JJ Way®, provides an evidence-based system to deliver MCH services which improve health, reduce costs and produce better outcomes all round.
Jennie’s efforts have allowed her to speak to doctors and other practitioners, policy makers, including members of the US Congress in which she has testified at Congressional briefings on Capitol Hill, as well as serving as a regular presenter at maternal-child health conferences and organizations around the world. She has given a multitude of media interviews on these important topics and serves in leadership positions amongst US and international midwives movements and organizations. Among her man accolades she was honored to be named as one of twelve women for TIME magazine Woman of the Year 2022.
Jennie firmly believes in safe, quality, equitable care for every person, every time and works tirelessly to support the systems, providers and agencies charged with delivering that type of care. She considers that she is helping to operationalize the community birth and perinatal infrastructure by returning trusted providers to the heart of their communities.
In the meantime this quote by Jennie sums it up – “Until women and their loved ones feel that they have enough knowledge and agency to be part of the decisions around their care, and until they have access to the education and support that they are lacking, they will continue to be at risk.”