A Long and Colorful History
Located in Seattle’s vibrant Columbia City neighborhood, Seattle Home Maternity Service was co-founded in 1980 by midwives Marge Mansfield and Suzy Myers. They began their training together in 1975 as part of a women’s community health center in Seattle.
With physician supervision, their group attended more than 250 births over the following three years. Recognizing the need for formal education and licensure, they co-founded Seattle Midwifery School (SMS) in 1978, and both served at times as active faculty, staff, and board members over the following 35+ years. In 2009, SMS merged with Bastyr University and became the Department of Midwifery, remaining an internationally recognized model for midwifery and doula education. Suzy left clinical care to serve as Chair of the Department of Midwifery until her retirement in 2018. Marge retired from a full career of advocacy, education, and clinical practice in the summer of 2019.
In 1980, Marge and Suzy were among the first “direct entry” midwives (meaning not already holding nursing degrees) educated in the United States to obtain Washington State midwifery licenses. In 1983 Suzy and Marge remodeled their Columbia City site to include a licensed birth center in the very private lower level in order to offer midwifery services to pregnant people on Medicaid. (until the early 2000’s, state Medicaid did not reimburse for home delivery).
Over the past forty years both Marge and Suzy have played a variety of other key roles in the development of midwifery locally and nationally.