Roberta Frank, CNM
I’m a native of Southern California in the coastal communities. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Nursing in 1968 from SDSU, and went on to get my ...Read More
Roberta Frank, CNMI’m a native of Southern California in the coastal communities. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Nursing in 1968 from SDSU, and went on to get my certificate in Midwifery in 1978 from UCSD. I was married over 4 decades to my late husband Bill Frank and have 3 grown children. I became a midwife because the hospital birth of my first child didn’t meet my expectations in regards to the quality of care given to me. I believed then, as I do now, that birth is a joyous miracle and that the care given to mothers and babies should reflect that belief. I have home birth and birth center experience spanning over 3 decades. One of the greatest moments in my career was being able to attend the birth of my first grandson at Best Start and witness from my daughter’s perspective, the satisfaction of care she received. While medical interventions are sometimes necessary, most of the time birth is a healthy non-medical event. My intent is for all women and their loved ones to have a place to celebrate the miracle of normal birth in the manner they choose, without unnecessary medical interventions. My hope for all persons who find their way to Best Start, is that they receive support, a nurturing environment, and exceptional quality of care. My vision is that birth centers such as Best Start, will eventually become the norm, providing individualized care that honors both the mother and her loved ones based on their personal needs.
Ann Groonwald, MSN CNM, Clinical Director
I am honored to be part of the Best Start community and look forward to meeting each of you! My philosophy is to empower clients and families through...Read More
Ann Groonwald, MSN CNM, Clinical DirectorI am honored to be part of the Best Start community and look forward to meeting each of you! My philosophy is to empower clients and families through education, support, and shared decision-making. I strive to provide gentle, compassionate, holistic care to all clients. My journey to midwifery began in my teens when I was inspired by a group of midwives I had the pleasure of working with. In 2001, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. I spent 14 years as a labor and delivery nurse before completing my Masters of Science in Midwifery from Frontier Nursing University. Also during that time, my family grew to include my husband, 3 children and 2 dogs. In my spare time I enjoy time with my family, traveling, hiking, crocheting, and quilting.
Erina Angelucci, MSN, CNM
I was born and raised in La Jolla and always knew it was where I would want to settle. A few years before going to midwifery school, I was researching...Read More
Erina Angelucci, MSN, CNMI was born and raised in La Jolla and always knew it was where I would want to settle. A few years before going to midwifery school, I was researching my ancestors and found I have midwives on both sides. As I started looking into midwifery I found a calling and decided to go to Emory to pursue a career in midwifery. While there, I had experience with natural and water births. I am thrilled to be at Best Start Birth Center and to meet all of you! Birth is a life changing and memorable time and I am honored every time I am invited to be a part of it. In addition to being a midwife, I enjoy knitting and spending time discovering San Diego.
Debora Lundgren-Walls, MSN, CNM
I am originally from the Boston Area, but have loved living in San Diego since 2018. Before that I spent the last several years living and working in...Read More
Debora Lundgren-Walls, MSN, CNMI am originally from the Boston Area, but have loved living in San Diego since 2018. Before that I spent the last several years living and working in different areas of the country including Florida, Virginia and Northern California. I am the daughter of a Newborn ICU nurse and the granddaughter of a Nursery/Postpartum nurse; so I’ve always said babies are in my blood and I knew I wanted to work in maternity care. My journey began in 2004 when I received my Bachelors of Nursing from Hawaii Pacific University. I worked as a Postpartum RN for 6 years and a Labor and Delivery RN for 10 years. Throughout this time my passion for birth and women’s health grew exponentially. However with the state of maternity care in this country, I quickly learned that I could be a better resource and provide women with more evidence-based, compassionate and holistic care by becoming a midwife. I graduated in March 2020 with my Masters of Science in Midwifery from Frontier Nursing University and am a Certified Nurse Midwife. I recently started the process of becoming a Certified Lactation Consultant. I believe women are strong and birth is not only amazing but the most natural thing a woman can do. I am honored and overjoyed any time I am invited to be part of the journey of birth. I also believe all women deserve to have control over their bodies, choices about where and how they receive care, where and how they birth, and providers who listen. I am thrilled to be joining the Best Start family and look forward to meeting you all!
Anne Walters, MSN, CNM
I am originally from New Jersey And always thought I would end up specializing in ICU or ER nursing. I was in the first EMT class offered in NJ in 197...Read More
Anne Walters, MSN, CNMI am originally from New Jersey And always thought I would end up specializing in ICU or ER nursing. I was in the first EMT class offered in NJ in 1972 and I loved the excitement of never knowing what was coming up and having to think quickly and acting decisively during emergency situations. That all changed after I had my first baby in an out of hospital birthing center in 1980. Talk about an empowering paradigm shift! I wanted to help other women have that sort of experience, switched to women’s health and never looked back! After 12 years as an OB-Gyn nurse, I was accepted to University of Southern California and graduated from the midwifery program in 1993. My first job as a midwife was in the Central Valley, where I attended about 2000 births in 7 years and practiced full scope midwifery. In 2001 I bought the private practice of a midwife in Denver. My partner and I later became employees of Swedish Medical Center and founded Midwifery Group at Swedish in 2006. I helped start All About Women’s Care in 2009 where I was part owner and had a little more input on how the practice would run. The practice was a mix of CNMs, NPs and MDs. We attended births at Swedish Medical Center and built up quite a following. I left that group in 2017 so I could expand my practice to include home births, which I had been attending as the second midwife to a colleague of mine. My partner and I founded the first midwifery practice in the state that offered both home and hospital births. It was a great experience. In 2019, my husband and I came to San Diego to retire and to help my son and grandchildren. Retirement did not suit me and I was delighted to accept a position at Best Start Birth Center so I could continue to practice midwifery. I am looking forward to meeting new clients and helping them achieve the best possible outcomes during their childbearing years.
Marli Ivers, LM, CPM, SpBAP
Becoming a midwife has been a 10 year dream for me. As a young teenager I started to learn about maternity care in the United States and in contrast, ...Read More
Marli Ivers, LM, CPM, SpBAPBecoming a midwife has been a 10 year dream for me. As a young teenager I started to learn about maternity care in the United States and in contrast, also witnessed my first home birth. I felt so strongly that birth givers should have options, autonomy, and respect that I decided to become a midwife! After graduating from high school, I lived in the Philippines for five months at a birthing home and attended over 70 births there as a doula, birth assistant, and primary student midwife. I then pursued my bachelor of science in community health education because I felt that it was the best fit with the kind of midwife I wanted to be. In 2014 I moved across the country to San Diego in order to attend the Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery and to complete a three and a half year internship with a local San Diego midwife. I am also a Spinning Babies Aware Practitioner from working with body balancing and Spinning Babies for the past three and half years. I have seen these tools make an incredible difference and I am thrilled to offer them to our Best Start clients. I believe that birth is powerful and sacred. I believe that birth givers should be supported, listened to, and celebrated no matter where their birthing journey takes them. I am excited to provide my support, insight, and guidance to every Best Start family!
Andrea Bergleen, CPM, LM, MA
My husband and I are both native to San Diego and thoroughly enjoy being part of this community, along with raising our three daughters here. Early on...Read More
Andrea Bergleen, CPM, LM, MAMy husband and I are both native to San Diego and thoroughly enjoy being part of this community, along with raising our three daughters here. Early on, I obtained my multiple subject teaching credential and a Masters in the Art of Teaching and worked with children from ages 4-19 in a variety of subjects. Instead of working in my own classroom I chose to work at a learning center, which allowed me to be home more to raise my children. Working at a learning center and teaching children with disabilities has taught me patience, creativity and compassion. Throughout the years I have also worked as a substitute teacher for middle schools and as a tutor. Choosing midwifery came later in my life, even though I have always loved babies and felt that pregnancy and birth were a normal stage in life. I attended Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery to become a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and a Licensed Midwife (LM). I have had the honor of attending births at home and at three different birth centers with several Midwives, allowing me to learn different practice styles and to become a better Midwife. Being part of a person's journey through pregnancy, birth and postpartum is a privilege. I am excited to work with the amazing team at Best Start and help the people of the community I have grown to love.
Amy Berg, CPM, LM, MA
It was after the Earthside arrival of my own three children that I truly learned the value of having a knowledgeable support system during pregnancy, ...Read More
Amy Berg, CPM, LM, MAIt was after the Earthside arrival of my own three children that I truly learned the value of having a knowledgeable support system during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. My journey through motherhood guided me to becoming a 2015 graduate from Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery. I have worked in three birth centers and assisted over 200 babies from womb to world as a Licensed Midwife. My background includes being a Newborn Care Specialist, Postpartum Doula, EMT, Hospice CNA, Medical Assistant and Director of Client Services for a home health agency. I have dedicated my career to supporting safe healthcare practices. From preconception to our last breath, I have witnessed the invaluable benefits of providing evidence-based, compassionate care that honors each individual's needs.
Ashley Calderon, Midwife Assistant
I was born and raised in North San Diego where I met my husband just out of high school. After we married we moved to Mexico where we lived for over 8...Read More
Ashley Calderon, Midwife AssistantI was born and raised in North San Diego where I met my husband just out of high school. After we married we moved to Mexico where we lived for over 8 years before returning to San Diego. During that time I became a certified nursing assistant with the state of CA and then my fascination with the human body led to a degree in Human Biology. However, after becoming a doula in 2016 I realized my true passion and calling was in midwifery. With my professional experience and also birthing a total of 9 babies myself- 5 of my own children and 4 babies as a gestational surrogate- I’ve seen and experienced a wide variety of births both in and out of hospital. My hope and goal is to draw on personal and professional experience to give the best support and care as a midwife assistant. Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum are such beautiful seasons- I thoroughly enjoy supporting new parents through them and am so honored to do so as part of the amazing team at Best Start Birth Center.
Aaliyah Sade, Midwife Assistant
Aaliyah Sade, Midwife Assistant is an Afro-Indigenous, Black Chicanx full-spectrum birth keeper, Certified Yoga Instructor, Lactation Educator, Intern...Read More
Aaliyah Sade, Midwife AssistantAaliyah Sade, Midwife Assistant is an Afro-Indigenous, Black Chicanx full-spectrum birth keeper, Certified Yoga Instructor, Lactation Educator, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant(IBCLC) candidate, JDEI consultant, former EMT, and student midwife. As the oldest of 11 children, she's been rooted in the world of pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting her entire life. Aaliyah earned her bachelor's degree in World, Arts, and Cultures: Arts Activism and Global Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed her lactation training with BreastfeedLA and the University of California San Diego Extension Lactation Programs. She double-weaves an open-minded trauma-informed, equity lens into her clinical practice bridging her reproductive justice organizing background and many study abroad adventures. She is passionate about serving single parents, teen parents, refugees, and LGBTQ+ families. Her awareness of health disparities guided her to complete her first doula training at KindredSpace Los Angeles. Inspired by the multifaceted community role of Black Grand Midwives, she has completed several international herbalism, somatic healing, bodywork, birth, and postpartum-related trainings. She serves San Diego families full-time as a student midwife and lactation consultant. Her favorite part of this work is that she is always learning; there is always something new for her to understand, whether from books or the families that she serves. She looks forward to supporting you as a Best Start Midwife Assistant during your birth. Se Habla Español.
Miquela Millard, Midwife Assistant
Miquela Millard CD(DONA) I am a certified Birth Doula, CAPPA-trained Postpartum Doula, UCSD-trained Lactation Educator, Placenta Encapsulation specia...Read More
Miquela Millard, Midwife AssistantMiquela Millard CD(DONA) I am a certified Birth Doula, CAPPA-trained Postpartum Doula, UCSD-trained Lactation Educator, Placenta Encapsulation specialist, and trained in Rebozo for comfort in pregnancy and birth. I have experience supporting families in hospitals, birth centers, and home births and utilizing evidence-based practices and Spinning Babies' techniques during the prenatal period and in labor. My goal is to educate and empower women to trust the birth process and their bodies while creating a safe space. I have two children of my own and had the support of a doula with my daughter. My own birth experiences ignited my passion for supporting women during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. I joined the Best Start team in 2021 at the front desk, and my role has evolved to include Midwife Assistant which has been incredibly rewarding! I truly love and enjoy my work. I’m a San Diego native, born and raised in the beach community. I spend most days with my family and dogs, love to travel, and have a passion for reading and learning.
Our midwives are Board Certified Nurse Midwives and Licensed Certified Professional Midwives. Each one will get to know you well during your prenatal visits and will be on call and ready for you for your labor and birth.
Best Start Birth Center midwives are proud to work with a team of birth assistants who are licensed midwives, certified professional midwives, midwife assistants, and registered nurses. A birth assistant will attend your labor and birth and assure everything goes smoothly postpartum until you go home.
Best Start Birth Center is proud to offer a team of medical assistants, childbirth educators, referrals to social workers, and other support services.