ICTC History

The formation of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) was inspired by the Childbirth Providers of African Descent (CPAD), a national Black midwife support group founded by midwife Sister Ayanna Ade in 1981.  When CPAD dissolved in 1988, Sister Shafia Monroe (founder of ICTC), felt an obligation to create something similar for generations of the community of Black midwives.  In August 1991, with support of a national group of midwives and healers, Sr. Shafia Monroe founded the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) in Portland, OR. 

ICTC is a professional African & African American midwives organization committed to increasing the number of Midwives of Color and providing leadership in the profession to address the critical needs in maternal, newborn and child health. We are determined that the early death of babies and mothers, as an aftermath of enslavement and a legacy for poverty, shall be prevented.



ICTC worked locally in Portland, Oregon.

ICTC received it tax exempt status (1997)

The organization decided to move beyond the borders of Oregon 


The website www.blackdmwives.org launched to promote ICTC.

ICTC sponsored its first international Black Midwives and Healers Conference in Portland. OR; with help from Shafia’s husband Mikal H. Shabazz, Ayanna Ade and local Oregon members,

Footage from the ICTC Black Midwives and Healers Conference (2002) completed of the famous award winning documentary “Bringin in Da Spirit” produced by film maker Rhonda Haynes. 


At the 2003 Black Midwives and Healers Conference, Mrs. Margaret Charles Smith, author of “Listen To Me Good, Life of an Alabama Midwife, was awarded* the first ever ICTC Lifetime achievement award.

ICTC’s created its core programs: Sistah Care, the Midwives Rights of Passage Training, The Full Circle Doula Training, and Celebrate Your Pregnancy Day.

Rites of Passage Midwife Training program enrolled eleven women with two completing the program.  While this program is currently inactive, it was a true accomplishment and will stand as the foundation for a future midwifery school developed by the ICTC. 

Sistah Care is a health career exploratory program for adolescent females of color who are interested in becoming midwives, nurses and physicians.  Since our first group of girls in 2004, we have exposed over 100 girls to midwifery as a health career option.

The Full Circle Doula (FCD) Training has graduated over 500 doulas since 2002. With over 85% of them being doulas of color, ICTC began the first recorded doula outreach program to increase the number of doulas of color. Historically, ICTC trained the largest number of Black doulas of any national training organization.


ICTC developed general a membership option, and state and regional representative positions were broadened.

ICTC led the first midwife delegation to Sierra Leone, West Africa.  This was the first such delegation sponsored by an African American non-profit.  We brought with us thirteen delegates of midwives doulas, teachers, a plumber and two volunteer youth.


ICTC was invited to participate in Venuautra to speak at the Afro-Columbian Midwife Conference.


ICTC launches official website: www.ictcmidwives.org became the official website.  www.blackmidwives.org remains linked to ICTC.

The Black Midwives and Healers Review newsletter was started.


Nadiya Seraaj, then Alabama State Representative, spoke on behalf of ICTC at the Birth Push for Midwives event in Alabama.  In that same year we became steering committee members of the Midwives and Mothers in Action (MAMA) Campaign.


The Sistah Care program held its first two and a half day over-night camp on the coast of Oregon. Eleven girls ages 11-16 participated.  We also sponsored the first North West Doula Conference in Portland, Oregon.


After long and consistent efforts, ICTC and the ACNM Midwives of Color create a working relationship to increase the number of midwives of color in the United States. We worked more closely with the MAMA campaign and built lasting relationships with the Birthing Project USA and the Quality Maternity Care Coalition formally known as the MOMS 21st Act.

Erykah Badu, four time Grammy award winner, singer, song writer, doula and aspiring midwife agreed to be the ICTC national spokesperson.

On the international front, in 2010 UmSalaamah Abdullah Zaimah, CNM, CPM, MSN accepted the position of the ICTC Director of Midwifery e and Traveled to Kumasi Ghana to help train midwives and create an exchange program. 


ICTC held the SE ICTC Summitt in D’Iberville, MS.

We completed and presented the Oregon Black Birth Survey.  This is the first survey to research black women’s birth experiences.

In 2011 in partnership; with the Oregon Coalition to Improve Birth Outcomes, the ICTC led the initiative to have doulas recognized by Oregon to receive Medicaid reimbursement. ICTC wanted to ensure that all women could access doulas services.   A legislative concept was created and submitted by Representative Tina Kotek and supported by Representative Lew Fredrick.

HB3311 was created that mandated the legislation research the use of doulas. This charge was given to the Office of Equity and Inclusion of the Oregon Health Authority and a work committee was created with stakeholder, with ICTC being included. The HB3311 Report 2011 provided evidenced information that doulas improved birth outcomes and saved cost.

This information leveraged doulas to become listed as community health workers and putting them in the pool to be eligible for payment through the U9 global payment. Doulas will not be paid directly by Medicaid as there is still not a code for doulas, but licensed health provider’s physicians, CNM and Licensed Midwives can receive payment to then pay doulas who assist their patients at that birth.

The ICTC was the first approved doula credentialing organization by Oregon Health Authority. This means that persons certified as ICTC Doulas in Oregon can be hired by the Coordinated Care Organization’s or be sole proprietors and be reimbursed by health care provider with a special waiver for Medicaid payment. As a credentialing doula organization, the ICTC is listed at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/oei/Pages/nthw-committee.aspx.


Erykah Badu agreed to raise her profile as the ICTC International spokesperson.  ICTC also hosted the 8th International Black Midwives and Healers Conference in Miami Florida.