Symposium: Making healthy babies, raising healthy children

Posted By on November 10, 2009

RyderEventWhere: UC Berkeley Art Museum Theatre, 2625 Durant Ave. Berkeley, California
When: Saturday, November 21, 2009, from 9 am to 4 pm

Sponsors: SageFemme, Ryder Foundation, Midwifery Today, Autism Recovery Consortium

Tickets: $60 until 11/20 then $75 and may be purchased through Everbrite:

The 2009 CIA World Factbook ranks the USA 45th among nations for infant mortality— the worst among all industrialized countries. The autism rate in our country is now 1 in 100.

How we can understand and take appropriate steps to ensure healthy mothers, births and children? Take a unique look at the entire system that affects our future generations- a mother’s current environment, the birth environment and your child’s toxic world.

This symposium brings together scientists, doctors, researchers and professionals for a compelling conversation about environmental influences around birth and childhood. Featuring plenary speakers, panels, audience questions, and film clips.

Revolutionary new software will also be introduced that will help parents assess the risks our children may encounter from the environment before birth, at birth and during childhood. Our three part program will make clearer to attendees what they should know about environmental health, their world, and how it affects them and their children.

Session One: Preparing for Childbirth
Sharyle Patton, Director, Commonweal Health and Environment Program, presents several new biomonitoring studies documenting the ubiquity and complexity of chemical and environmental exposures that people experience every day, and how those exposures could influence pregnancy and the health of our children. Exciting new software will be introduced which gives parents-to-be the opportunity to evaluate environmental exposures, and the effect they may have, so lifestyle changes can be made to ensure healthier outcomes for families and children. This session concludes with an expert panel, including Dr. Joanne Perron, OB/GYN, who will correlate the environmental science with her own personal experience; Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant, who will describe the best diet for pre-pregnant women.

Session Two: The Birth Experience
Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, medical anthropologist and author of eight books including Birth as an American Rite of Passage, presents a brief history of birth in the USA. This presentation will focus on women’s ideas and cultural values about childbirth. The session concludes with a panel consisting of Elizabeth Davis, a Certified Professional Midwife, who will touch on an integrated view of birth, family and ecology and natural birth icons, Dr. Marshall Klaus, Pediatrician and Neonatologist and Phyllis Klaus C.S.W., M.F.C.C. who understand what care and support a woman needs at birth. A new film, produced by Diana Paul, of Sage Femme, will be premiered to introduce this session.

Session Three: Healthy Childhood
Dr. Andy Wakefield, academic gastroenterologist and Director of Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, presents new information and good news about the treatment and prevention of autism (now affecting 1 in 100 children). A ChARMtracker demo will be featured, launching this ground-breaking web-based treatment tracking software for autism. The session will conclude with a panel consisting of Pramila Srinivasan (ChARM founder), and Kenneth Bock (an integrative family practitioner whose practice is the beta site for the ChARMphysician product) and Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant, who will describe the best diet for a healthy child. Clips from Elizabeth Horn’s film “Finding the Words” will introduce this session.

Audience questions and answers will be taken at the end of each session.

Master of Ceremonies
Carolyn Raffensperger
, M.A, J.D., Executive Director of Science and Environmental Health Network, is an environmental lawyer specializing in the fundamental changes in law and policy necessary for the protection and restoration of public health and the environment. Carolyn coined the term “ecological medicine” to encompass the broad notions that both health and healing are entwined with the natural world. She emphasizes ecological integrity and guardianship for future generations in her work.


Maureen Block is former in-house counsel at a New York investment bank, and founder of The Ryder Foundation whose mission is to raise money for organizations that make a difference in the lives of children with autism. Ms. Block is the mother of a child who has recovered from autism.

Elizabeth Horn co-founded the Autism Recovery Consortium to support continued research into autism recovery. Along with Dr. Martha Herbert of Harvard and Michael Lerner of Commonweal, she co-founded the autism group that meets regularly at Commonweal called NPART (New Paradigms for Autism Recovery and Treatment). She produced a documentary entitled “Finding the Words” about children recovering from autism that has now been broadcast in over 30 countries, and recently collaborated on the creation of ChARMtracker software (treatment management software for children with ASD).

Diana Paul is a filmmaker and Founding Director of Sage Femme, a non-profit organization that produces the Motherbaby International Film Festivals and promotes and educates about EcoBirth.

Molly Arthur, who has had 30 years of working with start-ups and growing networks in her professional sales career, is the Managing Director of Sage Femme. Molly is also the inspiration behind EcoBirth, a philosophy linking birth and the environment.

EcoBirth is the study of and practice in Deep Womb Ecology. It links and relates the environments of Birth and Earth. EcoBirth recognizes that the mental and physical care surrounding Birth is an indicator of how we care for the Earth. Since our primary provider and first home is the Earth, EcoBirth advocates cherishing her as a means of protecting our mother’s wombs, our baby’s births and our children’s futures.

About The Author

Dan is the Director of Studio Operations and co-founder of Autistry Studios which means that he's the guy who keeps everything working. Mechanical, Electrical, and Computational. In his spare time he teaches many "build stuff" workshops and if any time is left over after that he builds model trains or anything else he is momentarily interested in.