Tessa Stephens, CNM
Sara Flores, CNM
Lisa Neiss, RN
Lily Rossman, MFT
Certified Nurse Midwives
- Elizabeth Smith-Tyko, CNM, Director & Owner
Elizabeth Smith-Tyko, CNM, MSN, is the Director & Owner of the Santa Rosa Birth Center. Elizabeth received her Master’s Degree from Vanderbilt University in 1998, & relocated to Northern California to begin her midwifery career. She practiced full-scope midwifery in Santa Rosa & Marin County for 7 years, delivering over 700 babies during that time. Most recently, Elizabeth focused her clinical attention to caring for women with infertility, working in the only comprehensive, fertility practice in Sonoma County. After seven years in this capacity, Elizabeth found that she could no longer resist the call of midwifery, & joined the excellent team of midwives at the Women’s Health & Birth Center in 2012. In October, 2013, Elizabeth assumed the role of Director and Owner and endeavored to revitalize and build upon the 20-year legacy of the birth center. Thus, Santa Rosa Birth Center was born.
Elizabeth enjoys caring for women throughout their lifespan & is looking forward to expanding the services of The Santa Rosa Birth Center. She is committed to serving a diverse population of women and expanding midwifery care to families both in the birth center and in the hospital. In addition to traditional midwifery care, Elizabeth has a special interest in fertility treatment & the care of women with recurrent pregnancy loss. Through all of her care, Elizabeth is dedicated to empowering women through compassion & education.
Elizabeth is married to Len Tyko, also a Santa Rosa healthcare provider, with whom she has 4 children. She spends most of her free-time mothering these independent spirits, but occasionally finds time to indulge her creativity with her crafting, knitting & crocheting. Elizabeth loves to eat, but hates to cook, & thinks dessert is the best part of a meal. Elizabeth is passionate about her calling as both a mother & a midwife and is excited to lead the birth center into the next stage.
- Rachel Latta, CNM
A Bay Area native, Rachel completed her Masters of Nursing at the University of Washington, specializing in Midwifery. While living in Seattle, she had experience providing midwifery care across the life span in both rural and urban settings. Her areas of interest include physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period, preventing common complications of pregnancy, and caring for newborns. She is a trained birth doula and has extra training in breastfeeding.
In her position at the birth center, she is committed to creating meaningful partnerships with women and their partners and honoring the creation of families. She is dedicated to providing culturally appropriate, continuous midwifery care to all who desire it.
Rachel’s path to midwifery has been long. She worked as a cardiac RN at the University of Washington Medical Center. During her time there, she became a specialist in heart and lung transplants and complex congenital heart defects. Prior to that, Rachel worked for many years in non-profit management with the Public Interest Network. As the Assistant National Field Director, her final position there, she helped with campaign planning and strategy, event organizing and staff management.
When she is not busy at the birth center, Rachel enjoys running, baking and spending time with her husband, Chase, and their children, Lucinda and Desmond.
- Sara Van Acker, CNM
Sara Van Acker completed her training as a Certified Nurse Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at the University of California, San Francisco. Her path to midwifery began many years before when she began exploring topics in reproductive justice and Latin American studies as an undergraduate. Her practice began with multiple doula trainings, emphasizing the capacity for women to show up for one another and hold space in a loving and nonjudgmental way. Her work has had an international focus, collaborating with and serving women in Peru, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Argentina, in addition to domestic work and training in the Bay Area and Texas. Sara is committed to providing high quality, holistic care to women of all backgrounds across the lifespan.
Being a midwife is a calling for Sara. She feels deeply connected to the powerful and important work of honoring the transition to motherhood in a safe, supportive, and sacred space, meeting each woman where she is. This lens inherently considers the role of pregnancy for mom, baby, family and the community surrounding each life. Sara’s therapeutic alliance is rooted in listening, presence and emotional availability.
In her role at the Santa Rosa Birth Center, Sara is committed to each woman’s individual voice and desires for her pregnancy, birth, post partum, and family planning experience. Pregnancy offers an incredible opportunity for body awareness and connection, promoting pride, healing and new levels of embodiment for each woman. She is interested in integrating mindfulness-based practices, including yoga, visualization and simple meditation, to enhance each woman’s experience. This draws directly from of her own spiritual and self-care practice.
Sara sources her energy and excitement for her work through time with family and friends, hiking, yoga, travel, and creative projects.
- Tessa Stephens, CNM
Tessa realized her passion for midwifery while providing care to women in Peru and Guatemala as a Public Health & Women’s Health Nurse. After returning from South America, Tessa started working at the Birth Center as a Labor & Delivery Nurse, resumed her studies and graduated from Georgetown University in 2014 with her Masters in Midwifery and is happily continuing care at the Birth Center as a Nurse-Midwife.
Tessa enjoys celebrating and honoring the many stages of life women walk through. She is quick to offer the holistic or natural approach to a wide range of concerns, but values modern advances in healthcare and loves to balance the two. Having worked as a Midwife, Nurse, Lactation Specialist, Childbirth Educator and Doula, Tessa calls on many years of experience to best assist women and families.
During her time “off-call” Tessa enjoys outdoor sports, yoga, bellydancing, singing, cooking and relaxing at home with her husband, Seth.
- Sara Flores, CNM
Registered Nurses & Birth Assistants
- Carol Appel-Basham, PA-M
- Laura Hutchins, RN
- Lisa Neiss, RN
- Melissa Rudy, RN
- Deanna Prey, RN
- Becca Gunderson, RN
- Cindy Beckley, Marriage & Family Therapist
- Esmeralda Palomares, Front Office Manager, Health Educator, Doula
- Tina Alvarez, Health Educator
- Pamela Augustine, Childbirth Educator
- Tiffany Lacey
- Allyson Hanstad