Interview with Connie Garcia, retiring CABC Commissioner
Connie Garcia, CNM served as a CABC Commissioner 2000-2013 and 2015-2016, in various roles including Vice President. Connie Garcia also served as a panelist and site visitor.
Do you remember your first impression of CABC?
The first birth center where I worked. I was a full time RN. The director, MaryLou Longeway, was an original CABC Commissioner in 1987. She was my supervisor at the Family Birthing Center at Providence Hospital, in Southfield, MI. This was one of the first CABC-accredited birth centers in the USA and it was actually inside a hospital and separate from the rest of the hospital. We followed the same standards as the free-standing birth centers. Around 1992, I was interviewed on a CABC site visit and observed the site visit as my introduction to CABC accreditation. My first impression of CABC was that it was the best thing ever! As soon as I found out about it and as I learned more, it was so exciting to be involved in the development of this model. I am a very detailed person and this was right up my alley. This turned out to be my orientation towards becoming a volunteer site visitor. As a site visitor, I enjoyed the educational discussions with the birth centers to help them with understanding and buying into best practices.
You joined CABC’s board of Commissioners in 1999. What do you remember about the organization and the accreditation process at that time?
I still thought it was extremely valuable to have accreditation for birth centers. To me the biggest value was ensuring that birth centers were the safest place for mothers and babies to be. Accreditation helps ensure safety and quality for the community at large. Even back then, birth centers couldn’t get insurance contracts, so accreditation was a credential that helped the birth centers with financial viability.
At this time, CABC was almost entirely volunteer with only one part-time staff person and volunteer board members and site visitors. That was still back when our big goal was to get 50 birth centers accredited, so we probably had about 30-35 accredited at that time.
What would you say to encourage a qualified candidate to join CABC’s board of Commissioners?
Absolutely do it! I think its valuable and important that birth centers are accredited to demonstrate safety to the public. Yes, its work, but its good work and it feels good. Its amazing to be a participant in that. And I will miss it for sure! Absolutely! If things were different, I’d still be doing it! Unequivocally, I have not one regret. I would do it all again.
What is your greatest hope for CABC at this point?
That it just continues on the path it is on to reach higher and grow more and become the very best it can be.
Thanks Connie Garcia! We appreciate your dedication to CABC and its mission for 17 calendar years!
 Connie says: The birth center was closed after being open for 26 years with outstanding outcome statistics. It was closed overnight by a perinatologist who simply did not like the model.