Posted by Cheri Van Hoover on Jan 06, 2019
Rotary International, with its focus on service above self, is a natural extension of the dedication to service that has characterized my entire professional and personal lives.  The international emphasis on maternal and child health is of great interest to me, as is the focus on disease eradication. 

I was raised in Western Washington.  As a preschooler, I lived with my parents in Montesano, but spent much of my time in Hoquiam with my grandparents.  When I was in first grade, we moved to Bremerton, where my father had purchased a bakery.  That is where I received all of my elementary, junior high, and high school education and I consider Bremerton my home town.

Upon graduation, I went to college at The Evergreen State College in Olympia the first year it opened.  After one year there, I moved to San Francisco, where I stayed for 32 years.  It was in San Francisco that I discovered my vocation as a midwife, completed my education, and raised a family.  

Prior to returning to school to be a midwife, I worked at a short term psychiatric crisis intervention residence and co-owned an antique store, both in Redwood City, California.  I also became a childbirth educator, giving classes for expectant parents in my home and at a San Francisco hospital.  After being called to midwifery, I attended nursing school at City College of San Francisco and briefly worked as a nurse to gain the necessary experience for admission to the University of California/San Francisco General Interdepartmental Midwifery Program.  After passing the national certification examination to become a certified nurse-midwife, I joined a private midwifery practice that attended births at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco.  I soon became the practice administrator, in addition to my clinical duties, and managed the successful transition of the practice to Children’s Hospital of San Francisco (which became California Pacific Medical Center soon after we arrived).  Changing family needs led me to work for Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City, where I once again functioned in both clinical and administrative roles.  I then joined the private midwifery practice at Stanford University Hospital.

Along this path, I realized that teaching was a priority for me and that I would need to get a master’s degree in order to do that, so I did evening classes to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing, then completed the online master’s completion program for midwives through the State University of New York, Stonybrook.

Immediately after obtaining the master’s degree in midwifery, I joined the Faculty OB/GYN Group with the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, becoming an assistant clinical professor for the medical school.

Living in Port Townsend was my dream for several decades and I had always planned to retire here.  But in 2002, when my husband and I were here visiting my mother, we found our dream home, bought it, and after 2 years of commuting and working on the property moved to our 11 acre farm.

After moving to Jefferson County, I began teaching for the distance education midwifery education program offered by Philadelphia University.  I also began working for Family Planning of Clallam County at their Port Angeles clinic.  Several years later, Family Planning of Clallam County merged with Planned Parenthood.  I was the clinician for the Sequim Planned Parenthood clinic until it closed in December 2016.  Philadelphia University has merged with Thomas Jefferson University and is now called Jefferson.  I continue to teach health policy and gynecology for the graduate students working towards master’s degrees at their midwifery program.

My husband and I also had an online vintage jewelry business, Milky Way Jewels, for 15 years.  We liquidated that small business in 2015 and then began offering an apartment in our barn, the Great Blue Heron’s Nest, as a vacation rental.

In addition to my professional activities, I’ve always volunteered my time and expertise in various ways.  I’ve lectured about midwifery and women’s health.  I’ve given service to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, my professional organization.  I’ve served the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health as an editor, writer, and peer reviewer.  My husband and I have leased a portion of our property for salmon habitat restoration and have served as a demonstration project in non-lethal beaver management.  I became a Master Gardener, helping with community projects in horticulture and food production and, as a member of the Tri-Area Garden Club, assisted with community beautification and scholarships.  I volunteered with the Jefferson County WSU Farm Innovation, Education, and Leadership Development (FIELD) program, assisting in the education of young farmers.  In addition to all this, my husband and I co-host, with one other couple, a free monthly partner dance for the community.  We’ve been offering this dance since 2012.  In 2014, I also began teaching partner dance classes that are also free for the community.  Donations are accepted for these dances and classes and after expenses are met, all profits are directed to hiring local musicians to play at the free dances.

Rotary International, with its focus on service above self, is a natural extension of the dedication to service that has characterized my entire professional and personal lives.  The international emphasis on maternal and child health is of great interest to me, as is the focus on disease eradication.  It is a pleasure to spend time with other people who value these things as much as I do and to pool my resources with those of others to make a real and lasting difference in the world.  


 

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