Our Lead Instructor
Cate Vrooman, MPH, has been a Great Starts childbirth educator since 2016, and has led our trainings since 2020.
Cate is a certified doula with DONA International, a childbirth educator (certified with Great Starts), a certified lactation educator, and is endorsed as an Infant Family Associate with the Washington Association for Infant Mental Health. She also works as a Health Program Manager for the home visiting program at the Denise Louie Education Center which supports families from pregnancy through their child’s third birthday. She is a former elementary school teacher.
Janelle Durham, MSW, has been a Great Starts childbirth educator since 2001 and led our trainings from 2004 to 2019. She is certified with Lamaze International and Great Starts. She is also a parent educator for Bellevue College. Janelle is a co-author of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn and is the author of Transition to Parenthood, a website with resources for childbirth educators.
Kim James, LCCE, ICCE, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), CLE, has been a Great Starts childbirth educator since 2002 and a workshop trainer since 2007. She is also a senior instructor at the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations. Kim is the creator of DoulaMatch and BirthWatch.
Tracy McPhillips, LCCE, CCE(GS), CPD/PDT(DONA), CLE, has been a Great Starts childbirth educator since 2005 and a workshop trainer since 2019. She is also a lead instructor at the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations. Tracy is a co-founder of The Village Circle, a community working to build connections for new parents and birth professionals in South Seattle.
Renowned birth educator, Penny Simkin, has retired from teaching our Professional Childbirth Educators’ Workshop after 40 years with Great Starts and Parent Trust for Washington Children.
Parent Trust for Washington Children’s Great Starts Program (formerly known as Childbirth Education Association of Seattle) is a recognized leader in childbirth education, with more than 60 years of experience. Our program serves over 3000 families per year in childbirth and infant parenting preparation classes. We author one of the most recognized books in the field: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (PCN)