Lucina Maternity Foundation

Our goal is to provide you and your family with better and more personal maternity care using an integrated team including CNM's, physicians, health educators, and health/wellness services. We believe that a woman should be empowered during her pregnancy to engage in informed decision- making regarding her care and delivery. Lucina Maternity Foundation is a registered 501 (c)3 non-profit organization.

Our Board


James Byrne MD — Founder/Chair/Medical Director

Dr. Byrne is a Maternal Fetal Medicine physician who leads the OB/Gyn program at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, one of the largest and most respected county hospitals in the United States. The Department annually produces over 4,500 births, 120,000 annual clinic visits, and $30m in revenue with services provided by over 55 physicians and nurse practitioners at seven regional sites.

Dr. Byrne is a clinical associate professor with Stanford School of Medicine and serves on several state/national leadership teams and advisory boards including the March of Dimes California Chapter.

Dr. Byrne has a track record of innovation and increasing productivity. Moving from the public sector to the public hospital setting of VMC in 2001, his intention was to improve maternity care for a large population of women by implementing better business models and developing high performance teams. In a rapid turnaround, the VMC program has grown in performance and is now recognized nationally for both clinical care and research. In addition, he has led clinic research as the site principal investigator in several FDA-monitored trials.

In collaboration with Stanford, the NIH has recently added Stanford/VMC to its elite network of national obstetrics research centers, the first California sites to gain this designation.


Deira Gerritsen — Co-founder and Board Member

Deira Gerritsen helped co-found Lucina Maternity Foundation in 2011. As a board member, she brings a wealth of experience from both international and US markets.

Obstetrics in modern America is a contentious subject in general. Deira is one of a very small group with no affiliation to physicians, midwives, hospitals or payers. She has first-hand experience with the challenges of building the collaborative physician/CNM practice model.

Deira's goal of building a hybrid organization, where for-profit practices help fund the expansion of midwifery through the foundation is ground-breaking. Her work in the non-profit and for-profit maternal health sectors and knowledge of the legal and regulatory environments that surrounds the delivery of care is essential to the Lucina Maternity Foundation mission.

Ms. Gerritsen has held executive roles in such companies as Dow Jones, News Corporation and General Electric.


Ralph Dickman — Board Member

Ralph Dickman is the current Chair of VMC Foundation, former treasurer of VMC Foundation and VP at Citi National. Ralph has been keenly interested in the work we are doing to improve services at VMC and helped to bring in a major grant benefitting the VMC Women and Children's hospital as well as Lucina Maternity Foundation.

Dickman has nearly 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and more than 20 years in the high tech marketing field in Silicon Valley. Ralph has a bachelor’s degree in English from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. He has been active in coaching youth soccer and has served on the boards of ARH Recovery Homes and the Central Santa Clara Valley Youth Soccer League.


E Christopher Wilder — Board Member

With eighteen years in the Bay Area's public benefit sector, Chris Wilder serves as the Executive Director of the Valley Medical Center Foundation. The VMC Foundation supports Silicon Valley's largest and busiest hospital, the only one with a 100% open-door policy providing excellent care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Since taking the position three years ago, Chris has raised more money than in the VMC Foundation's previous twelve years combined.

Before joining the VMC Foundation, Mr. Wilder most recently served as the Executive Director of City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley, California's premiere AmeriCorps program. There he managed a large staff, led a dynamic board and oversaw a fund raising effort exceeding $2,000,000 annually.

Prior to that, Chris served as Assistant Executive Director for the Vanished Children's Alliance, California's oldest and largest missing children's organization.

Today he serves as a commissioner to the Santa Clara County Child Abuse Council and is past Chair of the county's Victim Support Network. Chris also serves on the City Year advisory board, the San Jose Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force Executive Committee and is a founding board member of the California AmeriCorps Alliance. He graduated from Stanford University's Executive Program in Nonprofit Leadership.


Linda V. Walsh — CNM, MPH, Ph.D., FACNM, Board Member

Linda brings to the Board experience in clinical practice, education and health care research. She retired as Professor Emeritus from University of San Francisco School of Nursing where she taught in the undergraduate and graduate programs. Her clinical practice has included serving as Director of Midwifery in the obstetrics department at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital and practicing as a staff midwife at the Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto.

Prior to moving to California, she was the co-founder of the Baltimore Birth Center and served as the Director of the Bryn Mawr Birth Center in the Philadelphia area.

Linda has published widely on midwifery history and cultural beliefs in pregnancy and childbirth and is the author of the award-winning text, Midwifery—Community-Based Care in the Childbearing Year. While retired, she has remained active in the American College of Nurse-Midwives and is the President-Elect for the California Nurse-Midwives Association. Additionally, she is an associate editor for the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health.