Te'sa Ballanco, CD

Founder, Birth Doula, Student Midwife

I founded North State Doula Program after researching maternal mortality  statistics in the United States. After preparing a thesis which outlined the differences in maternal mortality in the United States and the rest of the developed Western World, it became clear that there is a growing problem in the United States and that I could do something to improve outcomes in my community. 


It is my goal to improve the experiences and outcomes of birthing individuals and their neonates in the North State by providing them with targeted education, community support and by making doula support freely available to qualifying families birthing in the hospital setting. In addition to this, it remains important to me to continue the education of doulas in the hospital setting, and to forge positive relationships with providers whom serve obstetrically underserved rural areas.


I truly believe that doulas make a difference. 

Elisa Knopf, MPH(c), CD

Executive Director, Birth Doula, Postpartum Health Educator

My personal journey into birth work began in late summer 1987, when my youngest sibling was born at home. I can remember much of that experience, and when I was pregnant with my first child in 2011 I made the decision to become a birth worker. I trained and certified as a doula in 2014 and since then I have worked in our rural communities as a birth and postpartum doula, a perinatal case manager in the Baby Love Parent Partner Program, and most recently as the Maternal Support provider at Creekside Counseling Center and a Postpartum Support International Coordinator for Shasta, Tehama, Trinity, and Siskiyou counties.


I am a mother to three young children and I am passionate about maternal mental and emotional health. I am dedicated to sustaining improvements in maternal health outcomes by increasing access to affordable birth and postpartum doula services.

Hannah Gilman

Intake Coordinator, Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator

I have been a DONA International trained birth doula since 2011 and I have seen first hand that a positive birth experience leads to improved birth outcomes, improved postpartum mental and physical maternal health, and improved parent and child relationships. Reaching this outcome is my passion! I believe that childbirth is a bridge and empowered childbirth can withstand even the most tumultuous of circumstances.


I believe that an empowered childbirth experience can happen when a mother makes her own informed decisions from a place of strength and not out of fear. With solid childbirth education and the caring, encouraging support of a doula, an empowered birth experience is even more possible! I am currently providing birth support and I aim to be Lamaze certified and providing dynamic Childbirth Education to women in Shasta County by 2020!

Volunteer doulas not pictured:

Yoli Koenig (Bilingual-Spanish)

Amber Lynn Reynolds

Amber Nichole Hicks

Alixis Skulavik

Abigail Sharp

Rylie Marcuz

Genny Nice

Sarah King

Blair Ray