WHO WE ARE – THE BACKSTORY
Originally called SOMCANZ [Symposium of Maternity Carers New Zealand] the new millennium’s first conference on Integrative Maternity HealthCare was held in Auckland, NZ, in May 2015 – and was an enormous success!
This inaugural symposium attracted major international speakers, and both the attending delegates and the sponsoring exhibitors were thrilled with the entire event. The atmosphere was electric, and the overall organization was perfection – frankly the only let down were a few minor catering issues – and beyond that the entire weekend’s success was truly beyond our wildest expectations!
The founding director of the SOMCANZ Conference was the Kiwi self-employed Midwife, and best-selling award-winning maternity author Kathy Fray [www.kathfray.com], because ever since becoming a Mother herself 1½ decades earlier, Kathy had always felt an enormous need for more integration of Maternity Health knowledge and communication, between the allopathic mainstream medical disease-care system, and the naturopathic holistic traditional wellness-care modalities.
In 2013 Kathy applied to skincare producer Bio-Oil for a grant to create a first symposium for professionals from across all aspects of maternity health. Kathy explained that the Conference would be about sharing individual specialists’ expertise with their maternity colleagues and passing on those frontline, in-the-trenches knowledge of naturopathically-minded obstetrics, midwifery and multiple other therapeutic modalities and disciplines. The ultimate goal of the conference, was to learn from each other and to strengthen ties in the maternity field, with a holistic focus on Integrative Maternity Healthcare or Perinatal Integrative Medicine … in fact it is Kathy who first ever coined the terms.
Bio-Oil could see Kathy’s vision, and awarded her seed money to initiate and plan the inaugural event, with Kathy taking on the role as Director of SOMCANZ.
Prior to entering a planned ‘semi-retirement’ and committed to assisting Kathy with that one first event, was Helen Ellis as Conference Manager, who came with a wealth of experience in business ownership and event management. Kathy provided the maternity healthcare expertise for the symposium, and Helen was her detail-orientated right-hand lady. And it was a winning combination.
On 23rd May 2015, the world’s first new-millennium symposium on Integrative Maternity Healthcare occurred at the Ellerslie Convention Centre in Auckland New Zealand and it was an enormous success. Sponsorship sold out, wonderful numbers of delegates attending, major international speakers attracted including the midwifery goddess Elizabeth Davis, and the world-renown maternity health goddess Prof Robbie Davis-Floyd. The plenary keynote speakers were phenomenal. The concurrent break-out speakers were fascinating. It was without any doubt, an enormous undertaking and an enormous success. Feedback on the day was off the charts!
Delegates were keen to attend the conference annually, but Kathy needed to catch her breath, and find a new Conference Manager – while also carrying on with her own 24-7 on-call midwifery caseload.
In April 2016 SOMCANZ joined forces in a small professional alignment with AIMA (Australasian Integrative Medicine Assoc) to feature a few maternity-related speakers at their annual Conference in Auckland. And a new collegial relationship was successfully formed.
The following year, at the April 2017 conference was a first true amalgamation of AIMA-SOMCANZ at a 2-day event. However, at the same time, it became increasingly evident that Integrative Maternity HealthCare requires its own dedicated biennial Conference.
In 2018 the writing was clearly on the wall: With global interest and awareness increasing, SOMCANZ was re-named IIMHCO [International Integrative Maternity HealthCare Organization], and plans began for a second dedicated global summit for late 2019.
Integral to the feasible viability of this upcoming Conference was Kathy ‘semi-retiring’ from being a 24-7 on-call Midwife. Also vitally integral, has been event specialist (for the past 20 years) wonderful Caroline Jack, as the IIMHCO Conference Manager (and lovely Conference Junior assistant Marion Robles). Caroline has a driving passion to ensure every event she manages exceeds everyone’s expectations, and has done amazing things from formal dinners on the Great Wall of China, to exhibitions in Dubai. She’s done it all – and loves every moment.
However, by mid 2019 it became strongly evident that the public – the Women themselves as potential consumers of maternity integrative healthcare – also want direct access to learning the latest from the world’s leading perinatal wellness Experts. So, the difficult but correct decision was made to postpone and reformat the 2019 conference into a health professional & consumer expo called the Maternity Natural Health Symposium, on Sunday 22nd March 2020.
Thus, the evolution of Integrative Maternity HealthCare needs continues, and we are tremendously excited about the progression!
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IIMHCO Mission Statement
A visionary aim for the revolutionary Maternity-Care cross-discipline exchange of progressive research, innovative knowledge, enlightened experience and radical ideas; in a medically professional and universally holistic environment of liberal open-mindedness; for the compelling passion to create a global impact, by giving Women worldwide access to triadic body-mind-spirit maternal-neonatal health well-being, inspired by the values of humanistic empowerment.
Definition of IMHC "Integrative Maternity HealthCare"
When the medical and the holistic, the contemporary and the traditional, the mainstream and the alternative all respect how they complement each other, and form a united revolution of cohesive evolution, to create the ultimate in Best Practice Maternity Care.
IIMHCO recognises that complementary therapies can have important effects on the progress of pregnancy, labour and birth, and the postnatal period for both the woman and her baby. Maternity health professionals incorporating these therapies into their practice should either have undertaken a recognised education qualification or refer clients to appropriately qualified practitioners.
IIMHCO CORE VALUES
Our Purpose: To be the global leader & influencer ‘umbrella organization’ collaborating Integrative Medicine with Maternity HealthCare internationally
- EMPOWERING CATALYST OF CHANGE FOR FREEDOM – Passionately compelled to improve outcomes for expectant mothers-to-be internationally, for women to have the right to experience the Birth of their Dreams.
- ‘WHOLISTIC’ PRINCIPLES – Integrative corporate mentality that is holistic and naturopathic, which organically grows networking referrals exponentially.
- JOYFUL INTEGRITY – Team & Customer inter-relationships that are always genuine, kind, caring, honest, respectful & fun.
- BENEVOLENT CAPITALISM – Combining the power of free-enterprise entrepreneurial ethics, with generous altruistic impactful Giving.