Practitioners

Founder + Director, Kaeli Sutton

Kaeli SuttonOpen Circle Founder and Director Kaeli Sutton has worked with over 2000 mothers and families over the past 13 years, first at Motion Center and now at Open Circle. Trained in multiple pregnancy and postpartum health and support modalities, her most significant learning has come through her experience as a woman and mother, her close observation and celebration of the many mothers, infants and families she has had the honor to work with, and through her ongoing independent study of the culture of birth in America. Kaeli is committed to supporting women and families through the sometimes difficult, sometimes delightful and always life changing journey of childbearing and parenthood.

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Education

Kaeli regularly engages in professional continuing education and conferences to further her knowledge of how to respectfully and skillfully care for women, babies and families. She holds the following licenses and certifications:

  • Rhode Island licensed Massage Therapist since 2001 (MT01979)
  • Advanced certification in Prenatal, Labor and Postnatal Massage (2005, Carole Osborne-Sheets)
  • Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (teaching since 2006, e-RPYT since 2008)
  • Trained Birth + Postpartum Doula (ToLabor (2009); International Center of Traditional Childbearing (2016)
  • Childbirth Educator since 2006 (Teaching since 2007, certified in 2016 with Commonsense Childbirth)
  • Certified Lactation Counselor (2016 – Healthy Children Project)
  • Certified Happiest Baby on the Block Educator (2013)
  • Infant Massage Instructor trained 2014, 2017 (International Association of Infant Massage; certification pending)
Research

Kaeli believes in the importance of scientific research exploring the effects of wholistic health modalities in the childbearing years. She is experienced in working with research specialists in clinical settings and welcomes inquiries about future study collaboration. Kaeli’s research experience includes serving as head yoga-consultant in a National Institute of Health funded pilot and randomized trial study investigating effects of educational classes or prenatal yoga on women experiencing mood disorders in pregnancy (ongoing). Additionally, she is currently consulting with researchers seeking grant funding for studies on pregnancy smoking cessation.

Advocacy

Kaeli is an outspoken community advocate and activist committed to options in childbirth and humane, family centered care. She actively works to bring respectful, family-centered maternity care into all Rhode Island Hospitals with labor and delivery units. Most recently, Kaeli collaborated with local and national birth and family advocates while heading the Coalition to Save Memorial Birthing Center and sat on two Women and Infant’s Hospital working groups, focusing on improving the provision of family centered care at WIH, as ordered by the RI Department of Health.

Kaeli was an absolutely extraordinary guide through our intense journey of pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum period. Kaeli worked with us as a doula, a prenatal yoga teacher, a childbirth educator, and a massage therapist. Her support was all encompassing– physical, emotional, and spiritual, really.  I can’t imagine having navigated the wild and unpredictable waters of this transition without her and am deeply grateful for her tender presence, loving expertise, warm humor, and compassionate spirit. She is an absolute gem– one who I just can’t recommend highly enough to any woman or couple expecting their first, or fifth, baby. 

E.D. + D.U., Providence

Lisa Gendron

In her work with Open Circle, Lisa serves in development and graphic design, programming and as co-leader for the Open Circle Doulas.

Lisa Gendron has been a doula and perinatal support professional since 2007. In her work over the last decade, she has focused on accessibility of doula support for all families, community education about birth options and worked to increase community awareness of the impact of high quality holistic care for pregnant people and their families.

A long time board member of Rhode Island Birth Network, member of Doulas of RI, Co-founder of the Rhode Island Home Birth Collective, community advocate for increased access to midwifery care with RI Department of Heath Midwifery Advisory Council, RI chapter of Citizens for Midwifery and Improving Birth, and Core leadership of the Coalition to Save Memorial Birthing Center- Lisa has committed to Rhode Island Families and improving outcomes for mothers and babies.

She is a midwifery student with the National College of Midwifery, and plans to serve RI families as a community midwife, increasing access to midwifery in out of hospital settings. A mother of three children herself, Lisa deeply understands the joys and challenges of parenthood, and uses her experience to promote compassionate self kindness and mindfulness for parents.

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ADDITIONAL CONTACT INFO
info@agroterrabirth.com
401-497-8219
www.agroterrabirth.com

PROFESSIONAL TESTIMONIALS

“I cannot say that I have ever met an individual more dedicated to the experience of birth than Kaeli Sutton.  She has spent her entire career ensuring that 1) women understand that they have choices in birth, and 2) that women have access to safe, supported, holistic birth. Ms. Sutton is extremely knowledgeable about gentle birth practices, with experience in teaching birth preparation, assisting with lactation issues, and in providing hands-on labor support. Her presence in Rhode Island has made an incredible difference for women here, as she continues to advocate for them, serve as a consultant on perinatal research studies, and advise women and medical providers.”

~Susanna Magee MD MPH
Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University 
Director of Maternal Child Health/Chief of Family Medicine

I first met Kaeli when she took the reins as the lead voice of community activists working to save the Birthing Center at Memorial Hospital.  Her leadership helped drive that mission.  She was a critical organizer for the messaging and social media presence, keeping the core message clear and centered.  She energized the movement tirelessly.  Since then we have worked together to continue Memorial’s core tenets of care at Women and Infants.  Despite the change in circumstances, she remained steadfast in her goals to promote family centered maternity care. She is focused, thoughtful, passionate and powerful.”

~ Katherine McCleary, MD
Medical Director, Care New England Medical Group
Clinical Assistant Professor, Family Medicine, Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine

Partner Professionals

Open Circle welcomes independent perinatal and family professionals to offer workshops, therapies and classes at the center. While these professionals are not employees of Open Circle, their services complement our offerings and enrich the community of support. You can read more about our Partner Professionals here. In addition, we refer to many professionals in the broader Rhode Island community. Our referral network can be found on the Resources Page (link).

Doula Support, Group Facilitator, Blessingways, Photography
Lisa Gendron | Agroterra Birth

Massage Therapy, Yoga, Movement , Doula Support + Childbirth Education:
Jessica Rosene DeBrito

Acupuncture:
Maria Vanson

Pregnancy and Mother’s Groups:
Lisa Gendron
Jacqueline Procopio

Breastfeeding and Sleep Education and Support
Jenn Fantasia

MamaPrana ™ World Dance and Yoga:
Satta Jallah is a certified yoga instructor and doula, dedicated to the support of mothers and committed to reproductive justice and promoting healthy living. Satta has extensive experience in dance from the around the world, particularly dances of the African diaspora. She is the founder of Holistic Roots Movement, where the mission is to empower women to reclaim their health through different holistic modalities such as yoga, dance, energy therapy, and natural beauty education.

Babywearing Support:
Shaylene Costa
is a wife, mother of two girls and works in her “survival job” as a medical assistant. She originally found baby wearing through researching her African roots. Originally learning through trial and error, and then mentored by other mothers (and occasionally fathers!), she has worn her daughters and various nieces and nephews for over three years. A “buckle girl” at heart, with a specialty in soft-structured carriers, Shaylene continues to broaden her knowledge of different carriers and became a KangaMamas-RI co-leader in 2016.

Belly Dance for Pregnancy:
Crystal Pavlides is a mother of two boys and has been dancing her whole life. Having studied ballet, jazz, tap, modern dance and ballroom, she discovered belly dance in college and never stopped. She has performed all over RI and MA. In class, Crystal combines the numerous belly traditions she has studied, letting connection to the music and her own body inspire her teaching. Crystal enjoys sharing the health and sense of freedom that comes out of dancing with her students.

I am so grateful for the mindful practitioners at Open Circle. So many women and families we have mutually cared for have benefited from the intentional care available here.  In a time of “plug in” care, video streaming, computerized appointments, etc., Open Circle offers reconnection to your heart space and priorities.

Michelle Palmer, CNM

Maria Vanson, D.Ac.

Acupuncturist

ADDITIONAL CONTACT INFO
vanson.maria@gmail.com
401-617-7233

Maria Vanson is a Doctor of Acupuncture with a Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine. She graduated from Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly known as Tai Sophia Institute). She has been working as a licensed acupuncturist for seven years and has treated a variety of people presenting with a wide range of conditions.

Maria has experience treating mental and emotional disharmony, gastrointestinal conditions, Lyme and other infectious diseases, chronic pain, sports injuries, and women’s health with a special interest in postpartum care. In her practice, Maria treats patients with an understanding of the uniqueness of the individual in their embodiment of the natural world. She strives to offer each patient truly individualized care and support through the tools of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, aromatherapy, counseling, and dietary guidance.

Maria Vanson, D.Ac.

Acupuncturist

Maria VansonMaria Vanson is a Doctor of Acupuncture with a Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine. She graduated from Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly known as Tai Sophia Institute). She has been working as a licensed acupuncturist for seven years and has treated a variety of people presenting with a wide range of conditions.

Maria has experience treating mental and emotional disharmony, gastrointestinal conditions, Lyme and other infectious diseases, chronic pain, sports injuries, and women’s health with a special interest in postpartum care. In her practice, Maria treats patients with an understanding of the uniqueness of the individual in their embodiment of the natural world. She strives to offer each patient truly individualized care and support through the tools of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, aromatherapy, counseling, and dietary guidance.

CONTACT:
vanson.maria@gmail.com
401-617-7233

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Jenn Fantasia

Breastfeeding, Newborn + Infant Sleep Educator

Jenn FantasiaAs a mom of three, Jenn knows firsthand how exciting and overwhelming the birth of a child can be. She also know how extra support during this time helps mom and the rest of the family adjust. Trained to support families in a number of ways, every service Jenn offer’s is geared to help make the prenatal, delivery, and postpartum period easier on families.

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CONTACT:
vanson.maria@gmail.com
401-617-7233