Our Staff and Support Team


Misty Ward

Certified Professional Midwife, Owner, Clinical Director

BrookhavenMarketing33I began my path to midwifery at the age of 16 after attending the birth of my nephew. When I was supposed to be doing
my algebra homework I was reading pregnancy related books! For Christmas 2000 my dear friend Melanie Copeland gave me a copy of Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. I was immediately hooked
and knew that midwifery outside of the hospital was where I belonged.

Soon after, I began my midwifery studies while also completing my bachelors degree at Eastern Mennonite University, getting married, and giving birth to my own two children! Those were busy years and so very precious.

My midwifery training has been a reflection of my commitment to caring service: I have worked with 9 different Virginia midwives, volunteered with Medical Ministry International (Dominican Republic),  African Birth Collective (Senegal), interned at Casa de Nacimiento (El Paso, TX), and birth assisted at  Heartland Health Clinic (Dayton, VA). I have attended over 500 births and thousands of prenatal and postpartum visits.




Emily Friar

Certified Professional Midwife, Licensed Midwife

I’ve had an interest in birth since childhood.   At the age of nineteen, while browsing through various book titles at a local bookstore, I discovered ‘Spiritual Midwifery’ by Ina May Gaskin. Like others, I was captivated by the images and words written by women fully engaged in the birthing process; welcoming and celebrating the process of childbirth. Several books on childbirth later, I began my midwifery studies at the National College of Midwifery and the Northern New Mexico Women’s Health & Birth Center in Taos, New Mexico. Having graduated and completed my training, I sat for the NARM exam in August of 2003 achieving the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential. Later that year, I became a mother with the birth of our son, born at home into the hands of a midwife and friend.

In 2006, I opened a small community home birth practice, Rockbridge Midwifery. Over the years I’ve enjoyed caring for women and their families, while also growing my own family with the birth of our second son in 2006 and our daughter in 2012.

Birth is powerful as are women! I believe in the intuition of mothers and that birth works best when a woman is in the environment she feels safest, with the people of her choosing. I’m happy to be working with the families of Brookhaven as we collaborate for the safest and most satisfying birth possible in the birth center or at home.

I am licensed to practice midwifery by the Virginia Board of Medicine, certified in neonatal resuscitation and adult CPR and a member of the Virginia Midwives Alliance.


Erin Parish-Gibson

Certified Nurse Midwife

I was a Labor and Delivery nurse for over 10 years before seriously considering becoming a midwife. When my best friend since high school became pregnant, the first piece of advice I gave her was to find a midwife. When that wasn’t an option with her insurance, I found myself trying to fill in the gaps I saw in her care- especially the educational and confidence building parts. When my support as her doula couldn’t prevent a labor full of interventions which culminated in an unnecessary C section, I knew I needed to do more to make respectful, supportive care available to all women. A few weeks before Collin’s first birthday, I began my first Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) courses at Frontier Nursing University.

Many of my FNU courses included information about out of hospital birth. At the same time, I was working in a very midwifery- friendly hospital in North Carolina where many of the midwives also attended home births and the facility included low intervention suites for water births. This opened my eyes to how beautifully unique and empowering birth could be, but I felt I needed more experience as a midwife before someday pursuing my dream job in a birth center.  To get this experience, I took a hospital position in Maryland starting 2015 where I attended over 200 births.

“Someday” took on a new sense of urgency when I became pregnant with my daughter. After spending some time with Misty and the other Brookhaven ladies, I instinctively felt this was the kind of care I HAD to have for my family. I also knew I needed to be able to provide this type of care, starting immediately! We moved to Grottoes during my third trimester and little Roxie Elisabeth was born in the Willow suite August 11, 2017. She was guided earthside by Misty, with help from Emily and Savannah. The transition to motherhood would have been impossible without all the support from my Brookhaven family.  I am thrilled to be joining the practice as its first CNM! I look forward to building relationships here in Harrisonburg and providing individualized care to women from adolescence through menopause, as well as family centered pregnancy and birth.




Heather Brown

Office Manager, Billing Specialist

IMG_2799I am a Harrisonburg native and currently live in Rockingham County with my husband and two super busy boys. I decided to become a part of Brookhaven Birth Center stemming from my own birth experiences and desire for more natural pregnancy and delivery.

I knew from the moment I discovered I was pregnant with both of my children that I would hire a midwife for my care. After having two natural hospital births I still somehow felt as if something was missing from my experiences. I wanted more options of birthing positions, being able to deliver in water, laboring at my own pace, and generally feeling more freedom. Having those options at Brookhaven, along with many others, are the reasons I feel blessed to have the honor of helping families achieve the birth experiences that they desire.


Alice Dunn

Office Assistant

The Commoneer Photography

I was introduced to Brookhaven in the fall of 2015, but I’ve been surrounded by stories of natural birth my entire life. My mother has had 5 births and I was raised with an understanding that a woman’s body is capable and excels in childbirth. When I discovered that I was pregnant, I knew that an out of hospital birth would be ideal for my family. My husband and I were excited to find Brookhaven and in late 2015 our son was born in the Willow suite!

Brookhaven provided me with such great care and community and I’m thrilled to be a part of bringing that to other families in the community.


Danika Johnson

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant,
Midwife Apprentice

My interest in midwifery was sparked after my first son was born in 2007. My prenatal care and delivery left me with a feeling that I had no control in my care and my wishes and feelings were brushed off by my provider. Once I became pregnant a second time I automatically knew our family would pursue care through a midwife. We had an amazing experience and delivery of our twins. By the time our fourth child came along I was a huge advocate for midwifery care and felt a strong calling to help other women have the same fulfilling experiences I had with my last two pregnancies.

Hand in hand with midwifery I am a strong breastfeeding advocate. The bond between a mother and baby is like no other. I have been working as a breastfeeding counselor since 2014 helping breastfeeding dyads overcome barriers and reach their breastfeeding goals. I have attended Blue Ridge Community College to expand my knowledge in the Health and Sciences field and completed enough lactation education training hours that I recently passed my IBCLC exam. You can learn more about lactation services here.

I am beyond thrilled to begin my midwifery apprenticeship with the amazing staff at Brookhaven!



Christina Hawthorn

Midwifery Student

I am a midwifery student finishing my second year at Birthwise Midwifery School, where I’ve taken academic classes, been involved in providing care for birthing people and families, and certified in basic life support and neonatal resuscitation. In addition to my midwifery education, I’ve been supporting families through the childbearing year since 2009 as a doula, childbirth educator, and writer. I am originally from California, but I’ve also lived in Maryland, Hawaii, Ohio, and Maine before moving to Virginia. I also have a degree in history, where I focused on the role of women in Late Classic Maya art – while it was fun, I knew I wouldn’t pursue history further in that form. Two years after finishing that degree, my son was born via cesarean (in 2009), and my daughter was born in a cabin in the woods in 2011. While I’d always been fascinated with birth and the amazing things our bodies can do, those birth experiences gave me the impetus to seriously pursue midwifery, and the opportunities to do so came along in time. I’m delighted to be furthering my education with Brookhaven!



Erin Hurst LMT, BCTMB

 Erin Hurst is a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), in addition to being Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB), the highest credential in the Massage Therapy and Bodywork profession. Erin is also a Certified Nurturing the Mother® Pregnancy Massage Therapist. She lives in Keezletown, with her husband and two girls, both of whom were born with help of the women at Brookhaven. Please call or text 540.746.3414 for scheduling or pricing enquiries.