Likis said she became interested in the field
an internship with
er in Alabama.
It’s known as the “Young Whippersnapper
Award,” which might seem appropriate for 2009
winner Frances Estes Likis ’06 (DRPH), a
certified nurse-midwife who has attended more
than 300 births. But the award, more formally
the Kitty Ernst Award, refers more to Likis than
the babies. The American College of Nurse-
Midwives gives it to a midwife certified for less
than 10 years who has demonstrated innovative, creative endeavors in midwifery, women’s
health clinical practice, education, administration or research.
COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF NURSE-MIDWIVES
Frances Estes Likis ’06 dons the signature purple hat
and feather boa presented to the winner of the Kitty
Ernst Award from the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
Likis, who earned her nurse-midwife certification in 2000, has written a popular text,
“I never knew
that you could
attend births without being a physician,” Likis says. “I
didn’t know much
about birth —
maybe having seen it on television. I remember
being totally amazed. I am still totally amazed.
Women’s Gynecologic Health, and serves as editor
of the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health
and associate director of graduate studies for
the Institute of Medicine and Public Health at
1939 by Mary Breckenridge, who was born to
a wealthy, Lexington, Ky., plantation family and
schooled in Europe. After los-
ing two children of her own
to illness, Breckenridge turned
to public health, studied the
conditions of her native state
and devoted herself to train-
ing midwives in rural areas.
The connection between
midwifery and public health
brought Likis to UNC for
her doctorate. She says people
often have a narrow connota-
tion of midwives and the role
they play. “When people
think about midwives, they
think about birth at home,”
Likis says. Her research showed that many
midwives followed their patients before and
after births, in clinics, homes and hospitals. “For
many of us, there is a strong interest in gyne-
I just thought, I want to be there, I want to do
Likis completed her certification at the
Frontier School in Hyden, Ky. , founded in
Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Asked about her current hands-off position as
an editor and educator, Likis laughs: “Right now,
I guess I am helping give birth to midwives.”
Cantor Uses Rhyme for a Reason
A few years ago, in
his role as cantor at
Temple Israel in
Charlotte, he was
asked to join other
staff members in lead-
ing an all-night study
session. Thinking that
spirits might be flag-
ging late into the
decided to present his
sedrah, or reading,
Exodus 10:1–13: 16, in
rap style. It was so
Roochvarg set about
putting the Torah into verse. This year he pub-
lished Well-Versed in Scripture: The First Five
Books of the Bible in Contemporary Rhyme.
“The tone is clearly B-flat, but I transpose
to C,” Roochvarg says, then shifts from wit to
seriousness. “I could have called it Well-Versed
in Torah, but I chose Scripture because I am
hoping that this will appeal to Christian read-
ers as well. I want the playful tone and the
irreverence to be attractive to everyone with-
Cantor Elias Roochvarg ’ 71 likes to
explain his profession with a story. A rabbi asks
his preschool class, “What does the cantor do?”
“He sings!” they respond. “And what does the
rabbi do?” “He announces the pages!”
Roochvarg laughs at that wonderfully literal
view of the Jewish service. His sense of humor
has been a longtime complement to his
singing, which he sees as a creative way to
convey the liturgy, the tenets of religion, to the
congregation. That strategy has led him lately
to some very modern
Elias Roochvarg ’ 71 has a way with words when it comes to his role as cantor. His singing,
raps and rhymes are aimed at making religious tenets accessible to various audiences.
Excerpt of Elias Roochvarg’s rhyme based on
Torah Portion BO, Exodus 10:1–13: 16
. . . From every house in Egypt there arose such a cry!
From Pharaoh on his throne to the cattle in the field,
All the firstborn died. Now the Pharaoh HAD to yield!
In the middle of the night, he summoned Moses & AaRON
And said, “Kumu, tze’u! Get out! Begone!
Take your children & your flocks. Take them all with you!
Oh, & o ne more thing: Would you bless me too?”
The Egyptians urged the slaves to leave in haste.
“Hey man, we’re all dyin’! Just get outta our face!”
We took unleavened dough on this mystery trip,
Very happy to be freed from the taskmasters' whip.
From the dough we baked matzah, as is known by everyone.
There are a few more laws, & then the sedrah is done.
Now what is the lesson we can learn from BO?
Does my poe m have a purpose, or is it only a show? . . .
. . . the Hebrew words, YA’ANENU B’KOL
Mean that God didn’t speak in the same voice to all.
Moses heard one voice, & the elders heard another.
Likewise we, as fathers & mothers,
Need to teach each child in a “voice” he understands
The importance of observing all of God’s commands.
This pedagogic principle, my sister & my brudda,
Is the basis for the story of t he 4 sons in the Haggadah . . .
— Stories by Susan Simone
Read extended pieces in Class Notes:
Dennis Whittle ’ 83, page 83
Robyn S. Hadley ’ 85, page 84
Michael Jordan ’ 86, page 85
Asli Aden Ashkir ’ 87 (MPH)
and Hodan Ibrahim Guled ’00, page 86
J. Calvin Cunningham III ’ 96, page 89
Joanne Kilgour Dowdy ’ 97 (PhD), page 90
Malinda Maynor Lowery ’02 (MA), page 96
Edward Rondthaler ’ 28, page 66
Horace Carter ’ 43, page 68
Maxine McMahon Swalin ’ 72, page 80
Army Pfc. Morris Walker ’08, page 97