Leseliey Welch, MPH, MBA

Leseliey (she/her) is a public health leader with a business mind and a visionary heart, holding love as a guiding value, a way of being, an action and a politic. Leseliey is Co-founder of Birth Detroit and Birth Center Equity, a mom and a tireless advocate for work that makes communities stronger, healthier and more free.

Leseliey leads a team of birth workers, birth advocates and community leaders planning Detroit’s first freestanding community birth center Birth Detroit, and is proud of the launch of Birth Center Equity to grow and sustain birth centers led by Black, Indigenous and people of color across the country. She has nearly two decades of leadership experience in city, state and national health organizations. She served as interim executive director of Birthing Project USA, Deputy Director of Public Health for the City of Detroit, and consulted in the development of Michigan’s first comprehensive LGBTQ health center.

Leseliey has taught at the university level for over fifteen years, contributing to the development of Wayne State University’s Bachelor’s in Public Health Program and creating courses on numerous health equity topics for undergraduate and master’s level public health students, medical students and medical residents. Leseliey currently lectures in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies, Masters in Public Health with a certificate in Women’s and Reproductive Health, and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.

A Michigander by birth and a world citizen in spirit, Leseliey resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with her wife and two children and loves global travel.



Birth Detroit


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The mission of Birth Detroit is to midwife safe, quality, loving care through pregnancy, birth and beyond. Birth Detroit opened its first community midwifery clinic in fall 2020 and continues to fundraise for the birth center to open in 2023.  

Birth Center Equity


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Birth Center Equity is a catalyst, accelerating innovative strategies to grow abundant community birth infrastructure for generations to come.





"We dream of a world where birth is safe, sacred, loving and celebrated for everyone."

“We have all of the evidence and data to say

the midwifery model of care works.” 



What would you pay to feel safe during childbirth?

by Rheana Murray, December 10, 2020

Good Birth For All

Interview with Leseliey Welch & Nashira Baril

by Marinah Farrell, May 31, 2020

Rewire News, 2020

Birth Centers are Crucial for Communities of Color, Especially in a Pandemic

by Leseliey Welch and Nashira Baril, April 15, 2020

America Dissected

Cradle And All

by Abdul El-Sayed, October 28, 2019

Detroit Today, 2019

We Need to Rethink How Women of Color Receive Healthcare

by Detroit Today, August 13, 2019

NPR Stateside, 2019 

How Michigan’s urban, rural communities are trying to reduce infant mortality disparities

by NPR Staff, May 2, 2019

The University Record, 2019

Lecturer aims to combat health care disparities in local communities

by The University Record, April 29, 2019




Leading Feminism

University of Michigan, Department of Women's and Gender Studies

What is leadership? What does leadership look like in pandemic, growing racial and economic injustice and political upheaval? How do we understand dynamics of race, gender, power, influence and intersectionality? What new worlds do we dream and who do we need to be to midwife them into being? Leading Feminism explores leadership for a new world in historical, social and cultural context. Foundational texts examine leadership through the lens of critical social theory and invite personal exploration of embodied leadership; and students’ choice selections offer a deep dive into the leadership journeys of some of the most dynamic leaders of our time.

Nonprofit Management, Community Engagement & Feminist Practice 

University of Michigan , Department of Women's and Gender Studies

WGS350: Nonprofit Management, Community Engagement and Feminist Practice aims to address the gaps and misconceptions that often exist between feminism as an academic discourse and feminism in practice. Through classroom engagement and community involvement, students will explore the intersection of feminism in theory and feminism in practice as it pertains to working to improve the lives of women and their communities. Students will learn nonprofit management basics, think critically about present and future nonprofit structures and community engagement, and explore the applicability of feminist practice onto each. WGS350 students commit to an action-learning project (individually, in teams, or with a nonprofit organization of their choice) as well as to active participation in the virtual classroom. Students will have the opportunity to dialogue with nonprofit organization founders and leaders from diverse backgrounds and learn about nonprofit management and community engagement from a variety of perspectives. Through readings, action-learning projects and facilitated reflection, this course endeavors to nurture and facilitate: critical thinking about service, non-profit organizations, feminisms, and their relationships to social change; consideration of how feminist thought can be applied to work in communities and how communities can inform feminist thought; and the development of skills for working effectively within community based organizations and with communities around issues that affect women’s lives.



  • Population Health Leadership 

  • LGBTQ Health 

  • Social Determinants of Population Health

  • Principals and Practice of Population Health

  • Urban Public Health Leadership

  • Introduction to Public Health

  • Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health