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The Bubbe Hannah Fund of The Midwife Center for Birth & Women’s Health supports programs and services for individuals who are vulnerable to poor health outcomes or who experience barriers to quality health care. The fund is named in honor of Hannah Sandusky (aka Bubbe Hannah), an ancestor of the Raphael Family and a midwife in the Hill District of Pittsburgh in the late 1800s.

Contribute to The Bubbe Hannah Fund

We accept gifts to the fund in a variety of ways:

Please contact Rachel Dingfelder, Development Coordinator at 412.321.6880 x208 to discuss additional ways to give, including planned giving.

About the fund

The fund supports programs and services of The Midwife Center, including:

  • With Woman Fridays/Con Mujeres, a walk-in program every Friday, which makes primary gynecological care accessible to individuals who experience barriers to quality care.
  • Con Mujeres, a walk-in gynecological program once per month for individuals who speak Spanish.
  • Prenatal care, childbirth, primary gynecological care, and behavioral health services for individuals without insurance, who are under-insured, and/or low-income.
  • Postpartum phone counseling, which allows us to help new mothers and mothers in need of additional support.
  • Class scholarships, which ensure that families can access to important classes like Childbearing, Breastfeeding, and Newborn Care. 


Since The Midwife Center became an independent nonprofit organization in 2000, it has worked to consistently provide excellent and personalized care to hundreds of individuals and families, including those with barriers to receiving quality healthcare. 

Fund history

In 2005, The Midwife Center established its Women’s Health Fund to support programs and services for individuals who are vulnerable to poor health outcomes. A few years later in 2009, The Midwife Center launched the Beginnings Campaign to fortify the center with the resources it needs to ensure that it enters the next decade as strong as possible.

The Beginnings Campaign was designed to address three important areas of The Midwife Center: improve the center's infrastructure; launch a public information campaign about the benefits of midwifery and birth center care; and build an operating reserve for the Women's Health Fund. Significant individual donor support came from the Raphael family. In appreciation of their generous contribution, the Women’s Health Fund was renamed the Bubbe Hannah Fund, in honor of their ancestor, Hannah Sandusky (aka “Bubbe Hannah"), who was a midwife in the Hill District over 100 years ago.

About Bubbe Hannah

Bubbe Hannah Sandusky was more than a midwife to the European Jewish community in the Hill District during the late 19th century. Born in 1827 in the Kovno province of Lithuania, Hannah immigrated to Pittsburgh with her husband and son in 1861. She brought with her a rich knowledge of midwifery that she learned from observing her mother in their small village.

Bubbe Hannah’s traditional techniques were so effective that local doctors often consulted Hannah about complicated deliveries, and even observed her before learning how to deliver babies themselves. But Bubbe Hannah, as she was lovingly called by the European Jewish community of Pittsburgh (“bubbe” or “bobba” is the Yiddish term for “granny”), did more than merely deliver well over 3,500 registered births during her time as a midwife in our city.

Hannah was known as “the angel” or “the saint” to the families she helped. Her skills in delivery were surpassed only by her generosity. She never accepted payment for her work, and would provide for the newborns she delivered out of her own pocket if their families could not. Having attended a school of midwifery in Germany, where she traveled to seek treatment for her son’s eye troubles after some years in Pittsburgh, Hannah Sandusky was America’s first credentialed midwife. But as one of the first of the American Jewish midwives, her traditional role as a midwife extended into the community, to which she provided advice to the troubled, consolation to the mourning, and even matchmaking skills in addition to her primary vocation of midwifery. Her knowledge and compassion brought thousands into the world with care and grace over a century ago, and through the Bubbe Hannah Fund her good work can continue.

Like Hannah Sandusky, The Midwife Center strives to provide all with quality birth care, even if they lack the means. The legacy that Bubbe Hannah has left with the city of Pittsburgh will continue to provide families with a solid foundation for their newborns. The Midwife Center is proud to uphold Bubbe Hannah’s tradition of generosity.

Learn more about Bubbe Hannah

Fund contact

Christine Haas, Executive Director - c.haas@midwifecenter.org or 412.3212.6884
Rachel Dingfelder, Development Coordinator - r.dingfelder@midwifecenter.org or 412.321.6880 x208

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