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Giving Birth to Midwives Newsletter                          February 2013



At a time of year when many programs are gearing up for the next round of student admissions, the Association of Midwifery Educators devotes this issue of Giving Birth to Midwives to the topic of "Admissions." We invited participation from all US-based direct-entry midwifery programs, and share the results of our admissions survey with you. An admissions advisor provides her top tips for midwifery school admissions. One school tells how they have used the admissions process to improve retention rates within their program. We also look more closely at a scholarship offered by one school to broaden perspectives within the classroom.

AME's mission is to strengthen schools and support direct entry midwifery educators through connection, collaboration, and coordination. We invite the participation and collaboration of all midwifery educators - preceptors, academic faculty, and program administrators. Share your feedback with us by email or on Facebook!

- AME Board of Directors

Taking AME 
Association news from the President, Justine Clegg

Since October, AME has been under the excellent management of Susi Delaney, our first Administrative Director. Last fall, when AME's Academic Coordinator Kristin Effland resigned to get married and run her growing midwifery practice, we increased the level of responsibilities, hours and salary for the position. In addition to membership, website and newsletter responsibilities, Susi has created a substantial number of nonprofit policies and procedures. AME is indeed blessed to have the talents and commitment of excellent staff and dedicated Board members.

AME has submitted 5 abstracts for presentations at MANA 2013 in Portland, OR October 24-27: four breakout sessions and a day-long pre-conference workshop "The Preceptor as Educator: Strengthening the CPM Credential" in collaboration with NARM, which was originally offered at MANA 2012 in Asilomar last October. MEAC has submitted an abstract for a four-hour pre-conference workshop and invited AME to participate, to discuss topics related to midwifery education in a roundtable format. We wrote and published the call to midwifery students to submit abstracts for poster presentations. MANA will notify applicants sometime in February about which abstracts have been accepted.

Justine Clegg and Susi Delaney will present three workshops on behalf of AME at the MANA Region 1 conference in Nashua, NH March 1-3. Region 1 includes all of New England.

Mary Yglesia and Justine will represent AME at the Special AMO's Collaboration Meeting April 7-8 in Scottsdale, AZ, to prepare for the US-MERA meeting April 20-22 in Airlie Center, VA. The AMO meeting will be facilitated by Sandra Janoff through the help of a Transforming Birth grant. Justine is on the planning committee. In preparation, AME Board members participated in a focus group on US midwifery and reviewed the "Certified Professional Midwifery: Achieving Common Ground" document, a call for unity to advance midwifery in the US.  

Thanks to outreach from the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC), AME is invited to participate in their SEIG (Special Education Interest Group) meetings by quarterly conference call and to attend an in-person meeting in Portland, OR this June. Board member Wendy Gordon is AME's representative to ACCAHC. When funding permits we plan to become a full-fledged member of this influential group.

Midwifery in general and CPMs in particular stand perched on the cusp of entry into the US health care system as mainstream maternity care providers. AME is committed to help prepare the midwives to meet the anticipated workforce needs of the future. It is in this context that AME, under the leadership of Board member Breyette Lorntz, is engaged in re-visiting our mission, vision, goals and strategic planning, with special emphasis on increasing diversity in midwifery. We are working to fund an in-face AME Board meeting in conjunction with MANA 2013 in order to move forward with this important work.

To serve our educational community, AME plans to develop continuing education courses for CPMs and for midwifery educators to satisfy state DOE requirements for faculty professional development. A FAM grant funded expenses associated with taping the "Preceptor as Educator" workshop at MANA 2012, which we are planning to edit and release in modules. We will be exploring other midwifery educator CEU projects in the months ahead.

Top Ten Tips for Midwifery Admissions Advisors  
by Stephanie Safholm

I thoroughly enjoy my job as an admissions advisor for midwifery students. I enjoy being on the journey with them as they seek out and start something new and something they are so passionate about achieving. I have had the opportunity to be in this position for 7 years - four years of which our program was at the former Seattle Midwifery School and the past three years as part of Bastyr University. At Seattle Midwifery School I was one of 6 staff members of a tuition-supported school. We accepted 14-18 students a year and students graduated with a certificate in midwifery. Now that we are a part of Bastyr University, we offer a Master of Science in Midwifery and accept 18-20 students. My advising duties are basically the same, but now I am part of a larger school and an advising team. 

Improving Retention Rates in Midwifery Education Programs
by Marla Hicks and Gerri Ryan

Whether a school is new or established, student retention as a measure of institutional success is a concern to every midwifery education program. In this article, we would like to share with you some measures that have dramatically improved student retention at  Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery.

During the first few years of our program, we found student retention to be a significant problem. In addressing this issue, personal interviews and program evaluations revealed that our students were generally very satisfied with their midwifery education but were frequently beset by personal challenges. Sometimes students experienced unanticipated changes, such as a spouse's job transfer out of state or a personal or family illness that required the student to withdraw from the program. More often, however, our students' reasons for withdrawal centered around three key areas: time, money, and commitment. Specifically, students most often left the program due to an inability to pay school-related expenses or because of misunderstandings regarding the time and energy needed to successfully complete the academic and clinical requirements of our program.



Admissions at US Midwifery Programs 
by Susi Delaney

In January AME reached out to direct-entry midwifery programs in the U.S. to learn more about their admissions and acceptance policies and processes. The scope of these programs varied greatly, ranging from programs that only offer workshops to midwifery apprentices to correspondence programs, distance-education models, MEAC-accredited programs, non-accredited programs, and colleges and universities with midwifery departments, but all support students training to become non-certified or Certified Professional Midwives. We asked each of these programs about admissions or acceptance policies and processes. Sixteen programs responded to the survey (thank you again to those who participated in the survey - this is an excellent response rate!). The survey responses were informative and can be utilized to improve admissions processes across midwifery programs.

Characteristics of Survey Respondents
The Application Essay
The Use of References
Assessing Prior Experience
Top Qualities in Midwifery Student Candidates
Interviewing Applicants
Diversity in Midwifery Education

Read the full article here>

Increasing Cultural Diversity through Scholarships  

Birthwise Midwifery School, a three-year midwifery certificate program located in Bridgton, Maine, offers up to two Diversity in Midwifery Scholarships to incoming students per cohort. This scholarship funds 30% of a student's tuition throughout the course of the program. AME recently interviewed Heidi Fillmore, Executive Director of Birthwise, to learn more about this scholarship.

Who are these scholarships for?
Recipients of this scholarship must be a member of a distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural community inside or outside the United States that desires to incorporate respectful birthing practices into their community. She (or he) must demonstrate, through an essay, that the community is in need of services that she will subsequently provide as a midwife. She must make a commitment to Birthwise and to her community to return to her community to work as a midwife and help improve conditions for pregnant women and their families when she has completed her training. She has the support of her community, which is evidenced through a letter written by a reference. She has the potential to be a leader in her community. She can demonstrate clear financial need.

Read the full article here>

Issue: 8   
Teaching doll
Taking AME, Association news from the President, Justine Clegg
Top Ten Tips for Midwifery Admissions Advisors
Improving Retention Rates in Midwifery Education Programs
Admissions at US Midwifery Programs
Increasing Cultural Diversity through Scholarships


Find out more about the work we are doing! AME will be holding a phone conference for all members on Sunday, February 24th, 7:00-9:00pm Eastern, 4:00-6:00pm Pacific. Call-in details will be emailed to members soon.

Join Our Mailing List
U.S. Direct-Entry Midwifery Programs  For a directory of midwifery programs based in the United States, click here.


The College Completion Dilemma: 10 Potential Solutions

Journal of College Admission-This online journal features articles addressing relevant issues within the field of admissions counseling.

Westman, C., & Bouman P. (2009), Sharing the Campus Experience: Hosting Effective Campus Visits. Washington D.C.: American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

We update our resources regularly! Do you know of resources that are helpful to other midwifery educators? Or, are you seeking particular resources that are not currently available on the website? Send your ideas to  info@association


AME is always looking for talented individuals to join us. If you are interested
in volunteering for a project or learning more about being on the Board of Directors, contact
Justine Clegg at  info@association

Join AME 


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Among us there is a wealth of expertise and knowledge. Sharing is the best way for us to strengthen midwifery education and to form strong bonds between educators. Together, we truly are greater than the sum of our parts. We welcome your articles, resources, or suggestions for themes or articles for the future.  
Contact us here if you have ideas or information to share. 

Association of Midwifery Educators