Cecilia Jevitt, CNM, PhD, FACNM
Candidate for President-Elect
Read Cecilia’s CV here
Question: What challenges to midwifery practice have you observed/experienced either nationally or in your region, and what solutions would you suggest or implement to eliminate that barrier?
Answer: The same community, state, and federal-level problems have plagued the reinstitution of US midwifery for a century: lack of public recognition and knowledge about professional midwifery; lack of legal support for practice including unsupportive health regulations, minimal federal education financing, and insufficient third party reimbursement; and a lack of diversity in midwives that limits women’s choices in culturally familiar midwifery providers.
Lamenting the limitations to midwifery practice ignores the tremendous growth of ACNM and its successes against obstacles to practice. Midwifery’s challenges have a common cure: more midwives, diverse midwives – a critical mass that works together to continue practice expansion and legal recognition within the health care reform embedded in the Affordable Health Care Act. More midwives ameliorates the loss of Boomer midwives through retirement, a part of the looming shortage of all types of women’s health providers. Through ACNM support, working together with organizations such as ACOG, every member can contribute to expanding midwifery by precepting students, encouraging legislative action, and developing new practice models.
Additionally, midwifery faces 2 unfolding challenges: unprecedented technological change in health care and the 4 generation work place. From ultrasound to genetic testing, American midwifery has expanded practice by incorporating emerging technologies. It is midwifery’s challenge to preserve cultural knowledge of physiologic menarche, birth, and menopause while integrating the developing technologies requested by some women. Each generation of midwives has unique knowledge grounded in historical eras. Midwifery can maximize the 4 generation workplace as experienced midwives pass along traditional low-technology care while the digital natives adapt midwifery practice to emerging technologies.
The solutions to midwifery’s challenges are in ourselves. I would be honored to serve the ACNM membership as we preserve traditional midwifery while adapting practice to provide the best of care for women.