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Christina Kocis, CNM, DNP

Candidate for Region I Representative

See Chris' 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 challenge to midwifery practice?

Answer: One of the most significant obstacles to midwifery practice both nationally and across our region is the difficulty midwives encounter when seeking hospital privileges. This contributes to disparities in the geographic distribution of available midwifery services, adding to the gaps of maternity services in many underserved areas in our region. This lack of opportunity and inability of many midwives to practice independently within the scope of their licenses then drives them away from these underserved areas furthering inequities in health care access.

Midwives have the unique opportunity to address this failure of health care institutions and systems through political action as well as public education supported by evidence. I would first recommend using existing resources, many available through ACNM, to address these issues. The “Midwifery Value Proposition” provides resources that are data driven and can speak to the economic and financial concerns communicated by credentialing institutions and insurers. Many of the Our Moment of Truth and ACNM Healthy Birth Initiative® publications can be used to dialogue with institutional leadership and the public regarding the benefit of midwifery care in affecting positive health outcomes. Finally, the recently published Lancet Series endorsing midwifery care should be disseminated to all involved in maternity care in this country.

I have successfully used many of these tools in the promotion of our practice and in assisting others in “getting started” and would relish the opportunity to serve a wider community of midwife colleagues through the role of Region I Representative. I would like to support organized and robust political activity within our region and believe this role provides a platform for that activity. Thanks for your consideration!

Candidate Interview with ACNM Student Representative

Tell us in 1-2 sentences why you want to serve on the board.

I want to serve on the board because I really believe it is important to make personal contributions to the work of our national organization, which benefits not only our members but all midwives. And it is a way to pay it forward for the benefits I’ve received from ACNM.

Why do you think you are a good fit for the role of Region Representative?

I’ve been practicing for 18 years as a midwife and I’ve served as a practice director in an ever growing midwifery practice, starting out with 4 midwives and now we have 14. I have a lot of experience and success in addressing and overcoming challenges. I’ve also been involved in institutional quality improvement projects, served nationally as president of the Midwifery Business Network. With these experiences, I have had many opportunities to be involved not only locally, but across the region and across the country.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to encourage a democratic process when I work with my team because I believe it is very important that everyone feels they have a voice and to develop and mutual sense of ownership of our work. I have a fabulous team of midwives and I think I’ve been fairly successful in providing motivation to get the work done that we need to reach our goals. And of course, I aspire someday to be transformational.

What do you consider your greatest priority in your region and how would you engage with your region if elected?

I believe access to midwifery care is a priority and I think it is a two-fold issue. First we need to increase opportunities for midwives to freely provide quality care to the full scope of their licensure, across all practice settings, not just in large university hospitals, but also community hospitals, private practice and homebirth settings. There is still a lot of work we need to do to make public the great benefits of midwifery care, from both a healthcare cost saving perspective to improved outcomes. Second, we need to make the public aware that midwifery is an option for them. We can do this by engaging with the midwives in various states to address their specific needs and draw from the success of others to create strategies to meet these needs. When we work together our voice is much louder and we can get much more done. I think the ACNM has phenomenal tools and resources that we need to continue to get out there, make midwives aware that they are available and then share innovative ways to use them. I think that there are many common needs across the states and if we could develop a coordinated effort in our regions to address these needs, there really is no limit to what we can achieve.

What do you see as ACNM’s greatest current challenge and what strategies would you advocate to use to address these challenges?

I think there are many challenges, or opportunities if you want to look at it in a different way. One of the big challenges is being a big enough political player to really influence the direction and vision of key stakeholders in our countries healthcare. If you ever listen to a presentation by the passionate and dedicated Jesse Bushman, the director of advocacy and governmental affairs at ACNM, you would absolutely agree that we need to invest more resources in this kind of work. It is so incredibly powerful and really has the ability to create such change that we would then need to tactile the problem of not having enough midwives to fill the demand that it would create. There’s a huge opportunity out there and we really need to be ready.

How do you envision this position on the board enhancing your own skills?

Anytime you engage with other midwives, you have an opportunity to learn and grow through sharing experiences and collaborative work on mutually important initiatives. It’s a chance to gain a great perspective and also a way to move midwifery in general forward. We still have a lot of work to do and I would like to continue forward with that effort.

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