Return to Newsroom & Events > Get Connected

A New Way Forward

by Ginger Breedlove, CNM, PhD, ARNP, FACNM, ACNM President

As the year ends, we often reflect on the highlights as well as the challenges we’ve faced, while looking forward to the new opportunities. In my first 6 months as President of ACNM, I quickly learned that I had not fully realized the extent of my role until the day I took office, when questions, requests, and travel obligations began to emerge in rapid-fire succession. I’m not sure anyone can fully prepare for this whirlwind pace. However, the work of our tremendously talented ACNM staff and volunteer leaders demonstrated, time and time again, their effectiveness in responding to our members, affiliate leaders, and other organizations at the national level. Thank you to our amazing ACNM team!

My travels took me to several affiliate events, ACOG and ANA meetings, Midwifery Works!, Canadian Association of Midwives meeting, and several times to the national office. I heard common challenges emerge in caring for women as I listened to midwives, physicians, and other interested parties – topics like the approaching workforce shortage, significant professional burnout, seamless transfer of care, scope of practice and autonomy of the midwifery profession, and finding consensus in defining midwifery as described by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in 2011.

How will we meet these challenges and turn them into opportunities for ACNM in 2014?

I believe an important step is to become the highest-functioning organization we can possibly be to meet our ambitious goals. I have been reviewing various approaches to becoming a great organization and the Carver Policy Governance® model is a standout. After 6 months of discussion, the ACNM Board of Directors agreed to move toward a new method of leadership using this model. This method offers an empowering approach with specific ways to be forward-thinking, value-oriented, and member-driven. Although full implementation will take time, the board is moving into “study mode” to learn these new governing leadership strategies. We believe that shifting to this method of governance will allow us to work more effectively on behalf of members than ever before. We also encourage ACNM affiliate organizations to also think about their own quality improvement and how they can better connect with and provide value to their members.

ACNM is also launching diversification and inclusion initiatives across all sectors of our association. We will continue to collaborate on strategy and capacity-building with ACOG, US Midwifery Education, Regulation and Association (US MERA), ICM, the US Home Birth Summit initiative, and other national organizations.

Major change takes time. Organizations must thoroughly think through the “story” that makes the change worthwhile. Once the story becomes clear, it’s important to share that story with all members involved in making change happen. Change at ACNM cannot occur without your understanding, support, and involvement. My hope is that we focus our attention on new practices, rather than holding fast to old models that do not work. We may also find a “third way” to move forward collaboratively and guide comprehensive care for all women – not their way or our way, but a NEW way!

If you are considering New Year resolutions, I would encourage all midwives to listen and become involved in a variety of purposeful conversations to help create that new way. I am looking forward to hearing and learning more in the year ahead!

Happy Holidays!

Posted By Barbra Elenbaas | 12/20/2013 12:39:36 PM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


American College of Nurse-Midwives.
8403 Colesville Rd, Suite 1550 | Silver Spring MD 20910
Phone: 240-485-1800 | Fax: 240-485-1818
Follow Us