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Collaborative Improvement: Conversations Across the Miles

By Ginger Breedlove, CNM, PhD, FACNM, ACNM President

In the last 7 days I have attended 2 meetings over 1000 miles apart, and I’m feeling more energized than ever about the opportunity to tap into shared passions to improve women’s health.

I attended the most recent American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Board of Directors meeting – my first since taking office in June. My initial anxiety was quickly lifted: I was greeted by a welcoming room of caring physicians who were excited to have representation from ACNM at their table. Many of them shared stories of collaboration with midwives during their medical education, from private practice, in hospital settings, and within the military. I felt impressed by the outpouring of support for a stronger team approach to maternity care, and recognition of the need to ensure that midwives are able to practice at a level equal to the fullest extent of our educational training. ACOG is excited to work with ACNM to address the pending workforce shortage to ensure that all women have access to the services they need.

And, they love to have fun. Respect and camaraderie, as well as a healthy sense of humor, emerged during a dinner to honor outgoing board members. This included a “roast” of volunteer leaders featuring unusual photos and symbolic gifts. As I watched this wonderful dinner unfold, I was reminded how very important it is to thank volunteers and those who support them. These personal moments, filled with love and laughter, provide lifelong memories that validate the importance of common work toward a greater good.

Only a few days later, I spoke at the first annual Delivering Change conference, organized in Junction City, KS, by this year’s Kitty Ernst “Whipper Snapper” award winner Terrah Stroda, CNM. Over 100 attendees represented a wide, multi-disciplinary audience from community and military hospitals, local and state health departments, private practice, and other stakeholders. One of the 2 OBGYNs serving Junction City told me that “to have this many people come from out of the region and from more than 3 states is unbelievable.”

I was surprised to hear from many providers whose practices have yet to initiate policies to eliminate elective inductions prior to 39 weeks, do not promote or allow skin-to-skin contact in the first hour after birth, and do not generally promote normal, physiologic birth. Conference attendees were asked to consider the changes needed in their communities and challenged to find partners to start the process. As a Kansas resident, I have decided to do my part by joining the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition.

The past week has been a busy one; full of new experiences, great conversations across the miles, and common refrains that assure me we are on our way to advancing quality maternity care in the United States: partnerships, collaboration, change, teamwork, evidence-based practice, and caring. I hope your week also includes at least one step to advance these changes!

Posted By Barbra Elenbaas | 7/26/2013 4:58:11 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.


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