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For Immediate Release
April 11, 2013
Contact: Barbra Elenbaas
(240) 485-1822, [email protected]

ACNM Member Among First-Ever REAL Award Winners Honored on Capitol Hill

Midwife Recognized for Exemplary Service to Maternal and Child Health Care

Silver Spring, MD – American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) member Melissa Courtney, CNM, was among 9 outstanding US health workers honored today in Washington, DC as the inaugural recipients of The REAL Awards – a new distinction from Save the Children. The award recognizes frontline health workers for their extraordinary service and the lifesaving care they provide globally, as well as in the United States.

Courtney, a 14-year practitioner of women’s health, founded WomanKind Midwifery in Lexington, Kentucky. She was nominated for the REAL Awards by a former client. “I feel very honored,” Courtney said.“It is amazing and a reward in itself to know that a patient feels that what I do every day, caring for women, is life-changing to them.”

The awards presentation featured Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

ACNM Vice President of Global Outreach Suzanne Stalls, CNM, closed the presentation with a brief talk on how midwifery’s unique attributes may present a solution to both domestic and global maternal and child health issues. Stalls noted that barriers to midwifery practice are parallel in the two settings, but occur for contrasting reasons: high-resource US midwives are often overlooked in favor of physicians, while midwives in developing countries – the default providers of maternal-child health care – cannot access lifesaving interventions.

“Midwifery care occupies a middle ground that can make significant improvements on opposite ends of the spectrum,” said Stalls. “ACNM is involved in ongoing efforts to increase the midwifery workforce and its access to resources in order to implement these improvements.”

By some estimates, the world is lacking more than 5 million health workers, including one million frontline health workers; the US shortage alone is expected to reach 45,000 by 2020, after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The REAL Awards presentation coincides with World Health Worker Week, which aims to mobilize communities, partners, and policymakers in support of health workers across the globe.


About the American College of Nurse-Midwives

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is the professional association that represents certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) in the United States. With roots dating to 1929, ACNM sets the standard for excellence in midwifery education and practice in the United States and strengthens the capacity of midwives in developing countries. Our members are primary care providers for women throughout the lifespan, with a special emphasis on pregnancy, childbirth, and gynecologic and reproductive health. ACNM reviews research, administers and promotes continuing education programs, and works with organizations, state and federal agencies, and members of Congress to advance the well-being of women and infants through the practice of midwifery.

For more information, please contact ACNM at (240) 485-1822.


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