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2020: The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife (2020 YNM)! To say we’re ecstatic about this designation is an understatement, especially since it speaks to the professions we so proudly represent. The WHO 2020 YNM designation comes at both an opportune and critical time and provides us with a unique opportunity to inform the public – future consumers, women, individuals, families, policymakers, potential stakeholder partners – about the value of midwifery-led care as provided by certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs).

It’s no secret that the United States is in the midst of a growing maternal health crisis. The statistics are staggering. Maternal mortality rates continue to rise in the U.S. while decreasing globally. More women die from pregnancy-related complications in the U.S. than in any other developed country, and the rate of preventable maternal deaths continues to rise. Major disparities in maternal mortality exist, with black women three to four times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to die during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Moreover, for every maternal death that occurs, an estimated 100 other women suffer severe complications of pregnancy or childbirth. There are many factors contributing to these statistics, including a shortage of qualified maternal and women’s clinicians.

We know that better integration of midwives and the midwifery model of care into health systems is fundamental to reducing primary and maternity care provider shortages, improving maternal health outcomes and addressing racial and ethnic inequality deeply rooted in our country’s foundation.

ACNM works to support the practice of midwives by promoting accredited education, research, and advocacy that advances clinical excellence and the expansion of a diverse midwifery workforce. Through initiatives such as the Healthy Birth Initiative: Reducing Primary Cesareans Project and our role in developing interprofessional education (IPE) models that lead to an increase in the interprofessional maternity workforce, ACNM is working to promote optimal pregnancy, physiologic birth, postpartum care, expand access to midwives and brand midwifery care as an important option for healthcare services throughout the lifespan. After all, EVERYONE deserves to experience the magic of midwifery!


Activities Planned for 2020 YNM

  • Kicking off YNM by celebrating the first midwifery-led care provided in the new year. See highlights below!
  • Sharing one midwife’s story on ACNM’s social media accounts each week. We will highlight the diversity and uniqueness of our member CNMs and CMs. Explore all the stories on Quickening.
  • Celebrating the contributions of male midwives: Check out the article in USA Today! Through USA Today, targeted distribution, and online/social media outlets, this publication will reach an estimated 1.2 million readers.
  • Providing 10 free memberships for recent graduates of ACME-accredited midwifery education programs.
  • Providing $1 3-month trial memberships for new members to enjoy a taste of ACNM membership.
  • Hosting Student Awareness Month in March, with virtual meetings held for midwifery students to learn about ACNM, offerings for student members, and our strategic priorities and activities for 2020.
  • Publishing a special 2020 Quickening print issue for subscribers, celebrating the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
  • Working with state affiliates to designate a high school where midwives in their state can talk to students/potential midwives about midwifery.
  • Developing a flyer telling the story of a midwife and describing the importance of midwifery, for public dissemination.
  • Creating a special 2020 YNM pin for midwives.
  • Engaging ACNM members to share “What Midwifery Means to Me” in short videos on social media.
  • Working with local news and radio stations to share YNM stories.
  • Developing initiatives to increase diversity across ACNM membership.
  • Using targeted Facebook ads to share the value of midwifery in relation to YNM, the 2020 Annual Meeting, and ACNM membership.
  • Collaborating with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and other maternal health organizations to bring awareness to maternal health disparities and inequities.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is 2020 designated as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife?

The World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO), designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife to advance nurses’ and midwives’ vital position in transforming healthcare around the world. It also is in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.

What is ACNM’s role in the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife?


This global call to action reflects a need to elevate and recognize the midwifery profession both nationally and globally. Throughout the year, ACNM will aim to recognize midwives as they excel, lead, and innovate wherever they practice. This focus will raise the visibility of the profession in policy dialogue and lead to greater investment in the development and increased capacity of the midwifery workforce.

What are ACNM’s goals for the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife?


During this year, ACNM will focus on celebrating the achievements of CNMs/CMs, sharing the value of the midwifery profession with the public and potential future midwives, advocating for better integration of midwives and the midwifery model of care into health systems, and raising awareness about physiologic birth and maternal health.

How can I participate in the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife?


If you aren’t already an ACNM member, become a member for access to a variety of resources and special opportunities during this landmark year. If you’re an organization, consider becoming a 2020 YNM sponsor. Join the social conversation using the #YearoftheNurseandMidwife hashtag. Share a 30-second video describing “What Midwifery Means to Me.” Attend the 2020 ACNM Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Austin, TX. And keep an eye out for more ways to participate throughout the year!


Celebrating the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife


January 1 Social Media Contest

Thank you to everyone who participated in our January 1 call for photos and videos sharing the first midwifery-led care of the new year! Here are some highlights:



Black History Month



Student Awareness Month

ACNM Students are the future of midwifery and our professional association. During the month of March ACNM will hold four virtual meetings specifically for midwifery students. Learn about ACNM, our ongoing advocacy efforts, offerings for student members, and our strategic priorities and activities for 2020, and meet our talented staff. Students can register for one of the meetings using the links below. Directors of Midwifery Education Programs are encouraged to share this invitation with their students as a professional development opportunity.

Meeting #1: Thursday, March 5, 11:00 AM – noon EST
Meeting #2: Wednesday, March 11, noon – 1:00 PM EST
Meeting #3: Monday, March 16, 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST
Meeting #4: Thursday, March 26, 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST




American College of Nurse-Midwives
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Phone: 240.485.1800 Fax: 240.485.1818
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