Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
ACNM Strategic Plan and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB)
The ACNM 2015 - 2020 Strategic Plan
identifies diversification and inclusion as one of ACNM's five core commitments. This commitment clearly states that ACNM embraces diversity and inclusion in our profession and organization at every level to meet the needs of a diverse US population and so that all CNMs and CMs feel welcome and able to contribute to the profession. We included strategies throughout the plan to develop a deeper understanding of how to be more welcoming to midwives of color and others who have been traditionally underrepresented in ACNM. We also committed to creating greater transparency in the leadership process so that every member is able to participate fully in ACNM affiliates and the national organization.
As we develop our 2021 – 2025 Strategic Plan, we will continue to place a priority on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging with an emphasis on anti-racism.
ACNM formed a D&I Task Force in 2012 to provide an understanding of the strengths and barriers in our organization related to diversification and inclusion and to begin to develop a strategy to become a more diverse and inclusive organization. In 2013, the Task Force selected Jodi DeLibertis of Greater Good Consulting to assist in developing this strategy. The work of the Task Force and the consultancy included personal interviews, focus groups, and a survey of ACNM members, as well as observations about how ACNM functions as an organization. The Task Force has also provided a number of programs, activities and communications for ACNM members at the ACNM Annual Meeting, Midwifery Works, and Quickening.
September 2020 Highlights
- Hosted the 2020 Inclusion Conference: Dare to Think Different. View the program.
- Hosting a Listening Townhall Session, September 22nd at 8 PM ET for members to bring thoughts, ideas, and/or concerns regarding the organization's efforts over the last few months. Register here.
August 2020 Highlights
- ACNM signs on to letter demanding that Congressional leaders take action in support of Black Reproductive Justice leaders and the Movement for Black Lives. Read the letter here.
- Racism in Midwifery Education Task Force holds its first meeting.
- Opened registration for the virtual 2020 Inclusion Conference, September 13 - 14, 2020.
- The Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health releases its Racism, Antiracism, and Racial Equity article library.
- Developed ACNM's Anti-Racism Roadmap for Change, highlighting the actions we have taken, are taking, and plan to take to address systemic racism. This roadmap will be continuously updated as tasks are completed.
Anti-Racism Webinar Series
View upcoming and past webinars on our Meetings & Events page
Prejudicial and discriminatory practices and policies remain deeply entrenched in our nation. These structural forces perpetuate racism and race-based disparities in midwifery and contribute to inequities in reproductive health and negative health outcomes for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color. ACNM stands accountable for the pain that has occurred as a result of racism in our history, our midwifery programs, and our organization. ACNM is committed to the work of dismantling structural racism by recognizing and addressing historical and current racism within midwifery education, clinical practice, and institutions including ACNM.
We call on our organization, midwifery programs, and members to prioritize supporting our friends, families, students, colleagues, communities, each other, and most especially, those who do not have the privilege of looking away from the fear, the trauma, and the grief. We are all created equal. We must all hold ourselves accountable and fervently defend the basic human right of all people to be treated with dignity, decency, and respect in environments and through interactions characterized by mutual trust, fairness, and the absence of intimidation, oppression, and exploitation.
The ACNM Board charged three respective committees, the Ethics Committee, Midwives of Color Committee (MOCC), and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee (DEIB), with jointly developing a resolution of truth and reconciliation regarding ACNM's history of racism. This critically mindful work will require time and consensus to address our history and outline guiding principles for the way forward.
As this work progresses, ACNM will continue to recognize our desire and commitment to do better than our past. We will begin to step into our truth; a truth that has caused pain as a result of racism in our history, in our midwifery programs, and in our organization. A truth that created a hierarchical system which continues to perpetuate harm and marginalization. A truth that has hindered us from acknowledging our racist past and from caring for all our members equally and equitably. A truth that has delayed the urgent need to address the issues and experiences that students of color are having in midwifery education programs.
The road to reconciliation and recovery is not an easy one, but it is imperative if we are to care for our communities, the people we serve, and our profession. It is imperative if we are to live up to the standards of midwifery care, a commitment to providing the highest levels of compassionate care to another human soul. We will face challenges related to implementing changes that must be made if we are to truly become an antiracist, open organization that welcomes all midwives. There will be pushback from some members that don’t understand or are not willing to understand concepts such as white privilege, microaggression, systemic racism, discrimination, and bias. We may stumble in our attempts to find the right path, but we will get back up and carry on.
If you have never cared to understand why anti-racism work is everyone’s responsibility, we urge you to understand now. It is only through each of us doing the work of learning what has brought us to this place and what we need to do to move forward, that the process of healing past and current harms can begin. Only then can we as an organization realize harmony in order to center our shared goals to deliver optimal, accessible, and equitable midwifery care to women, individuals, and families. Reconciliation must be an inclusive and equitable commitment. We are all created equal. We must all hold ourselves accountable and fervently defend these basic human rights, and ACNM commits to doing so as an organization.
- Complete a Truth and Reconciliation Statement. The Ethics Committee is leading this effort with representatives from the Midwives of Color Committee (MOCC) and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee (DEIB) to develop a resolution of truth and reconciliation regarding ACNM’s history of racism and resolve for a future of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Host a Listening Session every two months to check in with members and gather feedback on our progress regarding anti-racism work and anything else members want to discuss.
- Establish a Racism in Midwifery Education Task Force to develop strategies to facilitate a more diverse midwifery student population, improve the student experience for students of color, and support the overall need to diversify the midwifery workforce to better reflect the demographics of our country and our patient population.
- Implement an Equity and Racism Lens Tool for use when reviewing policies, documents, publications, programs, and decisions within ACNM.
- Host an anti-racism webinar series, beginning with “What is Race and Why Does It Matter to Me?” for ACNM members.
- Engage the ACNM Board in anti-racism self-development work.
- Increase visibility of our diversity & inclusion work on our website, via our Diversification and Inclusion webpage.
- Ensure mutual understanding among our members by defining key terms such as systemic racism, oppression, white privilege, and microaggression.
- Host an Inclusion Conference, that addresses member recommendations from ACNM’s 2019 Listening Survey Project, in collaboration with D&I experts and input from ACNM Committees such as the MOCC, DEIB Committee, and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).
- Develop a resource list for Board members and membership to educate members in developing anti-racist actions.
The world witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 and the expressions of pain that followed. Immediate Past President Susan Stone addressed attendees of the ACNM Virtual Annual Meeting, acknowledging the harsh realities of racism experienced by Black, Brown, and Indigenous people in our country.
ACNM released a letter from our new President, Cathy Collins-Fulea
, including an ACNM statement, Black Lives Matter: Put an End to State-Sponsored and Police Violence
Members have asked for a list of what ACNM has done and what we will do going forward. Here are some ACNM initiatives over the past year aimed at expanding our understanding of systemic racism within the College and our profession, of acknowledging the wrongs of the past and eliminating racism within midwifery education, clinical practice and the College itself.
- Permanently changed the composition of the Board to ensure at a minimum the inclusion of two midwives of color, to
ensure BIPOC inclusion in positions of leadership in the College.
- Formed the Black Midwives Caucus for Reproductive Justice & Birth Equity.
- Developed and disseminated a Diversity Toolkit and resources for members.
- Developed and shared with educational program directors a book list about the diverse history of midwifery so it could be included in curriculum for students.
with Black Mamas Matter Alliance and ICM during 2020 Black History
Month for a statement on Eliminating the Racial Disparities Contributing
to the Rise in US Maternal Mortality.
- Supported legislation
aimed at growing and diversifying the maternity care work force, working
with the House Black Maternal Health Caucus.
- Continued use of our Bias Incident Response, Transparency & Healing (BIRTH) Team, an
on-call D&I volunteer team offering rapid response to bias incidents
in real time during ACNM Annual Meetings.
- The Diversity & Inclusion Committee changed its name to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) Committee.
- Sponsored the Black Mamas Matter Alliance's Black Maternal Health Week, April 11-17, centering Black mamas and amplifying the conversation around Black maternal health.
- Hosted a Town Hall webinar on April 20 on “COVID-19 Through the Lens of Equity” with 275 attendees.
- Hosted a Listening Session: Next Steps on Addressing Racism webinar on June 11 to capture ideas and suggestions for how to move forward with addressing racism in our profession and organization.
- Hosted a follow-up to the listening session, Action Session: Addressing Systemic Racism on June 25, for BIPOC members only.
Eliminating the Racial Disparities Contributing to the Rise in U.S. Maternal Mortality: Perspectives from the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), and International Confederation of Midwives (ICM)
As the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) recognizes the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, our nation participates in a month-long commemoration of black history. ACNM acknowledges an essential part of our American story, one that offers positive transformation and change through greater understanding. Black History Month reminds us of where we have been as a nation, so we know where we need to go. Today, our country needs to end preventable maternal mortality, a tragedy often fueled by racism and systemic inequality that disproportionately impacts people of color. To broaden the discussion, ACNM invited its state affiliate organizations, the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) to provide commentary on the issue.Read more
For ACNM, D+I is both a business principle and practice. We will continue to commit time, attention, and resources to D+I and help our affiliates do the same. We will focus on broadening and deepening the conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization and the profession of midwifery. Specifically, we are translating strategic priorities into action and determining a sustainable leadership model for midwives who have historically been underrepresented in ACNM.Read more
Resource Lists from ACNM's Anti-Racism Webinar Series
PODCASTS:Brené with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist from Unlocking Us with Brené BrownDOCUMENTARIES/MOVIES:
This work of the Task Force and Greater Good Consulting has resulted in the June 2015 report, "Shifting the Frame: A report on diversity and inclusion in the American College of Nurse-Midwives
." The report captures the key findings of the ACNM diversity and inclusion assessment conducted in 2014 and provides strategic direction and goals to enable ACNM to cultivate diversification and inclusion within the association and the profession of midwifery. It includes, as a preface, a letter of reflection and response from the ACNM Board of Directors.
Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay's examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.
When They See Us:
Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they're falsely
accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.
The Emmitt Till Documentary:
To understand the black community’s rage about the recent Central Park situation, you must learn about Emmitt Till.
Eyes on the Prize:
Eyes on the Prize is an American television series and 14-part documentary about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.BOOKS: BOOKS FOR CHILDREN:
17 New Authors of Color Writing Much-Needed Stories for Kids20 Picture Books for 2020: Readings to Embrace Race, Provide Solace & Do Good19 Empowering Books with Black charactersBooks with Characters of Color
- I Got the Rhythm
- Last Stop on Market Street
- Lola at the Library (Lola Reads)
- Baby Says Board Book
- I Will Be Fierce
Talking with children about news eventsThe Four Bodies: A Holistic Toolkit for Coping With Racial Trauma
WHERE TO DONATE:
ACNM Midwives of Color Initiative Fund:
Established in 2019 to fund the work of the Midwives of Color Committee (MOCC) in developing the infrastructure and capacity to address the marginalization of midwives of color by the ACNM and chart the course to a more inclusive and equitable organization.
A.C.N.M. Foundation, Inc.:
Supports scholarships, grants, and awards
for midwives and student midwives, with many for midwives and student midwives of color.
Philadelphia-specific bail funds like Philly Bail Fund and Philadelphia Community Bail Fund:
People are arrested for acts of civil disobedience, and every day hundreds of Philadelphias languish in the
city’s jails awaiting trial simply because they cannot afford bail. They risk losing their jobs, housing, and custody of their children without ever first being convicted of a crime. Like many other aspects of our
nation's criminal justice system, people of color are disproportionately subjected to this unfair penalty. Moreover, COVID-19 threatens people in jail, where crowded living quarters and inadequate health care make conditions ripe for a viral outbreak.
Supports the analysis of policing practices across the country, research to identify effective solutions to end police violence, technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns and the development of model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide.