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Statement on the Death of ACNM Past-President Elizabeth Sharp





The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is saddened to
learn of the passing of Past-President Elizabeth Sharp, CNM, DrPH, FAAN, FACNM.
Liz, as she was known to many, had a career in midwifery that spanned many
decades and many functions, from clinical practice to midwifery education to
establishing ethical guidelines for the profession. Her many accomplishments earned
her ACNM's Hattie Hemschemeyer Award in 1999.


Liz received her midwifery education from Yale University,
graduating in 1959. She founded the Yale Young Mothers' Program which provided
special services to adolescent mothers, starting a long relationship between
American midwifery and the needs of teen moms. She was an early supporter of
expanding the role of midwifery to the provision of family planning. Liz was
instrumental in the establishment of the midwifery service at Grady Memorial Hospital
in Atlanta, GA. By the late 1970s, she started the midwifery education program
at Emory University, using Grady as the primary clinical site for those
students. She and Johanna Borsellega, CNM, also developed a midwifery refresher
education course to convey the new policies, philosophy, and clinical skills of
modern US midwifery to foreign-educated and non-practicing midwife candidates.


Liz was ACNM president from 1973 through 1975 - a period of intense
debate within the College over professional identity. A period of rapid
expansion in the number of midwifery education programs and midwifery graduates
led to a larger workforce of better-skilled midwives who initiated moves toward
independent practice. Liz led a major revision of the ACNM bylaws in 1974, only
2 years after the ACNM national office had moved to Washington, DC, further
cementing the organization as an entity separate from any previous institution.



Later in her career, Liz was very involved in the development
of ethical standards for midwifery through the ACNM Ethics Committee, including
serving as chair. She was also active for many years with the Division of
Accreditation (the official accrediting body of ACNM at that time), including acting
as site visit coordinator in the early 2000s, when she brought her "considerable
diplomatic skills" to bear on some tough midwifery education situations.


At this time, Liz was described by her peers and
contemporaries as the epitome of "everything we can hope for in an ACNM leader."
She was an expert in fostering and navigating the interpersonal relationships
necessary to establish a practice during a time when tensions were high among
midwives, physicians, and nurses. Liz will be well remembered for her numerous,
outstanding contributions to midwifery and ACNM.


Liz passed away Sunday, February 7, at age 82. Her family
requests that any donations in her name be made to the A.C.N.M. Foundation,
Inc. and/or to the Elizabeth Sharp Scholarship in the School of Nursing at
Emory University.






American College of Nurse-Midwives
8403 Colesville Rd. Ste. 1550 Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 240.485.1800 Fax: 240.485.1818
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