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Announcing the 2022 ACNM Premier Award Winners


August 10, 2022 | REVISED August 15, 2022
Contact: ACNM Marketing & Communications
240.485.1800 | [email protected]

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is pleased to officially announce the winners of the following premier awards: Dorothea Lang Pioneer, Excellence in Leadership and Innovation, and Lifetime VisionaryWe’d like to provide an updated announcement of ACNM’s 2022 Premier Award winners with revised and/or additional information about all the award winners.

Dorothea Lang Pioneer Award Winners
This award is given by the A.C.N.M. Foundation, Inc. to an exceptional midwife who has demonstrated vision and leadership, has been certified for 20 years, and represents exceptional “unsung heroines” who have demonstrated pioneering vision and innovative leadership in midwifery.

Shirley White-Walker, CNM, MEd, FACNM

Shirley White-Walker is a pioneer with unmatched contributions to midwifery education, practice, leadership, and advocacy. She was the first Black midwife to hold a CNM license in New Jersey; among the few first Black midwives on the ACNM Board of Directors; and among the first three Black midwives to serve on the A.C.N.M. Foundation Board. Shirley also advanced the early fundraising efforts of the Midwives of Color Committee, which led to the endowment of the A.C.N.M. Foundation’s Midwives of Color Scholarship Fund. She served her midwifery community for 42 years, while also being a strong community service leader. At her alma mater, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, she faithfully mentored numerous students successfully through their midwifery journeys, with vision, tenacity, and inspiration.

Karline Wilson-Mitchell, DNP, RM, CNM, FACNM

Dr. Karline Wilson-Mitchell has for 30 years, shown exceptional leadership as a midwife, educator, mentor, and advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice around the globe. As Associate Professor at Ryerson University since 2008, and Director of the Midwifery Education Program, she has widely enhanced the midwifery curriculum, projects, and professional activities that promote DEI. She is a beloved midwife and educator in the U.S., Canada, and in the global south, amassing extensive experience meeting the needs of historically marginalized students and families, including those from religious minorities, refugees, black, indigenous and people of color, and LGBTQIA+. Karline is also well-recognized for her promotion of innovation in midwifery education and for midwives as essential members of the healthcare team worldwide.

Maria Valentin-Welch, CNM, DNP, MPH, CDP, FACNM

Dr. Maria Valentin-Welch has for 30 years been a pioneering leader in midwifery education, public health, innovative care models, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in education and midwifery. A vivid example of Maria’s mission to improve and advance the lives and success of others, lies in her role as the A.C.N.M. Foundation’s Inaugural Chief Programs & DEI Officer, elevating and advancing strategic DEI initiatives. Particularly noteworthy during Maria’s tenacious, visionary leadership with the ACNM Midwives of Color Committee (MOCC) is Maria’s creation and development of the MOCC Mentoring Program in 2011, ACNM’s first formal national mentoring program for midwifery students of color, several of who are now rising in leadership roles within their communities and ACNM. To date, Maria has personally mentored over 70 midwifery students, most students of color, always maintaining a cadre of active mentees.

Excellence in Leadership and Innovation Award
This award honors an exceptional CNM/CM who is an ACNM member, has been certified for less than ten years, and has demonstrated innovative, creative endeavors in midwifery and/or women’s health clinical practice, education, administration, or research.

Stephanie Tillman, CNM, FACNM
Stephanie is an exceptional midwife who has made a huge impact on the midwifery profession in her short time as a midwife by challenging the status quo. She has made incredible strides in championing consent, shared decision making, knowledge sharing, equity, and compassion in the midwifery profession. She has taught trauma-informed care to thousands of clinicians, presenting on this topic at international, national, and regional conferences as well as universities across the United States. Until recently, Stephanie was in clinical practice providing full-scope midwifery care. She is known nationally as the founder and author of the Feminist Midwife blog, in which some of her most innovative and popular content include scripts for midwives and other clinicians to use in conversations with patients. These scripts model patient-centered language for power transfer and stress the importance of clinicians critically assessing the words they use in clinical practice. She is now a full-time PhD student in Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University, with a focus on consent in intimate exams.

Lifetime Visionary Award
This award honors an exceptional CNM/CM who is an ACNM member, has been certified for at least ten years, and has provided either continuous outstanding contributions or distinguished service to midwifery and/or maternal and child health (MCH), or contributions of historical significance to the development and advancement of midwifery, ACNM, or MCH.

Carolyn Curtis, CNM, FACNM
Carolyn has made a profound contribution in advancing the highest quality of maternity care and promoting excellence in midwifery that has had worldwide impact. Carolyn Curtis is the CEO and Founder of the CARAB Corporation which provides consultation services for global health and maternal and child health. She also served as the Global Team Leader for USAID’s Global Postabortion Care Program in 42 countries. In this position, she revised the global integrated model for postabortion care service delivery, conceptualized and oversaw the development of the Global Postabortion Care Resource Package, oversaw a metanalysis of 20 years of postabortion care research, authored numerous peer reviewed articles and co-authored two joint consensus statements. Her integrity, perseverance, and dedication have made her a role model for many.

For the full list of the 2022 ACNM Award winners, visit: https://www.midwife.org/2022-award-winners.


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. ACNM promotes excellence in midwifery education, clinical practice, and research, and works to strengthen the capacity of midwives in the United States and throughout the world. Our members are primary care providers throughout the lifespan, with a special emphasis on pregnancy, childbirth, and gynecologic and reproductive health. ACNM provides research, administers, and promotes continuing education programs, establishes clinical practice standards, and creates liaisons with state and federal agencies and members of Congress to increase the visibility and recognition of midwifery care. To learn more about ACNM, visit www.midwife.org, engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @ACNMmidwives or find us on LinkedIn.

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