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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Kendrick

CNMA Newsletter - April 2024

Updated: Apr 8


















Message from the President


Happy Spring Everyone,


I hope you are enjoying the beautiful California weather, and feeling a sense of renewal and inspiration in this spring season. April is a special month. This month we celebrate National Minority Health Month, Black Women's History Month, and National Arab American Heritage Month. Additionally, Black Maternal Health Week is observed on April, 11-17 this year. All of these celebrations and points of recognition hold a special significance for midwives and midwifery care because so much of our good work is aligned with the aims of these initiatives. 


National Minority Health Month gives us a pause to raise awareness of the health disparities that affect racial and ethnic minorities. With an emphasis on improving health outcomes for these communities, the focus is on unequal access to health services, implicit bias, and addressing systemic barriers. The goal is to reduce disparities in health conditions such as diabetes and maternal mortality. This year's campaign “Be the Source for Better Health” highlights the role of diverse communities, organizations, and individuals in helping to achieve better outcomes. Check out the link for more information. National Minority Health Month 2024 | FDA. I’m sure you will agree this is an initiative that aligns with our efforts to serve those who need midwifery care the most. 


Black Women's History Month, aims to promote the visibility, education, empowerment, contribution, and achievement of Black women. One of the themes for 2024 is “Black Women: Uplifting Each Other, Telling Our Stories, Honoring Our Legacies”. Here are some links to online resources. 


The theme for National Arab American Month is “Celebrating Arab American Resilience and Diversity”. Celebrate the rich heritage and numerous contributions of Arab Americans. The State of California is home to the largest Arab American population in the United States with approximately 715,000 people of Arab American descent in the state. Here is a link to learn more about the activities and events supporting this initiative. National Arab American Heritage Month 


The mission of Black Maternal Health Week is to raise awareness, advocate for change, and address the disparities in maternal health outcomes, particularly affecting Black women. This initiative supports reproductive and birth justice movements while promoting community-driven policy, and research. Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to White women. Black Maternal Health Week serves as a platform to demand change. Comprehensive public and private insurance coverage for maternal health care, improved access to care, and research that centers on Black women and birthing people are a few of the ways to improve maternal health. So many ways to address systemic issues and advocate for change. I hope you will embrace the many opportunities to get involved in the highlighted awareness observances this month. 


Sincerely Yours,


Amita Graham 

President-elect









 

Black Maternal Health Week 2024 










































See All Black Wellness & Prosperity Events here!


Other Events




















 

Health Policy Updates

Thanks to everyone who signed onto the individual letter urging UCSF to maintain it’s Master’s program. We received more than 1,500 signatures! CNMA is still working hard to advocate for a Master’s track at UCSF. 


Go to cnma.org/advocacy for updates on bills and other CNMA advocacy endeavors!

 

Volunteers Needed

CNMA is seeking a new volunteer for the role Liaison to the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF) 


Are you passionate about improving reproductive health care in California? Do you thrive on building connections and fostering collaboration? We have an exciting opportunity for you to step into a vital role as the California Nurse-Midwife Association liaison to the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF)!

You will be partnered with an experienced CNMA health policy team member to help you grow into the role, so if you're an experienced midwife with a background in policy or someone eager to grow into the role we would love to hear from you! 

Join us and get the inside scoop into how California Reproductive Health Policy is developed in California and help amplify the voice of midwives and the people we serve at that CCRF table and beyond! 


Interested? Send a note sharing why you are interested in the role to lizdonnelly@gmail.com and we will set up a time to chat. 


About the organizations:

California Nurse-Midwife Association is the professional organization representing California’s Nurse Midwives and the people and communities that we serve. CNMA works towards an equitable California where all people have access to safe, evidence-based, trauma-informed reproductive healthcare through the advancement of the midwifery profession.

California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF) is a statewide coalition of more than 40 organizations working to promote sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice. CCRF supports and facilitates member-driven initiatives including strategic communication, collaboration and collective policy advocacy to benefit California’s diverse communities that include genderqueer and non-binary people, cisgender and transgender women, and transgender men.


About the team:

You will work closely with and be mentored and supported by CNMA Health Policy Chair & Vice Chair: Holly Smith and Liz Donnelly  

Holly & Liz have been the CCRF liaisons together since 2015. One of them will be in attendance at meetings with you to help you get up to speed and make connections. They will also provide regular support between meetings. 


Requirements:

  1. Experience working as a CNM (any practice setting, for any length of time!)

  2. Commitment to reproductive health rights and justice, including full throated support for abortion as an integral component to reproductive health care. 

  3. Understanding and commitment to the reproductive justice framework 

  4. Interest in health policy. Previous health policy experience is a bonus, but not required! 

Commitments:

  1. Meetings: 

  • Attend quarterly meetings with the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF). These meetings are usually ~4hrs virtual or 8hrs in person (we have not yet gone back to in person since covid). Meetings are held throughout the state and there is funding to support your transportation to/from in-person meetings. Your role at the meetings it to represent CNMA, the midwifery profession and the people we serve. Help CNMA to network & make connections with the organizations within CCRF support midwifery expansion and policies that improve care for the people and communities we serve. (2024 Dates: 2/22/24, 4/18/24, 6/27/24, 9/19/24, 11/21/24)

  • Attend CNMA quarterly health policy meetings: Report out to CNMA team on topics and issues coming up within CCRF. Keep abreast of CNMA policy priorities to help represent those within CCRF. (2024 Dates: 1/23/24; 4/23/24; 6/23/24; 10/23/24)

  • Optionally: If you are interested in more in depth insight you are welcome at our weekly policy meetings with the CNMA lobbyist.  2. Communication:

  • Monitor CCRF listserve to support timely engagement with partner organizations

To Apply: 

  • Send a note sharing why you are interested in the role to lizdonnelly@gmail.com and set up a time to chat. 


GE HealthCare is interested in talking to clinicians who have hands-on experience with maternal fetal monitors.

We would especially like to learn about your experiences with water labor and birth – how prevalent it is in your facility, your current L&D workflow for this topic, and a variety of other scenario-based questions. In addition, we would also like to garner your feedback about any experiences you may have monitoring triplets. This virtual session will be 1.5 hours on April 25, 2024, at 11 am CST. All responses will be confidential and used for research purposes only.

Please sign up here, and you will be sent an invite link.

 

Educations, Training, and Webinars

AWHONN Perinatal Bereavement Town Hall: Water Immersion Photography

April 2, 2024 | 3 pm Eastern | Virtual 


Join us as we have a town hall to discuss the process to discuss the implementation of the practice of water immersion photography to create memories for bereaved families. We’ll identify strategies, share tips, and answer questions related to this practice. You will receive a confirmation email with login information prior to the town hall.


Presenters: Mary Seger Barker, Kim Dippel, and Sarah Copple, MSN, RNC-MNN, C-ONQS 

 

Pricing: Free. No nursing contact hours are available for this informational webinar. A recording will be sent out to all who register for the event.


AWHONN Perinatal Quality Improvement Community Chat

April 3, 2024 | 4-5 pm Eastern | Virtual 


Join us for an interactive live chat to discuss strategies, exchange valuable tips, and address any queries about pursuing The Joint Commission's Advanced Perinatal Certification. Gain insights from accomplished nurse leaders who have successfully navigated this certification process. Speakers facilitating this community chat are AWHONN members Alana Rivera, MSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM, CLC, Perinatal Nurse Quality Manager, and Kate Drone, MJ, BSN, LSSBB, RNC-OB, C-EFM, C-ONQS, Program Manager. 


Special guests include Dr. Eileen Magri, Senior Director of Nursing for Women and Children’s Service at NYU Langone Health-Long Island in Mineola, and Tonya Faires, BSN, RNC-ONQS, Perinatal Centers of Excellence Program Administrator for Norman Regional Health Systems.


Participation in this member-only event is free of charge, and while no nursing contact hours are offered, it presents an excellent opportunity for networking and learning.  A recording will be sent out to all who register for the event.


Our Future Belongs to Us: Amplifying Innovations in Black Maternal Health

April 11, 2024 | Thursday | Virtual   


You’re invited to attend “Our Future Belongs to Us: Amplifying Innovations in Black Maternal Health,” presented by UnityPoint Health, on April 11 at 12 p.m. CST as we recognize Black Maternal Health Week. Attendees will learn about creative and exciting solutions emerging in Black Maternal Health from a powerful, multidisciplinary panel of professionals from across the United States. 


Panelists include: 


  • Dr. L. Joy Baker, MD, FACOG, PMH-C, C-EFM, MT(ASCP), Founder of Delivering Joy MD 

  • Sheridan Blackwell, MHA  Head of Systems Change, Hospitals, and Partnerships, Irth

  • Toni Hill, Midwife, CLC, Midwife at Blooming Moon Midwifery, LLC 

  • TaKiesha Smith, CLC, CHW, Founder of A Caring Doula, Neuro Spicy Birth

  • Christine Tucker, Health Equity Manager, Healthy Birth Day, Inc.

Join us to be empowered to improve birth outcomes and learn concrete action steps that can play a part in building a better future! 

Register for the Webinar Here.


10th Annual Changemakers Luncheon

April 22 | Monday | 11:30-1:00 PM EST| Des Moines, IA | Virtual Option Available 


You are invited to join us for the 10th Annual Changemakers Luncheon, presented by MercyOne. On Monday, April 22, we will gather to celebrate babies saved while raising funds and awareness to support our mission to prevent stillbirths and improve birth outcomes through the proven Count the Kicks program.


Registration is now open for the event, which will be held at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, and virtually for guests across the country. We expect another sold out event this year, so we encourage you to register right away!


We are thrilled to have author, speaker, podcast host and JOY Connoisseur Lisa Even as the Special Guest for the 10th Annual Changemakers Luncheon. Lisa's mission is to approach everyday life with a focus on finding joy and to inspire others to find more joy in their own lives. On April 22 she will inspire our community of Changemakers to dream BIG and to create a bigger and better ripple effect in the world! 


The Changemakers Luncheon is one of the most sought-after spring luncheons in Des Moines. You won't want to miss it! Here are a few more reasons to join us on April 22:


Book signing with Special Guest Lisa Even (Books available for purchase courtesy of Beaverdale Books, with 10% of proceeds supporting Count the Kicks.)

Take photos with your friends and co-workers at the Coachlight Clinic & Spa Selfie Station.


Participate in the Josephs Jewelers Gold Box Giveaway by purchasing a gold box to open during the luncheon. One lucky winner will unwrap a piece of jewelry valued at $1,500.


Bid on silent auction items including designer handbags, spa packages, destination packages, weekend getaways, original artwork and much, much more! 

Get new Count the Kicks merchandise, including Changemakers T-shirts

Early Bird: $75 per ticket | $750 per table

After March 8: $85 per ticket | $850 per table

Virtual: $45 per ticket | $400 per watch party 


Perinatal Mood Disorders: Components of Care & Advanced Trainings

All training dates offer the 2-day Components of Care and 3rd-day Advanced Psychotherapy (unless marked). *=additional training available: 3rd-day Advanced Psychopharmacology.


IN-PERSON TRAININGS

Apr. 24-25, BIPOC - Phoenix, AZ


ONLINE TRAININGS

Mar. 27-28*

Jun. 26-27*

Sep. 25-26*

Nov. 13-14*


AWHONN Education Town Hall: Perinatal Orientation and Education Program (POEP)

April 30, 2024 | 12:30 pm Eastern


Exciting Updates Coming Soon: New and Improved Perinatal Orientation and Education Program Launching in June 2024! Join us for a town hall discussion on the revamped Perinatal Orientation and Education Program (POEP). This updated program meets the evolving needs of perinatal nurses, equipping them with evidence-based resources and tools to excel in their roles. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be part of the future of perinatal nursing education!

No nursing contact hours are available for this informational webinar. A recording will be sent out to all who register for the event.


ACNM: Advancing Breastfeeding Support and Skills for Midwives

A Webinar Series presented by midwife experts in breastfeeding and lactation medicine from across the country geared towards diving deep into topics that impact midwives, clinicians, and their lactating clients


April 24, 2024, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET


June 19, 2024, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET


August 28, 2024, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET


October 30, 2024, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET


December 18, 2024, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET

 

Latest in Media 

MCHC medical provider to lead statewide midwifery association

March 19, 2024 | The Ukiah Daily Journal | MediaNews Group


















Amita Graham (Contributed)


Certified nurse-midwife Amita Graham has been elected to lead the California Nurse-Midwives Association (CNMA), bringing a much-needed perspective to state advocacy around reproductive healthcare and the role midwives play.


The CNMA is the professional organization representing certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives in California. It is affiliated with the American College of Nurse-Midwives. CNMA’s goals are to increase access to midwifery care, improve maternal-child health care outcomes with a specific focus on reducing racism-based disparities, and to advance sexual and reproductive healthcare in California. By serving as the organization’s president, Graham will direct statewide advocacy and have the opportunity to influence national advocacy efforts.


In addition to supporting the goals above, Graham says she is dedicated to raising awareness about the specific needs of patients in rural areas, especially those who belong to minority demographic groups. She also hopes to reduce social and economic barriers that prevent women of color and other underrepresented groups from pursuing careers in healthcare and midwifery.


MCHC CEO Rod Grainger said he is grateful to providers like Graham who are willing to take on state and regional leadership roles.


“So often, leaders from bigger population centers simply cannot relate to the needs of rural communities. Having someone as capable, compassionate, and politically astute as Amita lead an organization as important as CNMA is great for community health centers in rural areas all over the state. Really, it’s good for everyone,” he said.


MCHC is a good fit for medical providers like Graham who are dedicated to equitable and high-quality healthcare. MCHC’s status as a federally qualified health center (FQHC) requires that MCHC not only meet strict quality standards, but that it also provide culturally competent care to patients in underserved areas.


Furthermore, FQHCs use a holistic approach to healthcare, offering medical, dental, and behavioral health services under one roof. And, at least half of the governing board members are also patients, which ensures that those who receive care have a voice in decisions about how the health centers are operated.


As a certified nurse-midwife in Mendocino County, Graham regularly cares for patients who face challenges based on the rural nature of our local communities, including infrastructure that does not always support easy access to care. For example, as hospital maternity wards close at what Graham calls “an alarming rate” all over the country, these closures often have an outsized impact on rural communities.


Locally, since the closing of the hospital maternity ward on the Mendocino Coast, patients have had to drive inland to Ukiah for a hospital birth. This puts women at a much higher risk of delivering their baby on the side of the road. In metropolitan areas when a hospital closes, it is unlikely that the resulting drive to the next hospital requires a 60- or 70-mile trek over narrow, winding roads. Graham explains that regardless of whether a patient makes it to the hospital on time to deliver the baby safely, even the stress of having a hospital so far away can adversely affect a patient’s health.


She said, “It is well documented that stress can lead to pre-eclampsia and preterm labor.”


As such, Graham says she will advocate for the kinds of changes that increase access to safe and affordable healthcare for all patients who need reproductive healthcare in California.


Diverse Maternity Care Workforce Essential to Advance Birth Equity

A conversation with midwife Angela Sojobi about her decades of experience and the urgent need for more Black midwifery students

March 14, 2024 | The California Health Care Foundation Blog | California Health Care Foundation | Written by Amber Bolden, MPP

Angela Sojobi, PhD, DNP, CNM, is a midwife at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles. Photo: John Valenzuela


In recent years, many state health agencies and health care organizations across the country have increased their efforts to grow and diversify the health care workforce. Fostering a diverse workforce is important for birth equity. A growing body of research suggests that a maternity care workforce that reflects the diversity of the people it serves and encompasses a range of provider types can deliver better care and positive outcomes for babies, mothers, and birthing people.Maternity Workforce Insights


Midwives are key providers  for people with low- and moderate-risk pregnancies, and the number of births attended by midwives in California has risen since 2007.  A growing recognition of the many benefits of midwifery care in California has contributed to the implementation of the Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Program, an initiative of the California Department of Health Care Access and Information, and Senate Bill 65, the California Momnibus Act. Both include training programs to shore up the midwifery workforce.


Angela Sojobi, PhD, DNP, CNM,  is a midwife at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles, where 94% of the patients are people of color, and 96% are publicly insured or uninsured. She is an assistant professor at the California State University at Fullerton School of Nursing and a member of the CHCF Birth Equity Advisory Group. I met with her for a conversation about her decades of experience as a midwife, the urgent need to recruit more Black midwifery students to advance birth equity, and the importance of perinatal care teams that include ob/gyns, midwives, doulas, and others.


This is the first conversation in a series about the maternity care workforce and what California needs to invest in now to produce better outcomes for mothers and birthing people.


Q: Why did you choose midwifery as a profession?


A: My journey as a midwife started in Nigeria. Believe it or not, it was the career that was picked by my parents. I was 15 years old when I finished high school, and they were debating what to do with me. My mom said, “She loves taking care of people. Put her in nursing school.” And that’s how it all started. Well, they were very right, because I’ve loved midwifery since the day I stepped into the labor and delivery ward. I’ve been doing this since I was 17. I practiced in Nigeria for five years before moving to the US.


Q: You have been a member of the CHCF Birth Equity Advisory Group since 2020, so I wonder how you approach your birth equity work?


A: When I heard that Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLK) was reopening [in 2015], I really wanted to be in this community and be a part of taking care of women [of color]. I wanted to make sure that the unacceptable maternal mortality and morbidity statistics that exist on a broader scale weren’t going to exist where I was working.


On the clinical side, I started by making sure that there were more nurses [of color] working on the labor and delivery floor. Anybody else who wanted to work there could work there, but we made sure that they were all trained to interact with people who were different from them. If that’s not what you want to do, then step aside and let the people who can take care of those patients step in while you figure out how you’re going to change yourself, learn, or go somewhere else where you’re comfortable, because we don’t want to force anybody to do what they don’t want to do.


The perinatal statistics at MLK are better than the state and national averages. Our cesarean-section rates, first-birth cesarean birth rates, neonatal intensive care unit admissions, and perinatal morbidity stats are among the lowest. We have not had any perinatal mortality since we opened, thank God!


Q: Interest in advancing birth equity is increasing across the nation. What does birth equity look like in practice to you? What are you teaching your mentees?


A: Birth equity is when every human being — regardless of who they are, their race, ethnicity, whether they’re rich or poor— is given the opportunity to birth the way they want to. They’re listened to. They have autonomy. They feel heard and seen. I mean, that’s it. It’s just that simple.


It’s a patient coming in and saying, “I’m in pain,” and the provider says, “Tell me where the pain is.” Not like, “Yeah, labor hurts.” It’s the doctor, midwife, or nurse asking, “Hey, may I come in?” rather than just barging in. “Is it OK if I check you?”


It’s also knowing that the providers who are there for you care about you. They’re going to support you through this. You’re not alone, and you will make decisions together.


The most vulnerable time in your life, when you’re in pain, is not the time you want to try to figure out, “Does this provider like me? Is this person going to treat me well?” It’s the time for a person to come in and know that, “OK, I’m here. I’m home. I’m going to be well taken care of.” When we’re all sick, where do we want to go? We want to go home.


Q: Research shows that midwifery care is as good as or better than care provided by obstetricians in hospitals, and that a growing number of mothers and birthing people – especially if they are Black – want midwives as their maternity care providers. Despite this growing demand, there remain significant barriers to recruiting and training midwives. What do you see as the main obstacles, and how can they be addressed?


A: One of the main challenges is awareness. We have to do a lot of educating so people know that midwives exist. I remember coming to this country as a midwife and working as a registered nurse for five or six years before I figured out that I could actually practice here as a midwife. I didn’t think midwives existed in the US. I didn’t know a single one. So it’s important to educate minorities that midwifery is a valid career path.


A particular challenge in this country is preconceived ideas about who should do what professionally. I experienced it when I was pursuing my second doctoral degree. I was met with a million questions like “Why would you do that? What are you doing that for? Isn’t that a waste of your time?” I thought, “Can you let me be?” For many Black women advancing in their career, it’s as if there’s a box already built for what you’re supposed to do, for what your interests are, for where you can be. For some people this can be discouraging.


Another challenge is money. A lot of people think, “How do I pay for a midwifery education? I can’t afford this. This requires a lot of hours from me. I have family that I have to take care of. I can’t stop working.” You can’t work full-time and go to school full-time, especially in a midwifery program. Many people of color whom I have approached would be incredible women’s health providers, incredible midwives, if they could get financial support and assurance that they would not be in debt for the rest of their lives.


Q: Do Black midwifery students face special obstacles during training?


A: The Black and Latina/x women in my classes at CSU Fullerton are in their 30s and 40s, and the students of other races and ethnicities are younger. They are a year or two out of the baccalaureate programs when they go straight in to midwifery training, whereas our students are waiting until their kids are in college or graduated from high school before they come back to school for themselves. So supporting them getting through a program, you have to look at it differently. Their needs are different.


A lot of the midwives returning to school already have obligations of a life outside of being a student just taking care of themselves. It compounds the difficulty. While they could do the curriculum and the work, taking a pay cut while paying to go to school makes it much harder.


I want to increase the number of midwives of color by encouraging people to apply, making sure that we support them through school, and making sure that they can get into the workforce. So, in thinking about that, I met and spoke with Stephanie [Teleki, CHCF’s director of learning and impact]. Stephanie then introduced me to someone at the UCSF School of Nursing who had the same ideas that I did. We started working together to encourage more minority students or applicants to apply to the midwifery program, and then do everything we can to make sure that they succeed through the program and help them into the workforce.


Q: There are a number of community-based organizations focused on birth equity. What barriers do they face in helping to provide support for families? 


A: The ones I’m familiar with are doulas and out-of-hospital midwives, and they are on the other side of the demarcation between the medical world and their world. Not every birth is simple or low risk. Some need medical interventions. When someone is attempting a home birth and they step into the hospital for further assistance, sometimes hospital staff [providers] demonize them.


Women have the right to make a choice where they’re going to deliver their baby and sometimes, things go wrong. When they go wrong, our job is to stand up and assist them without questioning. It wouldn’t matter then where they were trying to deliver their baby. That will not help the situation. Our job is to take over and try to fix the problem. When doulas come into the hospital, they’re also demonized sometimes, as if it’s us in the hospital against them, instead of everyone all working for the common good. We all just want a great outcome for this mom, and for this mom to have a good experience with her birth.


Q: What can be done over the next five years to accelerate the adoption of midwifery care?


A: Midwives can’t do it alone. There are times when we’re going to need ob/gyns. However, ob/gyns don’t need to attend low- to moderate-risk births. Let the midwives take care of the low-risk patients. Statistics have shown that we do it well. We do it with less liability, and we do it with better outcomes. Let the physician take care of the higher risk patients who they have been trained to take care of, and we’ll work together.


Having a baby is a sacred thing. It’s the beginning of life. It’s not a tug-of-war. We should celebrate it together as doulas, as out-of-hospital birth workers, as in-hospital birth workers, as physicians, midwives, whatever we are, and just celebrate it and help this woman have a healthy baby.

 

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Midwife Crush Mondays!

Do you know an amazing Midwife who is doing revolutionary work? We want to feature them on our social media platforms! 


CNMA is looking for submissions for our new social media series “Midwife Crush Monday” where we highlight the stories of trailblazing midwives across the industry who are making a difference in the midwifery profession. You can even submit yourself!


Here’s what we’re looking for: 

  • Midwife’s name (include pronouns)

  • Affiliated organization(s) 

  • Why you became a midwife (and anything awesome you’d like to brag about)

  • Headshot/Photo if available

  • Bonus: Please include social media handles for tagging!

Please send submissions to sm@cnma.org for consideration! 


You're receiving this e-mail because you are a current or former member of the ACNM/CNMA or because you signed up from the CNMA website.


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