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Updated: Feb 3, 2020

California Nurse-Midwives Association

CNMA President’s Call to Action!!

Over the past year, we have executed a strategic plan to put ourselves in a strong position to sponsor legislation to remove barriers to midwifery care. By far, the biggest barrier that exists to the practice of midwifery in CA is physician supervision, or better termed, 'physician permission to practice.' As all of you are acutely aware, there is national attention on the maternal mortality crisis, especially as it relates to black individuals and individuals from other marginalized communities. Removing 'permission to practice' in California is a real strategy to addressing this crisis. Removing this barrier will improve access, keep CNMs practicing midwifery and not leaving the state or practicing as RNs, ensure CNMs can practice where there is greatest need and not only where they can find supervision. It will also give more birthing people the option of receiving the excellent care of CNMs. We all know that midwifery care improves outcomes by decreasing unnecessary medical interventions and C/S, addressing race-based disparities, decreasing spiraling costs, improving breastfeeding rates and improving patient satisfaction.

CNMA has worked tirelessly to put ourselves in this strong position. We’ve formed strong coalitions, started a foundation, hired a strategist, co-sponsored SB 464 as a first step at addressing Racism, been a strong presence at the Capital, met with the Governor’s office three times, built up our financial coffers, started an initiative to offer free membership for midwives of color and asked ACNM to join our effort, revamped our communications platforms, collaborated with the CHCF and the PBGH. We are also completing a video project highlighting the benefits of nurse-midwives. We now have a newly hired lobbyist, Lighthouse Public Affairs, to assist us with our efforts. We also have a commitment from Black Women for Wellness to co-sponsor our bill. Given all that we have accomplished, each one of you remains the most important influencer on the ground!! Now is the time for all CNMs to ‘Lean In’!

Over the recent past, we have decreased the dues for students and offered a reduced rate for retired CNMs. We will begin offering free membership for a year for CNMs and students of color. I do understand that there are those who feel disenfranchised and even stop practicing as CNMs due to the constraints delineated, but we need everyone in this fight. It is difficult to ask powerful supporters to assist us when our own membership and level of engagement has decreased. As you know, we are an all volunteer organization and we can’t do this without the support of everyone! Please either join CNMA or if you are somehow opposed to full membership, consider going to and make a donation.

We are up against strong opposition, BUT there are currently very powerful organizations that we are engaging with who will be compelling influencers in the legislature. In addition, AB890 (NP bill) is gaining momentum with legislators and we hope to ride that tide!! THE TIME IS NOW. If you feel like your support doesn’t matter and things will never change, you are mistaken!! There is movement toward removal of barriers for all health care providers. This is especially true as it relates to maternal health.

Stay tuned as we fine tune our communications strategy. We will ask all members to be active on social media platforms with messaging to come.

With Gratitude,

Kathleen Belzer

CNMA President.

CNMA Lobby Day April 15th!!

SAVE THE DATE!! Put this year’s Lobby Day in Sacramento on your calendar, we would love to see you there. This is an important year, do not miss out on this! We need your help, and your legislator needs to hear from. Don’t underestimate what your voice means to your legislator. More information and registration link forthcoming. Put it in your calendar now!


Annual Meeting with be held August 28-30, 2020

Registration Opens April 1, 2020

Hayes Mansion

San Jose, CA

All birth workers are invited to participate.

Please reserve your room through Hayes Mansion. They are giving the board, and you the attendees a deal on room rates. Weblink for reservations to be sent out soon.

Will be offering two days of content, including kicking off a Me and White Supremacy closed work group on Sunday morning, limited to 20 participants.

Agenda for the days to be determined.

Please email if you have information you'd like to present, skills workshop you'd like to run or are considered an expert on any of the following topics:

- Reproductive endocrinology

- Abnormal Uterine bleeding

- Menopause

- PCOS management

Thank you and we look forward to serving our midwifery community with an exciting and informational annual meeting!

Jillian Cauley, CNM

CNMA Updated Schedule 2 Course

The updated Schedule II Drug Course will be available for all California CNMs to take as of 3/1/2020. The course provides the necessary content in relation to Risks of Addiction and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome to ensure you are in compliance with SB 1109. Thank you for your patience as we worked with the BRN to make this a reality!

Kathleen Belzer, CNMA President.

Perinatal Psychiatry Consultation Service - Free to ALL perinatal providers in CA

Dignity Health piloted a perinatal psychiatry consultation service beginning January 2019 with Dignity Health Medical Foundation group members in California. In late September Dignity Health opened the consultation service to any and all perinatal providers in California.

It is often difficult to find timely referral to a perinatal expert when there is an urgent need. Now you can have free expert advice in a timely manner to address your client’s needs.

Attached, please find more information:

CNMA Free Membership for Midwives of Color

Participation by midwives of color (MOC) in CNMA is vital to the progress of midwifery in California and demands our urgent support. As a small gesture to encourage more MOC to join CNMA, CNMA will be waiving the $200 California affiliate fee for new California members who identify as MOC and join ACNM. CNMA asked ACNM to also support more participation of MOC at the national level via similar financial incentives and they have announced they will be offering scholarships for MOC in joining ACNM. So while new MOC members will still be responsible for a portion of the ACNM national membership fee under this initiative, the California affiliate will waive the entire affiliate fee. This offer will be in effect for all of 2020 and may be extended pending funding. Of note, this offer applies to all MOC newly signing up, so even if you have been a member in the past but your membership has lapsed, this offer applies. Please contact our membership Chair, Emily Carter, at to receive your coupon code. ACNM will grant 50% off, then California will waive the remainder of the affiliate dues with the coupon code.

Did you miss the talk by Indra Lusero on Midwifery Regulations, Access and Health Equity?

On January 15th, the Nurse-Midwives of Zuckerberg San Francisco General, and the UCSF Nurse-Midwifery Education Program hosted a presentation & discussion regarding midwifery regulation, access, and its impact on health equity with Indra Lusero, a Staff Attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women and a reproductive justice entrepreneur who founded Elephant Circle, a Birth Justice capacity-building organization, and the Birth Rights Bar Association, a membership association for lawyers working on issues related to childbirth. During their two hour presentation and panel discussion, Indra tied the regulation and control of midwifery in the US to the legacy of racism, particularly anti-Black racism, in the US and the overall desire to control reproductive freedoms for birthing people. Indra presented data and accompanying strategies for linking increased midwifery access to reproductive justice, and laid out some strategies for us to consider in our next legislative cycle. If you would like the link to the presentation, please email and put INDRA LUSERO in the subject line.

We want your input!!

The newly formed California Nurse-Midwives Foundation wants to hear from you regarding priorities as we get off the ground. Please fill out this survey to make sure we are addressing what is most important to California CNMs. You do not need to be a CNMA member to fill out the survey. Please forward widely.

Please submit no later than February 16th.

Webinar: Promoting Midwifery and High Value Care in Medi-Cal

Increasing midwifery utilization is a key strategy to improve maternal quality, affordability, and the patient experience. Join PBGH on February 10 for a webinar on how health plans can promote access to midwives in Medi-Cal.

Is your Job Affected by AB 5?

Hello CNMs of California,

As you may know, AB 5 became law earlier this year. This is what has been called the "gig economy" bill that severely limits the use of independent contractors and requires most independent contractors to become employees of the organization or small business (or hospital, or clinic) if they don't meet certain specific criteria. Physicians were exempted from this bill, but advanced practice nurses were not. We do not yet know the full impact of this on nurse-midwives. We do know, however, that a few nurse-midwives in the central valley have lost their jobs and remain in limbo as the hospital decides if they will become direct hires. We've also heard concerns from some out of hospital CNMs who have small business worries.

We are wondering if you are anyone else you know is affected by this new law at the present time, or potentially affected. If so, we want to talk to you. We would also like to hear from out-of-hospital CNMs as to potential impact, e.g. do you currently utilize W-9 contractors in your practice and what questions and concerns do you have?

We are currently working with a coalition of APRNs, the California Hospital Association, and our lobbyists to determine how we can address this, and hopeful for a 2nd bill to be introduced that would exempt CNMs and other APRNs from this new law. Your responses are needed in order to bolster the argument as to why CNMs should be exempt.

If you'd like to read more on gig economy law, you can do so here and here. You can find out more on the "test" to determine whether an independent contractor must actually be an employee here. You can find the actual bill language here.

We look forward to hearing from you. Please email:

Holly Smith, CNM

CNMA Health Policy Chair

Yale School of Nursing Candidate School for Nurses and Midwives

Have you thought about running for elected office? Do you have a nurse and/or midwife friend/colleague that has? Mark your calendar for May 27-30, 2020 and be one of the 50 nurses and midwives to attend the Yale Candidate School for Nurses and Midwives!

At Yale School of Nursing, we seek to:

  • Inspire nurses and midwives to run for office, particularly down ballot races

  • Provide training and support to help nurses and midwives who run win

  • Promote a culture within nursing and midwifery where we support our colleagues who enter politics

  • Add to what we know about nurses and midwives in elected office

The Yale Campaign School for Nurses will be:

  • Non-partisan

  • Targeted specifically to nurses and midwives

  • Practical – with advice and information you can use

  • Interactive

  • Focused on state and local races

The agenda will include:

  • Developing a campaign plan

  • Building a campaign team

  • Understanding party politics

  • Creating your narrative

  • Navigating campaign finance and fundraising

  • Interacting with the Media

  • Building a grass-roots network through field organizing

  • Utilizing digital/online organizing

The faculty will include campaign experts and nurses who have run for office.The school will be limited to 50 participants to allow for interactive Q & A with experts. The program will begin Wednesday evening with an opening reception. Thursday and Friday will be long days – just like a campaign! We will conclude Saturday at 5pm. Tuition: $595. Limited scholarships will be available.

Upcoming Events in the Bay

February 10th - Promoting Midwifery & High Value Care in Medi- Cal

12:00pm - 1:00pm PST

Online – Register Today!

Advancing Reproductive and Sexual Health in Medicaid

  • Overview of the Medicaid Program (January 30, 2020) – Register here

  • Medicaid Eligibility (February 13, 2020) – Register here

  • Reproductive and Sexual Health Services Under Full-Scope Medicaid (February 27, 2020) – Register here

  • Reproductive and Sexual Health Services Through Expanded Medicaid Programs (March 10, 2020) – Register here

  • Barriers to Reproductive and Sexual Health Care (March 24, 2020) – Register here

Questions? News? Want to get involved?

Email us at

That's all for this month's issue. Catch you next time!


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