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SHIFTING THE FRAME: A report on diversity and inclusion in the American College of Nurse-Midwives


“Shifting the Frame” highlights the strengths and positive values midwives can draw on to improve our ability to work in a multicultural world. And it also challenges us to do more to actively listen and learn about ourselves and others who have had different lived experiences. To all midwives whose lives have been touched by injustice and inequity, we honor you and extend our compassion. This report urges us to do more to support you and to create a more just and equitable society.


The D/I Task Force was formed to help provide ACNM with a better understanding of our organizational strengths and barriers related to diversification and inclusion. “Shifting the Frame” is based on interviews, focus groups, and a survey of ACNM members, as well as observations about how we function as an organization. While we have long recognized the overwhelming gender, ethnic, and racial homogeneity of ACNM and the US midwifery profession, this is the first time ACNM has purposefully explored the impact of this homogeneity for our members, our organization, our profession, and the women and families we serve. We applaud the courage and leadership of the Task Force and MOCC in bringing these issues forward, and recognize that many of us are still developing our skills for engaging in conversations on this topic. At the same time, we are appalled by the devastating inequities of our health care system and in maternal and newborn outcomes in particular. While these disparities disproportionately occur in African American families and other communities of color directly, they impact all of us. How can the midwifery profession do more to address this reality? “Shifting the Frame” helps us come to a deeper understanding of ourselves and discuss how best to move forward with intention into the future.

[What can YOU do?]

As you read this, you may be thinking, “These issues are so big,” or “What can or should I personally do?” or, “What can I do to help my profession?” As a first step, we hope you will take the time to read and reflect on the information contained in the report. We hope that “Shifting the Frame” will offer a new lens to reflect on your own history, identity and experiences, and to understand how you can or do contribute to a more diverse and inclusive midwifery community and greater health equity. If you are a midwife who has not felt included or welcome within ACNM, it appears you may not be alone! Please help us change that! If you feel challenged by some of the findings in “Shifting the Frame,” please try hard to step back and process your feelings rather than just act on them. Reach out to others. If you are attending the upcoming 60th Annual Meeting & Exhibition or other events where midwives come together, talk with midwives whom you’ve never met and share your midwifery stories. Use these gatherings to ask questions and actively listen to and learn about others and yourself. Share your experiences, ideas and suggestions with us at

Read more HERE.

[What is ACNM doing?]

In concert with the ACNM Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Midwives of Color Committee, Board President, and CEO, ACNM will launch the Listening Project in March. It is our attempt to bring forward the questions asked in Shifting the Frame to assess our progress and continue working toward ACNM's core commitment of diversity and inclusion, as identified in our 2015--2020 Strategic Plan. Phase One of the project will include a survey to help ACNM assess member, nonmember, and student observations or experiences with discrimination within our membership and midwifery programs. Phase Two will invite members to dialogue openly, as ACNM discusses strategies underway to realize our core commitment of diversity and inclusion.

Stay tuned for more information!


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