October 11, 2010

School of Nursing celebrates Nurse Midwifery Week

Of the approximately 4 million babies born in the United States each year, more than 325,000 are attended by a midwife. The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing last week joined in the nationwide Nurse Midwifery Week by honoring students and faculty who have dedicated themselves to promoting safe and healthy childbirths.

This year’s Midwifery Week was celebrated in the wake of a bold initiative set forth by the United Nations’ Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health titled “Every Woman, Every Child,” which was launched Sept. 22. School of Nursing Dean Martha Hill and Elizabeth “Betty” Jordan, co-director of the school’s Birth Companions Program, attended the U.N. summit in New York to learn more about the government and corporate support of the initiative, which is expected to exceed $40 billion over the next five years.

“Midwives play an important role in assisting mothers during the birthing process,” Jordan said. “Our students and faculty play that key role all over the world, and this week is an opportunity to formally recognize their efforts and contributions.” The school’s Birth Companions Program gives students an innovative opportunity to learn labor support skills in a community-based setting while gaining a proactive perspective on child care and women’s choices in labor.

Throughout the week, different midwifery “themes” were highlighted, and a panel presentation, “Career Paths of Certified Nurse Midwives: Policy, Practice and Other Possibilities,” featured experts from Johns Hopkins, Shenandoah University and the American College of Nurse-Midwives.