Region II: With Women for a Lifetime Silver Commendation: Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare, Harrisonburg, VA

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In this column, I proudly feature Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare of Harrisonburg, Virginia, who were recognized in May 2019 with a With Women for a Lifetime Silver Commendation. This honor is designated solely to practices or services – 10 years or older – who have provided innovative and compassionate midwifery care to families, expanded access to women’s health via certified nurse-midwives, or educated midwifery students or certified midwives, putting the heart of midwifery into practice.

Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare has not only supported the community of the City of Harrisonburg, but also the surrounding counties in the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia. Additionally, Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare midwives have been involved in leading local community health boards as well as sexual assault and child advocacy centers. Since 1996, Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare has offered twice weekly home prenatal and postpartum home visits to Old Order Mennonite families who use horse and buggy transportation.  They have also provided care to low-income and refugee families from regional health departments, offering sliding scale payment options. Since 2008, they’ve additionally staffed a monthly women’s health clinic at a local poultry plant, providing preventative care to factory workers. In 2009, the practice started the first accredited Centering Pregnancy program in the region, and in 2010 started offering Spanish-language only Centering Pregnancy. They are currently expanding the practice to Luray, a rural region with few nurse-midwives 33 miles north of Harrisonburg .

Today, Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare has a team of seven providing women’s health services, with four being full-scope midwives. The founding midwives, Marty Jones, CNM and Barbara Kirkland, CNM remain at the practice, providing women’s health services. Donna Schminkey, CNM, PhD, MPH, who joined the team in 2000 not only still practices women’s health, but is also faculty at the Nursing School of James Madison University.  Melody Mast, CNM and Tammie McDonald-Brouwer, CNM both have served as full-scope midwives for over 10 years.  Kaya Norton, CNM is starting her third year in full-scope midwifery. And Roberta Cherrywell, CNM recently joined the practice, bringing over 20 years of midwifery experience.

Join me in congratulating Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare! They view the With Women for a Lifetime Silver Commendation as a way of marking their achievements and giving them encouragement for the future. They look forward to applying for the Golden Commendation for 20 years of service!

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