In a recent feature by National Public Radio (NPR), a fearless advocate declares, “There continues to be a dramatic racial and ethnic disparity in the outcome of pregnancy and health for African-American women and women of color.” This fearless advocate is none other than Patricia “Pat” O. Loftman, CNM, FACNM, MS, LM. The American College of Nurse-Midwives recognizes Loftman’s courageous work and remarkable impact on midwifery as she closes her terms as the Chair of the Midwives of Color Committee and the Board of Directors.
Pat received a BSN from Skidmore College and a CNM, MS in midwifery from Columbia University. She is a certified nurse-midwife and past Midwifery Service Director at Harlem Hospital Center who provided primary and reproductive health care to women while developing an expertise in providing care to women whose pregnancies were complicated by chemical dependency and/or HIV infection. Loftman testified around Unblinding The Results of HIV Testing of Newborns in New York City in 1995 and participated as a member of the United States Public Health Service Task Force on the Use of Zidovudine to Reduce Perinatal Transmission. She served as a member of the ACTG 076 US Public Health Service Taskforce on The US Public Health Service Recommendation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Counseling & Voluntary Testing for Pregnant Women in 1994-1995. With the Center for Women’s Policy Studies and representing the Planning Workshop of The Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health, Pat participated in discussions relating to mandatory testing of pregnant women and partner notification.
Pat was Chair of the Women’s Health/Clinical Care Group that led to Harlem Hospital Center becoming the first World Health Organization Baby Friendly Hospital in New York City. She has precepted midwifery students clinically, been an advocate for quality health care for women of color nationally and continues to promote the midwifery profession. Pat retired in 2010 from Harlem Hospital Center after a midwifery career that spanned 30 wonderful years in the community she loves.
An inspiration to us all, Pat is heralded worldwide as a giant in midwifery and a mighty voice for women. We honor her work and leadership with the Midwives of Color Committee and as a member of the Board of Directors, and we thank Pat for her exceptional service.
She is the immediate past Chair of American College of Nurse-Midwives, Midwives of Color Committee, and a past member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives Board of Directors. In these positions, she worked diligently to highlight the history and crucial work of many midwives of color.