Leaders Meet at ACNM to Advance Nationwide Recognition of the Certified Midwife

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On July 15, 2019, a day-long summit was held at the national offices of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) in Silver Spring, Maryland to strategize on attaining nationwide recognition of the Certified Midwife (CM) credential.

Committee of Midwife Advocates for Certified Midwives (C-MAC) members Dana Perlman, Karen Jefferson, Karen Kelly, and Marian Seliquini met with ACNM President-elect Cathy Collins-Fulea; Division of Advocacy and Affiliate Support Chair Lynne Himmelreich; and members of the ACNM staff including: CEO Sheri Sesay-Tuffour, Amy Kohl, and Suzanne Wertman from Advocacy & Government Affairs, and Elle Schnetzler and Sharon Ryan from Midwifery Practice, Education and Global Outreach (MPEGO). The meeting was facilitated by educator, midwife, and health policy expert Lisa Summers.

The meeting reaffirmed ACNM’s commitment to identify and address the opportunities and challenges of advancing the practice of midwifery. Also restated was the College’s pledge to improve health care quality, enhance patient outcomes, and increase access to care in a cost-effective manner while ensuring the midwifery workforce becomes more robust and diverse. Recognition of the certified midwife (CM) credential is one way to strengthen midwifery and increase the numbers of midwives in the United States.As of July 2019, just six states, including Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, recognize the CM credential.

During the meeting, attendees reviewed the history of the CM and explored a more realistic and actionable plan for moving the credential forward at both the state and federal level. The group agreed that expanding upon the current federal program to gain recognition of CMs within the Indian Health Service, the Department of Defense, the Veteran’s Administration, and Medicare is paramount. The group also recognized the need to revisit a prior ACNM Board commitment to gain the support of key stakeholders who can influence medical and nursing boards.

Discussed at the meeting was the fact that affiliate leaders from eight more state affiliates and the District of Columbia affiliate were identified as enthusiastically engaged in advocacy efforts to bring CMs to their communities. They understand that CMs have obtained identical competencies for certification as certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and are recognized as equivalent to CNMs in all aspects of midwifery education and practice. There is agreement among these leaders that recognizing the CM credential will increase access to midwifery care.

The group identified tangible actions that will enable states to move forward with legislation to include CMs in statute. Work on a toolkit is underway as are other plans to assist state affiliates succeed in this endeavor. As part of its commitment to strengthening midwifery, through advancing the CM credential, ACNM will execute strategies in the coming months to educate members and the public on the benefits of national recognition of the CM credential.