The first half of 2020 certainly has had its up and downs! COVID-19 has disrupted education across the board and midwifery students, many of whom are working on the front lines in addition to being in school, have shown amazing flexibility and resilience through the pandemic. Sending congratulations to those who have already graduated this year and positive thoughts to those who are working hard to finish up missed clinical hours.
ACNM’s focus right now regarding students is addressing the racism that exists in midwifery education. This long overdue effort is multi-faceted, and I would like to call upon all students, new grads, and established midwives to join in this work. The Racism in Midwifery Education Task Force (thank you to the students in this group!) is developing an action plan to eliminate racism in curriculums, clinical placements, preceptors, faculty, and policies. There is also a free webinar series for members on anti-racism that I encourage everyone – especially my white peers – to attend. Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of the task force and other ways to get involved.
Finally, it was extremely disappointing that the motion to allow students the right to vote within ACNM did not pass at the annual meeting – students make up more than one fifth of the total membership of ACNM and have an important voice within the organization. The Board acknowledges this and is dedicated to making ACNM more inclusive to students, voting to reduce student membership dues by half through the end of the year and asking state affiliates to do the same. The hope is that this initiative is a success and the reduced price becomes the permanent rate going forward.