The ACNM Fellowship will have the largest induction ever in May 2021! The enthusiastic increase in applications follows a year of work by the FACNM Board of Directors to review its inclusiveness and design a more welcoming application process. In July 2020, the ACNM Fellowship Board of Governors established a task force to review and update the FACNM admission criteria. Prompted by concerns about equity in the application process brought to Ginger Breedlove, ACNM past President and current FACNM Governor, the Board of Governors pledged to have updated criteria ready for the fall 2020 call for applications. Cecilia Jevitt, who had been involved in previous criteria reviews, and Michael McCann volunteered to lead the task force. Volunteers were recruited, including Jan Kriebs, Gina Novick, Sarah Edwards and Irene Sandvold. The work began with a survey sent to all Fellows asking these questions:
- What examples of Leadership are missing from current FACNM criteria?
- What examples of Clinical Excellence are missing from the current FACNM criteria?
- What examples of outstanding scholarship are missing from the current FACNM criteria?
- What examples of Professional Achievement are missing from the current FACNM criteria?
- Is there language in the current criteria that could be improved to be more inclusive?
- Should membership in the Fellowship be limited to ACNM members?
- ACOG fellowship is open to all members, Should FACNM adopt a process similar to ACOG?
- ACOG has Honorary Fellows, Should the Fellowship adopt that addition to FACNM?
Thirty Fellows responded candidly about the privileged nature of the current criteria. The survey generated many ideas about types of leadership, the need to value clinical practice and alternate examples of scholarship, achievements not recognized, and inclusive language. Based on survey comments faith based criteria were removed, and international work was redefined. The three application limit was retired. The ACOG fellowship model, a model based on sponsorship and membership payment following one year of practice was not endorsed; however about half of respondents supported an honorary title for non-midwives. Survey findings were shared with the FACNM BOD and were then made available to all Fellows.
Over several meetings in the fall, the Task Force decided to restructure the FACNM application criteria to be consistent with the definition of membership in the Fellowship, “Membership is an honor bestowed upon those midwives whose demonstrated leadership, clinical excellence, outstanding scholarship, and professional achievement have merited special recognition both within and outside of the midwifery profession. FACNM represents the commitment of the ACNM to honor our own. In light of the vast wealth of expertise and collective wisdom represented within the body of Fellows.” Leadership, Clinical Excellence, Scholarship and Research, along with Professional Achievement/Service became the new criteria categories. An additional category was added to capture other exceptional innovation, resilience in the lived experience, and ongoing academic or professional mentoring of BIPOC students or midwives. Criteria in each category were broadened to more fully capture the diverse experiences of leading midwives. Finally, the scoring method was simplified.
The Task Force presented the suggested criteria updates and changes to the admissions process to the FACNM BOG in October with approval in time for the November application opening. Reviewing the application process and updating the FACNM admission criteria is an ongoing process. The Task Force will reconvene following the 2021 Induction of Fellows to consider changes for the 2022 application. If you would like to be part of the FACNM Criteria and Application Task Force or have suggestions, contact Michael McCann (email@example.com) or Cecilia Jevitt (Cecilia.firstname.lastname@example.org).
Michael McCann and Cecilia Jevitt are former Regional Representatives for ACNM Region III. Michael is a member of the Georgia Affiliate and Cecilia belongs to the Florida Affiliate, Tampa Bay Chapter. Both are members of the FACNM Board of Governors.