Global Outreach: Advancing Maternal Health in Small Communities Around the World


Global engagement is one of five strategic goals of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Ensuring women and newborns throughout the globe have access to high-quality, respectful health care is a steadfast priority. The establishment of our global outreach program more than three decades ago has significantly changed the narrative in maternal and newborn care and better served the needs of global communities spanning more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eurasia.

The College leverages its programmatic and technical expertise to invest in a full range of clinical maternal and newborn health education and training programs for global community health workers. In addition to working on regulatory structures with midwifery and nursing councils and ministries of health, ACNM assists with capacity-building and institution-strengthening of midwifery associations around the world.

Complementing the work of ACNM’s global outreach program are the volunteer efforts of the College’s Division of Global Engagement (DGE) Chaired by Robyn Churchill, CNM, MSN, FACNM. The Division promotes the expansion of midwifery expertise among diverse communities across the globe through networking, research, education, communication, and guidance on global health competencies.

Our internal team is busy strengthening existing partnerships and creating sustainable long-term business pipelines, expanding its grant funded projects and writing a 3- to 5-year global strategic plan. ACNM recently assessed its global programs to highlight strengths, identify gaps and areas of improvement, build on best practices, and produce a set of recommendations for success moving forward.

Midwifery practice sits at the heart of communities globally, as a well-respected model among community- and facility-based healthcare in resource constraint settings. ACNM’s contributions include community-based midwifery support, ministries of health support, developing strategic guidelines and clinical care guidelines, standards of care, quality indicators, local midwifery association strengthening, clinical skill development workshops, virtual university developments, and tele-mentoring sessions for health care providers.

Our latest projects have been in Madagascar, Nepal, and Nigeria. Entering its second year now, the Accessible Continuum of Care and Essential Services Sustained Program (ACCESS) is our largest field operation is in Madagascar with a 5-year cooperative agreement with Management Sciences for Health (MSH) funded by USAID. ACNM proudly serves as the lead liaison and a coordinating partner (CP) for the work of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in Madagascar. Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS+) is a USAID flagship initiative in private sector health. The project seeks to harness the full potential of the private sector and catalyze public-private engagement to improve health outcomes in family planning, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and other health areas. ACNM supports prime (Abt. Associates) and the ministries of health with curriculum development and operations manuals in Nigeria and Nepal.

To advance ACNM’s global engagement priority of partnering with global stakeholders to advance the health of women and newborns in our collective resolve to help end preventable maternal and child deaths, in 2020 we will expand global grant funded projects, develop a global strategic plan to guide our work in communities around the world, collaborate with the A.C.N.M. Foundation on global engagement opportunities for members, and engage with internationally recognized organizations on activities designed to broaden ACNM’s brand globally. We will explore opportunities for a global membership drive to strengthen our membership portfolio.

We remain committed to the future of maternal health in small communities around the world.

Contact Sadaf Chaudhry, MD, MSPH, Director of Global Operations at with questions or for additional information on ACNM’s global outreach work.