March 29, 2024

Hello Ohio Midwives!

These first President’s Pens are going to have much chatter about efforts we initiated at the Forward to increase transparency and participation. First off, I want to give you more information about the meetings. The meetings will be held on Zoom. Ideally, one week before the meeting you will receive a Zoom link and an agenda. The day before you will receive a reminder and the zoom link. You are welcome to contact me prior to the meeting if you would like to add something to the agenda. The meeting will start with BRIEF introductions: name and practice location/type. Last minute agenda adjustments, then move into business.

As a board, we acknowledge and honor the work and personal time commitments of all midwives. I am hoping that we can implement a design that I believe was adopted by the Virginia Affiliate (Michelle Munroe spoke to it in one of her newsletters). The design is to have Practice Champions throughout the state. Practice Champions will be a midwife who volunteers to attend meetings and is supported by the practice to participate ie, not be on call during meeting times or immediately post call, not be scheduled for office hours during meeting times. The Practice Champion will then share meeting information with the other midwives in the practice. Of course, it would be wonderful if everyone could come to the meetings but this structure aids those in big busy practices. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer for those of you in single or double midwife practices…I guess it will be left to how the births happen. Samantha Buckholtz from University Hospital in Cleveland and Sara Linkey from Mercy St. Vincent’s in Toledo have both volunteered to be Practice Champions. I hope those practices will provide them support! Thank you, Sam and Sara, please contact me if you are running into issues setting this up. Those of you who are interested, please inform your practice and get in touch with me, or just come to the meeting and identify yourself as a Practice Champion. If you are a Practice Champion and on vacation, please work it out for someone to fill in for you.

We are actively updating our Find A Midwife page on the website. If you see an error or if you are not posted, please contact Laura Valle (laurajvalle@me.com) to update your practice. Also, if you have not updated your membership in ACNM, please do so at your earliest convenience! We need ACNM as our professional organization and ACNM needs us…we support each other to maintain and promote midwifery nationally and locally.

HOT OFF THE PRESS! Oklahoma has achieved legislation granting Full Practice Authority!

The following is an excerpt from Heather Clarke’s end of the year address to the membership of ACNM. I add it here because I think it helps to hear/read points of view from our leadership in order to stay in touch and give feedback to our peers and colleagues. We need to strengthen the future of midwifery!

“In the first quarter of 2023 I began to reach out to other midwifery organizations to re-establish relationships that were developed within USMERA. We invited other organizations who represented LBGTQ, indigenous and Black midwives who were not included in the original USMERA group. Our discussions centered around the future of midwifery, equity, reproductive justice, and the potential of collaboration among various certifications to increase consumer choice and serve their needs most efficiently.

This group has not met recently; however, I have continued discussions with the president of NACPM, Kiki Jordan. We continue to focus on collaborative partnerships especially in relation to transfer agreements and ways to operationalize previous protocols to secure safe equitable consumer transfers from home or Birthing Centers to hospital regardless of the type of midwife. Recently we have explored opportunities to host webinars to educate all midwives, CNMs/CMS/CPMs about each other’s level of education, scope of practice and philosophies possibly culminating in another midwifery summit within a few years.

The call for various types of midwives and midwifery organizations to work together has been common in many meetings I have attended beginning with the 6th Annual Black Maternal Health Conference I attended in April ’23 at Tuffs University, Boston. This collaborative effort is seen as one of the solutions to combat the dispersant and increasing rates of Black Maternal Mortality in the US. Collaboration among various kinds of midwives, was a strong focus at the convening held by the Center for Reproductive Justice, the Black Mama’s Matter and the National Black Midwives Alliance I attended in Atlanta, May 2023.

Other topics discussed included restrictive licensure practice regulations and the limited access life- saving medications for community midwives who offer low-cost care to clients who fear dying in the hospital due to care perceived as racist and dangerous and want home birth. I believe while we may not agree with all the practices of various groups of midwives, we need to be present when the conversations are held to arrive at agreements that increase patient safety.”

Coming Affiliate meetings:

Saturday, May 18, 9:30 am Monday, Aug 12, 6:30 pm Saturday, Nov 16, 9:30

In Power, Purpose and Passion!

Jackie Gruer MSN, CNM(ret), FACNM Ohio Affiliate President