NACPM recognizes the pervasive and destructive impact of racism within our culture and within the midwifery community and is committed to confronting it on both an individual level and within our board and organization. Our special purview is essential broad-system change through national policy initiatives (for example: the MAMA Campaign, the Workforce Development Initiative) to increase all women’s access to the care of CPMs and to increase access for women of color to the profession.
Internally, NACPM staff and board members are currently engaged in an 11-week course focusing on power and privilege as it relates to race in the United States, with the intention of developing a historical understanding as well as tools to interrupt racism and expand dialogue. In the wider midwifery community, we support the work of midwifery organizations such as the National Association of Birth Centers of Color and the International Center for Traditional Childbearing.
One of our most exciting projects is working with partners to develop a national scholarship fund for student midwives of color with an expected launch date in 2015. This project grew out of a consistent and urgent request from the midwives of color community and out of a growing awareness within the white midwifery community that, due to racism, student midwives of color face a unique set of challenges. It is broadly understood that to increase access for women of color to the services of CPMs, it is essential to train and credential significantly greater numbers of midwives of color. The benefits of concordant care–healthcare provided to a member of a community by a member of the community–include a potential reduction in disparities in healthcare access and outcomes, and make increasing the number of midwives of color a matter of the highest priority.