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.
NACPM leadership has taken several steps in recent years to deepen our understanding and create tools to interrupt racism and expand dialogue within the profession. These include articulating our intention to address racism and racial disparities in maternity care, undertaking an 11 week course and ongoing study and dialogue that focuses on power and privilege as it relates to race in the United States, and adoptiing a Racial Equity Impact Analysis Worksheet to guide equity conscious decision making. In 2015, two dedicated positions on the NACPM Board of Directors were creted to ensure that no less than two board members are midwives of color.
Increasing the number of midwives of color in the profession overall is a matter of highest priority. 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. In order to better understand the unique challenges faced by student midwives of color, NACPM commissioned a study by our consultant Nancy Anderson, MD, MPH, which revealed important insights that will inform our efforts to create scholarship and mentorship programs and develop a more representative midwifery workforce. Her findigs will be shared in NACPM’s 2017 webinar series - Equity, Race and Access to Midwifery, along with the seminal research done by NACPM’s public board member, Keisha Goode, PhD, Birthing, Blackness and the Body: Black Midwives and Experiential Continuities of Institutional Racism.
In the wider midwifery community, NACPM continues to support the work of midwifery organizations such as the National Association of Birth Centers of Color and the International Center for Traditional Childbearing.