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On Diversity: Contemporary Black Midwives Perceptions of Organizational Diversity Initiatives

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Developed for Birthing Social Change: Midwives Alliance of North America Annual Conference 2013

Published in: Health & Medicine, Education
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On Diversity: Contemporary Black Midwives Perceptions of Organizational Diversity Initiatives

  1. 1. On Diversity: Contemporary Black Midwives’ Perceptions of Organizational Diversity Initiatives Midwives Alliance of North America Conference October 25th, 2013
  2. 2. Study’s Research Questions • How do black midwives understand their role, its possibilities and challenges, in addressing the issues of the current health care crisis? • How do black midwives interpret the relatively low percentage of black midwives and black women’s underutilization of midwifery services in the United States? • How do black midwives interpret the relatively high black maternal and infant mortality rate in the United States? • How do black midwives interpret the increasing medicalization and credentialism of midwifery and its impact on their work? • What are the differences in black midwives experiences and perceptions by age cohort, state regulation and type of midwife, i.e. nurse, direct-entry, student?
  3. 3. Study Participants • 23 Interviews _ 13 Certified Nurse Midwives – 5 Certified Professional Midwives – 2 Certified Midwives – 3 Midwifery Education Program Representatives
  4. 4. Identified Themes • Who is a Midwife? – Effects of Medicalization & Credentialism, especially the loss of the community midwife – How does this impact the larger goal of providing excellent care to women and girls? • What is Midwifery? – Continued need for education and community outreach on midwifery, its history and it’s safety, particularly for women and teenage girls of color – Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome
  5. 5. Identified Themes • Overt & Systematic Racism is the Major Explanatory Factor of the High U.S. Black Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates
  6. 6. Identified Themes • Beyond Birthing – Need for Targeted Recruitment & Retention Efforts for Midwives of Color – Need for Continued & Increased Presence in Local, State, National & International Health and Education Policy Initiatives
  7. 7. Identified Themes • Experience of Alienation in Large Professional Midwifery Organizations, i.e. Midwives Alliance of North America & the American College of NurseMidwives
  8. 8. What is Diversity?
  9. 9. The Trouble with Diversity • “Diversity is performance art for white people.” • “I used to be a member of [X Large Midwifery Organization] but I’m not anymore. It’s racist. They play lip service to diversity but there is no real financial commitment to it.” • “Don’t use racial disparities and talk of diversity [air quotes] in order to get more funding for your organization. That’s bullshit.”
  10. 10. The Trouble with Diversity • Conflation of multiculturalism with diversity • Need for true representation of women of color on Board of Directors and other governing/advising bodies • Need for full organizational support, specifically financial, for all women or color committee programming and initiatives
  11. 11. The Trouble with Diversity • Need for continued support of student midwives of color, specifically scholarship and preceptorship opportunities • Need for conference and other educational programming on issues and challenges unique and specific to women of color and babies
  12. 12. The Trouble with Diversity • Need for continued collaboration of major midwifery organizations to model and create opportunities for a more cohesive midwifery community
  13. 13. Thank You! Keisha L. Goode Doctoral Candidate in Sociology The Graduate Center, City University of New York kgoode@gc.cuny.edu 301.452.7728

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