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Curriculum & Learning

“In order to attract students of color and create a safe learning environment, participants recommended embracing multiculturalism and incorporating cultural competence throughout the curriculum.” - Yamasaki McLaughlin p. 48

“Theoretical and empirical discussions of race and racism must be central throughout all programs. Perpetuating a color-blind ideology of midwifery not only ignores the raced experience of education programs but also does not equip all midwifery practitioners with the tools to best support all [pregnant persons].”

- Goode, K., 2014, p. 81

The Important Role of Curriculum
Course Resources
The Important Role of Curriculum
  • "Much of the dialogue around diversity and inclusion in higher education suggests that curricula to which students are exposed can greatly impact the way in which they view and engage the world. Research suggests this begins with institutions’ orientation and induction of new students into the campus environment. Many institutions of higher education include cultural competency training in new student orientation, and also require that students take coursework in diversity as freshmen." (USDE, 2016, p.42-43)

  • Schroeder & DiAngelo (2010) connect their critique of the UW SON to the “failure of so many efforts to ‘improve diversity’ within institutions” citing that their curriculum “included required content on cultural competence and issues of ‘cultural difference,’ but issues of power, white privilege, and racism/antiracism were not systematically addressed.” (p. 246

  • “Studies have shown that while minority students can be resilient and bear some prejudice before feeling alienated, this resiliency does not apply when students experience prejudice or discrimination in the classroom
    Multiple studies have found that negative experiences in the classroom can spill over into minority students’ overall perceptions of inclusiveness on campus.” (Taylor, Milem & Coleman, 2016, p.26)


  • "Attention to diversity in the curriculum and cocurriculum, particularly in the first two years of college, results in student development along many dimensions of complex thinking and social cognitive growth." (Hurtado, 2005)

  • The Case for Inclusive Teaching. (2018). The Chronicle of Higher Education.


EXAMPLES of Midwifery Student Antiracism

Course Topics:

  • Social identity; defining racism

  • History of racism in the US

  • Institutional racism

  • White race privilege 

  • Theories of racial, ethnic and social identity development

  • Intersectionality

  • Microaggressions

  • The dynamics of racism in communities

  • Clinical work in a cross-racial context

  • Putting it into action

"At Emory, I teach a master’s level course for midwives and other nurse practitioner students on developing cultural humility. What began years ago as a course on cultural competence has transformed to a course that examines both one’s own biases, as well as the structural patterns in healthcare that have perpetuated social inequality and health disparities. Students are asked to explore compassionate and thoughtful leadership-for-change to promote genuine health equity for all."  

- Jenny Foster​, CNM, MPH, PhD

“Respondents also encouraged creative thinking about the practice models for which students were being prepared.”  

Yamasaki McLaughlin, p.44

Course Resources

See Also, EXAMPLES >>>








Curriculum Checklists

"Several participants recommended that cultural competence should be woven throughout the curriculum and not covered solely in a single course.”  

Yamasaki McLaughlin, 2012, p.51-52

"Students report that it is important for them to see themselves reflected in the faculty and curriculum to which they are exposed to create a sense of belonging and inclusiveness”

(USDE, 2016, p.3, 38-39)

Important Considerations
Course Resources: Articles


  • Open Door Provider Training Program: LGBT inclusion for family-building professionals (Family Equality Council)

  • "An educational focus on social justice is necessary to prepare future nurses to address health concerns related to how societies are structured. This article reports on how social justice was used as a framework to teach concepts related to professional nursing. The course structure is described, a focus on how the course content was taught is outlined, and conclusions are drawn." (Boutain, 2005

Existing Curriculum Available for Purchase:

Free Existing Curriculum:

A former midwifery student recommends identifying "leaders, educators and health care professionals who are people of color in the midwifery profession since midwifery education is dominated by white educators."  She suggests making "information about people of color such as workshops, mentors or culturally specific facts"

more accessible.

-Personal communication with recent student, 2017

  • "Exposure to health disparities instruction is important for medical students. The authors’ experience provides insights for incorporating such material into the compulsory curriculum. Future evaluation of outcomes from similar curricula should include measures of clinical behaviors (e.g., through clinical examinations)." (Gonzalez, Fox & Marantz, 2015)

  • "The recognition of bias cannot be taught in a single session. Our experience supports the value of teaching medical students to recognize their own implicit biases and develop skills to overcome them in each patient encounter, and in making this instruction part of the compulsory, longitudinal undergraduate medical curriculum." (Gonzalez, Kim & Marantz, 2014)

  • "Guidance as to how to develop a curriculum based on social justice is evident in the Canadian and US literature (see, for e.g. AACN, 2008; Boutain, 2008; Cohen and Gregory, 2009; Fahrenwald, 2003) with key issues being that it is embedded within the curriculum from the outset, integrated throughout the entire programme, students’ competence is theoretically and clinically assessed and that students have opportunities to practise social justice action prior to qualification otherwise they may not be appropriately prepared to practise as social justice practitioners (Boutain, 2008)." (Merrell, Olumide & Khanom, 2014)

  • "Racialized bodies are so often “othered” by white dominant bodies and Euro-centric institutions, yet how this is done within discourses of 'multiculturalism' and 'color blindness', and with the existence of race equity policies; consequently this “othering” becomes difficult to speak to. As a white educator, I begin to unpack my own complacencies in this practice. Moreover, I present some possible considerations as to ways in which we can move towards an anti-racism education, which will bring us closer to upholding race equity policies within the postsecondary education system and meeting the needs of all students." Moving Towards an Anti-racism Curriculum. In Politics of Anti-Racism Education: In Search of Strategies for Transformative Learning. (Deckers, 2014, pp. 61-69)

  • See Transforming Classroom Environments, Effective Pedagogy, and Curricular Transformation pp.24-26 in (Milem, Chang & Antonio, 2005)

  • Implicit Bias Against Sexual Minorities in Medicine: Cycles of Professional Influence and the Role of the Hidden Curriculum. Academic Medicine, 90(5), 549-552. (Fallin-Bennett, 2015) 

  • “Beyond Coming Out: New Insights about GLBQ College Students of Color. (Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE), 2015)

  • See Also: Healing Resources and Focusing on Strengths

Course Resources: Articles

*See also Microaggressions & Education 

Course Resources: History

Midwifery in the United States was never lost, as white midwifery narratives portray. While their communities were undergoing incredible persecution and trauma, Black and Indigenous midwives have always continued to serve them.



Possible content for infusing an equity focus throughout every midwifery course exists, but as white midwifery educators, we must commit

time and effort to the process of transforming curricula and

learning how to learn what we don't know

The process of this learning and growth is a lifelong commitment.  

It will not always be easy, but it is critically important. 

- Kristin Effland, LM, CPM, Site Developer

Click here to take a look at our Course Revision Checklist!

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