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Glossary of Terms

With the goal of positively influencing the quality of dialogue and discourse on race and equity especially as it relates to midwifery in the US, the following terms are defined below and in some instances, briefly discussed:


“Refers to the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, geographic region, and more” (Basri et al., 2015).  The term “diversity” is used throughout this project due to its widespread recognition and use in health care literature. The term, however, can be seen as problematic because it can be perceived as a gift that white people and institutions aim to give to people of color. Diversifying one’s profession, for example, allows whites to receive praise for their generosity and their role as actors in diversification.  A representative workforce has more positive connotations as a condition towards which society and professions are striving as opposed to something white people are doing for or giving to people of color or other marginalized persons.

For a GLOSSARY AND TABLE of ACRONYMS related to the Profession, Regulation and Education of US Midwives, click here.​

For an explanation of additional terms, visit:


"The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all students[/apprentices], faculty, and staff in every stage of [midwifery training,] education and career development, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of marginalized groups”  (Basri et al., 2015). The prototype website for this project initially focused on compiling racial equity resources and tools for midwifery education and training programs.

Hidden Curriculum

“Refers to the unwritten, unofficial, and often unintended lessons, values, and perspectives that students learn in school. While the “formal” curriculum consists of the courses, lessons, and learning activities students participate in, as well as the knowledge and skills educators intentionally teach to students, the hidden curriculum consists of the unspoken or implicit academic, social, and cultural messages that are communicated to students while they are in school” (Great Schools Partnership, 2014).


“The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. An inclusive climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions so that all people can fully participate” in midwifery education and training program opportunities (Basri et al., 2015).  The term “inclusion” is used throughout this project due to its widespread recognition and use in health care literature. The term, however, can be seen as problematic because it suggests that spaces and institutions designed by and for white people should include other marginalized people and groups but doesn’t acknowledge that those spaces and institutions may need to be transformed and recreated together in cooperation with those persons whom white people and institutions are seeking to include.  

Institutional Climate/Culture

Institutional or organizational climate and culture refer to “the creation and influence of social contexts” (Denison, 1996, p. 646).  Both of these terms, considered distinct by some researchers, are used interchangeably in this project. Institutional climate/culture has been shown to help shape the hidden curriculum.  

“The framework advanced by Hurtado and colleagues (1998, 1999) builds on earlier scholarship regarding campus climate. This earlier work defines climate as the attitudes, perceptions, or observations that campus constituents have about the environment (Peterson and Spencer 1990)...In the framework offered by Hurtado and colleagues, climate is not limited to perceptions and attitudes (what they term the “psychological climate”), but also includes the institution’s structure and history as well as people’s interactions across differences. This framework also assumes that students are educated in racial contexts that vary from campus to campus, and that the variations in climate that occur are shaped by a range of external and internal forces” (Milem, 2005, p.14).

Midwifery Education & Training Programs

This term was chosen to be inclusive of the variety of educational and training experiences of aspiring midwifery students and apprentices in the US who seek national certification as a CNM, CPM or CM.  For example, some midwifery education programs operate in large, public institutions while others exist at small, private, independently-operated schools. Though all midwifery students and apprentices learn under the direction of at least one approved preceptor, practice details and settings vary.  This project aims to compile resources relevant to the variety of midwifery education and training programs operating in the US.

Representative Workforce

“An organization’s workforce is representative when the representation of each designated group in each occupational group in the workforce reflects the availability of the designated groups in the labour market” (Alliance of the Civil Service of Canada, 2016).

Social Justice

"Includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and the society as a whole” (Goodman & Joshi, 2016).

A note about language:


The use of language when discussing race, class, gender, and culture can be imperfect and its acceptability often shifts over time and in different settings. This website uses the term "people of color" and variations such as "midwives of color" to describe persons who experience racism and marginalization based on the color of their non-white skin. Some individual midwifery students, apprentices and educators may not prefer this terminology. Concerned educators are encouraged to validate and use the terminology that each student or apprentice personally prefers.  


Additionally, terms such as "woman," "mama," "mother" and "maternal" can be found on this website usually in reference to the work of others. The use of these terms and phrases are not intended to exclude or ignore the health issues faced by transgender and genderqueer pregnant and postpartum persons who may not identify as women or mothers.  Less exclusive terms are also intentionally used elsewhere.

References for Website (includes all citations referenced above)

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