Narrative Description of Site

Curriculum content and classroom experiences significantly impact student learning; when students especially those who are underrepresented cannot see themselves, their experiences or their communities reflected in curricula, they can feel ignored, excluded or discriminated against.  Concepts of equity, social justice, diversity, inclusion and cultural humility and sensitivity cannot be taught and absorbed in a single course; they must be threaded throughout the entire curriculum.  

 

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In-depth training is necessary for faculty, administrators, preceptors and staff from dominant cultures to enable them to develop a critical consciousness and an understanding of power, privilege, implicit bias, racism and other oppressions that impact student experiences and opportunities to succeed.  

 

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School and clinic climates or cultures have been shown to significantly impact student experiences and their ability or motivation to succeed. Institutions that don't acknowledge and actively address their climate/culture passively preserve and promote the dominant culture.  

 

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  • The Important Role of Climate

  • Fostering Affirming Climates

  • Understanding Climate

Promoting equity requires institutional transformation which can begin with the development of a plan that relies on the input of diverse stakeholders.  Evaluation may occur at the beginning, middle and/or end of an institution’s planning cycles.  Successful planning requires regular evaluation.  

 

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Accreditation and certification agencies have the opportunity to promote equity, encourage lifelong learning, acknowledge racial bias and integrate increased learning opportunities regarding the provision of culturally sensitive and appropriate midwifery care into midwifery education, training, certification and recertification.  

 

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  • The Important Roles of Accreditation & Certification in shaping the Profession of Midwifery

  • Examples & Resources

  • Future Needs

  • US Midwifery Documents related to Accreditation & Certification

​Inequity in midwifery education and training programs is a complex and persistent systems problem.  Sustained commitment, capacity building and a recognition of our role as individuals in perpetuating the status quo will be required to bring about the transformative change towards equity the profession aims to achieve.  

 

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Institutions that do not explicitly address equity or social justice in their official policies, statements, reviews and reports are making an implicit statement about their lack of commitment to promoting equity.  However, a commitment to equity or social justice that is expressed only in words or statements will be perceived as hollow; official statements and missions must be backed by meaningful action, transformation and accountability.  

 

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Health professions educational institutions wanting to succeed in creating a more diverse health care workforce to serve our increasingly diverse population must focus on improving their recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented communities.  To positively impact student experiences and retention rates, institutions cannot focus on recruitment without committing sufficient resources and attention to improving student services and transforming school and clinic climates.  

 

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  • Why are Recruitment & Retention of Persons from Underrepresented Groups Needed?

  • Examples

  • Fostering Retention

  • Focusing on Recruitment

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Many midwifery students and apprentices require financial support and assistance to complete their education and training because it is difficult to find other work while on call.  Aspiring midwives from marginalized communities typically face additional barriers in this realm due to disparities in accumulated wealth.  Removing and/or decreasing financial stress and barriers for these aspiring midwives may better enable them to confront the additional stressors they otherwise face as underrepresented students and apprentices.  

 

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Aspiring midwives can hone strength, resiliency and many other benefits from quality mentorship and many do develop informal mentoring relationships organically.  Underrepresented and marginalized students and apprentices who may stand to benefit even more due to their minority status also have fewer opportunities for these relationships to form especially with a culturally concordant mentor and/or one comfortable with discussing racial equity.  

 

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  • The Important Role of Mentors

  • Examples

  • Future Needs

  • Additional Resources

  • Faculty Mentoring Resources

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Research has demonstrated the benefits of peer support for all students, but underrepresented students often face extra challenges in developing an adequate support network especially with culturally concordant peers or those with whom they feel they can relate on multiple levels.  Marginalized students and apprentices deserve opportunities for peer support with persons able and willing to talk about the inevitable inequities and microaggressions they will encounter.  

 

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  • Why is Peer Support Important to Promote?

  • Examples

  • Considerations

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Working as part of a cross-racial team presents challenges and many opportunities for growth as it necessarily involves reflection and processing to succeed.  Exposure to cross-racial shared leadership not only provides students with an opportunity to witness this important and uncommon dynamic but it also demands that educators and administrators learn how to put words into action regarding racial equity.  

 

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Acknowledging the role that power and privilege play in shaping our school and clinic spaces as well as our lives and those of our clients and of aspiring midwives is considered a necessary first step before one can practice cultural humility and sensitivity.   Structural racism and other oppressions rely in part on individuals not confronting the implicit biases we all have.  

 

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  • The System of Racial Inequity

  • Internal: Privilege & Bias

  • External: Structural Racism

   

Critical

Consciousness

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Critical

Consciousness

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Preparing aspiring midwives to uncover and confront their own inevitable implicit biases and identify the structural patterns in healthcare that have perpetuated social inequality and health disparities is necessary in order to enable them to learn to provide culturally humble and sensitive care as practitioners.  The process of this learning and discovery can be described as the development of critical consciousness.  

 

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Research demonstrates that student support services benefit many students, but academic preparedness may be more limited among underrepresented students due to the many unequal opportunities in early and secondary education which are well documented and have nothing to do with student motivation or capabilities.

 

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A diverse composition of leaders, including educators and administrators, positively impacts perceptions of school and clinic climates especially for underrepresented students and apprentices.  Conversely, a lack of representation in leadership makes it difficult for underrepresented aspiring midwives to see themselves as belonging.

 

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Aspiring midwives from marginalized groups develop resiliency in order to confront stress from microaggressions and racism every day especially if they are learning in schools and clinics where they are underrepresented or are minorities.  Institutional attention and resources directed at acknowledging and confronting this reality while supporting them will improve student experiences, motivation and success rates.

 

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  • Why might Healing Resources be Needed?

  • Healing Resources

  • Videos & Photo Essays

  • Strengths-Based Interventions

  • Get Connected: Community Resources

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