Steve Calvin M.D. on pregnancy care, health care reform, and innovation

The godmother of US midwifery

At a lunch four years ago in Savannah, GA the godmother of US midwifery catalyzed my desire to help improve the maternity and newborn care system.  I saw her again this week.  The American Association of Birth Centers is holding its 30th annual meeting here in Minneapolis.  Fortunately the weather is beautiful for the visitors.

For two days before the meeting a “How to start a birth center” course was taught by my friend Kathryn Schrag CNM.  More than 65 attendees learned a lot from Kathryn and each other.    Near the end of day 2, much to everyone’s delight, Kitty Ernst CNM MPH made an appearance.

Kitty is the aforementioned godmother of midwifery.   I hope to be even 10% as active and effective as she is when I reach my ninth decade.   She holds the Mary Breckenridge Chair at Frontier Nursing University and is passionate about educating and encouraging certified nurse midwives:  http://www.frontier.edu/alumni/message-kitty-ernst

Her remarks to the gathering were the usual mixture of wisdom and humor.  She combined them in her assertion that improvement of the pregnancy care system will happen if we facilitate the conversion of all labor and delivery RNs to CNMs.  Those who refuse the transition she would exile to the orthopedic surgery service….

The transition to a high value maternity and newborn care system is gaining momentum.  It won’t be a smooth ride but it will be exciting and a great opportunity for those who are as bold as Kitty Ernst.