As a part of our new "Update from the States" series, we asked Marijke van Roojen, president of the Wisconsin Guild of Midwives, to catch us up on the current activities of the midwifery community in this progressive midwestern state. Read on to learn about their current initiatives:
Wisconsin Guild of Midwives Current Initiatives (WGOM)
WGOM has once again had a busy year. Our vibrant membership of midwives and student midwives meet 5 times a year and in addition to sustaining private midwifery practices across the state, we are engaged in various public health efforts in collaboration with community, state and university partners.
The Wisconsin Guild of Midwives Doula Project
In November 2014, with support from the March of Dimes and many community partners, WGOM hosted the ICTC Full Circle Doula training in Milwaukee, offering full and partial scholarships to 18 women of color from our state. These women are now in the process of forming 2 regional doula collectives to serve Milwaukee and Dane Counties. The project is designed to build mother mentorship networks and to increase access to culturally concordant and relevant birth services in order to reduce adverse birth outcomes in the African American communities in our state. This training and the empowerment of women exposed to this model of care introduces families to alternatives in childbirth and parenting, teaches self and community advocacy to reduce unnecessary interventions in birth, promotes earlier entry into services including midwifery care, builds provider-client trust, and profoundly impacts the life course of these women and their children. WGOM also intends to use this training to establish a culturally-accessible, low-cost route of entry to a midwifery model of birth work, laying the groundwork for women of color to consider midwifery as a profession and to be fully supported in that choice.
The direct-entry midwifery program at South West Technical College in Fennimore WI, under the able leadership of Ms. Sherry DeVries, CPM, LM, CNM, MSN, became MEAC accredited in September 2014. There are two tracks - one for the student midwife and the other for the CPM seeking a degree in Direct Entry Midwifery. The CPM bridge program is an abbreviated program and the candidate receives advanced standing for work accomplished because of the previously earned CPM credential. Congratulations to Ms. DeVries, program coordinator and instructor, and SWTC!!
Newborn Screening Program
Gretchen Spicer, LM, CPM has been hired by the State of Wisconsin to provide Newborn Screening education and services to the OOH population in our state. She writes:
"Thanks to a wonderful collaboration built by many people over the last 12 years, Wisconsin has one of the highest rates of newborn screening in out of hospital deliveries in the nation. Nearly all the babies delivered by Licensed Midwives in Wisconsin get blood and heart screening in the first 24 to 48 hours of life and hearing screening within the first month of life. Wisconsin Sound Beginnings (WSB) provided grant funding for the purchase of 11 OAE hearing screeners that are shared by midwives in each geographic area. The Wisconsin SHINE (Screening Hearts in Newborns) project included Licensed Midwives in their pilot project for screening newborns for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD). The SHINE project has placed 80 pulse oximeters in OOH practice settings and has provided extensive training and support for midwives as they began pulse oximeter screening."
About the author
Marijke van Roojen, LM, CPM, MPH, President, Wisconsin Guild of Midwives, has dedicated her professional life to two disciplines: maternal child health with an emphasis on the social determinants of health, and community-based mediation, restorative justice and the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution. She currently resides near Green Bay, Wisconsin with her family, is an AAP/AHA Neonatal Resuscitation Instructor and is semi-retired as a midwife in private practice with BirthWise Health and Birth Center. As an MPH in Maternal Child Health and a License Midwife with 28 years of experience in private midwifery practice, Ms. van Roojen has served on numerous oversight committees, advocacy organizations and boards, representing direct-entry midwifery at the local, state, national and international levels.