Skip to main content

Why We Need More Midwives of Color: Reclaiming Midwifery for Health Equity Informational Session

Lucinda Canty, PhD, CNM, FACNM

Speaker(s) Bio

Lucinda Canty, PhD, CNM, FACNM (she/her) is a certified nurse-midwife, Associate Professor of Nursing and Director of Seedsworks Health Equity in Nursing Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her BSN from Columbia University and her MSN from Yale University, specializing in nurse-midwifery, and her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include the prevention of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, reducing racial and ethnic health disparities in reproductive health, promoting diversity in nursing, and eliminating racism in nursing and midwifery. She is an artist, poet, and historian. She currently hosts web discussions Overdue Reckoning on Racism in Nursing. She is the founder of Lucinda’s House, a Black Maternal Health Collective to promote maternal health equity through community collaboration and programs that provide support and education.weight bias among midwives
toward patients with higher body weights.

Nichole Wardlaw, CNM, FACNM

Speaker(s) Bio
Nichole Wardlaw, CNM, FACNM’s (she/her) professional career in midwifery has spanned over 15 years and includes health education consultancy, full-scope midwifery services in private, public and military facilities, and clinical faculty advisory.

Nichole holds a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Old Dominion University. Her desire to listen to women was the motivation that led her to midwifery, a specialty she has practiced since 2005 after graduating from the Medical University of SC. Seeing herself as a partner in her patients’ health care, Nichole is passionate about working with women, individuals, and families to ensure safe and informed care. Her areas of expertise include sexually transmitted disease education/prevention and teen pregnancy, with a special interest in transgender care. Her passion for her community inspired her to open a home birth practice, Jamii Birth and Wellness Services, to be able to serve her community and work towards creating spaces for clients that want out of hospital birth.

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Nichole loves coastal living. She is the mother of two daughters and has one fur baby as well. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, knitting, and exploring different cultures.

Nikia Grayson, DNP, MPH, MA, CNM, FNP-C

Speaker(s) Bio
Nikia Grayson, DNP, MSN, MPH, MA, CNM, FNP-C (she/her/hers) is a Reproductive Justice informed public health activist, anthropologist, and family nurse-midwife who has devoted her life to serving and empowering people in underserved communities. Nikia is the Chief Clinical Officer at CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, where they have opened the first non-profit comprehensive reproductive health care center in the country and the first birth center in the city. She is passionate about being a disruptor to the current healthcare system and creating new models of care that integrate midwifery and center Black and brown communities.
Nikia has more than 15 years of experience working in public health and nursing, with her more recent work focusing on reproductive rights and justice, birth justice, and midwifery. She works daily to ensure all persons have the rights and means to make decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.

Course Description

This informational session will provide an overview and history of midwifery in the US and the importance of increasing the number of midwives of color to combat the ongoing Black and Indigenous maternal health crisis.
Midwives provide intimate and trusted care to birthing people and are essential to decreasing poor outcomes for people of color. Join us as we hear from researchers and educators about their perspectives and experiences on diversifying the midwifery workforce and the impacts of a diverse workforce on the current maternal health crisis in the United States.